Day One: It’s fishing, guys

I’m not especially happy with how things went today but I will say that it’s a fishing tournament and this is the way things go sometimes. But here’s the thing, I really don’t have a reason, or even an excuse, for not catching bigger fish. It just didn’t happen.

The area I fished was one I found in practice. It held (holds) plenty of fish. I didn’t talk much about it at the time but to tell the truth now I got a couple of pretty good bites in there Wednesday. I honestly thought I had them figured out, sort of anyway. I mean I knew what they were doing and was fairly confident I knew what they wanted to do in the future.

When you’re in that position, you can usually catch a few, especially if you take the time to think about all of your options. I did that and felt like I had a chance. I didn’t think it was in the bag, or anything like that, but I did think I had a chance to put something together during the tournament.

But today I had to constantly change my lures and my approach to keep my bite going. It was like everything was moving around me all day long. I’m not complaining, though. I caught a ton of fish. They just weren’t big enough to give me the weight I needed.

If you’ve ever been through something like that, you know how frustrating that can be. You know they’re there but the smaller ones keep grabbing your bait. You change this and you change that as the day goes along trying to hook the big one, and you’re afraid to move because you are catching fish. But the big one never happens.

Part of it may be pressure. I’m around a lot of other boats and I’m sure the fish are feeling the heat. Everybody’s trying to catch them. They may not know exactly what’s happening but they do know their world isn’t right, and that they’d better be careful. The bigger fish pull back under those conditions.

At this point, I’m not sure what I’ll do tomorrow. As soon as I finish this column, I’m going to the boat to redo some of my tackle. That’ll give me an opportunity to relax, think things through and develop a game plan for Day Two.

At this point, I’m thinking I have a good area but that I need to get away from the other anglers. You know, find some fish that aren’t so pressured. That idea would work better, of course, if I knew were an area like that was.

But hey, this is the Bassmaster Classic. It’s not about making the cut, accumulating points, cashing a check or any of the other things that sometimes motivate us. It’s about winning. I have no intention going down looking. Come tomorrow, I’ll be swinging.

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