Weather was a wild card during the first three days of practice for the 2012 Bassmaster Classic, with heavy rains muddying up the Red River and falling temperatures givng the fish lockjaw. But it wasn't a total waste, Ninety Six's Davy Hite said.

"I don't think I found the winning pattern, but it helped to ride around and see how the backwaters changed," the 1999 Classic champion said.

But the difficult conditions over the weekend mean the final practice day particularly important.

"I think Wednesday will be real key," Hite said.

Heavy rains over the weekend churned the river into its namesake color, but Hite said he was confident there would be no shortage of fishing opportunities.

"If this was Florida, it would be one thing, but these fish will be able to adjust and they'll bite," he said.

The river could settle down quite a bit before competition begins on Friday (Feb. 23), with the forecast for the week calling for sunshine and warming temperatures.

However, that doesn't mean the win will be a cakewalk: Hite expects competition to be a grind, with the 49 anglers piled into the few productive areas along the river.

"When you have to get in those backwaters, it fishes small," he said.

So how will the winner rise to the top? Hite said there are two keys.

"I think the real key is fishing a bait that those fish are keying on and maybe the other competitors around you aren't using," Hite said.

The ability to ignore the pressure from other competitors also will play into winning equation.

"You have to mentally tough to be able to grind it out," Hite said.

As to the weight, the veteran B.A.S.S. pro said he isn't looking for huge weights.

"I think it'll be moderate: 14, 15 pounds a day," Hite said.

Changing conditions make for tough tournaments, but Hite said he's excited for his 14th Classic to get started.

"You're not going to win a world championship without dealing with some adversity," Hite said.

Keep up with all the Bassmaster Classic news, check out the competitor, watch videos and (once competition begins) see daily leaderboards on the dedicated Classic Updates page on our sister site in Louisiana.