I spent last week in Texas at the Toyota Texas Bass Classic on Lake Fork. Things went a little better. Winning any tournament I’m fishing is always my goal, and I didn’t do that, but I did catch some fish and at least made a respectable showing.
At the same time, I was able to spend a couple of days with the family. (They flew down for the event.) That’s always a good thing. It’s refreshing to see the ones you love. I always seem to do better when they’re around.
Keith Combs set a standard for everyone out there. Really, this man caught and weighed 110 pounds of bass in three days…
He gave the credit to Lake Fork. I’ll give Keith his opinion. He’s entitled. For my money, though, it says a lot about him, too. There’s no doubt that Fork was on fire. The lake is full of giant bass and most of them were biting. We all caught fish, but we didn’t catch them like Keith did. It was truly extraordinary.
That same thought goes out to Toyota. This was a no-entry-fee tournament that paid $100,000 to the winner with guaranteed prize money for every angler who competed. How’s that for supporting what goes on in the world of bass fishing?
That’s the record of one heck of a serious sponsor, and not just with the Elite Series. Every man or woman who has ever tried to catch a bass has benefited in one way or another from their sponsorship of our sport. We all need to keep that in mind. I believe in supporting those who support us, and I make no bones about it.
On another subject: If you’re wondering what happened at Toledo Bend, I can tell you that it’s pretty simple. I didn’t catch them.
Early on I committed to deeper water, offshore fish. That might have been a plan if I had found the schools of fish I thought were out there. They never materialized. There’s no point in giving you all the gruesome details. You can’t catch them if they aren’t there. When that happens you end up in 100th place.
Looking back on things, that was a huge mistake and a lesson learned, or relearned. I had a tough practice but still believed I knew what was going on. I’ve always said that you should fish the moment. I tried to force the fish and I paid for it. That one’s on me.
By the time you read this, I’ll be on Dardanelle and I can assure you I won’t make the same mistake again. I may not find the big ones, or even the little ones, but I will fish the moment and I will not try to force my thinking on the bass.
I’m looking at this as the start of a new season instead of the start of the second-half of this season. It’s all mental at this level. I just need to get my head on straight and I’ll be fine.