Looking at the 2014 tournament season

I’ve started to look over the 2014 schedule. The process of putting things together is more complicated than some people think. It isn’t just about signing up for events. You have to put a plan together that helps your career and that’s doable.

The way I start is by getting a paper calendar and marking off dates. (Getting a 2014 calendar isn’t as easy as it sounds. Most of the stores don’t have them in yet, although you can print them from the Internet.) I use one color for the Elite Series events and anther for the Opens. Other tournaments get penciled in if possible.

After I get that done, I start marking the off-limits periods at each venue. From there you have to look at travel. That can be a real issue. Time and miles are one thing, sleep is another and, in my case, there has to be hours available for my other business.

The last thing I address is lodging. In some cases, that’s the easy part. I know the area and I know what’s available. But, if I’m headed to a new lake or river, I’ll need to do some investigating. I want to be as close to everything as possible but I also want something that’ll handle my boat and that’ll suit my schedule — food, gas, maintenance and all of that.

Once all that’s in place, I start thinking about prefishing our locations. Most of the time calling it prefishing is a misnomer. What I’m really doing is getting to know the area and the water. Finding fish is secondary. A 30-day fish find is usually not all that helpful.

As far as the schedule itself is concerned, I have to say it isn’t bad but it isn’t as good for me as I’d like it to be. I had a better year this year mostly because the schedule suited my style of fishing. The 2014 schedule isn’t quite as good. At least, I don’t think so right now.

I am really excited about two of the events, however. The one on Seminole is guaranteed to produce some serious weight. I know for a fact that it’s full of big, fat largemouth bass and there’s no better time to fish it than in March.

The other event that I’m especially excited about is the one on the Delaware River. There isn’t a lot of knowledge about it available to those of us with little or no experience on her. That always makes for excitement. I’m hoping that my Ohio River experience helps me when we get up there.

I know it’s a different river from the Ohio. It’s a better fishery and it’s a tidal river. Nevertheless, it’s still a river. That has to count for something.

That’s my view of 2014 as of right now. It might change over the next few months but as of right now I’m looking forward to it, although I do wish we had a few more smallmouth destinations planned.

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