Once again I proved that practice time doesn't correlate positively with tournament success. In fact, it might be just the opposite, at least in my case. The more baggage and memories I bring to a competition, the more likely I'll be to make bad decisions.
Mike Iaconelli has it right — fish the moment.I'd been down there so long that I didn't see the changing patterns. I got stuck in the cold water, no-bite mentality. Obviously, that didn't work for me — or any of the other guys who did the same thing. I should have recognized that the water was warming and the bass were moving. No matter my disappointment, though, I had fun down there. It was really good to see so many of the Elite guys fishing. It seems like everyone is really enthused about the schedule and the fishing opportunities it offers. Almost every angler feels there's someplace on the schedule that suits his style of angling.
Anyway, since I didn't win I'm really glad to see Chris Lane win it. He deserves it. There isn't a kinder, more thoughtful, more generous or more professional angler fishing the Elite Series than Chris. I can't tell you the number of times he's helped me or given me a few words of encouragement since he's qualified for the tour. I'm sure there are a lot of other guys in this business who would say the same thing. In fact, I know there are. He would literally give you the shirt off his back. Congratulations, Chris!
I came home after the tournament, and I'm working today at Signcom. (I need to make some money so I can keep fishing.) Shortly I'll be going to Providence, R.I., for seminars on behalf of Ranger Boats. I like the seminar part, but I can't say I'm looking forward to the cold. After that I have several boat shows to attend — more seminars and demonstrations — and then it'll be time to head for California.
Again, I'm looking forward to the fishing, but I can't say I'm looking forward to the drive. The Delta and Clear Lake are a long way from Columbus, Ohio. That's really the only part of professional bass fishing I don't like — driving. They say you get used to it, but it hasn't worked that way with me. Years ago it didn't bother me. I could drive all day and all night and then fish 10 or 12 hours. Lately, however, I find the long trips to be a grind. It seems like every road I'm on I've seen 100 times before. Actually I probably have seen it 100 times. I'm not complaining, though. I could be stuck in the office all the time instead of just part of the time. Until next week ...