Since my last blog a whole lot has happened. Lets start with the most important thing and that’s my 10th place finish in the final PAA event on Lake Neely Henry in Alabama. That 10th place finish put me in 3rd overall in the AOY standings which qualified me for the Toyota Texas Bass Classic on Lake Conroe! I am so excited.
The tournament was a tough one. Summer time tournaments anywhere but the north are very difficult and you must remain focused even though its 100 degrees and very humid. That is a huge part of the mental and physical aspect of the sport that is often overlooked. Coming into the event I was nervous. I needed a good finish to qualify for the championship. At Neely Henry you can fish for spotted bass or largemouth and most people know I prefer largemouth. I found fish very shallow on rip rap banks during my practice. Many of my fish came on the Lucky Craft Gunfish 95 in the shad color and a few came on the LC 2 shallow crankbait. To get reaction fish it had to be low light or a little windy. When the sun got higher in the sky I flipped and pitched shade pockets with soft plastics. My first day went really well even though I only got 5 keepers at least they were good ones. That took a whole bunch of pressure off and the next two days I just went out and fished. I didn’t have a chance to win so I was happy just finishing where I did.
After the tournament I thought about driving back to Texas, but it has been so hot there that I made a much better decision and drove to Lake Champlain to get some pre-practice in for the upcoming FLW Open. I love Lake Champlain, it is such a good place to fish and you can go for smallmouth or largemouth, both can be winning fish. I fished four days total, two for largemouth and two for smallmouth and I found that the bite is as good as ever. While I was here the big hurricane passed through and delivered some good wind and rain to the area overall it rose the lake by almost three feet. It was pretty scary because I was around a lot of trees and I kept thinking one was going to fall on my boat, luckily they missed. I am happy I chose to come up here and I’ll be staying here until the tournament is over. The weather is really nice, even a little cold at night, but much better than the overwhelming heat at home.
Also this week the 2012 Elite Schedule was released. I am not really one to talk about whether it is good or bad, mostly because I’ll be fishing regardless and so it doesn’t matter that much to me. I am excited for the Mississippi River it should be really good and the mystery lake idea is neat. I was hoping we would have more tournaments and spread them out over 10 months because as a professional I want to fish as many tournaments as possible. With conflicts in the schedule it won’t be possible to fish both tours next year so that is also a bit disappointing. I just hope in the future the two organizations can come together and give us the opportunity to fish more events.
Wish me luck at Lake Champlain its going to be a lot of fun.