Charlie's way

Hey, man, is this ever great. I've earned a check two weeks in a row. I know that doesn't make for a career year, but it sure does beat the alternative — three tournaments without one.

My ribs are bruised from setting the hook last week. I know that sounds crazy, but it's true. I have a big, brown-black mark on my chest from driving the butt of the rod back. I can't say I've ever caught so many fish in four days. It's a dream come true.

Look at it this way. In three days I weighed 15 bass for a total weight of 39 pounds, 7 ounces. I finished 37th. What's that tell you about the lake and the caliber of angler I'm competing against. I think my success has come from my finally realizing that I have to fish my way.

In the past I've paid too much attention to what was going on around me — dock and tackle shop talk — and not nearly enough attention to what I felt I should be doing, fishing to my strength.

This week illustrates what I'm talking about. Most of the pros were fishing off the bank, out on the drops and ledges. They were catching fish, too. Maybe I should have done that. There's no arguing with success. I didn't follow that pattern, however. I targeted the back of docks where the last of the postspawn bass were at.

That wasn't the best pattern for some of the guys, but it was the best one for me. It worked. That's all I care about. My 6-inch Salty Slingipede (Venom Lures) did the job. I skipped it way back under the dock with light line. Most of the time I was able to crank them out as long as they weighed no more than 4 pounds. Anything over that was a problem, though. I used Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon line, 8- and 10-pound test. I wouldn't even consider using anything else that light. A 6- or 7-pound bass is hard — read that to mean darn near impossible — to move with tackle that light. You have to have the best line made. In my opinion that's Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon.

It's time to go. I need to put some miles in my rearview mirror so I can be at work Monday morning at Signcom bright eyed and bushy tailed. There's a lot of stuff backed up on my desk. I can't say I'm looking forward to it, but we all know where I'd be without that company. After a week of that I'll head towards Clarks Hill. That'll be different. By then the spawn should be officially over and most of the bass will be settled into their summer patterns. That's not my favorite way to fish but with my new attitude I think I can handle it. Let's hope so anyway.