Cold and muddy is how FLW Pro Angler Darrel Robertson sums up his first day of practice on Grand Lake.
The angler, who calls Delaware County home, said while Sunday's outing wasn't very good, he has hopes conditions will change later in the week.
Robertson, who lives on a ranch between Jay and Grove, said the lake's muddy conditions will put a hamper on the FLW Tour anglers as they attempt to bring in the fish needed to win this weekend's tournament.
Pre-fishing continues through Tuesday. The tournament is set to take place Thursday, March 28 to Sunday, March 31, at Wolf Creek Park.
Robertson said he spent much of the first day of practice driving around the lake, familiarizing himself with fishing conditions.
By Tuesday, the last day of pre-fishing, Robertson hoped to knuckle down and practice where he hoped to get most of his bites.
He typically favors the waters from Patricia Island to Elk River, but said where he fishes this week will depend upon the changing water conditions.
Robertson has been on the FLW Tour for 23 years. While he grew up on Grand Lake, he said he doesn't really consider it his "home lake" anymore.
"I really don't fish here enough," Robertson said. "In the last 10 years or so, I just get to fish on it two or three times a year."
Robertson said the Grand Lake fishery has changed a lot in the last few years, primarily he believes because of the pressure placed on the lake because of the multitude of tournaments.
"The fish learn to adapt," Robertson said. "So many fish are getting caught, that the fish don't like to come to the bank."
On Sunday, as the 168 FLW anglers spent their first day of practice on the water, a 150-plus boat tournament also launched from Wolf Creek.
Robertson said it took a 27-pound bag to win Sunday's tournament. Many of the anglers were using an Alabama Rig - one which is not allowed on the FLW Tour.
He believes it will take at least 60 pounds - 15 pound bags per day - to win this week's tournament.
"Somebody's going to figure out how to catch them," Robertson said. "If we get two warm days and nights, the fishing will all change."
Robertson said many of the fish are staying in deep water, well below the shad bait fish.
In the muddy water where it's 20 feet deep, the fish are at least 10 to 15 feet down, while in the clear, the shad are at least 25 feet down.
"If the shad come to the top and move to the banks and pockets, the bass will come out," Robertson said.
As a seasoned angler, Robertson has watched numerous changes come to the tour. This year, instead of co-anglers or boaters, the pros are accompanied by marshals.
The marshals have other duties during the day and do not fish from the back of the boat.
Co-anglers or boaters competed alongside the pros, fishing from the back of the boat for a separate contest.
Robertson said he likes the change, even though for the most part the co-anglers didn't bother him during the tournaments.
"This way," he said, "you don't have to worry about somebody catching your fish, or somebody throwing their line into yours."
Ultimately, Robertson said, he hopes the bass began to move into shallow waters, which would allow the jerk baits, as well as the gig, crankbait and spinner baits, to work.
Robertson said he plans to continue on the tour "for as long as he feels he can be competitive."
"I'll stay as long as I feel like I can have a chance," Robertson said.