With approximately 46,500 surface acres, Oklahoma’s Grand Lake offered plenty of area for the Bassmaster Classic’s 53-boat field to spread out and fish. The challenge, though, was finding those key spots that held quality and quantity. Here’s what the top finishers looked for:
1. Cliff Pace: The Classic winner fished classic prespawn staging areas – the first point of structure inside a creek just off the main lake. Pace said the warmer water of the pockets was attractive to fish that didn’t want to contend with the chilly main lake current.
2. Brandon Palaniuk: Not afraid to fish in dirty water, the Idaho angler focused on very specific areas with approximately 30-yard stretches of productive water. The key scenario comprised a small channel branching off the main river channel and bumping into a point or the steep edge of a spawning flat.
3. Hank Cherry: Main lake points with flat banks and rock veins extending into the water were Cherry’s best bet for days one and two. The pattern fizzled on day three, but he adjusted and found fish by fishing a jerkbait next to bluff walls. Notably, he found some of his fish by spotting seagulls diving on dying shad and recognizing this as a sign of abundant bass forage.
4. Michael Iaconelli: The 2003 Classic winner targeted main lake points and secondary points and found those with transitional banks (two types of adjacent rock) and nearby channel swings most productive.
5. Mike McClelland: The first secondary point in a creek or a pocket. The best areas were those with a channel swing or a steep drop near the bank.