Itching to go Fishing

I’m still finishing up the final details of my tackle prep for the year. I’ve spent three weeks, eight hours a day doing it, and I’m getting down to the last of it.

I’ve gone through every box and replaced broken ones, replaced all of the hooks that need replacing, and ordered some new trick stuff to give me an edge. I also spooled up my Steez Flippin’ Sticks and Frog Rods with Daiwa Samurai Braid and the rest of my rods with Maxima Fluorocarbon or Ultragreen, and am ready to go.

Some people ask why I spool my reels up so early, but they sit in my house waiting to go, which is a steady temperature. Besides, I’ll use the line on them for practice, and change most of them again for tournament days.

I fly out Friday to head to Flippin, Ark. to pick up my new Z521 Ranger, and once I do that I have some decisions to make. I’m still deciding if I’m going to go fish the FLW Lake Shasta Everstart tournament that starts January 13. I’d mainly do it to put my new Ranger and Yamaha SHO through its paces, break it in and get it ready for the tour season.

But, if I’m being honest; I’m itching to fish a tournament – bad.

The Everstart gives me a good chance to cash a good check, or $35,000 if I win. Shasta’s the kind of lake that anyone can win, it’s all about being there when they’re biting, and I bet there will be a swimbait bite up there.

But, that’s where the decision making process comes into play, not on tournament strategy, but on travel plans. If I fish Shasta, I’d have to leave the Lake, get home for a day to pack up for the tour season. Then I’d head to Phoenix to get my Cocoons wrap installed at Liquid Wraps.

I’d leave my truck and boat there and fly home to work the Sacramento ISE show for Team Bass Adx and Ranger Boats. After a couple days at the show, I’ll fly back to Phoenix, pick up the rig and head to Florida for the first FLW Tour Open on Lake Okeechobee that starts February 3.

It would be a really busy couple of weeks, but it’s all about fishing and making money, so I gotta go where the paydays are; it’s what I do.

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Getting Ready for the Season

2010 was a learning year for me. Don’t get me wrong, I learn on the water all the time, but I learned a lot about myself and my style as a fisherman.

I learned that I fished Elite Series and FLW Tour events in different ways. Not that I was saying either one of them was any more important than the other to me. I’m in this business to build a career and make money; lots of money is the goal, in fact one of my mottos is, “I wanna be rich.” The Elite Series and the FLW Tour both give me a chance to win a hundred grand at each tournament, and I think about them both the same way – win and I’m closer to my goals.

What I found that was a difference was that I practiced differently for Elite Series and FLW events, mainly because I had the time to over think the B.A.S.S. schedule, and had to fish my strengths more in my FLW events because I didn’t have as much time to prepare.

There were times in the Elite’s that I put extra pressure on myself by getting out of my comfort zone, or by just putting extra pressure on myself. One of those times was at the Delta and Clear Lake, because they are my home waters; I really wanted to do well at home, and I didn’t.

What that meant was I started out low, and couldn’t recover throughout the season. I climbed up to 37th in the standings at one point, but finished a disappointing 60th in the points.

What was different for me on FLW was I didn’t have the time to do anything other than fish my strengths. I would roll into town and pick up my Daiwa Steez Flippin’ Stick, Frog rod or Swimbait rod and do what I do best; Flip Frog and throw a swimbait. I finished sixth in the FLW Tour Points and was in contention to win two events.

It’s time for me to get back to what I do best – Flippin’ Froggin’ and Swimbaitin’

So, with that in mind, I’m in the garage now, putting all of the other stuff behind me except for the important stuff, and getting my stuff ready. I’ve replaced all of the baits that need replacing, put new bait holder barbs on my Paycheck Punch Hooks, ordered my new Cocoons and Yamaha jerseys from Gemini, and brought in what I need from Daiwa to hit the road.

The other thing that I did was get the new updated charts from Navionics. They really went above and beyond this year, the new chips are updateable, so I can update them all year with any new information that they might have added to the charts across the country.

I’m waiting for my new Ranger / Yamaha SHO to get here, and when it does, I’ll off to Shasta for the first Western Everstart Series event; the first of my long season. It will be a long one, with eight Elites, four FLW Opens, two Everstarts, a couple of FLW Tour majors and maybe more; we’ll have a lot to talk about.

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