My Falcon event didn’t go as planned. Ha! That’s an understatement. I didn’t even make the Friday evening cut. I had the whole weekend off — not my idea of a good time.
In practice I found the fish I wanted. They were big, and there were plenty of them. I really had my thoughts set on finishing near the top. They were that good. But, like a lot of stuff in life, things went in another direction.
On Thursday morning I couldn’t buy a bite. It was a disaster. Somewhere around midday I panicked a little and decided to go to my backup fish. I knew they were small but I also knew that if I was going to do anything I had to have some weight in the boat. I ended the day with five bass that weighed less than 9 pounds.
I still had some hope, however. Falcon wasn’t giving up the big fish like she did the last time we were there so the fat lady wasn’t singing, not just yet anyway. I mean a number of the guys didn’t have limits and some who did had lighter weights.
Mostly out of desperation, I reversed my fishing schedule on Friday. Instead of going to my best spot in the morning, I fished other places until later in the day. The bite was as good then as it was bad on Thursday. I weighed just a little less than 29 pounds later that afternoon. That’s when I realized I had things upside down. My big fish needed the sun to turn them on.
I’ll not sugarcoat things. It was a tough pill to swallow. I had the fish I needed to make a run on a win and I blew it by not getting enough details about my pattern in practice. I should have paid more attention to the bite and what was happening around me during practice. If I had, I might have known about the sun before it was too late.
If I’d known about that, I’d have been fishing my best spot on Thursday afternoon. There’s no doubt in my mind that I’d have had a serious sack of bass if I’d done that. But I didn’t, and so I’m in 73rd place in the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings.
The lesson from this is obvious to everyone. Pay attention to the details. Put together as much information as possible during practice and never think you’ve got things covered. I preach this all the time. I do my best to follow my own advice. But, and this is important, we’re all subject to making mistakes.
When I moved on Thursday, I had no idea that I was probably only minutes away from catching them. This whole mess is a lesson I’m sure I’ll never forget. It wouldn’t be so bad if my fish hadn’t been so big. But they were that big, and I’ll have to live with that until we get to Bull Shoals in about three weeks.