Life on the road is mostly fun

I write my column this week from the shores of Lake Fork, Tex.—one of the most famous bass fisheries in the world.
I left Kenora on Sept. 12 to fish in the FLW Tour bass tournament at Wheeler Lake, Ala. I’m taking in two events on this trip, with the final FLW Tour Open of 2012 taking place next week at the Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Texas.
Anglers are allowed to hit the water on Rayburn to begin practicing this Sunday (Oct. 7).
After the event at Wheeler, in which I finished in 33rd place, I stuck around for a few days to do some more fishing there. I fun fished, trying to learn the water a little more and figure out what I could have done differently in the tournament to improve my catch.
I was able to expand my pattern of fishing shallow points and coves with rattle baits, and found a few more areas that held fish.
The problem with what I was doing was it was producing good numbers, but not enough big fish to be a contender to win the tournament.
The eventual tournament winner at Wheeler smoked the rest of the field. After the event, he revealed he was fishing in deep water and had found a couple of small humps and ledges that were holding schools of fish.
The last day that I fished on Wheeler, I finally found an area that was holding a school of big bass in deep water. I could catch three- and four-pound fish literally at will with deep diving crankbaits and three-quarter oz. football head jigs that I would crawl along the bottom.
These are different techniques than we typically use at home in Sunset Country, so it was fun to catch bass on something I’m not used to throwing.
Since we only are allowed to practice for these FLW tournaments for three days before the event starts, I had to fish at a different lake this week and that’s what brought me to Lake Fork.
It’s only a couple of hours away from Rayburn and it’s a similar type of lake—a man-made reservoir with trees still standing in the water from when they made the lake in the 1970s.
It’s also one of the best big bass lakes in the world.
In Texas, they have a program called Share-A-Lunker. Anglers who catch bass topping 13 pounds can put them in their livewell and bring them in to Texas fisheries biologists, who take the fish and use them to produce bass with top-notch genetics that are stocked in lakes across the state.
In 20 or so years that the program has been active, there have been about 400 bass entered and more than 250 of them have come from Lake Fork!
This week has been fun because my fiancé, August, is down visiting me. We’re staying at a nice resort on Fork and fun fishing.
And so far we’ve been having fun. The weather hasn’t been perfect—it’s been really windy—but we’ve found a few big bass in the five- and six-pound range.
It’s always fun to fish new water, especially when your next cast could produce a bass over 10 pounds!
Life on the road has been good for the most part. With Internet and e-mail, it’s easy to stay in touch with everything else that I do—from writing to arranging guide trips for future dates to keeping my sponsors happy.
Since I’ve been living out of a hotel for the past two weeks, I’ve not been eating the best food. It’s been entirely restaurant dinners. As such, I’m ready for some good home-cooking from Mom!
I’ve also done a lot of driving. The 25-hour drive to Alabama and the 26-hour ride home from Texas are the main reason I decided to stay down south in between these events. It’s just too far to drive back and fourth.
Next year I’m planning to fish the FLW Tour and since all the events are taking place during the winter and spring, I’m working at lining up some places to leave my boat so I can fly home between events.

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