The West Point tournament is history. By the time you read this I’ll be practicing on the Alabama River. I’m really looking forward to that event. It’s my kind of fishing. I have to say, though, that I don’t know much about it.
Before I get started on West Point I want to say happy birthday to my grandma, Joan McLain. She’s 80 years young. And I want to say happy anniversary to my mom and dad. All the family wishes you well.
West Point was a really good event for me. It was one of those tournaments where you measured your success in ounces, not pounds. I was struggling a little bit going into the afternoon on Friday. But in the last five minutes I managed to catch a couple of bigger fish that let me cull up 4, maybe 5 ounces. Those few ounces pushed my weight high enough so that I made the cut.
That meant a lot to me. If I’m remembering right I’ve fished West Point four times. This is the first time I ever made a cut or cashed a check. It was a personal victory for me, and it was a lesson in never quitting.
One cast is as good as another. You can’t ever give up or think that it’s over. We need to make every cast we can until the very last minute. You never know for sure when a bass will bite or how much weight you need. A small increase in weight can turn out to be a big thing in the end.
The third day was a lot of fun. I caught a bunch of big stripers. That’s not what you want in a bass tournament but I have to say they fought hard and I had a good time catching them. I also managed to weigh a bag of bass that let me finish high enough to earn some badly needed Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year points as well as a check.
If my big fish would have held on — every angler has a “one that got away story” — I would have finished much higher, though. I was fishing a jerkbait when she hit. I knew she was big right away. Actually, I thought I’d hooked a striper by the way she felt. But, when she surfaced and tried to jump I realized I had a giant largemouth on my line. I’d guess she was a solid 9 pounds.
I know that sounds really big but I’m a Florida guy. I’ve seen a lot of big bass and she was one of them. It would have been nice to have boated her but that’s the way it goes sometimes. You know, we have a tendency to talk about the ones that got away but we don’t always talk enough about the ones we landed that were just barely skin-hooked. It all evens out in the end.
Go out and catch some fish. Spring will be over before you know it.