The Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open on the Red River is over. I have to say that I feel a lot better about the rest of the season now that it’s behind me. I had a strong first day, fell a little the second day and then helped myself the final day. When everything was said and done, I finished 8th.
What’s really important about the Red River Open, though, isn’t where I finished. It’s that I had fun fishing it. I actually enjoyed trying to find the bass and seeing if I could isolate the bigger ones. I was hungry. I wanted it. And it was made all the better because I didn’t have much practice time.
Because of my schedule — remember, I fished an Elite the week before on Bull Shoals — I only had about a day and a half to practice. That’s very little time. What I ended up doing was just trying to fish the moment. I didn’t have places marked and I certainly didn’t have a pattern isolated. I just tried to find a few bass and then tried harder to make them bite.
That’s really how you have to do it in the end. Fishing the moment is so easy to say, but so hard to do. You find stuff in practice and you want to go back to it so you can do the same thing over and over. But that doesn’t always work. Sometimes you have to do the thing or things that will catch you a fish right now and then worry about the next 15 minutes later. That’s real fishing, at least in my mind.
That’s pretty much what I intend to do on West Point. The last time we were there I didn’t do very well. As I recall, I finished somewhere in the middle of the pack, maybe even a little lower than that. As a practical matter, that means I have to start from scratch. (I know last time was almost the exact same time of year. I don’t care. This is a new tournament.)
My plan as of right now is to go to an area of the lake that I didn’t fish last time and start over. The idea is to try to find something that’s working at that moment and then try and figure out what they’ll be doing as things change throughout the week.
That strategy probably sounds a little strange coming from a guy who always wants two or three patterns going into an event. I suppose it is. But don’t forget that this has been the worst start in my professional career. Sometimes you have to shake things up to change them. I definitely need to change things.
I’m in a little bit of a hole as I write this but I’m far from down and out. Based on what I’ve seen in the past, if I can earn a couple of Top 30 finishes, I’ll be fine. Add a Top 10 into that and I’ll be in even better shape. If I win one, I’m home free.