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Bassmaster Classic Recap and Looking Ahead to Florida

Cole Sands on stage with two bass at the 2024 Bassmaster Classic.
We caught up with Witch Doctor Tackle pro Cole Sands following his Bassmaster Classic experience on Grand Lake in Oklahoma.
Getting to fish my first Bassmaster Classic was truly a dream come true. Ever since I was 11 years old this had always been a goal of mine and it was awesome to have it come to fruition.
I went into Classic week knowing that only one thing mattered and that was trying to win. In practice, I spent the entire time marking isolated wood and rock at the mouth of spawning pockets because I thought this would give me the best shot at catching big pre-spawn bass. I was averaging 15 to 22 pounds a day in practice and thought I’d have the chance to win the event. After a week of festivities and practice the tournament began.
The blastoff itself was different than anything I’d ever experienced. There had to be close to 1,000 fans watching us blast off as helicopters swirled around overhead. I went into the day knowing I was going to fish for big fish all day and if it didn’t work out then so be it. I fished the majority of the day finding little success when it came to catching keeper bass but at 3 PM I pulled up to a point and salvaged the day by putting 12 pounds in the boat. I boated over 50 short fish, but it seemed like the better quality had left me.
On day two I immediately started catching fish and boated over 30 keepers throughout the day ending with 15 pounds and some change. I still never found the big ones that I found in practice but I am extremely thankful that I was able to experience such an awesome event.
I caught all of my fish this week on a Yo Zuri 110 jerkbait and a YoZuri 3DR-X flat crank and threw both of those baits on a 6’10” medium-action Surman 50G Rod.
Up next for Cole and the rest of the Bassmaster Elite Series field is a trip to Florida.  Normally Florida serves as the kick-off to the tournament season for many anglers, so a visit during April will bring different conditions for the anglers.
In two weeks, I get to start back up the Elite series with two events in the Sunshine State. The first being the Harris Chain of Lakes and the second being the  St. Johns River.
I am extremely excited about both events because I’ve experienced great success in Florida. The Harris Chain has been near my heart since winning the 2020 Bassmaster National Championship there. I think both events could fish in a variety of different ways. There should be a shad spawn, a bluegill spawn, and some bass still spawning all at the same time. I believe the key to both of these events will be to keep an open mind and let the fish tell you what to do. I know I’m going to try my best to find offshore fish either on a grass line or on a shell bed.

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