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.

Beatin' the Bank with Bernie Schultz - 2017 St. Lawrence River BASS Elite

Beatin' the Bank with Bernie Schultz - 2017 St. Lawrence River BASS Elite

Whenever our tour visits the St. Lawrence River, I know my chances for success are strong. I’ve been fishing there for decades, and in that time I’ve experienced all types of conditions. I was looking forward to this event more than any other on the schedule.

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

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

Located near the town of Russellville, Arkansas is Lake Dardanelle — a large pool on the Arkansas River. It covers roughly 40,000 surface acres, and it’s full of prime bass-breeding habitat.

I love this lake because the fish stay shallow most of the year … and they usually bite!

Beatin' the Bank with Bernie Schultz - 2017 Ross Barnett BASS Elite

Beatin' the Bank with Bernie Schultz - 2017 Ross Barnett BASS Elite

Ross Barnett Reservoir covers approximately 33,000 surface acres. That’s considerably smaller in comparison to the other fisheries our tour visits.

Having competed there years ago, I knew it would be difficult to find fishable waters to myself.

Beatin' the Bank with Bernie Schultz - 2017 Toledo Bend BASS Elite

Beatin' the Bank with Bernie Schultz - 2017 Toledo Bend BASS Elite

When I first saw Toledo Bend on the schedule, I have to admit, I wasn’t too excited. Even though it’s been voted the best bass lake in America the past two years running, I somehow find a way to miss out on all the action.

Beatin' the Bank with Bernie Schultz - 2017 Lake Okeechobee BASS Event

Beatin' the Bank with Bernie Schultz - 2017 Lake Okeechobee BASS Event

After experiencing nearly polar conditions at Lake Cherokee a week earlier, I was ready to warm things up on the “Big O.”

Prior to cutoff, I did considerable prep. And I knew the area had been experiencing relatively stable conditions since that time, so I felt what I had learned then would still apply.

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

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

Lake Cherokee is beautiful. Like other reservoirs in east Tennessee, it’s deep and reasonably clear. It’s also full of rock. According to the locals, however, it fishes quite differently.

Having zero experience on Cherokee, it looked to be a challenging week ahead.

Beatin' the Bank with Bernie Schultz - 2017 B.A.S.S. Elite Series Preview

Beatin' the Bank with Bernie Schultz - 2017 B.A.S.S. Elite Series Preview

Soon, another season of the Bassmaster Elite Series will begin, and with it will come plenty of excitement and anticipation for the 108 pros who will be participating. Each has his strengths and weaknesses, and this schedule is sure to test them both.

With that in mind, here is a preview of each upcoming event.