I'm down in Tennessee prefishing Cherokee Lake for the first PAA event and getting ready for the first Bassmaster Northern Open on Lake Champlain.
I'm telling you, fishing during a major summer holiday can get tough. There were boats everywhere last weekend. It was a never ending stream of families and couples enjoying the water. And I'm not going to say they don't have the right because they do. It's their water just like it's ours. Nevertheless, it makes fishing tough. I don't think there was a stretch of water more than 100 feet long without somebody sunbathing, skiing or racing. Wild doesn't describe it.
While we're talking about wild, let me mention the Fourth of July fireworks I went to with Fred Roumbanis and his family. If you're a people watcher, this must be what heaven is like? Every kind, manner and description of human being was at the celebration. It was almost worth fighting the crowd on the lake during the day just to get to see the fireworks crowd in the evening.
The fishing's tough down here, and it's only partly about the holiday crowds. Cherokee has a 15-inch largemouth limit and an 18-inch smallmouth limit. Those are respectable size fish. It's not easy to catch a limit of bass that big, especially when the daytime temperatures are in the 90-degree range. I'm not the only guy having trouble, either. Several anglers have pulled up to me — big name guys — and asked me if I'm catching anything. They don't do that when they're on fish. It'll be an interesting tournament.
After it's over this weekend, I'll be driving directly to Lake Champlain for the first Northern Open. I'm really looking forward to that. BASS puts on great events, and the fishing is more my style. I'll be able to swap my heavy tackle for some lighter, open-faced tackle. I'd much rather fish for smallies with jigs, spoons and drop shot rigs. I feel comfortable doing that, and we all know that at this level, fishing is a head game. It's not about physical skill. We all know how to cast. It's about finding the bass and having the courage to do what it takes to win.
I had to pack for both trips before I left Columbus last week. I don't like to do that, but there's no way I'd have enough time to go home between tournaments. So, my boat is loaded to the gills with tackle. Some of it I can't use here and some of it I can't use there. It sounds like I'm complaining, doesn't it? Well, I'm not. Even if I was, there are darn few guys who would feel sorry for me — having to carry around too much fishing tackle and all.