The Quest to Be Elite: Part 3

Read Part 1 and Part 2 of "The Quest to Be Elite"


Jamie Laiche told the story of his motor issues at the Kentucky Lake Open on the weigh-in stand on the first day of the tournament. His catch totaled just 6 pounds, 4 ounces, putting him in 92nd place — not even close to what he'd hoped for."I had the worst day I've had since I've been here," he told the crowd. "The fish just weren't biting for me, I guess it was the bluebird skies, and I stuck with my pattern too long, I was hard-headed. By 11:30 I just abandoned everything, switched and caught those three and didn't have enough time to put more together.

 "It kind of messed me up. I think it got in my mind a little bit, and my head just wasn't right. And I lost my hat first thing this morning, I don't care who you are, that doesn't do you any good when you're running down the lake."

 Although Laiche is superstitious, the loss of the hat was just another sign of a day gone wrong.

 "It's just been a bad day. I can foresee catching 17 to 20 pounds tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it."Still in a borrowed boat, Laiche launched Friday morning. He was almost 13 pounds behind the 19-15 that's leading the tournament.

 His check-in time on Day 2 is 4 p.m. When he weighs in, he's got a limit weighing 11-14.

 "I had a lot better day today. I was a lot more calm, took my time," he said on the weigh-in stand. "I had a wonderful practice, but I still do not know what happened to my fish. I'd like to come back again and do a whole lot better. I just hope I keep up in the points."

It doesn't take long to determine that he would not make the Top 30 cut. Jamie Laiche's tournament is over, but he did recover from 92nd place to move up into a tie for 50th. He ended up dropping seven places in the points standings, from 10th to 17th. Fortunately, there's still one tournament to go, on Lake Texoma, Oct. 30-Nov. 1.

 Ironically, on Friday while Laiche was on the lake, C&O Marine was able to find the problem with his Yamaha motor. It was a cracked O-ring on the low-fuel pressure pump. The technician said it was one of the oddest breakdowns he'd ever seen. The repair fell under his engine's warranty.

 On Friday night, Laiche had a good grasp of where he'd gone wrong. A lot of Day 1's woes stemmed from just being tired — exhausted, actually.

 "I didn't get back until 1 o'clock in the morning from going to get the borrowed boat. I was already exhausted, and I didn't have everything I wanted prepared, so I had to do that when I got back. So all in all, I was up until 2 in the morning. Naturally I didn't get a good night's sleep because I was just wound up.


"The second day I was fully refreshed. The water had dropped some more, and the fish I was catching moved again, but I was able to make decisions and think straight. I started trying different things, and I ended up catching them on a spinnerbait. I really hadn't been catching hardly anything on a spinnerbait in practice. They had really wanted a topwater.

 I did lose one really good fish, but that might not have gotten me into the cut. I lost it because my line broke. I had re-spooled with new line, a brand new spool of line. The fish hit, I set the hook, I pulled it out of the grass, and my line popped."You can't afford to do that.

 "I had a phenomenal practice, but I had too much misfortune to really do well. I was happy with drawing a check, but all in all, when I see the 21 pounds-something (21-8) that made the cut, I get sick to my stomach, because I was catching that, I feel like, with ease, with my eyes closed, every day of practice.

 "I started running a totally different pattern, once I did that, and I caught another keeper after that, I started running the shallows and pulled out right at 12 pounds. So that's the kind of thing you have to do in a tournament to be successful, and your mind has to be right to do it, and my mind wasn't right the first day. I'm not trying to make excuses. That's part of the game. I just have to get better at that. If it ever happens again, I have to learn how to overcome it.

 "Nothing's changed. I'm 100 percent committed to pursuing this dream. What happened is something I have to learn to overcome. I still want to make the Top 10 and get a chance to fish the Elites."

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