2002 Northern Open #1 Potomac River - Charles County, MD, Aug 8 - 10, 2002

Is it my turn yet?

I'm back in Columbus after three tournaments in three weeks. I got a check in two of them and should have had one in the third. But, before I tell you that story, I want to say something about practice. The week before the Open, I fished another tournament on Champlain. I only had one day of practice. Despite that, I had a pretty good event.

That shows us that you can over-practice. It isn't necessary to have a dozen specific spots marked all over the lake. All you really need is an understanding of what the fish are doing and a little confidence in your abilities. A lot of us fail to appreciate that fact. We worry too much about having enough spots when we should be worrying about what the fish are doing so we can make adjustments to our presentations when conditions change, as almost always happens.

The thing I really want to talk about, though, is the Open. I had a solid first day. I boated five bass that weighed 15 pounds, 14 ounces. I was in 45th place and figured I could move up and make the cut. All in all, I was in a pretty good mood. A good mood that is until I launched on the second day and watched my co-angler boat all the fish.

This has happened to me before, but this time may have been the worst ever. It's the worst I can remember, anyway. I was on the trolling motor fishing and he was in the back dragging a Carolina rig behind the boat. How it all happened is a mystery, but I'll tell you it was ugly. Mostly, I just watched him use the balance beam.

Do you have any idea what it's like to sit in the boat wondering when it's going to be your turn to catch one? I hope not, but suspect you do. When we headed for the ramp, he had three bass that weighed around 11 pounds. I had five that went 12 pounds, 9 ounces. I missed the cut by 34 spots. How's that for frustration?

Now, let me be clear about one thing: My co-angler was fishing his water in a professional manner. I'm not saying he did one thing wrong because he didn't. (Which, of course, makes it hurt all the more.) Nevertheless, it gets old watching someone else cull fish, especially since I had control of the boat and had first crack at the water (and considering the fact that I'm supposed to be the professional). I want to mention something else, too. Champlain's as good a bass lake as there is in our country. There's a never-ending supply of quality bass everywhere in the lake. A lot of the guys reported catching between 50 and 100 fish each day. How lucky we are to have it.

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