The ones that got away

Several weeks ago I wrote a column about a big fish that didn’t get away. This week I’m going to have to write one about a big fish — several, actually — that did get away. It all started on the first day of the Open on Norman.

I’d made up my mind that I wasn’t going to settle for small spots. It just wasn’t going to happen. I’d head north and take my chances with the bigger largemouth. But when I got there things didn’t feel right. I can’t put my finger on it but somehow I knew they weren’t going to bite. And so, with some resignation, I headed south to fish the smaller spotted bass with a shaky head. Now, everyone knows that you don’t catch big fish on a shaky head, right?

Sure enough, I had a big one grab my bait within the first couple of casts. I fought it all the way to the boat and then, for a reason I can’t explain, she opened her mouth and my lure fell out. It really was that simple. She was inches from the net when it happened. I finished the day with five small fish.

On the second day I had several big bites. It was déjà vu all over again. I didn’t get any of them to the boat, not a one. That’s frustrating. It’s one thing to not find the fish or to just not be able to make them bite. It’s another to find them, make them bite and then not get them into the livewell.

It’s not a matter of complaining. Everyone loses fish. It’s a part of the business. If you’re a professional you go on to the next cast as if nothing happened. Nevertheless, sometimes it sticks in your mind. I know I didn’t have the bites for a win, even if I’d landed all of them. But I would have had enough weight to finish in the top 10.

That’s the way it goes sometimes, though. This is another week. As I write this I’m getting ready to attend the Children’s Miracle Network doings on Beaver Lake in Arkansas. Our Classic Champion, Chris Lane, will be there along with a bunch of other people from B.A.S.S.

As of right now I don’t know exactly what I’ll be doing, probably taking some dignitary fishing. Whatever it is, though, I’ll do it with pride. There’s nothing we do that’s more important than bringing good things to children with a need.

After that it’ll be time to get ready for the Elite Series event on Bull Shoals. I’m really looking forward to that. New venues are the best as far as I’m concerned. You can run around the lake, think something looks good, and go fish it. You don’t have all the baggage from years past in your head telling you to do something different.

Let’s hope for the best. I’d like to see a turnaround, and there’s no better time for it than next week!

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