DANDRIDGE, Tenn. — Did that just happen?
Going into the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Northern Open #1 on Douglas Lake presented by Allstate, I knew for certain I was prepared. Hours and hours of study, research, rigging and general game planning was complete.
I was also confident.
I know Douglas.
The water suits me.
The techniques are not foreign to me.
My expectations were high and, more than that, the personal expectations that I had developed for myself were set high.
I was ready to make something special happen.
Eight days later I’m sitting here writing this blog knowing that in hindsight this tournament was a decision-disaster after a 50th-place finish.
Two years ago, I would have thought that 50th is a good start and that I’m still in the hunt for Bassmaster Elite Series and to keep focused on the next two and move up.
Now I feel I’ve developed further as an angler. I have higher expectations now of my decisions. I want it too much and put too much into it to be happy with that finish. I know the decisions I made at Douglas were OK but not “fine-tuned.”
Every tournament has its unique characteristics, and I knew practice would include 15-hour days on the water graphing to find four schools of fish that everyone else found. The fish were biting both shallow and deep, but I knew that the deep fish would have the quality needed to win.
I kept the whole lake honest, but it was clear that the mid-lake to lower river end was where the bite was best. The techniques were going to be long lining, deep cranking, spoons, drop shots, and the multi rig and jigs. However, the biggest wild card was how few deep schools were available and how many people found the same schools.
I put my time in.
Practice went well.
My confidence was high.
I drew boat 184 out of 189.
Yes, boat 184.