2015 Huk Performance Fishing Bassmaster Elite at Chesapeake Bay
The 2015 Elite Series finishes with a flurry in Maryland.
This tournament will test pros’ resolve
Although you’re reading this after the tournament began, I’m compiling it after the last practice day of the Huk Performance Bassmaster Elite on Chesapeake Bay.
All I can say is my practice was less than stellar and I expect this event to be one of the toughest we’ve had all year.
I didn’t get a chance to pre-fish the Bay prior to our tournament practice and haven’t been here since we fished a Bassmaster Classic here in 1991. A lot has changed since then.
It’s a big place with a lot of options, but they’re spread out with a lot of dead water in-between spots. The fact it’s a tidal fishery makes it even more perplexing.
The first two days of practice gave us an abnormally high tide that really scattered the fish. And then today the wind changed directions and blew the tide out, leaving the water 3 1/2 feet lower. That shows you how much the wind affects this place.
Timing is everything in tidal waters. You can fish an area that is loaded and not realize it because they didn’t bite at that time. So, if you do get an opportunity when the fish are biting, you better capitalize as best you can.
That being said, recent history of tournaments on the Chesapeake indicates it doesn’t take a lot of weight to win. Although there are some good fish here, putting together four consecutive days of quality weight will be tough.
That adds some drama to this event, as this is the point of the season where everyone is focused on making a move in the points standings for the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of Year Championship and a Bassmaster Classic berth.
One this is for sure: This tournament will shake up the standings.
My goal is to stay focused and capitalize on the opportunities. I will tell you that it was a difficult practice and it was hard for me to even get a bite.
With that in mind, I know my preparation is critical. As I dictate this blog, I’m working on my tackle to get it ready for Thursday’s first round. I’m going to change all my fishing line to keep it fresh; barnacles cover darn near every piece of cover here and it slices your line instantly. There’s nothing you can do about that except check your line constantly and be aware of what can happen.
Boats need a lot of care, too. This place is hard on equipment, especially when the wind blows. We’re definitely going to burn a lot of gas because each fishable creek is a good distance away and there’s not much fishable water between them.
On the other hand, you can fish one creek when the tide is right and when it slows, run to another creek to get a better tidal condition.
There is a lot of fishing pressure on the key spots, and because of the timing of the tides, I know I have to be prepared to fish fast when the fish are actively biting and slow down and finesse them when they aren’t and hope to make one bite.
Because of the difficulties, an angler has to stay sharp and keep telling himself the window of opportunity is coming and to keep the attitude positive. A couple of sizable fish in this tournament can carry you a long ways. You have to put yourself in the right areas at the right times and keep focused on the business at hand. One mental lapse can be costly.
And that’s why it’s all about the attitude!
Aaron Martens - 70.2
Bill Lowen - 62.3
Chad Pipkens - 57.15
Gerald Swindle - 54.10
Davy Hite - 52.4
Bernie Schultz - 51.7
Russ Lane - 51.5
Greg Hackney - 51.4
Mark Menendez - 48.4
Carl Jocumsen - 44.15
Brent Chapman - 44.6
Andy Montgomery - 38.13
Kevin VanDam - 9.7