• Josh

Humbling

The last regular season event of the year was on Lake Lewisville in Texas. If anyone looked at the BASS Opens results and standings, you could tell that it was a tough event and tough lake to fish. Many guys--professional and aspiring professionals--were humbled by this event, as fishing is one of the most humbling sports there is.


Going into practice I was expecting to get on the traditional fall pattern, which is throwing spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, small crankbaits/ squarebills in hopes of catching the fish running their seasonal fall/winter-type migration routes towards the backs of the creeks. I had been watching the weather leading up to the event and although cool weather was forecasted, it had warmed up the week and half prior to the tournament. When I got to Texas and started the first day of practice, the wind was blowing 25-30 mph with gusts up to 40 mph. So, to never have been on the lake before, the wind limited the way I could practice. Halfway through the first day of practice, I could tell that Lake Lewisville was just a different lake. There wasn’t any cover in the water and the lake was two feet down,so there wasn't much to visually target.


I had to begin looking at the banks for rock and wood structures that came off the bank that I thought might run under the water a bit. The first day of practice I was able to land 3 keeper bites--and that gave me some hope moving into the second practice day that I could build on what I had learned. On day two I tried to run some of what I learned from Day 1, but I only had a few short bites, no keeper bites. Discouraging--but two days left of practice. Third day, the wind was dying down and I had hoped I could move around better--moved offshore some but still was only able to catch short fish. My confidence for the event was slowly fading. I went into this final Bass Open 7th in points in hopes of qualifying for the Elite Series and thought all I needed was a top 20 finish. But 3 days into practice, I still was trying to figure out how to catch a bag of keeper fish. Tuesday I tried to fish a different pattern and fish deep and caught fish but just one keeper. On Tuesday night, I decided to forgo the half day of Wednesday practice and get my tackle ready--and fish from my gut on Thursday, the first day of the tournament.


Thursday came, went with my gut and what I thought I needed to do, the wind blew 30 mph and it made the fishing difficult. Come weigh in time, I had zero. About as humbling as fishing can be; a zero in a major tournament after you've worked all year long to get in position to qualify for the Elites, which has been a dream of mine since I was a little boy. The whole day on Thursday I felt the dream slowly slipping away. I’m thankful I had my family there that week and at the end of the day; it always makes me happy to see my family there at the ramp at the end of the day, whether I have a livewell full of fish or it’s empty. I knew that night going into the last day of the tournament that I was going to have to “swing for the fences.” I started Friday on new water that I had not fished in practice, and on Friday morning the first fish I caught was a 6.5 lber which was a good start to the day! I stayed in that area the entire day on Friday and ground out 3 more keepers, for a total of 12.11 lbs. I moved from, essentially, last in the throunament to 51st.


As the old saying--or maybe it’s what Mike Iaconelli screams all the time, “Never give up!” And I feel like that’s what I did--I fought to the end even with a zero on Thursday. I just put my head down going into Friday and did the best I could do and finished with almost 13 lbs. Even as challenging as the tournament was, I only fell to 8th in points and I still have an outside chance at making the Elites. I think that's a valuable lesson,putting your head down,working hard to give your best, and never giving up,and things can still work out. It's a waiting game,there is still one Open left for the Eastern Opens. If Kenta Kimura has a good event at Lay Lake,and moves up from 7th in points in the overall AOY for the Opens to the Top 5, I will get an invite to the Elites for 2021. So, we are keeping our fingers crossed for that and if not, we will be fishing the MLF Big 5 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit (formerly FLW Pro tour) and the Opens again. So either way, we have a lot to look forward to and as I write this blog, I’m on my way to the Cumberland River for the Toyota Series Championship where there is much on the line. Adverse conditions ahead--no surprise there with so much adversity in 2020 and we’ve had to weather a good bit of that. We are going into Cumberland with some hope and excitement!




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