I had a different sort of experience this week. I’ve been fishing my tail off for the past few weeks — four tournaments in four weeks — and traveling nonstop. Well, I was in Richmond, Va., and plugged La Crosse, Wis., into my GPS. To my surprise, and delight, the route it showed me went right through Columbus. I live in the suburbs, Grove City.
It was really neat. I got to spend a whole day and two nights with Tracey. I always like to see her but there was something special about it being unexpected, something neither one of us saw coming.
While I was there, I spent time swapping out tackle and cleaning up my boat and truck. (You know I wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to clean something.) More importantly, however, I was able to spend time with my wife and watch in amazement as she helped me get ready for more events. Pay close attention sometime to a professional angler’s wife as she works and helps her husband, and you’ll realize why I say watch in amazement. They don’t have it easy.
Tracey helped me get everything put together and cooked my favorite meal. She even found time to buy me new socks and underwear. When I look back, I have no idea how I managed without her. I mean that. It’s amazing to me that I was able to do it.
But, after the second night at home, it was time to leave. As much as I love being home, I also love fishing, and the Mississippi River doesn’t do anything to discourage that love. What a wonderful place this is, and what a wonderful tournament this is going to be. If I sound excited, it’s because I am. This is the kind of venue that makes bass fishing the sport that it is.
There’s every kind of fishing you can imagine around here. You can drag a jig, crank, flip, pitch, throw topwater and do any of a hundred other things to catch them. And to make things even better I don’t think the river’s going to fish small. It looks to me like there’s plenty of water for all of us.
I do have to admit that the fish aren’t giants, however. This is no Guntersville or Falcon. My best guess is that there will be a ton of 15-pound sacks brought to the scales. The winner will probably be a guy who comes up with a spot or specific place that’ll give him that much weight over four days.
I’m predicting a close finish, too. I wouldn’t be surprised to see several guys within ounces of each other on Sunday. We probably won’t know who the winner will be until the end of the last day. One big fish — something in the 5-pound range — will make all the difference in the world.
OK, it’s time to go. I need to put on some sunblock and go look for more fish. I need a win!