Tough finish on Eufaula for me

The fourth stop on the 2013 FLW Tour took place this past weekend at Alabama’s Lake Eufaula.
My dad travelled south with me for this event to help me practice, and he also participated in the co-angler division of the tournament.
After the weather got us the previous weekend on Lake Michigan, I was excited to start over and have a good tournament.
Our practice went pretty good considering this was a lake we had never seen before. I actually didn’t really look at a map of the lake until I arrived—my plan was to just fish whatever I felt looked right at this lake and go with it.
Sometimes I think I get too caught up in what others say I should be doing, rather than what my gut tells me to do on the water at these new lakes.
We launched the boat and we were catching fish within the first hour, so that was positive.
Over three days of practice, we figured out a couple of different patterns—fishing crankbaits on main lake points and fishing docks with soft plastics. On the third day of practice, we caught a few really good fish in the afternoon and that was the area I decided I would fish during the tournament.
The first day started out slow for me, but I stuck with what I was doing and put some decent fish in the boat. Late in the day, I tried a stretch of shallow weeds and caught my two biggest fish of the day—both between three and four pounds.
My co-angler on Day 1 caught a five-pounder late, as well, so I felt like I ended the day strong and had some good options to fish on Day 2.
My weight of 13 pounds, six oz. on Day 1 landed me in 38th place and within range of the top 20, which would have given me a chance to fish the third day.
My co-angler on Day 1, meanwhile, had more than 15 pounds and was leading the tournament.
He was fortunate and landed a couple of big fish that carried him to a second-place finish in the tournament. He was a really good angler who definitely taught me a few things!
On Day 2, I went out with as much confidence as I have ever had in one of these big events that I was going to have a great day. I got to my area and started the day with a few smaller fish that didn’t make the 14-inch minimum to keep.
I then got on the shallow stretch where I caught the big fish late on Day 1 and missed a couple of big blow-ups on my topwater frog.
At the time I was okay because I felt like the fish were there and hopefully they would bite better as the day went on and things warmed up. But after a while, I still didn’t have a keeper in the boat.
I have no idea why it was so tough because the conditions were very similar to Day 1 but I just couldn’t put a keeper fish in the boat.
At around lunch time, I finally caught a keeper fish, which took a little bit of pressure off. And I still was confident that I was going to be able to put something together and catch some fish.
I ran around the lake trying different techniques, but time was not my friend. It’s amazing how fast the day goes by when you don’t catch any fish.
By the time my 4 p.m. check-in time arrived, I only had one fish to show for it and that’s what I weighed in. I ended up dropping to 91st place out of the 156-boat field.
It was a pretty humbling day on the water, especially since I had so much confidence heading out that I was going to have a good day. The worst part was that I only needed to catch nine pounds to finish in the top 50 and win $10,000.
Simply put, that’s fishing. I move on to the next lake and move forward. I still had a great week fishing with my dad and had fun competing against the best bass anglers in the world.
Meanwhile, it sounds like the ice finally is off our water at home in Sunset Country, so I’m happy that everybody now can get out in the boat!
Enjoy the open water!