A break from tournaments

Some people might think that when a professional fishermen gets a break from tournament scene he’ll try to get away from the sport. Well, that may be true now and then; I mean, a lot of us like to hunt in the fall and go places with our families. But there’s a big difference between competitive fishing and casual fishing, so when this sport is your life, you never really get tired of it.

This is just part of what we do. So whether it’s with my parents or with friends, we’re going to fish in some form or fashion. It may be catfishing, bream fishing, crappie fishing; we’re going to do something.

I thought about this during my Memorial Day weekend trip with my fiancee Kenzie, my son Troy and a few other families. We went up to a buddy’s place on Lake Secession and spent a lot of time on a pontoon boat.

I like to be prepared no matter what type of fishing I’m doing, but this time around, that didn’t require anything more than a minnow bucket, a cricket bucket and a few spare hooks and corks.

The other big difference is the fishing schedule, well, let’s just say it wasn’t nearly as demanding as an Elite event. When you have nine kids with you, there are no early mornings. You go when they’re ready to go.

The kids mostly wanted to go boat riding, but we did get them on some fish here and there. I got a kick out of watching them enjoy the sport I love, but it doesn’t take long to figure out that the way a professional fisherman treats a productive spot is very different from the way a bunch of kids treat one.

We had them catching crappie over a brush pile and one minute, they’re all focused on fishing and the next minute, one of them bails out and the rest of them follow him into the water.

Before we knew it, they were all splashing around right over that brush pile. I have to say, that’s not the way I treat a good spot, but when you have kids in the boat, you just have to roll with it and let them do what they want.

There’s plenty of time to get serious about fish, and I’ll be switching over to that mindset here shortly. We’ll be heading to the next Elite event on the Sabine River soon and that’s a fishery that will test us and really make us work for those bites.

When this event was postponed from its original dates back in early April, it was a little bit of a letdown because we had gotten ourselves ready to take on this Texas fishery. But I think the rescheduling is going to make this event even better because we’ll be past the spawn.

When you go to the Sabine River in the spring, the fish are all up in the backwaters; there are hardly any fish on the main river because of rain, high water and muddy water. But these summer dates will open up more of the fishery. We can’t fish Louisiana waters, which is a big part of it, but at least we won’t be confined to the backwaters.

I think it should be a pretty good event — maybe even as good as crickets and slip corks.