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New Year New Process
This time of year most of us are setting our goals for the New Year. Goals are nothing more than a plan for what we want to happen in the distant or near future. In the past I’ve been hesitant to fall into the “goal setting” bandwagon just because I hated looking like the guy that’s trying to be like everyone else. However, I have had to lose that pride and start setting some goals or plans.
(Photo: Shaye Baker)
Lake Erie is one unforgiving body of water: it takes a toll on your body, boat and mind. The Bassmaster Northern Open was no different. Despite the curve balls Lake Erie threw, I still managed to grind it out and cut a check.
Autumn transition on Lake Erie, true to form, did not hand out bites. I put a few days in on the water during practice, but was only able to scrounge up a total of six fish. I was not having fun during practice, I could not figure it out. I wasn’t expecting the water to be as muddy as it was. I decided to make the run to East Sister Island because it had the clearest water I saw all week.
After the Oneida event I felt like it was important to get back on the horse. The last couple days I’ve been hitting up Hartwell to try and get my confidence back. The first evening out, a friend and I won a small local tournament with about nine pounds and then yesterday I just got out to have some fun and managed to catch a few as well. Hartwell isn’t fishing that well as is often the case at this time of year, but I kind of like it when it’s a little silly. This is when I always seem to do well.
This month wrapped up one of the most exciting fishing events off the water: ICAST. 2014 was the first year I was able to attend the event; I had a lot of time to walk around, network and check out the new products. This year I didn't have as much free time, but I had an awesome time with Rat-L-Trap and Fat Sack Outdoors. It was a quick and busy trip, just Tuesday evening through Thursday, but I was able to take some time to make some new connections and hopefully set a foundation for some new deals going into next season.
I was excited for the event on the James. The water fishes a bit like home with the addition of grass and tides. It is resident fish fishing; the bite is more at the mercy of the tides than the feeding pattern. The bite was pretty straight forward during practice and I was getting a lot of bites.
I felt confident moving into day one of the tournament, but it was a tough one. I lost my first fish then two more in a row on the hookset. I changed up my rod but lost another one when I got tangled up in a cypress tree. It was rough losing that many fish, but it's the way it goes sometimes. In my secondary spot I was able to put a couple in the livewell and get back on track. I made a run, but not getting them on my best spot first hurt me. The tide was gone. The bite was the best during the first and last hours of high tide - I was on them. I was able to get a few bites on low tide but not during the incoming tide. I wasn't feeling great about day one, but if you grind it out and pick your game up day two, sometimes you can make a run up the leaderboard.
Unfortunately, I didn't get that chance. That evening my wife was calling and messaging me, my son had a respiratory infection. She had to bring him to the ER. Family is most important, especially when it comes to my kid. Instead of waking up and heading off in my boat, I woke up in the middle of the night and packed up the car and headed home. He is better now thankfully, but it wasn't too hard a choice to stay or leave.
Going into the rest of the season fishing up north will be a great opportunity to learn about smallies. Being from the South, I am more of a spotted bass and largemouth kind of guy, but I intend to take full advantage of the learning experience. I’m excited about the upcoming events and hope I can get back on track!
The first High School Fishing Academy is officially a wrap. Going into it, I honestly had no idea how many teams’ we would have. I was thinking we might have only two teams show up or as many as fifty. For our inaugural event, I was definitely overwhelmed by the turnout. Through strictly social media advertising we had about twenty five to thirty high school and college teams show up on Friday night. To put things into perspective, the registration for the tournament on Saturday was from four to six. By five forty five we had not a single team in the building. Soon thereafter, we had one team trickle in, then two, then it was like somebody flipped a switch and we had teams lined up in the parking lot.