The first four matter this year


Andy Crawford

Getting off to a good start is important every year, but never more so than in 2020. The way the schedule breaks down will make it difficult to make up ground later in the year if you get behind early. 

I’ll give you my thoughts on all of this, and we’ll see if I’m right sometime in the late summer or earl fall.

The 2020 AFTCO Bassmaster Elite at St. Johns River will be totally weather dependent. If it’s warm and warming, there’ll be big weights and giant bass. But, if it stays cold or if a cold front blows through, the river will get stingy. And this could change from day to day or hour to hour. Maybe in more than any other tournament it’ll be critical for anglers to fish the moment and make adjustments on the fly. 

When we go to Chickamauga Lake things will be different. The weather could be decent, but it could also be snowing. Either way, the water will be cold and dirty. Chickamauga will be a grind it out, big bass tournament. If you lose a big one, you’ll be in a world of hurt.  

The two events at Lake Eufaula and Santee Cooper will be different but will have similarities, too. 

At Eufaula we should see the tail end of the spawn, and the beginning of the shad spawn. Maybe we’ll spend our time looking around or maybe we’ll be doing some sight fishing. That’ll put a premium on two totally different skill sets.

Santee Cooper will be totally weather dependent. The bass there tend to hang around waiting for the right water temperature, and then they rush to the beds in a matter of hours. It could be prespawn, total spawn or early postspawn.  

The reason I’m going into detail about these first four events is because they’ll be different. Anglers who can do several things well will rise to the top. If you aren’t in that group, you’ll be in a boatload of trouble trying to move up in the Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings.

The 2020 Huk Bassmaster Elite at Sabine River event will mostly be small fish with a bigger one possible. You’ll need to catch one or two of those bigger bass if you expect to move up, and that won’t be easy. 

The same thing is true about the 2020 Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefiting Texas Parks and Wildlife Department except that it’ll be giant bass there. One lost fish and you’ll be even farther down in the hole. 

Once we make the turn to St. Lawrence River, Lake Champlain and Lake St. Clair we all know what will happen. It’s almost impossible to make up serious ground under those conditions. 

What I’m talking about in these last few events is a move that’ll make a big difference in your points standings. Sure, you might move a few places but saving a bad season isn’t realistic. There just won’t be much opportunity to do that. 

And I realize that some of what I’ve said is true every year. That’s the nature of the game we play, and I am in no way complaining. From where I sit, though, this year is different. It’s tougher than in past years. I hope I’m up to the task.