Waiting on the fog to clear. Ready to shake off some fish. Photo by Chris Blair.
I have never been in the army but they say the motto is " hurry up and wait." When you're boat number one that is the way it is in the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship. I have been in the water for 40 minutes and we are still 25 minutes from takeoff. You know that sitting around doing nothing isn't my style. However there are plenty of people to talk to so I am happy!!!
The only thing between the anglers and the fish...is the fog.
It's a little chilly and foggy at the start of practice for the 2013 B.A.S.S. Nation Championship on Arkansas' Lake Dardanelle. All anglers are anxious to launch. Photo by Mark Pierce. Facebook.com/markpiercefishing
I arrived in Russellville today following a 15 hour drive from coastal South Carolina. Needless to say, I was very happy to get off the road. Because of a recent addition to my family, I've spent much more time preparing for the life change of being a parent than I have in preparation for this tournament. So I spent the afternoon rigging rods, re-lining reels, prepping tackle, and organizing my boat for the upcoming week of fishing.
While working on tackle in the parking lot, I met a few of my competitors and enjoyed getting to know a little about them. Also, Don Barone walked over and chatted with me for a few minutes, and welcomed me to the event. It was nice meeting him as I've enjoyed reading his column for a long time.
I'm very excited about the week ahead and can't wait to get out on the water. I've made two trips out here earlier in the year and feel pretty comfortable getting around the lake. The lake seems to have a good population of fish and is very diverse. You can fish however you prefer to fish. There is grass, rocks, pads, and plenty of wood. It should be a fantastic tournament. I wanna give a big thanks to my wife and family back home who are taking care of things while I'm fishing. Also a big thanks to my bass club, the Conway Bassmasters for all their support!!!
Our recent addition and future fisherwoman! Kinley Knox
Jim Barczak shares a photo of his recently cleaned and prepped boat, ready to had to Arkansas for the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship.
I am all packed and ready to head out to Russellville for the championship. I feel good about my pre-practice but I've come to learn that good practices often mean bad tournaments and vice versa. I made my most important purchase for the tournament last night at Home Depot. I got a brand new pair of side cutters because, as you can see, the last time I was at Dardanelle, I was "hooked on fishing!"
Theoretically, I should have a built-in advantage competing on the Arkansas River during the Bassmaster Junior World Championship this month. Not only does the Arkansas have its origin in my home state of Colorado, its waters also form Pueblo Reservoir which is my favorite bass lake in the state – a place that I have fished many tournaments. Unfortunately, that’s the extent of my familiarity advantage.
First of all, I’ve never fished in Arkansas. I’m guessing that many of the other competitors may not have either, so that shouldn’t matter too much. More importantly, though, I have never fished for bass in a river, whereas I suspect that most of the others have. You see, while a lot of great rivers like the Arkansas, the Platte and the mighty Colorado start here, they don’t have a chance to get very big by the time they leave our borders. For instance, when the Arkansas exits Colorado for Kansas it is only about fifty-feet wide – just a little smaller than the thousand-foot width I’ll encounter during the tournament. Also, bass are pretty rare in any of our rivers where trout are the most common species.
I haven’t let my lack of river bass fishing experience discourage me. I am excited to learn during the heat of competition and make my first ever flowing-water catches count. I also look forward to competing against the best of the best young bass fishermen in the world. I wish them all luck and, win or lose, we should all be proud of earning our spots in this tournament.
I would like to thank my parents, St. Croix Rods, Lazer Trokar, Strike King and Chad LaChance of Fishfulthinker.com for supporting my fishing passion. I hope to represent them well and to make the home state of the Arkansas River proud.
So here we are, less than a week away from the BNC Championship! Its been a long year but everything has paid off, all we can do now is attempt to be as prepared as we can be. I can't wait to get started practicing for this event! I'd like to first and foremost congratulate everyone else who has qualified for this event. I look forward to meeting the other guys and talking some fishing!
I actually had the opportunity to spend a little time on Lake Dardenelle back in August just to do some scouting. Dardenelle actually reminds me of Lake Guntersville to be honest with you from the standpoint of what it offers. It has grass, pads, rocks, bluffs, offshore drops, brush piles, wing dams etc. Whatever your strength is as an angler, you definitely have the opportunity to fish your strength at Lake Dardenelle. I prefer to fish shallow with baits such as jigs, swimjigs, frogs and swimbaits but I'm ready for whatever the lake has to throw at me.
The frequency of cold fronts is getting closer and closer together form week to week. What this says to me is that the shad should be pushing further and further back into shallow areas with the bass to follow. In practice I plan on covering as much of the lake as I can. With my limited practice I did learn how to navigate from the dam to most of the creeks so I shouldn't have to waste too much time during official practice getting back into some uncharted areas.
So far this week I've been spending every evening after work preparing my boat and tackle for the trip. So far I've managed to get all of my tackle into the boat as well as all of my rods rigged up. I like to be organized and not waste time during the day trying to find certain baits so everything in my boat has its place. I can't say too much about my practice plans but I don't plan on using any spinning gear, if I do it will be because I'm struggling.
For me it will be about a 12 hour drive and I'll be traveling solo, I need that time to think and get my mind in the right place for game day. I look forward to nothing but the music on my iPhone and the road. I hope the speakers in the Tundra are ready, they'll get a strong workout come next week!