Monday, February 21, 2011

Classic Conclusion

What an amazing week it was at the Classic. I guess I am a little dissapointed that I didn't win, but on the other hand I am so excited that I made it as close as I did. I don't feel any regret or remorse for any of my decisions made during the classic, honestly I executed flawlessly. Not one missed bite or lost fish, I capitalized on every situation that was thrown my way. The one thing that I couldn't overcome was the drastic decrease in water temperature on the final day in the Venice area. But, even then I was surprised at how many fish I caught in 49 degree water.

The Louisiana Delta, and Venice in particular is just an incredible fishery. I would say that it is definitely one place that every angler should experience in their life time. It was literally like pond fishing for me. Those fish bit like they hadn't ever seen a lure, that is how good it was. I will say that I looked at Cataouatche in practice, and while it seemed like an impressive area to me, I just didn't think that it would be able to hold up for the entire tournament. I really thought that the local pressure would hurt it, and the actual number of competitors fishing in there would shut it down. What I didn't account for was the timing of the whole deal. Cataouatche set up perfectly in that the weather forced the fish to move up in to that area in waves the entire week. Had the classic been one week earlier or one week later Cataouatche wouldn't have produced, and my spot would have produced the winning bags of fish. I caught 95% of my fish this week on a 3" Tightlines UV Blue Beaver, on a Trokar flippin hook. I barely had any bites on moving baits. I was really dialed in flipping this beaver bait, and nothing else would have caught them any better. I tried some other flippin baits as well, but the UV baits just produced better. With the stained water that I was fishing, I think the UV helped the bait to show up and look more realistic to the fish. And, I chose the blue color because this time of year the craws take on a little bit more of a blue tint, but also down there on the delta those bass feed on blue crabs. So, the UV blue beaver really fit the bill for the delta forage.

I need to say a few thank-yous to all of the people that supported me, cheered me on, and shared their well-wishes with me. All of my friends and family that came down to New Orleans, you guys are awesome! Everybody that followed along on their computers from home on my blog or on, thank you so much. I really do appreciate all of you guys, and I hope you know how much it means to me to have your support. I also want to say thank you to Terry Butcher, Gary Klein, and Kevin Wirth. The first 2 days of the event, I was running without the Lowrance Broadband Radar, and these guys really helped me out by navigating me and letting me follow them. And on the last day, Terry let me borrow his Radar unit, and Lowrance got it all set-up on my boat. I really appreciate the Lowrance crew, and Terry for being so generous.

Now we are going to be back home for a few weeks, and then it is back on the road to Florida to kick off the elite series season. I can't wait to get back out there because this Classic has really lit a fire in me, and I am going to capitalize on this momentum throughout the rest of the season.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Classic Confidence

I survived my Wednesday practice. Made it the 120 miles from Bayou Segnette State Park to where I plan to fish in the Venice area. I am really glad that I took the time on Wednesday to plan my route, and time my trip. I had to stop and get gas both ways on Wednesday! It was like winning a tournament just getting down there! I am so excited to start this classic, I feel so good going into it. If my day tomorrow goes as well as my practice on Wednesday did, I will be feeling really good about things. The one thing that makes me kind of uneasy is that I know that alot of the field is fishing in the Venice area, but not all of them made the run Wednesday like I did. So, I don't have a very good idea as to whether or not I am going to have my areas to myself. I guess I will find out tomorrow. The level of uncertainty is what makes this whole event so special anyway.

Tomorrow I am just going to go fishing. Well, I am going to go boating, and then I am going to go fishing. I am fishing the way that I like to, and I think that the fish are going to be coming to me these next few days. I have quite a few things going my way, and I am going to try my hardest to try and get this forward momentum to carry me through to another great Classic finish!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Chompin at the Bit!

With the 3 days of practice behind me, and the postive swing in the weather, I have to say that I am really excited for this Classic. My practice went really well, and I am feeling really good about things.

Friday, the first day of practice, started out a balmy 20 degrees! That is the kind of weather that I thought I was leaving behind back in Kansas! I was really surprised to find the water temperatures were around 45 to 48 degrees. Not what I expected at all. But, over the 3 days of practice I had quite a few bites, and quite a few big bites, so I have to say that I am pumped about that.

The water is a little low right now, but it doesn't take much of a change to make the delta dangerous. Alot of guys had issues running the delta, but somehow I was lucky enough to get through practice with no major mishaps. I was fortunate enough to find quite a few good stretches of water, but one of the places that I found in pre-practice that I thought would be a perfect little overlooked honey-hole ended up being an area with 38 degree water that looked like chocolate milk! That's the delta in February though, you never know what you are going to get.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, I am planning on running my route and figuring out exactly how long it will take me to get from the launch to where I plan to fish. Come Friday, I am planning on making the longest run I have ever had to make for a tournament, and I anticipate having to stop and get gas at least once during each day of competition. But, that's how it is out here. It is truly difficult to comprehend the sheer size and magnitude of this fishery until you are out here in it.

As for the competition days, I expect there to be some good bags brought in. With the way that the weather has changed, water temps will likely be in the mid to high 50 degree range, and before this is all over we could see temps into the 60s. This could be one of the best classics ever. I think part of the reason this classic is going to be so awesome is because everyone has to take a gamble, there is no playing it safe down here on this fishery.

Friday, February 11, 2011


Well, we escaped the snow, but it is still cold! Weather should pass though, so we are looking forward to next week. We ended up leaving really early Monday morning instead of Sunday afternoon like we had planned. We took off at 3a.m. Monday, and got in to New Orleans late that night. I was able to get out on Tuesday and run the boat some, and I was able to squeeze in a little fishing! The motor is now good and broke in, and all of my hardwork has come to a head. I was really happy with the amount of fish I was able to catch on Tuesday. Even though I was in an area that I couldn't fish for the classic, it still made me feel confident that I was able to catch numbers and size in the cold conditions I was up against. I really feel like I am a little bit more clued in to what to look for and do during official classic practice.

I don't have much for this post, but I want to keep everyone well informed during my time on the Delta! I will leave you with a picture of my best fish from Tuesday:

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Ice Road Truckers

This week has been absolutley crazy! With the horrible weather throughout the midwest, and trying to get everything ready to go for New Orleans, this has been a very intense week of preparation. My Dad and I left for Flippin Arkansas to pick up my new Triton at 5 a.m. wednesday morning. For those of you in a much more fortunate part of the country, let me fill you in on the weather situation Wednesday morning...The 2 days prior, we got pounded by sub-zero temperatures, 20-40 MPH winds, and almost a foot of snow! When we left Wednesday, we were greeted by temperatures in the -10 to -20 degree range! And the wind was howling on top of that! The roads got really nasty as we drove south through Missouri on our way to Arkansas. I am really glad we decided to take my hunting truck, as I have some big off-road tires on it that handled the snow really well.

I was excited to pick up the boat, but I wasn't excited about having to put some time on the engine before we headed to New Orleans. We drove from Flippin to Bull Shoals, and dropped the boat in. I put about a half hour on the engine in 15 degree weather and 20 MPH winds, needless to say it was miserable! We then drove back on icy, snowy roads with a boat in tow, and got home at about 11p.m. Now that is dedication right there! I am thankful to be back home safe and sound!

Today (Saturday) I am getting ready to pick up the boat from the wrap shop. I was lucky to get it in and out as quickly as I did. My hat is off to the guys out there at Sign Here who really helped me out! I am really excited about my wrap, it will be the sharpest looking rig I have ever had, so thanks alot guys! After I pick up the boat, I am heading to the shop and am going to work on getting everything loaded up. I have my new W&M rods all rigged up with my new Gamma line. I have my package from War Eagle full of my favorite jigs and spinnerbaits, and I have my package of Tightlines soft plastics to load in there. On top of all of that, we spent Friday night at Bass Pro in Olathe, and we literally closed the store down! So, I have my work cut out for me this afternoon!

I am really excited to get on the road. It will be a big relief once we finally leave, and have all of the pressure of preparation behind us. I haven't caught a bass since October, so I am so ready to get a line wet and set the hook on some Louisiana bass!