Bad decisions make bad results

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Steve Bowman
Occasionally hooking up.

I’ve had a slow start, and it’s my own fault for making bad decisions.

My Florida tournament on the St. Johns River was horrible. I ended up in 95th place. A lot of the boats were in one area. If I counted right, there were 48 on them together at one point. I didn’t want to fish that so I went somewhere where there was more room.

I found such an area. I didn’t know it when I decided to keep going, but the reason there was more room where I ended up fishing was because there weren’t any big fish there. That’s called bad decision making. I should have gone into the crowd and mixed it up. There’s no other way to say it.

This last one on Winyah Bay was a little better, but I still didn’t make the cut. That was my goal. I thought if I could just survive that one I’d be in good shape for the rest of the year. It didn’t turn out that way.

It looks like most of the bass are being caught in the river. I didn’t want to make the 90 mile run, so I stayed relatively close to the launch, within 20 miles or so. My plan was to catch the smaller fish but still put together enough weight so that I’d make the cut on Friday night, get some Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year points, cash a check and live to fish another day.

I caught the small ones, sure enough. That part of the plan worked out. The problem was that I fell a few ounces short of my goals.

This is a sport about decision making. Almost everyone out there can catch them if they go to the right spots and plan their tournament time out correctly, but when you don’t do that you end up at the bottom of the standings. Professional bass fishing doesn’t forgive mistakes very often.

I caught a lot of fish in both tournaments. If I was fishing for fun, I’d have had a ball. But I wasn’t fishing for fun. I was fishing for weight. I didn’t get it. That put me behind the eight ball going into the rest of the year.

However, this is just the start of the year. It’s two down and seven to go. I’ve been here before. Winyah Bay was B.A.S.S. tournament number 266 for me. There will be another day. I’m hoping it’ll be at Bull Shoals/Norfork. I’ve done fairly well there over the years, so I’m thinking maybe I can turn things around there.

On the positive side — and one that’s more important, really — my health is solid. My lip has healed and there’s no sign of any cancer in it. And, my surgeries seem to have healed up fine. I’ve had two weeks of serious fishing with no problems. Last year I would have been hurting at this point. This year I’m not.  

I’ll get you another update after Bull Shoals and Wheeler Lake.