Digging a big hole on the Mississippi

The sixth stop on the FLW Tour took place last week on the Mississippi River, out of La Crosse, Wis.
When this event was announced on the schedule last year, I was excited because at only about nine hours away, it would be almost twice as close to home as any other that I have attended in five years of fishing the FLW Tour.
Getting the opportunity to fish up north generally is an advantage for me because the fish tend to act more like they do around home, so I feel like I can read the water a little better and hopefully make some good decisions on where to fish and what to use.
But as has been the theme over the past few months, things did not go my way last week and I wound up with my worst finish in more than two years, ending up in 102nd place.
After a good start to the 2017 season, cashing in the first two tournaments, I now have gone four events in a row without winning any money.
To make matters worse, I now have got myself sitting on the outside looking in on qualifying for the Forrest Wood Cup, the season-ending championship, with one event to go on the Potomac River in June.
We get points based on where we finish in each event and the top 35 anglers qualify for the Cup, which will take place in South Carolina in August.
After sitting comfortably inside the points cut-off all year, I now find myself in 41st place heading into the final event.
Thankfully, I still have a chance to make it, but I’m going to have to change my luck around and have a good tournament out at the Potomac–likely needing a top-30 finish to qualify.
Prior to our official practice for last week’s tournament, I spent three days fishing on Pool 4 of the Mississippi, just north of Pools 7, 8, and 9 where we had our tournament.
The fishing was really good on Pool 4 and I felt like spending a few days there would give me a good feel for fishing the river.
Then my practice for the tournament was not terrible although I failed at having options for the cold front we would be faced with and muddy water that came down the river because of heavy rains the day before the event started.
I have been doing this long enough to know that several options often are key to being successful in these events and knowing the weather forecast, I should have been smarter in my pre-fishing.
In the event, the areas I fished in the tournament either were busy with other anglers or were ruined by muddy water, so it turned into a grind. On second day, I only weighed in four fish, which cost me dearly in the points department because the weights were so tight in this tournament.
Pretty disappointing.
It’s nice to be home for a few weeks to enjoy the awesome fishing we have here, as well as spend some time with my friends and family. Hopefully, I can find a way to break out of this slump in the last tournament and get myself into the Forrest Wood Cup–my main goal for the season.
The consolation if I miss it is that I’ll get to fish the KBI in August, which is taking place on the same weekend.
I’m back to work this week doing a little bit of guiding, so look for my walleye, crappie, and lake trout fishing reports from Northwestern Ontario in next week’s column.