DUCKETT EXCHANGE - MOUNTAIN #2
We’re at Toledo Bend for the third regular-season event, and here are my quick, general thoughts about the first two Elite Series events and the Bassmaster Classic.
- It’s nice to start an event in sixth place in the Angler-of-the-Year points race, which is where I rank right now. In my 11 years on the Elite Series tour, even though I’ve had plenty of good years, I’ve never been ranked this high after two events. It’s a long season, but this is the right way to start.
- Before this season started, I said there are two mountains I’ll have to climb: Okeechobee and Toledo Bend. I took care of Okeechobee, finishing in the Top 20, but this is a new week.
- The Classic is over. You can’t win if you can’t catch a limit. I didn’t catch a limit.
Before I get back to Toledo Bend, let me give you the quick Classic rundown.
On Day 1, I caught a 7-3, but I lost a 9-pounder that would have put me near the top of the board. But it wouldn’t have mattered.
I saw spawners that I was going to catch on Day 2. Even after losing that nine-pounder, I thought was going to smash them on the second day, but we had strong thunderstorms and the fish moved on. I was done.
All I can do is take the next steps and get back on track.
Toledo Bend is a great fishery. I don’t have a good history here, but we’ve all been here enough times that we kind of know the lake.
If you fish a place enough times, you get a feel for the landscape. That’s how it will be at Toledo Bend. Even at Okeechobee, I didn’t have a good history, but I’d been there enough times that I had a pretty good idea what I had to do.
Toledo Bend is so big – about 140,000 acres. There are bedder creeks everywhere. Unlike Okeechobee, which also covers a whole lot of real estate, Toledo Bend has got fish everywhere. Housen and Six Mile and a lot of other places are going to get a lot of attention.
I figure there will be plenty of post spawns. Creek fishing, secondary points, fishing flats. They should be eating.
It also had looked like it could be a sight-fishing tournament. It still might be, but the rain has muddied up some of the shallow areas, so we'll see what effect that has.
I certainly spent a lot of practice time considering the sight-fishing potential, which means going to the banks and looking for beds. That tells me what stage they’re in. You start on the bank; you’re looking to see if a wave is coming. After starting on the bank, you work your way out.
If it was May, I’d probably do it the other way.
Last year, you might remember that I caught a 13-pounder in practice. When the first day of the event came around, I spent way too much time looking for that 13-pounder. I wasted Day 1.
I made some of it back the second day – but not nearly enough.
I need to fish smarter this time.
After a couple of days of practice, I would describe my results as marginal.
So I’ll say it again. There are two wild cards on this schedule for me. And this is Wild Card No. 2.