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.

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.