Getting out with a check

If you read last week’s column, you know that I had a rough start last week. On Monday, the first day of practice, the wind was blowing and the lake was rough. I couldn’t find much of anything because I couldn’t fish. Later in the afternoon things calmed down a bit, and I was able to get started.

I looked for some offshore areas but couldn’t get a bite. I had the same problem on Tuesday. But then I moved shallow in the north part of the bay, and my bite picked up immediately. I’ll tell you what, that was a relief. I guess that’s why they call it practice.

Basically I fished shallow the whole tournament. That strategy was good enough for me to accomplish what I wanted to but I have to say it wasn’t great. The place fished really small. There just weren’t enough fish to go around. That’s what happened to me, anyway. Some of the guys had a different experience. I saw big, heavy stringers every afternoon.

What I mean when I say it was good enough for me to accomplish what I wanted is that when you’re fishing somewhere that isn’t your style and doesn’t play to your strength, you try to get in, cash a check and get out. That’s the thing Bobby and I have always tried to do and it seems to work pretty well for us.

We fish a lot of different venues. Some of them suit us, others don’t. That’s what professional bass fishing is all about. You don’t always get exactly what you want. Sometimes it’s a matter of doing the best you can and then getting ready for the next one. We fish eight tournaments, not one.

But don’t think for a minute I didn’t have a good time. The crowds were great. Lots of people came to see us off in the morning — no small thing at that hour — and lots of people came to see us at the weigh-ins in the afternoon. Most of them seemed to have a pretty good understanding of bass fishing, too. It was fun.

I haven’t caught that many smallmouth in my time but it seemed to me that they’re feisty critters. They bite aggressively and fight just as hard as a largemouth, if not harder. I can see where if you caught a really big one, you’d have a man-sized fight on your hands. Living on one of these big lakes and really learning how to catch them would be an experience.

Now it’s time to relax and get ready for the last event of the season on Oneida. That’s a little more my style. It’s shallower and has more of my kind of cover and structure. That shouldn’t be taken as meaning I’ve got it under control, however. This is fishing. It’s not always catching. Besides, even if you do catch a big stringer one of the other guys might catch a bigger one.

Have a safe Fourth of July and go catch a few fish.

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