Tough going

My practice has been tough. Basically Monday and Tuesday were a waste. I didn't develop anything that will help me when the competition starts. Kentucky Lake is a great fishery, but that greatness has a drawback. You need big bass — bigger than average — to do any good here. Finding fish isn't enough. That's not what this is about.

Catching fish is easy. All you have to do is go fishing. (Yes, this lake really is that good.) The thing is you have to find the bigger ones, and with the 15-inch length limit that's not as easy as it sounds. There's no such thing as getting a small limit and then culling up one bass at a time. No, you have to have quality fish from the get-go.

That's not to say they aren't here. They sure are. It's just that the lake suffers from an extraordinary amount of pressure and that pressure takes a toll on us — anglers and fish alike. Everybody knows how and where everyone else is fishing. A lot of the places have become community holes.

Wednesday was better. I finally got something going later in the day. The question is, will it be good enough to make the weight I'll need, and will it hold up? As you can tell, I'm worried about that. If I wasn't I wouldn't be talking about it the way I am.

This is a tough life. From the outside it looks like we all just go fishing. That's not the way it is, I'll guarantee you that. I'm a nervous wreck just thinking about tomorrow morning. That's when it's all on the line. There's no talking your way around a bad day at the weigh-in.

That big, bad hawk I talk about all the time — the one that sits on my shoulder telling me to go for the big win — is squawking. He's saying, "Ike you'd better find some fish and find them quick. If you don't, it's going to be a long two days out there. That first cut is a big one. You'll never see Friday, or a check, at this rate."

Sometimes I love that bird. He tells me exactly what I want to hear. Other times I'm thinking he could be a little more polite. You know, there's more than one way to tell the truth. Maybe I should send him to a sensitivity training class of some sort, make him more respectful of my feelings. Or maybe I could scare him if I threatened to replace him with the little consistency parakeet.

Anyway, you never know about these things until the competition starts. There are a lot of great anglers out there, but we're all human. Things happen. I'll keep fishing, and doing my best, until time runs out. You know the drill — never give up!