Change with the fish

I continue to learn. Last week on Table Rock Lake I finished 28th. After a solid first two days of the event, Day 3 was a lot tougher and harder to catch fish. I didn't adjust and fell five spots in the final standings from 23rd down to 28th.

On Day 1, we had pre-frontal warm weather conditions with a south wind. With water temperatures rising and optimal conditions, I was able to bring in a respectable 14-2.

Day 2 was cloudy and windy and the conditions set up well for reaction fishing. I weighed 13-2 — enough to put myself in 23rd and just a good limit away from making a Top 12 cut. Over the first two days, I cranked medium diving crankbaits and caught four or five limits of keepers each day.

Day 3 arrived with bluebird skies and nearly dead calm. Water temperatures had dropped overnight, and the fishing shut down. I continued to fish the same way I had fished the first two days. One bank where I (and several other competitors) had caught limits didn't produce a single fish. I continued to run this pattern across a number of spots.

This was one time where too much experience on a lake was detrimental. If I didn't have a lot more spots to check, I might have hunkered down, changed up and found ways to expand on my main spots.

At 10:30 a.m. on the third day, I didn't have a fish in the boat. On Days 1 and 2, I had limits in 20 or 30 minutes. I should have adjusted earlier. The fish had shut down or moved. Instead of continuing to run new spots with the same pattern as the first two days, I should have changed up with the fish. There are several ways I could have changed up, fished deeper, fished shallower or switched up to a jig or some kind of finesse technique.

To make a long story short, the fish change with the weather, and it's important that we change with them. When things aren't going as we expect, we need to change, too. At Table Rock I didn't need to change areas, with the same pattern over and over, instead I should have adjusted by going deeper or switching techniques sooner than I did.

Lesson learned. Now it's off to Toledo Bend, where I will be defending my title from 2012. This is an amazing lake that is loaded with bass.

I can’t wait!