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

Crash course

Mark Hicks
Valerie Hicks holds her first Lake Oneida smallmouth, which was a great confidence booster.

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.

As dad and I drove to the launch ramp at Oneida Shores this morning, we passed a lifted truck with oversize tires. It was pulling a bass boat. My dad said it looked like the driver was overcompensating for something.

“Yeah, no fish,” I said.

My dad howled.

Today was a major improvement over yesterday. The weather was nice, I had fun, and I caught some beautiful smallmouth bass. I hope I can catch fish like them when the tournament begins.

Practicing for the tournament has been a crash course in bass fishing for me. There are so many lures and so many ways to catch them I can’t remember everything.

My dad tells me that I should do this in the tournament if it’s rainy and overcast, and to do that if it’s windy, and to do something else if it’s calm, and on and on. It’s overwhelming. He might give me a cheat sheet to take with me when the tournament starts. Is that legal?

I’m not physically conditioned yet for a long fishing day. After four hours, my arms are weary and my brain loses focus. I need a personal trainer.

My dad tells me to relax, have fun and save energy for the tournament. He never slows down, not even for a minute. Bass fishermen are crazy. I’m not quite there yet.

I was starving when we came in. A pepperoni pizza made everything right again.

I’m looking forward to another campfire tonight and more bass tomorrow. Wish me luck.

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