My first three tournaments this year have been ugly. That’s a fact. I don’t have any excuses, and I’m not going to make any. I think they’re the three worst tournaments of my career, and they’ve happened in the same year back-to-back-to-back.
There are two issues that I think are related. The first one is that I’ve lost fish that would have made a big difference. Everybody does that, I know. But this year the price has been especially high. Without getting into all of the details if I’d landed them things would look different. My season still wouldn’t have been great, but I wouldn’t be at the bottom either.
One in particular really hurt. I hooked a 7-pounder on Toledo Bend. She jumped off. It hurt. That’s when I just about lost it. It was then when I just wanted to call my momma. At that point I wanted to break my rod, but I accidentally shut my rod locker lid on it and broke it by accident. I didn’t even get the pleasure of breaking it myself.
I don’t think my hooksets are right. I’m out of position. It seems like I’m making my own problems by not driving the hook home quickly enough or hard enough.
That might be caused by too much practice time shaking fish off. I think what’s been happening is that I’ve gotten into the habit of not setting the hook. In practice I want the fish to get off. That’s the idea. But if that gets to be a habit…
My plan at this point is to break that habit by fishing every chance I get between now and the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Elite at Ross Barnett in Mississippi. I fully intend to drive the hook home on every bass that’s unfortunate enough to bite my lure. I think maybe if I can get that going everything will work out in the end.
When I say all of that, though, it’s important to keep in mind that I’ve had five good years when they didn’t come unbuttoned or jump off. They came right to the boat so that I could put them in the livewell and weigh them. Five good years against three bad tournaments — I’ll take those odds.
I’m in a hole now, but the year’s not over. There’s still a lot of bass fishing to be done in 2017. My intention is to take full advantage of it.
I don’t want to be in the cellar. It’s not my idea of a good time. And in some ways it hurts. At the same time, though, I refuse to let it ruin my day, my week, my month, my year or my life. My worth as a man and husband and father is not tied to how many fish I catch. It’s tied to my relationship with Christ and with those around me.
I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter holiday.