I just spent two days chasing muskies on Lake St. Clair, with my second day on the water overlapping with the first day of Elite Series practice on the big lake. For all of my time at B.A.S.S. events, I don’t think I’ve been on the water with the competitors since they eliminated co-anglers from Elite competition almost a decade ago, so I’m not aware of prevailing practices and habits.
About 15 years ago I fished a tournament on the James River at a time when the fishery was quite poor. Despite the conditions, I’d found an area that produced fairly consistent bites and felt good about my chances when I settled in on tournament morning. My non-boater put the first bass in the boat that day, a solid 2-pounder, so when my first one measured 12 1/8 inches, I was sure that I would cull it later. Unfortunately, the next one was slightly smaller. So was the next one. They were both legal at 12 inches, but barely.