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.

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

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

After competing on Grand Lake O’ The Cherokees so many times before, I felt my chances were strong going into this event, especially since it was spring.

The lake offers plenty of prime spawning habitat; including pea gravel and chunk rock banks within protected pockets. Visual targets include laydowns, willows, docks, bridges and all forms of rock transitions.

Beatin’ The Bank with Bernie Schultz —2017 Lake St. Clair BASS Elite

Beatin’ The Bank with Bernie Schultz —2017 Lake St. Clair BASS Elite

My main goal going into the Lake St. Clair event was to qualify for the Angler of the Year Championship (AOY). That and try to win, of course.

Having secured solid finishes in the three previous events really helped — I was now within ten spots of qualifying.

Beatin' the Bank with Bernie Schultz - 2017 Lake Champlain BASS Elite

Beatin' the Bank with Bernie Schultz - 2017 Lake Champlain BASS Elite

After an exhaustive week of competition on the St. Lawrence River, I made the drive to Lake Champlain — site of our seventh Elite Series event.

Arriving in the village of Plattsburgh, NY shortly after sunset, I caught up with fellow Florida pro Cliff Prince and his family. They had booked a room for me at a low budget motel on the outskirts of town, and though it was rough, it would serve as interim lodging until we could move into our lakeside cabin for the remainder of the week.