Keeping us on our toes

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Jamie Hartman, 20th, 57-11
James Overstreet

There’s no question back-to-back tournaments keep us on our toes. This week is no different as we trade the smallmouth of the St. Lawrence River for largemouth on Lake Cayuga. If you ask me, there are definitely ups and downs to fishing two Elite events in a row — starting with the preparation.

It’s not so challenging when we fish similar venues, but this time, it’s two totally different fisheries. I got myself ahead of the game before going to the St. Lawrence by packing two completely different sets of tackle — one for smallmouth, one for largemouth. 

After I left the St. Lawrence, I completely gutted my boat and reloaded it with all the stuff I think I may need for Cayuga. I had already rigged every rod for this week so it was an easy transition because I was prepared for it. If you’re not prepared for these changes, then you’re scrambling and trying to get your gear ready, but I knew about how I was going to fish Cayuga, so I had everything ready to go.

In addition to the packing challenges, back-to-back tournaments can obviously lead to fatigue. That’s why it’s critical to keep yourself on as much of a regular sleep schedule as possible. 

This important because as long as you don’t get worn down, you get into a roll when you’re fishing back-to-back tournaments. I guess that’s what I consider the upside of this schedule — you basically stay in the tournament mindset, and you carry that momentum into the next event.

I know that, in the past, when we’ve had two in a row, it did help me stay in that mode. You get to where you don’t want to think about anything else but what you’re doing.

As far as this week’s outlook, Cayuga looks good. The junky grass has kinda died off and the good stuff is coming in. The fish are really healthy, and I think you’re going to see some good weights. This is good to know because I need to have a good finish on Cayuga.

Considering how my season started, with two really bad events, I’m happy that I’ve salvaged it. I was way back in the points, like 60 something, and now I’m sitting in 16th place.

After I bombed in the beginning, my goal was to just get back in the swing of things. I’m getting more comfortable, but I want to really nail this one so I’ll be sitting okay for what will probably be one of the toughest tournaments we’re going to see on Fort Gibson.

But I’m not going to let my thoughts get too far down the road. For one thing, I have to focus on this week’s priorities. On a personal note, I just enjoy fishing up here.

The Northern Swing is awesome. The fishing up here is incredible, and we see it every time we come. You don’t see guys struggling, you just see darn good bags and a lot of guys raving about how much fun it is. It’s straight-up awesome.