2011 Elite Series - Trokar Battle on the Bayou
Toledo Bend Reservoir - Many, LA, Apr 14 - 17, 2011

It was terrible

Bassmaster Elite Series pro Charlie Hartley

Should I tell you I'm disappointed with my Toledo Bend performance, or can you figure that out for yourself? It was terrible. Actually, terrible doesn't do it justice. I finished 97th with a total of 15 pounds. Do you believe that — nine fish weighing 15 pounds after two days of fishing on one of the better bass lakes in our country?

I know what the problem was, though ... at least part of it. I didn't practice right. All I did was do the official three days of practice. I should have fished it before it went off-limits. That would have helped me get around it and make better use of my time before the competition started.

Some time ago in one of my blogs I wrote that a man has to know his limitations. That's one of mine. I need physical knowledge of the lake before I try to find the fish. I reminded myself of that last week. It's a lesson learned — the hard way. Hopefully, I'll remember it next time and save myself a lot of grief and heartache.

There's really no good reason why I didn't. I could have made the trip. I don't know why I didn't. For whatever reason I thought I could get away without doing my homework the way I need to do it. That's always a mistake, I don't care who you are or what business you're in.

But life goes on. Things are not all bad. I'm in Texas getting ready to fish the PAA All Star Series. There are only 50 of us. You have to qualify. I'm real proud of accomplishing that. Maybe I can do better here and salvage something from this trip. It won't help me in the Elites, but it would make me feel a lot better.

How about the winds we've been having? They've been blowing for two or three weeks. I know some of the other guys have talked about them, so I won't say anymore except to remind everyone to be careful. Winds in excess of 30 miles per hour and waves more than 4 feet can get you in a world of trouble. Respect them.

After this, I'll be heading back to the real world. From there we'll be fishing West Point Lake May 5-8. I'm ready. I want to get back in the saddle and straighten myself out. I need that. Finishing 97th doesn't exactly light my fire. It was terrible. Did I say that already?

I hope it doesn't ruin my chances for a Classic slot. It might, but under the new rules all you need is a win. I can do that if I keep my head up and my mind positive. Maybe a week or so back in Columbus at Signcom will make me appreciate what I have out here and motivate me to fish harder so I can keep it.

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