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!