Well, the 2011 Bassmaster Classic has played out, and I for one will go on record saying that I was wrong. If someone would have told me that Lake Cataouatche would stand up to the pressure of the top anglers in the world, as well as the local hands, during the first pretty-weather weekend of the year, I would have laughed.
I have learned that if you think you know what is fixing to happen then think again. I mean, after all, Venice was the ideal choice for someone to win the tournament, but everything had to go right, and as you know everything didn’t go as planned with the fog hampering those making the long runs by shortening the fishing days to only a fraction of allowed time.
So with the hype of the Classic, let’s take a look at the two areas and the different techniques that are producing on the Delta. Note that these two places are in the Delta but are two hours apart, so the vegetation and structure are going to vary tremendously.
This is a no brainer. Grab a stiff rod, and put you some braided line on a reel, your favorite hook and a heavier weight then you think you need. Once this is set up grab a creature bait like a Brush Hog, Sweet Beaver or crawfish-looking thing. As you can see from numerous pictures from that area, it is covered in bayous lined with cane.
This is straight power fishing, and in those close quarters all the anglers are doing is trying to put the bait as far back into the canes as they can. You want that bait to intrude on the fish’s comfort zone, and when it does hang on because getting the bite is only the beginning. Once the fish is hooked you have to get him out of the cane stalks, which are covered in barnacles, and into the boat. The longest cast that an angler is going to make while flipping the cane is only 10 feet at the max, so it turns into combat fishing when you think about it.
Totally a different approach to this area. The anglers this weekend have burned spinner baits, rattle traps and small flat-lipped crankbaits all over that place.
By doing so they have showed the local anglers that it only takes a few casts to get things going out in the pond. Long cast have been the key to keeping the bait in the strike zone longer, with the only exception being when the boats were so close to each other at different times of the tournament.
Without a doubt, the fact that these guys were not fishing a laydown or tree out there should give notice to everyone that it is alright to get off the bank and fish the conditions. Although the banks surrounding the Tank is a good starting spot, the place is shallow enough to support fish all over – but you just have to find the sweet spot. As you have seen, a handful of those guys did.
No matter what, this week has opened the eyes of a lot of people, including me, and shown the rest of the world that we have a fishery to be proud of.
Full coverage of the 2011 world championship can be found on the Bassmaster Classic Updates section.