Duckett Perspective Classic Edition – Gotta Keep it Close on Day One

Bucks Skeeter Yamaha

DuckettBlogReady to go. Well, almost.

Like most of the field at the Bassmaster Classic, I fished Grand Lake several weeks ago, before the cutoff date and before the lake turned all of our careful planning upside down. Literally.

The lake is muddy where you might not expect it and clear where it could be muddy.

So practice hasn’t been going the way most of us hoped. During our weekend practice days, the water was chocolate milk everywhere.

I fished the bottoms on the first day of practice and didn’t get a bite. On the second day I went river fishing and barely got five fish. The river fishing was about what I expected. You can go upriver where the water is clearer, and when you get into the backwater you find a whole lot of boats.

I’ve said it before, it’s amazing to me how these anglers can find the catching spots. I’ll bet there will be spots on the creeks where you’d have to wedge your way in among 20 or 30 boats.

On the third day of practice, I tried mid-lake and my results weren’t much better.

So the bottom line is that I didn’t catch a lot of fish in practice, so I’m still working on my attack plan for the first day of competition.


In the Classic, the idea is not to lose it on the first day. It’s similar to a golf major. If you ever watch the Masters, for example, you’ve never seen a golfer finish a great first round and say, “I’ve got this thing. I can coast now.” Never happens. A great day is just that: ONE great day. You win on the second and third days.

I’m proof of that. I won the Classic in 2007 because I stayed close to the top of the board, then I caught a 6 pound, 9 ounce bass late in the afternoon on Sunday. On the other hand, I led the 2009 Classic on the Red River when I pulled in a 20-pound bag on the first day. I felt good. But Skeet Reese won the event.

While you can’t win the Classic on the first day, you can absolutely, positively, no-question-about-it LOSE the Bassmaster Classic on the first day. I have done it a couple of times. I had really bad first days in 2008 on Hartwell Lake and three years ago, the last time the Classic was at Grand Lake. I was so far out after Day 1 that I couldn’t have recovered with two phenomenal bags on the final two days.


With all of that said, I’m still studying and considering my options for Friday. The specific idea is to make sure I catch five fish that are good enough to keep me within shouting distance of the lead.

I know there will be some guys that smash them on the first day. It always happens. It’s likely somebody will go down toward the dam where the water is muddy and figure out how to get some big fish. Maybe somebody else will get them in clear water. It probably won’t be me on Day 1. As far as I’m concerned, I’ll need to grind on Friday and hope I can figure out a pattern.

If I stay close and figure it out, then I’ve got a chance.