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

Cozy to cold

Mark Hicks
It was so cold and windy the first day that Valerie never came out of her shell.

About the author

Valerie Hicks

Valerie Hicks

Valerie Hicks, daughter of Bassmaster angler Mark Hicks, will join her father blogging about their experiences fishing the Northern Open on Oneida.

When dad woke me up this morning, I was nice and cozy in the tent. I would have frozen to death without that heater.

Breakfast was oatmeal and coffee at McDonalds. We e-mailed our dairies to Bassmaster there.

Before we went fishing, I put several layers of clothing on under my rain suit so I would stay warm on the water. It was cold. The wind was blowing and there were some pretty big waves on the lake.

We ran into Frank Scalish at the launch ramp. Frank is a professional bass fisherman from Cleveland. He’s one of my dad’s good friends. I’ve known Frank all my life. He’s a funny guy.

Listening to my dad and Frank talk fishing is hilarious. There’s lots of joking and laughing and self-deprecating humor.

I’ve been worried about making mistakes when I fish the tournament. He tries to reassure me, but I can’t help it. He says I have a glass-half-empty attitude.

My dad told Frank I should fish with him that day because Frank is also a glass-half-empty person. Dad said that Frank always stresses over everything that could go wrong before a tournament.

Frank said that wasn’t true. He said he was a realist. I like that. I don’t have a glass-half-empty outlook, I’m a realist.

Frank said that my dad’s glass is always 95 percent full, even when it’s empty. I have to agree. Sometimes he’s so upbeat I can’t stand it.

On the water, my casting sucked. It gradually got better, but I need to improve before the tournament starts.

The fishing also sucked. It was cold, windy and overcast most of the day. We fished hard for hours without a bite. Lake Erie spoiled me. We caught lots of bass there.

The sun finally came out that afternoon. I took a break and soaked up the welcome heat. As I dozed in the passenger seat, my dad kept fishing intensely.

Intense. That word describes the overriding sense I have of tournament fishing. This is nothing like fishing for fun.

I can’t believe how many different lures we are using. I’ve never fished with most of them. I’m overwhelmed trying to fish new lures with new skills. I’m having trouble distinguishing a bite from a weed. My glass is half empty. Wait, no, I’m a realist.

My dad is 63. I’m 26. As I’m watching him cast for all he’s worth without a break, I get the notion that he’s younger than I am. I’m tired. He’s moving around the bass boat like a squirrel.

I can’t keep up with my dad when we jog uphill at home. It’s worse when we go turkey hunting in the spring. We’ll hear a gobble high on a ridge, and my dad will practically run uphill. He has to slow down so I can keep up.

We had a campfire tonight. I loved it. The only downside was learning that Ohio State was losing to Miami.  They lost 24 to 6. The Buckeyes are in for a long season.

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