Oh Was He Wrong

Photo by James Overstreet, courtesy of BASSMASTER.com

Photo by James Overstreet, courtesy of BASSMASTER.com

First, congrats are in order for MDJ, who won what might’ve been the purest test in recent Elite Series history, conquering over a hundred plus mostly grizzled hammers on a venue that was essentially new to all of them. He did it with a Ned Rig and a finesse worm, and outlasted his closest competitor by a margin of more than three pounds.

It was a hard-earned and well-deserved win, but it just wasn’t what I expected.

Based on the pre-practice reports of some Elite pros, plus the input of some trustworthy regional anglers, I fully expected this to be an absolute, power-fishing slugfest. One pro told me that during pre-practice he led a smallmouth to the boat, pulled the lure out of the water, and the poor fish continued to hunt for it for a few minutes.

I also heard that 15- to 17-pound limits would be common, and that there would be more than a handful of twenties, plus the occasional 24. Obviously, that potential was tapped, as Daniels, Casey Ashley and Clifford Pirch all topped 20. What surprised me is how many anglers – even among those who finished in the money – caught really small limits, or failed to catch limits at all.

I may have made the mistake of hearing what I wanted to hear from those pre-tournament reports, willing Oahe to be a lake where you can go anywhere at any time (when the water is soft) and catch a quick hundred smallmouths. By tournament time, I assumed, the biggest issue would be whether they were eating green pumpkin cigarette butts better than chartreuse dog turds.

I don’t know whether they just hit it wrong, or whether my predictions were so unrealistic as to be unfair.

I hope they go back again. Of course, I’m the guy who loved the Pittsburgh Classic for its last day drama, but I love a slugfest just the same – and I’m betting next time around Oahe will show out even better. If they return, I’m going, because the photo galleries were jaw-dropping and I still want to get a glimpse of that giant prairie dog.