Cracking the code

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Shane Durrance

Consistency is a funny thing; a lot of times, you can be consistent until you’re not. In fishing, you can be doing the right things, but there are things you can’t explain and some that will trick you. It’s a humbling sport, and every time you think you have a line on things, you can sure get humbled quickly.

The first half of my season was decent and, fortunately, I got enough points to keep myself in the Bassmaster Classic range. I kind of expected to have high finishes in the last couple of events, but that really hasn’t materialized. 

I’ve had one big day and one bad day, or one bad day and one big day. I just haven’t put anything together, so that consistency that I have enjoyed from time to time hasn’t been there.

The variables are numerous, but sometimes, things simply don’t go right for you and you have to make an educated guess on what you expect the fish to do, how they’ll behave and how they’ll respond to a weather change. Sometimes, you can’t crack the code or reconnect with what you had going. 

I had some of that, and I had some instances I couldn’t explain where the fish are there one day and gone the next. This was the case for me on the St. Lawrence River. I caught them really good the second day, but on the first day, I fished multiple places where I’d caught 4-pounders in practice, but I couldn’t find them.

I think this was an example of how sometimes, fish move and sometimes, your timing is a little off.

The same thing happened at Cayuga. I caught a really big bag the first day, and I felt good that the type of fishing I was doing was a good way to catch them after a cold front. I believed in my plan, but for whatever reason, I wasn’t able to catch them.

Last week at Lake Tenkiller, I made a bad decision to fish for the shallow fish because I watched the trend of falling water and the fish continued to bite shallow. They seemed unaffected by the falling water. At first, I did not think this would have been the right direction and that would have been accurate.

However, considering how long the water had been dropping and the fact that the fish continued to bite in practice, I thought it was not affecting them since they had been on that trend for so long. Unfortunately, the fish finally moved out and that happened on the first day of the tournament.

While my gut told me that this would probably be the case, I let them trick me into thinking that it wasn’t going to happen because they kept biting. Also, with rain coming, I thought that, even if Day 2 was tough, Day 3 would be fine if the water came up a little. It just didn’t work out that way.

It’s definitely not the way I had hoped the season would end, but that makes me realize why it’s so important to do all that you can do to control the parts of the game that you can control. The truth about fishing is that sometimes, things go wrong in ways you cannot predict and how you respond defines who you are as a professional.

For me, the bottom line is that I’m very thankful that I get to fish on the Bassmaster Elite Series. To be able to call that my profession is a real blessing.

Looking ahead to this week’s Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship, I think I only need to weigh in one fish to remain in the Classic. So, as disappointing as my last few events have been, I just have to be thankful that it looks very good for me to be in next year’s Classic.