Today is the first day of the 2011 Bassmaster Elite Series season, and I've got my work cut out for me.
If my practice is any indication, I might be in for a tough tournament. My best five on any day of practice would only weigh about 5 pounds. Obviously, that's not going to get it done.
Truth is, I like tough tournaments. When everybody is struggling, I have confidence that I can put something — maybe just some little thing — together to put some bass in the boat.
For now, though, I'm just hoping to salvage Day 1 with 12-15 pounds and move on to Day 2, where I think I can do better fishing different water.
Here on the Harris Chain, the bass are in just about every stage of the spawn. Most have already left the beds. A few are there now and more will be moving up soon. The pressure on the good fish that are currently on the beds is going to be intense. It's not a battle I want to fight.
At the moment, I have confidence in just one thing, and I need it to work today if I'm going to be fishing this weekend. I don't have enough productive water just yet, and I'm sharing the area with lots of other guys who are looking for bedding fish. I'm in the unfortunate position of having to use the first competition day to do more practicing. It happens that way sometimes.
If you find yourself having to do that in one of your tournaments, be sure you fish with an open mind. Pay attention to what the bass are telling you. Unfortunately, you need a few bites to do that well, and those may be tough to come by.
It's easy to get overly excited about the season opener of the Elite Series. Obviously, there's lots to be anxious about, but it's a mistake to get too up or too down about anything when it comes to tournament fishing.
For me to succeed, I need to live in the moment and maximize each day on the water. I can't afford to run myself ragged worrying that I'm not on the winning fish. It isn't productive, and it's exhausting. It takes too much out of me — and you — so you've got to stay in the moment and focus.
One thing's for sure: Somebody's going to figure these fish out and win this thing.