I had a mediocre finish on Lake Champlain last week and then a long drive home. I got back about 1 a.m. Sunday morning (yesterday) and had to get up at 4:00 o’clock to fish a local tournament on the Cooper River with some of my old friends from the Top Rod Bassmasters.
It’s a tradition with me whenever I can make it back to fish that tournament. The Top Rod Bassmasters is a club I formed with several of my friends back when we were just getting started as serious bass fishermen. I’ll always remember the good times we had in those days. There wasn’t so much pressure. It was more about just having fun and a few laughs while trying to trick the fish.
The Cooper River event isn’t anything special in the grand scheme of things. It means a lot to me, though. It’s a sentimental thing. My partner and I finished third. We were really happy about that. First would have been better but you don’t always get what you want. Don’t ever kid yourself about how good some recreational anglers are, especially in that club. The line between them and professionals is thin. In some cases, it doesn’t exist at all.
I’m going to rest up a little today and then go to work. We have a lot to do after ICAST. I think I have a million phone calls to return. OK, maybe not a million but at least three or four dozen. I need to speak with friends, sponsors and new people I met.
Every year I have this dream that during ICAST I’ll be able to get a lot done, and then reality hits when the show starts. It goes crazy and all I do is make appearances for sponsors and run around like a chicken with my head cut off. By Friday, I’m a zombie. This year was one of the worst for that.
The crowds were huge and the action hot and fast. That’s good for our industry and for fishing, in general, but it’s not so good if you’re trying to keep things under control. And then, to make matters even crazier, I had to fish a tournament immediately after it was over. But that was my doing so I really can’t complain.
Once we get caught up we’re heading to the shore for a real vacation. Disney was nice but with the show it’s only half a vacation. Next week will be a whole one. We’re going to turn the cell phones off, unplug the computers and do nothing useful except lay around, swim a little and spend time with the kids.
After that, I’ll have to start thinking about Oneida, the last Bassmaster Elite Series event of the year. It starts August 23. If you’ve been watching the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings, you know I’m not having the best year of my life. I can’t afford to mess that one up. A disaster there could affect my earning a spot in the 2013 Classic.