- Kevin Short
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For all you guys and gals out there making last minute changes to your Fantasy Teams, here's a few thoughts from a guy who's been on the pond for a few days.
Before you ask, the answer is no: I'm not going to tell you who's on my team. I am going to give you some insight into what's happening out there. so you can pick yourself a stronger team.
Since the change of the Classic from its longstanding summer timeframe to its current schedule, to some degree, we've seen a shift in the overall leaderboard throughout the event.
Late summer fishing is usually pretty tough in most parts of the country, due to low flows in rivers, high water temps, etc., and those who excelled during Classic events were guys who could grind out a decent limit every day.
With the change to predominantly pre-spawn events, it's no longer good enough just to bring in a respectable limit every day of the event.
Hartwell this week will be primarily a winter/pre-spawn event. This may make it tough to pick out a strong team, due to the fact we haven't really seen a sure 'nuff winter event since Alabama's Smith Lake in 2004 or the Table Rock events of '04 and '05.
The first half of the Elite Series schedule the past two years has been timed on hitting the best lakes at the best times — his leaves out winter. The majority of those events have seen water temps in the mid 50s to low 70s.
That ain't happenin' next week, I promise.
Water temps may hit the 50 degree mark, if we get several days of blazing sun. Not looking good for that right now. Do your homework, people: Look for those who finished high in the Smith Lake and T. Rock events to also do well at Hartwell.
Another factor to consider will be the weather and how changes will affect the field. Look for guys who can make it up as they go along.
This time of year, this part of the country rarely has the same weather for three days in a row — and looking at the forecast, this week will be no exception. The last man standing on the stage Sunday afternoon will be the guy who has done the best job of playing by feel all week and adjusting to the changes the weather will have on the fish.
Something else to think about is guys who seem to be pattern runners. Winter and pre-spawn are perfect times for pattern fishing. Those constant changes in the weather, however, will dictate changes in the prevailing patterns, so there again, the guys who can pick up on those subtle changes will come out on top.
Don't look for someone to win from one single hump or creek channel swing — look for the pattern runners to dominate this one.
There are a few guys in the field who excel at catching suspended fish. Not saying one of them will win, but I think they will do well this week.
There are a lot of suspended fish in Hartwell right now and they are pretty dang tough to catch on a consistent basis. The guy who unlocks this little jewel may blow away the field.
Someone asked me the other day about local knowledge. Don't know how much that will play at Hartwell, other than there are a few guys in the field who have some history on the pond.
One thing to keep in mind is that the water level is much lower than it has been in recent years and few of those who have been on the pond before have fished the lake at this level. The best advantage they might have would be the fact that they may know which areas of the lake hold better concentrations of bigger fish.
(Keep in mind that local knowledge carries a lot of baggage with it.)
One final thought; don't discount the guys who are fishing their first Classic or those who haven't been here in several years. Boyd proved last year a newbie to the Classic can take home the wood. This year could be no different.
There you have it. Some inside scoop from one who's living it.
Free of charge. No joining fees. No hidden taxes.
Hope I finish ahead of you.
For more info on Kevin Short or to contact Kevin, check out his Web site at www.kfshort.com.