Redemption down in Texas

Heading into the third FLW Tour stop of the season this past weekend at the Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Texas, I have to admit I was feeling a little bit of pressure to put up a good finish.
My results in the first two events were not good—finishing in the triple digits at both.
With social media and the Internet, it’s easy for everybody to follow along with these events. The support I get from everybody up north is incredible, but I also feel some pressure to do well for everyone back home.
Having fished a tournament at this lake in October, 2012, I had an idea of the areas I wanted to check out and what I wanted to do.
I arrived in Texas the day before our practice started to very nice 20 C weather. But the first morning of practice, the wind started blowing out of the north and the temperature dropped significantly.
It never fails when we show up for these big tournaments that the weather does whatever we don’t want it to do!
Over the three-day practice period, I ended up catching and finding some big fish. In fact, it probably was the best practice I’ve ever had for one of these FLW events so I was excited for the tournament.
We get three days to practice for these tournaments, then there is a day off for all the anglers before the tournament starts. On the day off, the wind started blowing very strong from the south, which was not what I wanted to see.
I had three really good areas where I was catching my fish—and they all were exposed to the south wind. This would drop the water temperatures in these areas and it would muddy up the water, which was not going to help the fishing.
When I’m pre-fishing, I try to cover as many angles as I can to be prepared for any type of weather and I tried to for this derby. But I just could not find anything beyond what I did.
The first day of the tournament, the wind continued to blow and it really hurt the places I was fishing. I managed to catch only four keeper fish the first day, which weighed 8.7 pounds.
I was very disappointed because my last two days of practice, I would have been able to weigh more than 20 pounds each day.
Heading out for Day 2, I was really at a low point mentally. I felt like I couldn’t catch a break and it was starting to really hurt my decision-making on the water (so much of tournament fishing is making the right calls during the day and I was starting to second-guess everything I was doing).
About my fifth cast into the morning, a fish hit my bait and I set the hook—knowing immediately whatever I hooked up with was big. After a short battle, my co-angler partner netted a seven-and-a-half pound bass, which is the biggest I’ve ever caught in a tournament.
I caught it on a Jackall TN70 lipless rattle bait.
This single fish changed my whole outlook of my day and I was able to catch four more small keepers to round out my limit.
Since the wind had ruined my main fishing areas, it essentially turned into scramble mode for me to catch my fish.
My Day 2 weight of 13.7 pounds moved me up to 69th place and into the money, so I was very happy. These events have 175 anglers competing and they pay down to 85th spot.
Though 69th place is not a great finish, I was very happy with the comeback I was able to make and hopefully it will get me back on track for the rest of the season.
This week, I’m spending a few days fun fishing in Texas before heading to Beaver Lake, Ark. for the fourth stop on the FLW Tour next week.
Then after that, I get to head home for a while, which I’m looking forward to!
Hopefully the snow starts to melt soon!