Thursday, March 24, 2011

Florida R&R

I will take it! I'll take a 17th place finish in Florida! St. John's was quite an experience, and I definitely learned a whole lot. Learned a ton about bed fishing, something that I typically do not excel at, and I learned more about the unique fishery that is Florida. Everything I caught this tournament came off of beds in Lake George. And, in hindsight I wish that I would have moved around a little more, and done a little bit more exploring like Edwin did. But, I can't complain with where I am at right now! Everything I caught this last week came on a 6" UV Hawg, and a 3" UV Beaver.

Right now I am sitting in 17th place in the AOY standings, and I am pumped about that. This season is starting off a lot stronger than last year's, and I am really excited to see what the rest of the year brings. Right now the family and I are getting some R&R time in at Disney World. We enjoy making vacations out of all of the travel we do. This weekend we are headed to Tampa to see the grandparents and spend some time with them, and then it is off to Westpoint Lake to do a little pre-practice before we get to Pickwick. I am excited for Pickwick, as I fished well there last year, and am hoping that this year the fishing plays to my strengths.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Florida Finale

I can't complain about the Harris Chain event, not one bit. I ended up finishing in 30th place, and that is a great way to start out the regular season. I didn't fish poorly or slip up at all, I played with the cards that I was dealt and did what I could with them. I got a ton of bites on the Harris Chain this past week, but I honestly never caught a fish over 3 lbs the whole time I was there. This was just a weird event, and it definitely didn't play out the way that I thought it would. I was actually planning on starting day 1 in the pond that Grigsby and Goldbeck crushed them in, but I drew boat 90 for that day and didn't even bother. Kind of makes me wonder "What if?".

Each day of the event I went out to get as many bites as possible. I had the mind set that I was going to wade through the dinks to catch a lunker, but that never panned out. I flipped a 3" UV blue beaver around lilly pads the entire tournament, and really caught a ton of fish on it. On Saturday I threw a shallow crank into the mix, and caught a couple of my bigger fish on that. But, the tightlines beaver was my go to bait this past week.

Now it is on to the St. John's River. This is a really neat place, and this tournament is going to be a slug fest. The last time I fished the St. John's was in '99, so I don't really have a whole lot of recent knowledge to fall back on for this one. I do think that we will be able to go out and catch fish on whatever we want to catch them on, and people will be successful in targeting pre-spawn, spawning, and post-spawn fish. This is going to be a good event, and will likely be the biggest slug-fest of the season!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Left Home for the Harris Chain

I am so excited to get this elite season underway. I am feeling really good about where I am right now, and am really excited to fish this year. This Harris Chain event is definitely going to be tough, and honestly the whole schedule looks like it is going to be tough. But, I am excited about that. I feel like I have a better opportunity to rise to the top when the fishing is tougher than normal. I have had some success here at the Harris Chain in the past, but the conditions were quite a bit different than what we are facing this year. In my first practice day I found some fish, but most of them were short, and the keepers I have found aren't the kind that I will need. I wish I had more practice time down here because there is so much fishable water in this place, but I believe that I will be able to eliminate enough water to whittle my options down to something that will work come tournament time.

I have to say that it was a relief just getting here. The driving part of this job never gets any easier, it takes two and a half days to get from Lake Quivira down to here. And with gas prices as high as they are, I am really hoping to do well down here to make the venture profitable!

As different as this fishery may be from the New Orleans Delta, I have found some similarities. On the Delta, the majority of us did quite a bit of driving to get to our spots. Here at the Harris Chain, we will also have to do quite a bit of driving. This year we are launching at a new facility that is two canals (or two 30 minute idle only zones)away from Lake Harris, where we have launched in the past. There are so many canals and rivers here that are No Wake Zones that almost the entire fields' driving time will be consumed by travelling at idle speed. While the running distance is not comparable to what we endured on the Delta, there will be more time behind the wheel here than at an ordinary elite series event. But, it is what it is. And you have to make the most of it. The other similarity is that the fish here seem to like my Tightlines UV baits about as much as the fish on the Delta did. It gives me confidence to know that I am throwing something that the fish want, and that means a lot on a body of water that is as infamously fickle as this one is.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Can't Wait!

I am ready to get back on the water! The classic is over, and I have had a week off at home. But it hasn't really been a week off! I have been so busy running around doing things to get ready to leave for Florida, and working for sponsors.

I spent Saturday at the Bass Pro in Independence working their Spring Classic. I got to work with Jimmy Houston, one of my all time heroes. It is really special being able to share the stage with someone like that, someone that I have held at high esteem for quite some time. And, by the way, the crowd at the Independence Bass Pro was the best I have ever experienced! A ton of people came out to see Jimmy and myself, and the response I received from all of the fishing fans there was almost overwhelming. I want to say thank you again to everyone for supporting me, congratulating me, and for all of your prayers and positive comments. It really means alot to me. I had a great time working the Bass Pro Spring Classic, and thanks to everyone who attended!

On Sunday I sat down and watched the Classic coverage on TV. I am very pleased with the amount of television time I received, and was happy with the way the show came out. It was pretty neat to watch bits and pieces of the long run from Bayou Segnette down to Venice from the overhead perspective they had on the show. I have to hand it to those guys, they put together a heck of a show, and to do it in just a week's time is pretty awesome. So, thanks to the folks who edited and put the show together, it came out great!

On Monday I did a photo shoot for Fulton with my wrapped truck and boat. It was a pretty neat experience. Makes me feel good to be working with a company who does things like this, and shows their involvement and support in such a way.

Now we are almost ready for Florida. We leave on Wednesday, and come to find out that our roof is leaking. So, that is just one more thing to have to deal with before we leave! Probably will have to find time to have some work done, or even put a whole new roof on the house! Whatever it is, I'll have it done. As long as I can get back out on the water, it will be fine with me!