2011 Bass Pro Shops Northern Open #3 Oneida Lake - Syracuse, NY, Sep 22 - 24, 2011

Brain in tournament mode

Valerie Hicks
Mark Hicks visits with Kotaro Kiriyama.

It’s Tuesday morning at McDonald’s and I’m writing Monday’s dairy. I suspect it will be short.

I wasn’t up to writing my dairy last night. After a day of prefishing, I’m tired and mentally drained. I think part of my brain is reserved for tournament mode. When I go there during a tournament, it’s hard to switch back to non-tournament reality.

I normally do stretches, 60 crunches and 40 pushups every morning. The stretches and crunches keep my back where it’s supposed to be.

I haven’t been doing my morning routine at Oneida Lake because I’m camping. When I get up, everything is covered with dew. My back is beginning to complain.

When I go shopping with my wife, Debbi, my back starts to complain in 20 minutes. But, I can stand on the front deck of my bass boat and run the electric motor for 12 hours and my back is fine. Go figure.

There were legitimate 3-foot waves rolling across Oneida Lake Monday morning. I thought I was back on Lake Erie. My hydraulic jack plate got stuck on high Sunday, and I didn’t take time to fix it. With the outboard jacked up, the prop was blowing out every other wave.

A long run was out of the question. We ducked into the relative calm of a cove and decided to look for largemouth bass in the shallows. After a few hours without a bite, Valerie asked me to take her back to the ramp.

She needed a break. She hasn’t fish much over the past 18 months due to nursing school.

I went back out and fished for the green ones. The wind made boat control challenging. I fished until noon and managed one bite an hour. I didn’t stick any of them.

That’s when I came in and took my boat to the support crew to fix the hydraulic jack plate. They were busy, so I had to wait 3 hours to get help. The work these guys do is amazing.

While I was waiting, I ran into Kota Kiriyama, one of the Bassmaster Elite Series pros. I met him years ago, and I’ve interviewed him for fishing articles several times. He’s a great guy.

David White finally found time to help me. It took him all of five minutes to find the problem. I had blown a fuse. I’ve mentioned in my Bass Open blobs that I have wirephobia. My brain shuts down anytime there’s an electrical problem.

I got back on the water and caught a few nice smallmouth on the main lake while bouncing on waves. They had subsided somewhat from the morning, but they were  still rolling.

Calmer weather is in the forecast. I’m looking forward to that.

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