Professional bass anglers have an inherent knack for deductive reasoning. Give them one or two hard clues and they can usually infer some pretty solid assumptions from them in order to catch more fish.
For instance, take a listen to two-time MLF Cup winner Edwin Evers at work as he initially breaks down the situation while pulling into the Trout Lake boat ramp in Coleraine, Minn., for the Sudden Death Round 2 at the 2017 General Tire Summit Cup.
“It’s called Trout Lake, so it’s probably a deep lake,” Evers offered. “Anytime a lake is named ‘Trout’ that’s usually an indication that it’s a deeper lake because it either has trout in it or did have trout in it at one time.”
Once Evers was handed a map, he could see he was dead on with his initial guesstimations of Trout Lake – it is indeed a deep lake.
Depth, however, didn’t faze Evers. He was more concerned with the lake’s small size and what seemed to be a very low cut weight, which was now set at 26 pounds.
Of course this second group of Sudden Death anglers had no idea that they were fishing in the footprint of the first group of Sudden Death anglers on Trout Lake. And they also had no idea that the first group’s cut weight had been set at 42 pounds.
But once 26 pounds was named as the cut, all six pros knew something was awry.
“That seems kind of light to me – really light,” Evers said, like a detective piecing together clues. “And this lake seems pretty small.”
Evers smiled as those two small clues were enough evidence to start making some other strong assumptions about Trout Lake, like maybe, just maybe, the first round of Sudden Death pros fished Trout Lake and the catches were not near what the tournament officials had anticipated; therefore, they had to lower the cut weight substantially for the second group. And if that were true, the limited amount of shallow bank cover might have been beat up pretty badly the day before; therefore, a bank-running plan may not be the best-case scenario and fishing off the bank might be a better idea.
Of course this was all just speculation on Evers part at this point, but sometimes speculation can be a pretty strong tool in a pro’s tacklebox.
When Mike Iaconelli heard the cut weight would be 26 pounds for the day, he cackled with laughter and was more vocal about his own assumptions.
“Okay, what I deduce from that ridiculously low cut weight is that the other Sudden Death group fished here and it sucked pretty bad or they want us out of here really, really quick,” he chuckled. “Twenty-six pounds? Really? I think we reached that by noon in the Elimination Round.”
After scanning the map, Ike said he could not find a starting spot that suited him visually.
“The other day on Pokegama, I saw that bridge on the map and I knew I was going right to it to start,” Ike said. “Bridges are always a good way to post a couple of keepers on the board fast. But on this map of Trout, I don’t see anything that catches my eye to start on so I’ll probably look for docks in my ride through and maybe start where I left off on Pokegama by skipping docks.”
Jason Christie, too, knew something was up with the low cut weight.
“Okay, one of two things is happening here,” Christie said. “This is a really tough lake and they (tournament officials) are somehow well aware of it or they want everyone to eat lunch in a restaurant around here somewhere today.”
“Also, this lake is much different than the one we fished the other day,” Christie pointed out. “But that doesn’t surprise me. The lake we fished the other day had more flats and bays and lily pads. This lake just seems to deep and narrow.”
Further down the line of boats, Kevin VanDam was somewhat underwhelmed by the looks of Trout Lake.
“It does not look very impressive to me,” KVD said. “It has too little habitat to support a big population of fish – it hardly has any flats – it’s just a narrow, deep lake with steep sides. It’s only 1,800 acres out and with five other sure enough hammers out here – we’re going to tear this place up fast.”
“I don’t know,” KVD added, pausing briefly to give his map a second look. “Maybe I’ll be surprised, but from the looks of this I don’t see anything out there that I’m just chomping at the bit to go fish.
“Something’s up because that cut weight seems awfully low to me,” VanDam added. “But it won’t take this group long to figure it out.”