Looking up

Clarks Hill was reasonably good to me, all things considered.  I was concerned after Thursday when I only caught 8 pounds, 7 ounces. I don't care how much you practice or how much you talk to the other guys, you never really know what it's going to take in one of these things to make a good showing until you see the actual weights.

Nevertheless, I knew that 8 pounds wasn't going to get it done, tough bite or not. Somebody's going to average better than a pound and a half per fish. Friday was better. I added 11 pounds, 11 ounces to my total. That gave me enough to make the first cut. I was reasonably happy with that.

On Saturday I had trouble. I caught a couple of good ones early on but then couldn't finish the day with anything that mattered. I ended up with four fish that weighed just over 8 pounds. When everything was over, I was in 31st place. That was good enough for a check, and it moved me into 62nd place in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings. I'd like to be higher, but, given the way my season started, I can't complain.

This is my third check in a row. A writer asked me what I was doing different, why I was doing better? I really don't know. It might be that I was so far down after the first couple of events that the pressure was off me. I'm more relaxed on the water. It could also be that I'm concentrating more on trying to catch bigger bass.

That's hard for me. I really feel embarrassed when I don't have a limit at the weigh-in — try as I may I can't get that thought out of my mind. It's like a ghost hovering over my head. I also know, however, that you don't win against these guys with little fish. They're just too darn good. Those two emotions — goals — are constantly at war in my head. It's a struggle, but I'm doing better. Maybe if I fish another 20 or 30 years I'll be able to put them in the proper order. Then again, maybe not. Ha!

This week off is refreshing. It'll give me a chance to catch up on my work at Signcom and do some other things around the house. Then we'll head for Kentucky Lake. I always look forward to that tournament. There might not be a better numbers lake in North America. That's enough for now. It's Tuesday and you know what that means — my local bass club tournament here in Columbus. I need to get there early so I can change lures. Around here if you throw Super Spooks and Pencil Poppers, the bass run for the hills. They're smart enough not to try to eat anything bigger than themselves. Later ...

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