This is very important because Hartwell is setting up well to for a Classic with tremendous potential. I’ve been monitoring the lake’s conditions and it’s been low for a couple of years, but it’s come up quickly in the past couple of weeks.
As of March 5, it’s 1 1/2 feet low, and it’s possible that we could be fishing in a full lake. I’m guessing there’s going to be a lot of flooded grass or bean bushes that have grown on the bank while the water was down. This gives us something to throw at.
Another key point is that the first half of South Carolina’s winter was extremely cold, but then, just like the rest of the South, it has become warm. The local temperatures have been 50s to 70s every day for the past three weeks.
So, we have a lake with rising water level — approaching full — new shallow water targets, warming temperatures and a mid-March tournament. This is going to determine a lot of what I do in the tournament.
Practice will show me specifically how I need to fish, but for this event, the Lake Hartwell conditions tell me that if I’m fishing to win, I need to be using some sort of power fishing technique. That’s why I mentioned a spinnerbait, a crankbait, a swimbait and a jig — I’ll be giving it a heavy dose of those baits in practice.
That’s not to say I won’t have a dropshot or shaky head rigged up in case I need to catch a key fish at some point. But that’s not going to be the road to victory.
This is the Bassmaster Classic and that road to victory is the only road that counts.