I never thought I would say this, but I am glad this season is over! I will be so happy to start fresh again come January.
After my fiasco at Oneida, I had to stay an extra four days for an OSI event. At the time I wanted to just go home, feeling a little – no, a ton -- under the weather. I was not sick medically but mentally.
I have been a full-time bass pro for a long time now and I still can’t and don’t deal with poor performances very well. This season was very hard for me to swallow and quite frankly, I have no excuse for such a lousy season, period.
Anyhow, back to the OSI event. A part of my sponsorship responsibility is to work with Ohio Sealant distributors and their customers. This particular event required me to take some guys fishing.
Now ordinarily this is a good thing, but I was shaken after this tournament and my confidence was low. Being a professional, I buried these feelings and put on a happy face, after all it was not their fault and as a pro those men deserved the absolute best from a pro.
It is because of all the OSI users I have a job! We met at the ramp in the morning and exchanged pleasantries, loaded the boat and headed out into the only wind Oneida had presented the entire week -- EAST!
It made for a bumpy experience for two people, who had never been in a bass boat. Running down the lake I peered over at the two guys in my boat and much to my surprise they were laughing and having a blast. I guess they never went that fast in a boat before, let alone in the kind of waves my Legend was plowing over.
All I could think of was to start where I found some in practice. The only time constraint was I had was to have them back at the dock by 12:30 in order to pick up my next crew.
The Lake was a bit nasty; however we did manage a few nice smallmouth. I noticed every time we put a bass in the boat it was regurgitating two-inch shad. This got me thinking, which was something I needed to do a few days earlier.
At about noon the wind started to change and actually lighten up a bit. I told Bart (one of the clients) that it was too bad we had to head back. I told him the wind was going to die and my afternoon group would experience a great topwater bite.
I picked up my afternoon group, and it was super spook madness! I felt like I was grouse hunting. We were trolling through these massive flats and every now and then see some bait nervously pushing water. I then would see a smallmouth sharking behind the bait ball and tell Dick or John to cast to the action.
They had to immediately cast and be on the money or no bass. But it was a blast as we caught some giants, like 4-pound plus smallies.
Suddenly I found myself looking forward to the next day! We stayed out longer than our time allotted, but there was no way we could leave -- it was too much fun and no one seemed to mind.
I awoke the next morning with excitement and anticipation for another top water feast. The two guys I was to take out then were Steve and Tom. I got to the ramp early only to be greeted by monster waves and a strong EAST wind.
I was thinking about calling the day, not because of me, but I was not sure if Steve and Tom would be comfortable enough with the conditions.
When I met Steve he looked like Charles Atlas, so I figured he could handle it. Tom arrived minutes later and said the only real fishing he did was on the east coast, so I figured he also could deal with our half day adventure. Off we went.
There would be no top water this morning unless it was a surfer. I made some spinner baits on the water changing weights, blades and skirts in order run the bait at the desired depth and match the baitfish.
Steve and Tom were impressed that I created the baits on the water. But they were ecstatic when they started catching fish on them. Steve could not stop talking about that, nor could he stop catching them. We caught fish up to the time I had to take them in and pick up the next crew!
With Dick and Kevin in the boat, I went to a place I fished in the tournament and to say we caught them would be an under exaggeration. We BLASTED them until dark.
I was very upset, not because we caught so many or the fact that I had 20 pounds a day, but the idea that if I made the adjustments during the tournament it would have gone very differently.
The old adage is hindsight is 20/20; well it doesn’t matter now, at least I left the lake with some of my ego back and a very hard lesson learned.
I would like to thank OSI, Legend Boats, Mercury, Powell Rods, Hydromotive Engineering and Atlas Jackplates for this season for without my sponsors none of this would be possible.
I would like to thank all the blog readers and fans of Bassmaster for your loyal support. I love writing these blogs, but I love your responses even more!
Until next time, good fishing.