Getting ready for Bull Shoals

Last weekend’s Children’s Miracle Network fundraiser was a huge success. A day of fishing with me was auctioned off to a jewelry buyer from India. He’s definitely passionate about bass fishing. It was a pleasure to spend the day with him chasing bass.

Of course, the pleasure that really mattered was to be able to help raise funds for an organization that helps children. There were a bunch of guys from B.A.S.S. there contributing and working hard to make everything a success, as well as a bunch of people who donated their time and money to the cause. I’d like to name them because they deserve to be recognized. I’m not going to, though, because I’ll leave somebody out, sure as the devil. And I don’t want to do that.

Right now I’m playing with my tackle (it’s Sunday) and getting ready for tomorrow, the first day of practice on Bull Shoals. I have no idea what I’m going to do except that I’ll fish north and south, east and west. When I’m done, I’ll decide where to fish and with what. Until then, it’s nothing more than running around the lake in my good looking, top performing Legend boat and learning as much as I can.

My Legend was a little banged up after several months of hard tournament fishing this year. Those boats are tough — in my opinion, they’re the best boats made — but so is the B.A.S.S. tournament schedule. We put them into some pretty nasty places and treat them pretty rough sometimes. It’s not that we’re abusive so much as it’s what we have to do to stay ahead of our competitors.

Legend Boats is headquartered in Midway, Ark., not too far from here. They took my boat from me on Saturday and redid some of the things on it. I’ll tell you what; they have amazing people at their plant. My boat is absolutely perfect. That’s more important than you might think.

My boat is my office; it’s where I do my business. Anything that isn’t just right detracts from my performance. That doesn’t work for me. And it especially doesn’t work for me when I’m in 10th place in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year race. This is the tournament that I need to make my move.

Points-wise, I’m in fairly good shape. I’m close enough to make up ground with a few good finishes. But that’s not all there is to it. The guys in front of me, and behind me, want that award, too, and they know how to fish and compete just like I do. It’s going to be tight. I need to get moving. My boat being right helps me do that.

Of course, finding fish helps, too. That’s a nice way of saying I have to go and finish getting everything ready. Next week, we’ll talk about how I analyzed Bull Shoals and how I fished a tournament on a lake I don’t know. Maybe that’ll help you the next time you fish a new body of water. I hope so, anyway. 

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