Monday, July 26, 2010

Different Kind of Tournament - ICAST

What a blast we had at ICAST! We started off our time in Vegas with a Texas hold ‘em tournament with a bunch of the guys from Wright & McGill and Eagle Claw. It was a ton of fun, but I was definitely glad that I am a pro fisherman and not a pro poker player! I could have used a couple of practice days for this tournament. It was a great opportunity to spend time with friends in the fishing industry away from a fishing tournament scene.

I put in some long days at the show working hard for Tightlines and Wright & McGill. ICAST is so important for those of us involved with this industry, this is where we have the opportunity to learn about new companies, meet new potential sponsors, and promote ourselves within the industry on a face to face basis. It was really cool to watch Tightlines meet with some of the big tackle buyers that were present at the show, and help them grow their company. Also got to help unveil and witness new technological developments for Wright & McGill. I spent some time with the folks from Costa Del Mar, and am really excited for their new lenses, the 580 Ps. They are a plastic lens with the same awesome capabilities as their original 580 lens but now in a scratch and shatter resistant model. Power Pole came out with a new model that looks really great. They have 5 color options and have upgraded components that make them lighter and more durable. Really excited to see these on the water next season.

Bobbi and I had so much fun in Vegas, that we decided that this is going to be an annual deal for us. I was reminded while we were there that I am definitely not 21 years old anymore, but I think a lot of us got that reminder while we were there! Now we’re back home, and I have to say I am really enjoying my time off and taking it easy. Bobbi’s nieces and nephew are in town visiting us right now, so we will have some fun with them. Probably get some crappie rods out and try and get them on some fish while they are here. We just bought a new Mac, and we are pretty excited about that. I am horrible with computers, so hopefully this thing will be easy for me to use and I can actually do things on the computer without having to ask for help! This Saturday we will be going down to Labette County Kansas for a youth fishing derby, which should be a great time. And when we get back home from that, we will be going to my 20th high school reunion. That will be a busy but fun day.

For those of you paying attention to the business side of fishing right now, we don’t really know anything about the rumors of BASS and Triton being sold or bought out or whatever is going on. We are keeping our fingers crossed for the best, and expect that there will be an announcement after they get done with all of the post-season stuff.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

From Lake Cherokee to ICAST in Vegas

The PAA event on Lake Cherokee was a trying tournament, to put it lightly. Very tough conditions, and things just didn’t go my way. In order to experience success at a tournament, your heart really has to be in it, and I just didn’t have that going on. I felt out of synch, and was not ready to give up my time off. I found a pretty sweet spot in practice on the lake, and I committed to it on day one of the tournament. I couldn’t get anything to happen there that day, and wound up zeroing. In hindsight I should have scrapped that spot after 2 or 3 hours without any fish, but I had confidence in the spot and thought that it was just a matter of time before the fish would start going. On day 2 I scrapped every preconceived notion I had put together during practice, and just went back to “practice” fishing. I boated a limit all on a frog, but it wasn’t enough to put me into the third day of fishing. It was nice to know that I could get back out there and pick myself up after such a miserable first day of fishing, but it was also very frustrating at the same time. Because of my less than desirable finish at Cherokee, I probably won’t be fishing the rest of the PAA events this year. So, it’s nice to have the 2010 season behind me.

Now, as I write this, I am sitting in Las Vegas getting ready for a Texas hold ‘em tournament with the guys from Wright & McGill/Eagle Claw. Should be a good time with some good buddies. As for the rest of the week, I will be working hard to promote Tightlines Tackle and Lazer Trokar at this year’s ICAST event. This is a really fun time for those of us in the fishing world, as we get to see the newest trends and technologies of the industry. Also, this week it is just Bobbi and I, so it will be nice to spend some time with her without having to deal with the pressures of a tournament. After ICAST is done, it is time to start preparing for the next year. We really don’t have an off season, because when we’re not fishing we’re working hard to make sure we can fish hard the next year. So not only will I be researching tournament venues, but I will also be working hard to get sponsors on board for the 2011 season. Oh, and let’s not forget…deer season is just around the corner!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

PAA at Lake Cherokee

We’re at Lake Cherokee right now in Tennessee for the first PAA tournament of the year. We had a few days off since the last Elite Series event at Ft. Gibson, but man did they fly by! It was nice to be home, I got to see family and catch up on some house chores. I rested a little bit, but before I knew it we were back out the door. This trip to Cherokee is the first time in 5 years we haven’t taken our camper with us to a tournament. Practice for this event started fourth of July weekend, so there was literally no open camping areas. Not having the camper really made myself and the rest of the family consolidate our packing efforts. I just know that there is something that I left behind that I am going to need come tournament time! It’s nice having the whole family in one vehicle for a change, but don’t confuse nice with easy. There is no easy way to fit a family, everyone’s luggage, and all of my tournament gear in our rig and travel comfortably! But, it’s a sacrifice I think we’re all willing to make.

So, on to Lake Cherokee. So far, I’m not a fan of this lake! Not to say it’s a bad lake, it is just super tough right now. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this place, and a lot of good things about the night fishing bite that’s happening right now, but we have the cards stacked against us. This is a deep, clear impoundment that happens to be about 20 feet high during the time of our tournament. That’s just not a good combination during the middle of the summer. I’m going to be happy with 8-10 lbs a day, and I think the rest of the field will be too! Right now, it’s up to God with how I do the rest of this PAA season!

July 4th was the first day of practice, and I only had 2 keeper bites. I did, however, find a pretty decent area that lends itself to my style of fishing.
July 5th was the second day of practice, and I only had 1 bite. That 1 bite came on a frog, but the fish couldn’t even get the thing in its mouth.
On July 6th, our last day of practice, I tried to expand on what I had found in practice on the first day. What I had was a nice little creek with willow trees hanging over the banks and a lot of stumps and lay downs mixed in. I caught fish on a square bill, a beaver, and a frog. But, there was a bittersweet part to that day…I caught two 5 lbers in this area. Which tells me I might have something pretty special, but I would rather have caught those fish during competition and realized how special my spot was at that point in time!

When it all comes down to it, on an unfamiliar lake you got to do what you are comfortable with. Guys are going to catch fish every which way this week, but I’m not going to go out there and try to force myself to adapt to a technique that I’m not comfortable with. I’m going to put a big stick in my hand, and lay a few more across the deck, and I’m going to fish what I’m confident in. When fish are scattered like they have been this week, there is no right and wrong way to catch them, so I’m going to try and capitalize on that notion!