2013 Toyota Bonus Bucks Owners Tournament Wheeler Lake - Decatur, AL, Sep 7 - 8, 2013

Tournament Virgin: The Planning

I'm starting to like this tournament thing, who knew you could pre-fish off a dinner cruise paddleboat...

About the author

Don Barone

Don Barone

db has been in the reporting biz for over 30 years, won some Emmys and other awards, but is proudest of his four-decade marriage, his two kids and the fact he founded Tackle The Storm Foundation to help children.

Dateline:  Pre-Fishing

I’m marking waypoints with little rolled up balls of dinner rolls.

I’m pre-fishing off a paddleboat.

So, technically, you know, I’m on a dinner cruise with the dudes throwing the Toyota Bonus Bucks Tournament shindig, but right about the time they actually handed me a, a salad … I thought, hmm, I’m on the lake that I have to fish on I could eat this salad thing, or,

pre-fish.

No matter how hard I have ever tried I can’t get a dinner roll to act like a donut, so might as well put it to other use, so I excuse myself from the table with the universal raised eyebrows/grimace that says I need to find the head, quick, and as my tablemates look around for the john, I grab a dinner roll and walk outside.

With all due respect to the electronic fish finding makers, I’m doing fine with my dinner roll waypoints, I take a little pinch of dinner roll, roll the dinner roll into a little bity ball and then flick it with my thumb and index finger as far as I can so it clears the paddlewheels

When a whole bunch of fish come up to eat it, which BTW happened on every dinner roll waypoint I threw, I would then hit the “Find My Phone” app on my phone which would pinpoint the phone in my hand of which I would then take a quick screen shot … bingo … a dinner roll waypoint.

Knew where the fishes were before they brought out the steak.  Best salad I never had (Barb when you read this please know I am doing better eating, I almost ate an asparagus, which is a huge improvement, huh?).

“… outside the lines …”

So, after my paddleboat pre-fishing I’m back at the hotel when I see both – BOTH -- Steve Bowman and James Overstreet, the half the horsemen of the Apocalypse (which technically is just a “___lypse”), Team Redneck (http://www.bassmaster.com/blogs/toyota-bonus-bucks-live-blog/team-redneck-gunning-barone)

I’m standing in a freshly pressed $100 Tommy Bahama silk shirt sipping sweet tea and eating a cookie, both of Team Redneck is now, technically, Team Redneck/Red Face/Red Arms/Red Legs and look like raccoons looking for ibuprofen nuts.

I can’t prove this as an investigative double sourced fact, but I’m guessing they weren’t pre-fishing off a paddleboat.

Bowman looks at me as he is leaning over the hotel check-in front desk as he waits to get change back for his bag of chips and candy bar and says, “Bah-rone have you even been out on the water?”

I look at his bag of chips and candy bar and just give him a nonchalant scrunch of my shoulder and say nothing about my medium rare thick steak two hours on the water pre-fishing trip, but I do say this, “dude, watch it, talking smack is whack.”

Then I go out and get in my rental car to go to WalMart to see if they have any dinner rolls that act more like donuts.

“… ain't nobody cryin' …”

So, while I’m on the Pre-fishing paddleboat dinner cruise, I meet my fishing partner, the dude who is going to drive the boat, and when we go outside to talk all he does is hang way over the rail looking for fish.

I saw some of my dinner roll waypoints float by but I’m pretty sure he missed them.

I tell him I actually don’t fish, which for some reason didn’t seem to surprise him, I didn’t mention that I pre-fished while he was eating a salad, so I just listened as he laid out what I was going to do.

Back inside our paddlewheel bass boat he starts planning my fishing, and as he does it I’m looking out the window behind him as a huge bass hits my floating waypoint I put out there with a dab of butter on it.

Here’s what he tells me: “We are going to start out on topwater.”

Here’s what I’m thinking in italics: I darn sure hope we start this tournament thing on top of the water, I would think fishing a tournament under the water would be a problem.

“Then move on to swimbaits.”

If they are swimming, how do we catch them and if they are swimming aren’t they just fishes and not really baits.

“As the day progress we will move on to Carolina Rig.

Which Carolina, North or South, come on man, Charlotte or Columbia, and what about the Outer Banks, that’s where all the fish are, shouldn’t we be throwing an Outer Banks Carolina Rig.

“Then we’ll finish up with a frog.”

No, you’ll finish up with a frog, I’m not touching it and getting warts and frog juice on me.

Frankly, I think it went pretty well.

As he is telling what kinds of rods and reels and string we will be throwing, behind him out on the water I see a 5-pounder hit my special waypoint of asparagus dipped in hollandaise sauce.

They dock our bass paddleboat and as I’m leaving my partner tells me one last thing, “db, in the morning, I’ll bring the ice.”

I think that’s very cool, so I tell him, “Thanks man, I’ll bring the mix.”

And I leave him just standing there looking at me for some reason.

Next up entry into my Diary of a Toyota Bonus Bucks Tournament Virgin … Registration.

I’m sure now at this registration thing they may mention something to me about floating waypoints and throwing asparagus with hollandaise sauce rigs during tournament days, but you know what,

I’m thinking I’m getting a handle on this tournament thing,

and digging it.

“… colorin' outside the lines.”

Outside The Lines

Cory Morrow

-db

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