GENERALS preparing to fight the last war? (CORBIS photo)

Watching a documentary on the Military Channel the other night, a comment grabbed my attention regarding (of all things) competing in our most challenging event, the U.S. Open on Lake Mead. Used by military historians, that biting comment was: “Generals always prepare to fight the last war.”

Was this my personal mistake in trying to prepare for the tournament (or maybe even the next one)–basing too much of the plan on past experiences?

I felt I went into the 2013 competition much more open-minded and prefished with a partner to put more options on the fish. And yet, in the narrow, but obviously real gaps in my approach, it seemed like each of these cost me. Like those soft spots in the Maginot Line, where I made assumptions I was covered–I got beat!

tank ww 1

I TANKED in this year’s Open.

What was particularly disappointing is I actually had some baits and methods that were not being widely used and that worked. But at least one bait that could have helped during the bulk of the first two days, and another that worked for one of the top 5 finishers later, did not make my “confidence list.”

Since I’m making confessions here, I’ll say the first was a jig, which I just didn’t give adequate time in practice. It took my AAA partner to convince me late on the first day I should have paid greater attention.

And the second, a frog, I took out of my locker in front of witnesses and put back to my room. Yet, on the final day of the contest, and looking for something to throw back in the sticks and grass of certain pockets–I didn’t have it. But Justin Hanold reported catching perhaps three fish in the 3-pound class on the bait that final day.

Now, of course, my 20/20 hindsight is near perfect and not unlike it has been for each of several previous years. But what I hope I will learn from it is that recognizing these mistakes does not mean merely patching those holes in the plan in order to do battle next summer.

For one, it would be ludicrous to expect another three days of clouds and rainfall next August. Indeed, quite the opposite. Likewise, if the water level is, in fact, 20 to 25 feet lower than it was this past September (as projected), there could be dramatic changes in the landscape, access, and even the amount of brush or wood that might exist with the receding water.

But noting those future possibilities (not my brilliant hindsight) I hope to put these to use if I’m able to get back to Mead.





5 Responses to “U.S. Open: Don’t prepare for the past…”

So now I understand they are moving the Open back to the first week of September to accommodate as many “nationals” as possible. That’s smart. But the issue with me remains the same: Is next year going to be the same as this year? I doubt it.

Been there and continue to do that George, but on a much smaller scale. You get points for competing in that event and sharing what you’ve learned with the rest of us.

History techniques & patterns are good for “Baseline” prefish days but “Location, Location, Location” & “Timing” are very key to winning. Baits, Techniques and Patterns will get you near the top but overall IMO you can’t “Win” without the right locations & timing because baits, techniques and patterns will change over 3 days on Lake Mead.

Nobody ever catches fish on Jigs (or Spinnerbaits) at Lake Mead. 😉

Decisions! When it’s your turn it’s your turn…..just ask Rusty 🙂