If I only knew

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Chris Mitchell

This is the year for a big decision on my part, one that could change the course of my career. It’s no secret that my competitive fishing has been inconsistent. In some tournaments I do fairly well, but then in others I crash and burn. I know why I do that but I’m not so sure how to fix it.

We’ll deal with the why first. 

I have a strong belief that I should “swing for the fences.” I know that’s a cliché in the bass fishing world but in my case it’s absolutely true. When I practice I look for the winning bass. If I find decent keepers, but I don’t think they’re big enough to win, I stop fishing for them and move along.

The theory is that you can’t win a Bassmaster Elite Series tournament any other way, and with me I’m really gunning for that first Elite win. It’s OK to finish strong and make a good showing. But, that’s not a win, and for sponsors and fans first place is what it’s all about. The thing is, though, I haven’t won one so I’m in the position of going for broke but then going broke — not financially but tournament finish wise. 

There’s another way to look at it, however. A season is made up of several tournaments, not one. If you can’t find the big ones, you can always break out a spinning rod, rig a drop shot and hopefully catch five keepers. Sometimes that’ll get you a check and it’ll always get you Toyota Angler of the Year points. 

Some guys do that. I haven’t. It’s not for me, or at least hasn’t been up to this point. I’m not criticizing anyone for their strategy. It just hasn’t been what I’ve wanted to do with my career. 

That’s the thinking that has me looking forward to the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Elite at Sabine River presented by Econo Lodge. I’m really up for this next one. I’m hoping that it’ll be the tournament that starts the end of my inconsistency. As far as I can tell it’ll be a power fishing event. That’s right up my alley. I like to pitch and flip and I love fishing a frog.

But that’s how I’m thinking as of right now. When practice starts things could change and I’ll almost certainly have to make other decisions besides what technique to use. One of them will be whether to make long runs or fish close to home. 

I’d rather fish close but if I have to make a long run I can do it. I have a good, solid boat and it’s powered by a Suzuki 250SS that’ll get me to and from anywhere in a hurry, and it won’t burn a lot of gas doing it. 

Anyway, here’s where I’m at: I’ve either got to start winning one every now and then, or I have to upgrade my spinning tackle. If I only knew…

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