Pre Practice for the 2013 Bassmaster Classic on Grand Lake, OK
You can probably start to guess how busy this past fall has been for me and for that I am very grateful! I apologize for being so lax on my blog postings and I intend to post regularly in the future and keep everyone updated on my experiences. Over the course of the past month I have made two trips to Oklahoma's Grand Lake to attempt and learn the lake as well as possible before I go back in February for the tournament. I had to split my trips up in order to come back to Auburn and take finals the last week of November. On that note, it is tough enough to sleep at night thinking about which creek the Classic is going to be won in much less trying to learn everything there is to know about Statistical Quality Design and Control. Needless to say the time spent on the water in Oklahoma was priceless and I have hundreds of waypoints that I get to dissect and contemplate over the next 60 days.
As many of the competitors have noted, the water temp at Grand was in the high 50s when I was there scouting and will likely be in the mid to low 40s by the time the tournament starts. To put that into perspective you can imagine your local lake in November and you know unless you have the ultimate honey-hole, there won't be a bass there in February. With this in mind, practice did not contain a lot of fishing at all. I attempted to learn every creek as best I could before December 10th. My HDS-10 has more trail lines across that lake than it would in a month long trip to Guntersville. I try to understand where the bass will be when they are possibly in a full blown winter stage and also where they might set up in a pre-spawn scenario. You have to consider all of this because it is uncertain as to what the weather will be like when I head back.
As I made my final trip to Grand Lake, I spoke with some of the guys from Dynamic Sponsorships and they said that they wanted to do a photo shoot and interviews on the morning after I arrived at Grand. For a college kid like me and someone who is very new to the highest level of fishing, I am of course eager to get whatever publicity I can-after all I am just a kid chasing a dream like the thousands of other college anglers all across the globe. I show up at Martin Landing, which I was told was a local hotspot for weekend anglers looking for a place to stay. When I arrive none other than The Jim Morton meets me at the hotel and makes sure that I get settled in. Not only did I get to shake the hand of a Grand Lake legend, but also I realized that none other than Michael Iaconelli was staying just two rooms down from me. One of the guys from Dyanmic Sponsorhsips, Alan McGuckin, and I chatted for a while as the sun started to set. He was waiting on Ike to finish up practicing for the day. The sun began to set and still no Iaconelli. Half and hour passed and I started to wonder if we needed to go looking! Thirty minutes after dark (and I mean DARK) Iaconelli comes idling into the ramp. In even more amazement, he didn't just come in and put it on the trailer but idled in and dropped the trolling motor and he and his Uncle began fishing! Now I read the same blogs that we all do on Bassmaster.com that talks about preparation and determination and putting in the extra hours, but for the first time I saw with my own eyes one of the sports great and how much he thoroughly enjoys fishing. "Enjoys" is not even close to the right term. Iaconelli eat, sleep, breathes, and lives for fishing. There is no accident as to why he truly is one of the best in the sport. I learned a lot more over the course of the next few days and I will talk about that soon in my next post.
I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and enjoy getting to spend the holidays with the people that matter the most to you. After the recent tragedies that have taken place in Connecticut, people really start to realize how lucky and blessed they are. It shouldn't take a tragedy like that for people to really see the blessings they have. Cherish every moment you have with those around you because life is very fragile and we are all lucky to be here and to positively influence those around us.
God Bless and Merry Christmas!