That’s the only thing I know to say. Douglas Lake hates me, and the bass do, too. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that the fish might know whose lure is out there and they refuse to bite mine out of spite. I was so disappointed after the tournament that I did something I can’t ever remember doing before. I fished the lake for days after the tournament was over.
I had to do that. It was a matter of figuring things out and trying to get a little confidence back. It worked, at least to some extent. After a few trips, I managed to catch a handful of decent, tournament size bass. As of today, I can say that I feel a little better about myself as an angler, and I think I have some idea of what was going on.
Some of why I kept fishing goes back to what I said last week about education. Regardless of whether you catch them or not, you have to learn something every single time you go fishing. That’s the only way to get better as an angler. You can’t learn if you take a whipping from the fish like I did and then just walk away with your head down.
The Northern Open on Douglas Lake was a tough experience for me. But I think I’m a better fisherman today than I was before it started.
When I wasn’t out on the water, we all went cave exploring and visited the aquarium in Gatlinburg. Boy is that a great place! We’ve been to a bunch of aquariums over the years. I have to say that’s one of the best, if not the best. The kids loved it. I really like traveling with my family.
From what I’ve seen so far, Chickamauga is one heck of a good bass lake. I think it’s going to be a great tournament. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple of double-digit fish brought to the scales before it’s over.
My plans for after this week are simple and straightforward. I’ll put my head down and try to collect enough Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year points to qualify for next year’s Classic. If I can’t do that, I’ll have to figure out a way to win one somewhere along the line.
I’ll never make a secret about my desire to be in every Classic. Nor will I hide the fact that it will hurt (bad) if I don’t make it. But, like I have said before, if I miss out on it I’ll work hard for my sponsors at the show, be available to the fans and generally make the best of things.
Sometimes you have to look at the big picture. I have had a wonderful career as a professional angler, and I fully expect that wonderful career to continue. If this turns out to be a nasty pothole in the road, I’ll deal with it. As long as my family is safe and healthy — and they continue to love me as much as I love them — life will be good.