Things went my way on the James River last week. I had a respectable finish and did something I haven’t done for awhile. In fact, I’m proud of myself. I made a decision with my head instead of my heart. And I reaped some benefit from it.
The first day the sky was clear and solid blue. Early on I tried to fish some open water over vegetation but with no luck. I moved to the docks and had a respectable day. I ultimately weighed 9 pounds, 12 ounces of largemouth bass. Things radically changed on Friday, however.
It was cloudy, overcast and misting rain when we launched, nothing like Thursday. Out of habit, I went straight back to the docks. That’s what I usually do — return to the place I got my last bite. But then a funny thing happened. I started thinking about what was going on and realized I’d made a bad decision.
Given the weather, the open vegetation areas that didn’t produce the day before should produce now. The weather had changed so I needed to change my thinking and my approach. I did just that.
I went back to the open area and started fishing. The results were immediate and made a big difference in my final weight. I ended up with a respectable sack, a much better catch than I’d have ever taken from the docks.
For some of you my decision might seem obvious. For me, however, not so much so. I struggle with tournament decision making. I may have written before that I’m a heck of a bass fisherman but that I struggle with decisions during tournaments. It’s far too easy for me to go where I want to go, and fish the way I want to, that it is to go and fish the way I should.
True enough, even with making a good decision I didn’t make the cut for Saturday. I would have, though, if I’d gotten one or two big bites. I can live with that. If you put yourself in contention often enough you’ll get your share of the breaks.
Along with good decision making I’m excited about my co-anglers. They were great. Both are just getting started in tournament fishing. They asked the right questions and seemed to absorb everything that was going on around them. We had a wonderful time.
They learned a valuable lesson about Mother Nature and her sun, too. Neither one of them seemed to appreciate how much sun you get when you’re in a bass boat all day, at least not at first. We (professionals) cover up and use tons of sun block for a reason. They now understand that reason, really understand it.
Stay tuned. There’s more to come. Pretty soon it’ll be time to start thinking about the second Bass Pro Shops Northern Open on my favorite body of water — Lake Erie!