Perfect day, imperfect results

OK guys, by now you know the results from yesterday, the first day of competition. I had about as good a day as a guy can ask for in this business except that I didn't catch big enough bass. It's a killer disappointment. I'd have to call it a perfect day with imperfect results.

Despite the fog early this morning, my run was smooth with no problems whatsoever. I didn't miss a turn, didn't even hesitate on any of them. My fuel stop was flawless and my execution with the fish was a dream. No missed hooksets, no screw ups at the boat when I was landing them and no tackle issues. I was in the zone.

The only thing was I wasn't catching the bigger ones. I honestly don't know why. I didn't understand it then, and I don't understand it now. In practice they were there. I know that for sure. But they didn't bite my bait today. It was one solid keeper after another with no kickers. Every fish was legal but not big enough to get my weight up where it needed to be to put me near the top.

I'd told a few guys before I launched that if I could weigh 16 pounds I'd be well satisfied. I knew that wouldn't put me in first place but it would keep me close enough to make a run on the leader when the time came. My bag was 3 pounds short of that — 13 pounds, 1 ounce. I'm in a tough spot, the 21st tough spot as a matter of fact.

A tough spot doesn't mean it's all over, though. This can be a strange business. Some of the other guys caught 19 and 20 pounds today. I can do that tomorrow if everything falls into place. All I need is for the heavier fish to take a look at my baits. If they do — when they do — I'll come roaring back and be in a competitive position for Sunday.

I'm not going to change much at all tomorrow. I'll fish my plan. I really haven't done anything wrong so I'm not sure what I'd change anyway. It's a matter of things working out in my direction.

You've heard me say over and over you have to stay positive in competitive fishing. One day, one hour, one minute or one cast can change things. You've got to believe that. If you don't believe that, you'll quit every time you get behind by a couple of pounds. A positive mental attitude is everything.

Besides, the hawk is still on my shoulder yelling at me to get on the stick and start catching the big ones. He says this thing is far from over. He's pointing out that tomorrow is another day with new opportunities, opportunities I can take advantage of if I stay smart about my fishing. He's right, you know.

Never give up ...

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