I thought my reply might help others so here are three important things to keep in mind.
1. First and Foremost, Survive
The Mohave, Great Basin, and Sonoran Deserts converge on Lake Mead. Hot is an understatement, and if you’re not careful, the heat and sun can quickly get the best of you.
Water, water, water, and more water, the event isn’t as severe as when it was held in July, but this September episode is still a sizzler. Staying hydrated and blocking the sun from your skin is mission one, everything else takes place afterwards.
During my US Open adventures, I would bring an extra backpack packed full of water each day. Every day by the end of the fishing period my water supply was consumed. Know your body and pace yourself accordingly. If you become overwhelmed by the heat and sun, it won’t matter how good your angling skills are.
Tip - Freeze most of your water bottles the night before. Don’t overlook light weight rain gear. Mead is big water with strong winds, and the desert can be unpredictable.
2. Trust Your Pro Draw
This is a draw event featuring a shared weight format. That is great news for the back deck angler. Successful US Open Pros know how to utilize their AAA draws. They want you to be successful and contribute to the fish tally. I can’t think of too many of my draws that didn’t discuss a game plan the day before, including lures and techniques. Be open with them and don’t exaggerate your skills. If they want you prepared with certain lures but you don’t have them let them know. That gives them time to make other arrangements.
Based on water capacity, Mead is the largest reservoir in the United States. One day you might be fishing in the Vegas Wash, and the next you’re almost one hundred miles away in Gregg Basin. There can be multiple patterns across this massive reservoir.
Be a team player, keep an open mind, and work with your pro. Every day on the water is different so until I spend some time on the water and fish the moment here is my top 5 Mead Back Deck Bait Selections.
1. Drop Shot, light line, 4.5 Roboworm, spinning gear. This presentation has produced the vast majority of my back deck catches, Mead or otherwise. The same set-up will adjust easily to your favorite Senko presentation.
2. Crank baits, great bait from the back deck when the pro is focused on the shoreline. The outside lane going forward is all yours; dominate the next 10 feet of depth. Great place to be when the fish become pressured.
3. Spinnerbaits, excellent method when the boat is covering water swiftly along windblown shorelines with brush or grass cover. Alternate with a chatter bait in the same conditions until you notice tendencies and look for the reverse angle.
4. Jigs and your favorite craw trailer pair well with smallmouth bass on and around structure elements. Lean towards a slightly smaller profile, but don’t give up casting distance from the back deck!
5. Topwater during low light (stay out of the pros water) switch to a jerk-bait if there is wind later when the sun is up.
Tip -Respect your Pro’s water, his techniques, and boat.
3. Enjoy This Unique Adventure
Mead is an amazing lake surrounded by rugged beauty. Couple that with the potential of drawing the best pro bass anglers anywhere, and you have the opportunity to test yourself while working together as a team. The prospects for learning and adventure are going to be all around you.
Tip: Remember; even the best of the best can have an off day, including you, so just look for a healthy perspective on the situation. When it comes to your AAA competition, the back deck is seldom a fair fight.
Protect your health, fish to the best of your abilities, and enjoy. Accomplish that and you’re a US Open winner. Good luck to all of this year's contestants.
For more extensive information on Co-Angler protocol visit http://thebbz.com/content/2013/2/11/co-angler-checklists?rq=Co-Angler%20Checklist