Thursday, June 23, 2011

Vote for Me!!!

What a relief! The cards fell just right, and I got lucky and made it back to the Classic. I worked hard to get to where I am now, but I am still not pleased with my performance. I left too many doors open, and left too much to chance at the end. I ended up 24th at Wheeler, but going into the final day there were 2 potential scenarios to put me into the Classic, and 2 potential scenarios to block me from earning a Classic invite. Like I said, the cards fell right for me. I feel bad for the guys who didn't make it, or for the ones that are now banking on making it through the Northern Opens, but that's the way that this type of competition is.

At Wheeler, I was absolutely floored by the weights. In practice I never got on anything huge like what we saw at weigh-in, and going into the event I figured it would be a deal where 5 keepers kept you in the hunt. I totally underestimated Wheeler, and that whole underestimation deal was kind of a theme throughout my season that I am going to try and work on and overcome for next season.

The fish I caught during the tournament I literally found during the last 2 hours of the last day of practice! I had found what I thought would be a primary spot, but it was covered up with boats when I got there the first morning of competition. I ran to this back up place, and the fish were piled up there. It was on the Decatur Flats, but it was a very specific spot. What killed me though, and kept me from competing on the final day was the fact that I couldn't catch a fish over 2 pounds on the third day. There were loads of fish there, but there wasn't much size swimming around down there.

The last two weeks have been a roller coaster for me. Like I said earlier, I am not happy with my season, but I am happy about making the Classic. During the summer months I plan on taking some time and reflecting on some of the negative aspects of my season, and trying to correct them so that I can have a strong 2012 campaign. Now that the season is over, it is kind of sad, relieving but sad! I had all of these grand plans to fish all over and do all of these awesome things this summer, but now looking at my calendar I am pretty wrapped up in promotional events about every other weekend. I was going to try and sneak down to Falcon, but I'm not sure if I will even be able to do that! The season is never really over for a Bass Pro, we always have stuff to do. And, knowing me, I will find plenty of time to get out and fish.

One more thing I wanted to add is that you can get on-line and vote for me as your fan favorite, and hopefully send me to the post-season event! The website is Please vote for me! It would be a very pleasant surprise if I was able to fish down there, and I would greatly appreciate your votes. Oh yeah, if I don't make it to post-season, Bobbi and I are going to participate in a "Warrior Dash". It's an extreme running deal with obstacles and crazy stuff. I think I would be better at fishing in the post-season! Please vote! Thanks guys!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Left the Monkey in Little Rock

I didn't win at Little Rock, but it felt almost as good! I worked hard, and I am real happy with a 14th place finish. I have my sights set on doing that again this week at Wheeler! I am feeling good, and my head is in the right place. I just need to let this momentum carry me to another solid finish.

On the Arkansas River, I locked through to pool 5 each day. The first 2 days I caught my biggest fish of the day before I locked through flipping a UV beaver to laydowns on riprap near the lock. My spot was essentially a mile and a half stretch of riprap that I had all to myself. I caught all of my fish on various shallow diving crankbaits along the rocks. The third morning when I went to my first spot before I locked through, it was like no one was home. I tried, but couldn't get a bite in the laydowns. I had to lock through with an empty livewell, and I was a fish short when the end of the day came. Had I caught one more fish, I would have been in the final day. But, it is what it is, and I have nothing to complain about looking back on Little Rock. In fact, I am thankful that I ended up where I did.

Now, we start the Wheeler tournament tomorrow, and it is tough out there! Definitely not the same Wheeler I remember. There is no grass anywhere, and it has obviously had a negative impact on the bass. It will definitely fish slower and tougher than it has in years past. In practice I tried fishing down on the lower end near the dam, and found absolutely nothing. So, on the next day I put in on the upper end by that dam, and found more of the same thing. I have literally covered the lake from end to end, and while it was a grind everywhere I went, I can say that the mid-lake area seems to be where there is the most action. I feel good about what I have found there in practice, but am just worried about having to share it. With the lake being as unproductive as it is, the spots that are holding fish are probably going to be crowded.

I am feeling confident, and am just going to keep my faith and keep my fingers crossed for this one. If there is one thing I know, it is that someone is going to catch them. And if there is one hope that I have, it is that I am the person who is catching them! I am no longer fishing with a monkey on my back, and I just have to keep reminding myself that I have gone from no chance to having a chance.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I'm in Little Rock, but My Heart is in Joplin

I made it through practice here in Little Rock. The heat has been overwhelming, but I feel good about things. It was a decent practice for the first couple of days anyway. Day 3 was a little rough, I am hoping that the tournament will fish like the first 2 days of practice. I am planning on locking down, I have a little spot that I found that if nobody beats me to it, should be pretty good. It is loaded with fish, and I say fish, not bass, because it has everything. You can catch a 3 pound bass and on the next cast catch a 10 pound drum. These fish on the river all like the same type of areas, so if you pull up on a spot and catch a drum right off the bat, it is a good idea to stick around for a bit and see what else is there and willing to bite.

This week the pressure has really been on. I have to perform well this time out, not only for our livelihood, but to make the classic and have an opportunity to fish next year. To put it mildly, I am nervous about this one. The plus side, though, is that this event is my kind of event. Power fishing shallow stained water.

During the break we had a lot of things going on. Unfortunately, I didn't get to go fishing with Wayne Simien, but hopefully that will transpire at another time. I really didn't get to do nearly as much fishing as I had hoped, but I feel like I had something more important to do. When the tornado hit Joplin, it was just too close to home for us. I felt like I had to do something, and honestly all I did was send an e-mail and make a couple of phone calls and I had a team of people and a garage full of tools and supplies to truck down to Joplin! It was awesome, and none of us did it for the media attention. Honestly, the guys from the KC Chiefs that came and helped out told me that they would prefer it if the media didn't take notice. We all just wanted to help out our neighbors. All of the pictures and videos of the damage really don't do the Joplin tragedy justice. To understand and grasp the devastation in Joplin, you really had to be there and see it for yourself. The whole event was very powerful and moving, and it really puts things into perspective.

For this week, I am pulling for a top 25 finish. Really, I would like a win, but I would settle for anywhere in the top 25. And, if i can do that next week too, I think I will make the classic. It might be a tall order, but I think that I can pull it out, even with the pressure on the way that it is.