It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog, although it seems like the last one was just yesterday. This season has flown by, and I finally have some down time before the last stop on the FLW Tour at Lake Champlain. This Tour season has been full of ups and downs, and I’ve learned a lot.
One of the biggest things I’ve learned is to not let the past affect your future.
I started the year with what we like to call “the bomb” – and that’s not a good thing. At Rayburn, I completely missed the bus and finished around 150th (I really don’t know; I want to forget it). It was off to Florida from there, and I got a check. Although I thought I could do a lot better, I just couldn’t put two days together. Then, to Seminole and Grand, and I really like both lakes. Once again, I had a good day and a bad day, which put me in the 70s at each of those events.
Not only was I 90th in Angler of the Year points, but I was frustrated with myself. In 2018, I had the best year of my career and fished by my gut. In 2019, I can’t put together two good days in a row, and I wasn’t trusting my gut. It was almost like I was letting Rayburn haunt me. I couldn’t get over it.
I needed to hit the reset button.
That reset was turkey hunting. It’s something I’ve always loved to do, and it gives me a chance to get away from guiding and fishing in tournaments and just relax. Although the early part of my tournament season didn’t treat me good, I got to clear my head for a few days in the woods and mentally get ready for Cherokee.
Cherokee was a lake I’ve never seen before, but, according to my research, it fit the way I like to fish. In practice, I fell in love with the lake. Catching big smallmouths never gets old. After two days of the tournament I made the top-30 cut. On day three, however, my game plan wasn’t working. But this would be the day that changed my season. I scratched plan A and plan B, trusted my gut, had my best day of the tournament and almost made the top 10. Plus, I got a good check and moved from 98th to 78th in points.
Next up was the Tennessee River. Being from Guntersville, I love the Tennessee River, and I really love Lake Chickamauga. I got my first T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) Super Tournament win on Chickamauga, so to say I was excited for that tournament would be an understatement. I also love fishing offshore, and the bass were just starting to move offshore, so things were looking good.
In practice, I wasn’t getting many bites, but I was doing what I love to do and trusting my instincts. It led to my best tournament of the year, finishing in seventh – and guess what? It moved me into the cut for the FLW Cup by climbing to 38th in points.
I could have dwelled on the first few tournaments and being in bad shape in points – but I didn’t. I rode the roller coaster of tournament fishing, and now I’m looking forward to Champlain. The last derby will decide my Cup future. But, I have given myself a chance to qualify, and that’s all I can ask for. I look forward to trusting my gut and having fun at one of the best lakes in the country.
Hopefully the next blog is about getting ready for Hot Springs, Ark., and the FLW Cup!