2011 Elite Series - Dixie Duel Wheeler Lake - Decatur, AL, Jun 16 - 19, 2011

The dream dies for another year

I’m on my way to the ramp at Wheeler Lake this morning. After the Arkansas River tournament last week, something that I’ve said all year comes to mind: at every tournament, there are guys whose Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year dream dies.

Unfortunately, I was one of those guys at the last tournament at Little Rock. So, for this next tournament I have to be realistic. While there is still a mathematical possibility of me being AOY, I have to be more realistic and shift my goals away from that and focus on making the postseason.

My focus this week will be to get a good finish and ensure that I make it to the final eight who will fish the postseason. It’s been a really fun season, and it’s been great being in contention all season long. The great feedback and support that I’ve gotten from fans, friends and family has been overwhelming and a true blessing in my life.

We finished the first day of practice, and there's less current in Wheeler than I’ve ever seen. The water is high and warm. In some of the backwaters, it's in the 80s. It’s also a foot low and not in summer pool. That means you’ve got to keep after that outside bite because the shallow bite is going to be scarce.

 

It hurts to see Wheeler in the condition it's in right now because they’ve killed all the grass in it, and the fishing is suffering. You can get bites now, but they’re not quite as big as they used to be. I’ve seen Wheeler when it was full of grass and one of the top lakes in the country.

We can get it back that way, but it’s going to take the mobilization of some fishermen and the cooperation of government officials to stop poisoning the milfoil in here. Nevertheless, I’m expecting it to be a pretty good tourney.

I think it took 13 pounds a day to make the top 12 cut last time we were here, and I think it’s safe to say that you can cut a pound off of that. My goal is to find about 12 pounds per day. If I can get that, I think I’ll be in pretty good shape for the postseason.

My daughters flew in last night. They missed Little Rock because they were at camp at home in Texas. While they made it to Decatur, they’re suitcases did not. We’re hoping to get a call from the airline pretty soon.

If not, I guess we’re going shopping.

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