This was a tough tournament for me. I feel really letdown, especially when I know that the majority of the bass are being caught flipping, and that's one of my strengths.
I caught plenty of fish on Day Two (Thursday), and late in the day I finally caught a decent bass, but it was too late. I finished 53rd and missed the top 50 cut by 5 ounces.
I lost one bass in the afternoon that would have helped and put me inside the cut, but what really hurts is that I should have done really well here. I felt I could have had a top 15 finish and put myself in great shape for the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year race and All Star Week, but it didn't happen.
I know that I was using the right technique. Flipping and pitching is what's working in this tournament, and the guys fishing around me were all catching fish. Maybe there were too many other anglers in my area.
I think my rotation was part of the problem and maybe hurt me the most. There were a lot of other fishermen in my area, moving through and taking their toll on things. I did my best to isolate myself from them, but maybe that was a mistake, too. Maybe I should have gotten right in there with the others and toughed it out. A lot of them made the cut and are fishing on Friday.
I hate fishing in a crowd, but have to admit that sometimes that's the best way. Getting better or more comfortable with the things that have given you problems in the past is one way to develop and improve as an angler. This tournament is yet another lesson in that. We can't get better by standing still. We have to stretch our boundaries and comfort zones to challenge ourselves and grow.
The bottom line here is that I've got a lot to learn as a competitor.
On Friday, I'll drive to Texas for the next tournament, and, while I'm on the road, I'll analyze what happened at Pickwick. At some point, I'll transition my thinking into preparing for the next tournament on Toledo Bend Reservoir. It's important to stay focused.
And it's important to remember that you can't win every tournament or even do well in every tournament that you fish. After a tough tournament, you've just got to suck it up, redirect your energies to where they'll do you the most good, and move on.
Toledo Bend, here I come.