“The St. Lawrence is the gift that keeps on giving,” Hite said. “We’ve been so close. It’s a little bit of a stretch, but you look not only at th
“The St. Lawrence is the gift that keeps on giving,” Hite said. “We’ve been so close. It’s a little bit of a stretch, but you look not only at the Johnston brothers, but what Taku did the final day, it could definitely happen. I would say the odds are 40 to 50%, because it’s just so hard to catch over 25 pounds every day.”
That’s the trick, Hite said, catching five bass a day that average 5 pounds, and doing that four days in a row. Johnston had a 27-pound bag but came up 2-8 short with 97-8. Also in that event, runner-up Paul Mueller landed a 7-13 smallmouth, believed to be the largest bronzeback caught in B.A.S.S. competition.
This year’s Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite on St. Lawrence is July 14-17, about a week before the 2020 event.
“It will all depend how the winter and spring unfold up there,” Hite said. “Those smallmouth really lose a lot of weight during the spawning process. There’s a possibility there could be four days of spawners there, but there’s also a possibility that the vast majority have spawned, and it’s really hard to catch those 25-plus-pound stringers postspawn.”
In August, the Elites return to Lake Oahe in South Dakota. It took less than 70 pounds to win the 2018 Elite on the huge reservoir of the Missouri River, but it holds some big fish, including the state record smallmouth. In July, former Classic qualifier Troy Diede landed a 7-4 in practice for an event, which came a day after catching a 6-6.
Hite said some good fish will be weighed in the Aug. 18-21 Elite, but he’s doubtful anyone gets 100 pounds.
“Oahe, that’s one of those lakes with the scenery, the beauty, the mystique,” Hite said. “We’ve only been there one other time. It will be tough to hit that 100-pound mark, but it will be a good tournament, a good mixture of fish being weighed in.”
Odds are also against the feat happening in the season finale on the Mississippi River out of La Crosse, Wis. Aug. 26-29.
“It will be a great place to wrap up the season, where every ounce will count,” Hite said. “I don’t think we’ll see anywhere near 100 pounds to win, but we’ll see the tournament being very close the whole Top 10. Usually when you go up there, you have a chance to make a move and maybe win the event. I love the numbers of fish and how close the weights will be at La Crosse.”