We're in Virginia, but not quite to Smith Mountain Lake yet. I like to get to tournaments a day or two early. I don't like starting practice while I'm exhausted from the drive unless I have to. I like to have a day or so to rest and recuperate and put my eyes on the lake from the shore and look at the water color and feel the temperature.
I like to experience the weather. It gives me time to get my tackle prepared and everything else I need to do. It also gives me some time to spend with my family, and that's really important to me. They're making big sacrifices to come and travel with me, so I like to do things with them as much as possible.
From a fishing perspective, I feel like I need some revenge on this lake. We've been here twice before and both times have been subpar performances for me. Last time the conditions set up nicely to my strengths, but I just couldn't execute well. It was my worst tournament of the year last year. I feel like I've got some ground to make up getting back at the lake.
That said, I'm really excited about this event. I love springtime events, and this should play right into that prespawn to spawn transition which has historically been a good time of year for me. We'll see if I can put something together this week. This is a lake where swimbaits can come into play, too. Not the giant, California-style swimbaits, but the smaller hollow-belly ones like Yum Money Minnows. Almost every year someone's caught 'em here on a swimbait. This isn't a lake that's full of giant bass, but there are 4- and 5-pounders and a few big ones, but it's the kind of deal where you need to shoot for 14 pounds. That'd be a solid day. Twenty pounds is a really good sack here. I'll choose my baits to the size fish I'm trying to catch. I'm no sure just how much I'll be throwing them. I have to wait until I get out on the water.
Tomorrow night I'll be at Goodwill Baptist Church with several other pros (see my last entry for a list of guys who will be there as well as an address). I'm looking forward to it. It'll be a fun night and a good chance to meet a bunch of folks from around here. Things like this are always the highlight of my week when we're on tour. I get to meet a lot of people. When we come into town as professional fishermen, it's amazing the warm reception we get at every place we go to. It's especially nice because we're on the road, away from home and a lot of guys are away from family, and even though it's the first time folks meet you, the hospitality is amazing. That's one of my favorite parts of being a pro fisherman. Over the years, I've made so many friends in different places, I think I can go almost anywhere and have a place to stay, and that's a great feeling.
In other news, the Baylor Lady Bears lost in the first round of the Final Four basketball tournament to UConn, who went on to win the whole thing. If you're going to lose, you might as well lose to the team who won. However, we have a bright future. The team is really young — four starters are freshmen or sophomores — and I think we have a lot of potential. It was a great experience for the team, and playing at that level makes them better. Playing at that level shows them where the bar is set and gives them something to shoot for.
To draw parallel, I like having KVD on tour. I love to play above my level. Excellence in a sport makes everyone better and raises the bar. I think if you could take a below average fisherman on the Elites and catapult him back in time 10 years, he would dominate with the knowledge he has. By having excellence out there, it continually forces you to learn and innovate and understand the fish better. It's not a whole lot different than other sports in that you need to play against greatness to achieve greatness. Look out early next week for a new Keeping Up with the Joneses video from Smith Mountain Lake!