I’ll admit, I was disappointed with my last two Elite tournaments. After starting the season with three top 20s, including the Classic and a top 30 finish, I was off to good start. Things just didn’t turn out like I expected at Santee Cooper Lakes and Lay Lake.
I had a really good practice at Santee Cooper Lakes, and I thought I was going to catch them, I just didn’t. Everything felt right in the tournament; I was confident. It just didn’t work out.
At Lay Lake, I think I just picked the wrong end of the lake. No one really caught ‘em down where I fished. Obviously, I fished there for a reason, but my fish didn’t turn on during the tournament. I never made the right move to fix what I did, and both days, I struggled.
In tournament fishing, you have to be confident in your decisions, whether it’s a bait or making a long run to an area of the lake. I did that at Santee Cooper Lakes and Lay Lake. I made a big run to a certain area, and I kind of had all my eggs in one basket.
At the end of the day, you have to be confident in what you’re doing, but you have to know when to make a decision to get out of there. I just didn’t do that, and it cost me.
With both of these events, I wouldn’t consider what I did a gamble. It wasn’t like I was running 100 miles. I thought I could catch them in the areas I ran to, and it just didn’t happen.
Of course, I’m not okay with how I performed, but I’m not going to let these two disappointments hinder the rest of my season. My confidence is still sky high. I had two bad events, but I feel like I can go win the next four.
Of course, learning from your mistakes is how you continually grow as an angler, and I can see that, at Lay Lake, I definitely did not look at enough of the lake. I got zoned in on one little area I thought I could build around, but I left a large area of the lake unpracticed.
The good thing is I have history on all of the last four tournament waters. I’m super confident in my abilities, my equipment and my sponsors, and I’m ready to go — I’m ready for some redemption.
The next one up is the Sabine River in my home state of Texas, and I’m looking forward to that one. The Sabine gets a lot of negativity, but it’s actually a good fishery. Every tributary is full of fish; they’re just not all giants.
I like this river. It’s going to be a little later in the year than when we were there in 2021, so we’ll probably see a lot more main river/current related stuff play. I think it’s going to be a pretty good event, and you can bet that I’ll be fishing for the win.