Beatin' the Bank: 2019 Lake Lanier BASS Elite

Beatin' the Bank: 2019 Lake Lanier BASS Elite

At nearly 40,000 surface acres, Lake Lanier is spacious and welcoming. Its beautifully sculpted shorelines feature countless points, pockets and coves — all comprised of rock, sand or clay.

The main body of the lake is deep and clear but to the north, the rivers feeding Lanier flow with a chalky stain.

Beatin' the Bank: 2019 St. Johns River BASS Elite

Beatin' the Bank: 2019 St. Johns River BASS Elite

Fishing in February on the St. Johns River can mean feast or famine, rarely anything in between. It’s all dependent on the weather. If a severe cold front moves in, forget about it. But if temperatures are on the rise, you better make sure your tackle is up to the task.

Beatin’ The Bank with Bernie Schultz: Lessons Learned 2018

Beatin’ The Bank with Bernie Schultz: Lessons Learned 2018

When B.A.S.S. first released the 2018 Bassmaster Elite Series schedule, I saw plenty of opportunity. Most of the venues seemed perfectly suited to my style of fishing, and I was anxious to get things rolling.

Unfortunately, with each passing event that optimism faded. In the end, I was left with the worst season of my 30-plus-year career.

Beatin' the Bank with Bernie Schultz - 2018 Upper Mississippi River BASS Elite

Beatin' the Bank with Bernie Schultz - 2018 Upper Mississippi River BASS Elite

Entering this event, my expectations were high. The Upper Mississippi is thick with vegetation and other forms of shallow cover, perfect for my style and approach. In fact, my first trip to LaCrosse was particularly rewarding. The frog bite was off the hook, and I finished well within the money.

Beatin' the Bank with Bernie Schultz - 2018 Kentucky Lake BASS Elite

Beatin' the Bank with Bernie Schultz - 2018 Kentucky Lake BASS Elite

I like Kentucky Lake, but my track record there is weak at best. It’s full of bass — nearly all species in fact — but it can be fickle at times. And it’s almost always due to fluctuations in water level.