Make no mistake: East Tennessee is a great place to learn how to bass fish.
Just ask the winners of two recent Elite tournaments – Ott DeFoe of Knoxville and David Walker of Sevierville. Congrats guys! In their wins, each of these anglers utilized techniques developed right here in the Volunteer state.
Ott used his river fishing expertise to win the Evan Williams Bourbon All-Star Championship on the Alabama River. And while I consider myself to be a shallow river fisherman, whenever I fish local tournaments against Ott, I can always count on him going even farther uplake than me.
David employed deep water fishing techniques he honed on Tennessee’s Douglas and Cherokee lakes to put himself on the winner’s stage at the last Elite event on Wheeler Lake. Many of the lakes around this area of Tennessee have perfect conditions to develop your deep fishing techniques. Tossing a big plug around in May or June can get pretty exciting. It took more than 20 pounds a day to win the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Open on Douglas this past June.
The diversity of lakes in this region is what makes is what makes it so special. There are seven fantastic lakes within an hour’s drive of Knoxville, and they are all very different. We have everything from deep, clear lakes to shallow, muddy lakes and everything in between.
These lakes teach you how to be a good shallow fisherman, deep fisherman, power fisherman and finesse fisherman making them the perfect training grounds for up and coming anglers.
These lakes also house a good population of largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass, and learning how to fish for all three black bass species is crucial to being a successful professional angler.
All this to say, my home in East Tennessee provides the perfect training grounds as I prepare for my Elite Series rookie season. This summer and fall, my plan is to fish as much as possible in preparation for the 2012 Bassmaster Elite Series.
We only have two and a half days of practice for each event, so I have to refine my practice routine in order to find fish as quickly as possible. East Tennessee will be a great place to “train” since I have a different lake to hit every weekend.
Having seven lakes in the rotation will help me stay fresh on locating and patterning fish. I will be working Monday to Thursday and fishing Friday and Saturday of every week, and I will treat those two days as if I were practicing for a tourney.
My motto for this training time: “Success is a by-product of preparation.” – John Wooden
Remember to chase your dreams!