Things went well for me on Lake Seminole. Not only did I catch bass, and make both cuts all the way through Sunday, but I also made good decisions under the pressure of a serious tournament. That might be the most important part of all.
Before the tournament started, I thought Seminole would be a sight fishing event. That’s what I started to do. It didn’t take long, however, before I realized that wasn’t going to work, at least not for me. I made some changes, without second thoughts and without looking back.
On Thursday morning I started back in a backwater area with a vibrating jig. That proved to be a great decision. The weather cooperated, and so did the fish. When all was said and done, I had a sack that weighed just over 19 pounds. That was a ways from the lead —with Shaw Grigsby weighing in 30 pounds, 5 ounces — but I was still in the running. That gave me some much needed confidence.
Friday was much different. The weather changed. I tried my vibrating jig for a little while but it didn’t produce. I went to my backup pattern — fishing docks with a soft plastic stickbait. That didn’t produce all that well either. I decided to go back to my jig. Nothing.
I really didn’t have a third pattern, and I knew there were fish holding on the docks, so I headed back to them. Things turned around. My bite started to pick up. I ended the day with 16 pounds plus.
That wasn’t the weight I wanted but it was plenty to put me through the cut so that I could fish on Saturday.
Saturday was a repeat of Friday except that I didn’t work the vibrating jig so much. I concentrated on my dock pattern. I weighed a pretty good bag, something over 20 pounds. That nailed down 11th place and put me in the launch for Sunday morning.
Fishing the final day was a real confidence booster. I wanted the check but, more importantly, I wanted to fish in the Top 12. It was a matter of pride. It validated my decision making and my ability to make good choices when things weren’t working out.
I wish I could say that things continued on, but they didn’t. Sunday was tough. I caught one bass that weighed about 1 1/2 pounds. I finished 12th.
Despite my tough final day, however, I’m really positive about the whole Seminole experience. It’s important to get off to a good start, especially when you have a tendency to second guess yourself.
I’ve never made a secret of the fact that I struggle with making on-the-water decisions during competition. That’s a serious flaw. It kills you.
Everyone can fish at this level. It’s the decisions that separate us, decisions that are made spur of the moment. Those who make good ones fish on Saturday and Sunday. Those who don’t, have the weekend off. In this business, it’s better to work weekends.