Ish's Blog

Wrapping Things Up

Dubs, Rigs, Wraps and Shows

Okay, I’ve got my boat setup, C&C Marine in Modesto rigged it to my specs, and now it’s at Liquid Wraps in Phoenix getting the Cocoons wrap installed on the truck and boat.

My Ranger is tight, I’ve got things exactly as I want them, and Richard over there even figured out how to store my spare trolling motor in the battery storage area so that it’s out of the way. Last year, I removed my middle rod rack so that I could put it in there, but with the new MotorGuide Tour Digital 109 that has the Lowrance transducer built in, I couldn’t fit it in there; Richard fixed it.

What that means is I have more room for tackle. I’ve got more tackle in my boat now than ever before, but it’s more organized too.

I’ve also got the boat ridin’ on 20’s again; I put those on the trailer before I pulled out of town to head to Liquid Wraps. I hear some people say they wonder why we go to the extremes we do with our rigs, but understand; it’s all about eyeballs to us.

The more people that see our trucks and boats, the more visibility we are generating for our sponsors. Cocoons tells me they know where I am in the country based on where the visits to their website are coming from when I’m on tour. My truck makes people look, and that’s why my sponsors work with me, to try and get more people to look; ya know.

Anyway, I’m basically tying up loose ends around here. I’m going to be at the ISE Show at Sacramento this weekend. I’ll be there for the Round Table deal with Skeet, Gary Dobyns, Cody Meyer and Mike Long. Those discussions are always lively and informative, so that will be fun.

While I’m there, I’ll be doing a seminar on Sunday, but I’ll also be spending a little time with Ranger, Lowrance and with Team Bass Adx clothing. The Sacramento show is always the best one of the year around here, and now that it’s the only one, I bet it’s going to be even bigger.

After the show I’m going to a Golden State Warriors versus San Antonia Spurs game on Monday, then I fly to Phoenix to pick up the truck and boat, and it’s on to Lake Okeechobee for the first FLW Tour Open of the year. It’s just about time, and I’m ready to get to work.

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Got My Ranger

On the LLOONNGG Road Home from Flippin

I’m on my way home right now driving from Arkansas with my brand new Ranger Z521 behind me.

I pretty much can't wait to get home, and I won’t be home until tomorrow night. I’m ready to get there because I hate the snow and ice, and that’s all I see right now on this drive back from Flippin. The other thing is, when I’m sitting in my truck, I can’t work out, or get any real work done.

It’s going to be a busy couple of weeks, when I get out of the snow and back to Cali, I’m taking the boat to C&C Marine in Modesto and get it ready. You know, get the Yamaha 250 SHO Four Stroke on there as well as the Lowrance HDS units on there and pretty much be ready to leave next week for Phoenix to get the wrap installed.

It would be huge if I could get the Cocoons wrap on the boat quickly over at Liquid Wraps, because once everything's in place and the wrap’s on; it’s game time.

I’m ready to spend a couple of days on the boat show scene at the ISE boat show in a couple of weeks in Sacramento. I’m going to be a part of the Ultimate Bass Round Table on Saturday at 12:30PM with Skeet Reese, Gary Dobyns, Mike Long and Cody Meyer. I’m also going to do a seminar of my own on Sunday at 1:30.

Other than that, I’ve pretty much got nothing else going on. I’m watching a lot of fishing on T.V., and just getting ready and fired up for the season.

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See you next time.

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In Flippin

Pickin' up the Z521

I told you I was really getting into my favorite techniques this year, well I did it, I’m really in Flippin.

I’m in Flippin, Ark. waiting to pick up my new white, black and blue Z521. Getting here was easy enough, and once they finish the boat, I can start heading back to Cali. They’re just a little ways away from taking it over to the finishing room. That’s where they install fishfinders, hang motors and do little final touch ups.

They’ll be putting my Lowrance units on the boat, and doing a few other things, but my Yamaha SHO 250 Four Stroke is at my home dealer, C&C Marine in Modesto waiting to get hung on the transom when I get home. Between the Ranger plant and C&C Marine, my boat gets the best workmanship.

I thought I was going to be stressed here in the hotel room, but it’s the opposite. I’ve been able to focus on work, and concentrate on getting my mental game in shape. I’ve also been working hard on getting my body in shape too, even here; I’m working at it in the hotel fitness room.

I’ve come to realize that the difference between all of us is our mental game. All of us can cast, all of us can find quality fish at this level. All of us are capable at winning just about any tournament we enter. What separates us is our heads. Skeet and Kevin are always good; they always catch ‘em. The difference for them is that when they go on a tear, they fish like Skeet did last year.

When others hit our strides, we might catch up to where they normally compete at, and I want to get to where my normal performance is really good, and my best is almost untouchable. I’ve also taken a page out of the recent success Michael Vick has had this year. He said he knew he would have to have an attitude to be as ready as he could be to avoid distraction; and he’s had an MVP season.

I’m still deciding about fishing the Shasta FLW Everstart event in a couple weeks. I really want to, but am thinking that it might create too much pressure on me to get everything done in time to go east.

Outside of that, I’m working on a couple of signature kits with my sponsors at Snag Proof and Paycheck Baits that will be available at my Yo Ish store. The Phat Frog kit will have two Phat Frogs, and all of the stuff you’d need to modify a frog, pens, pliers, glue – they’re ready for everything. My Punch kit will have my three favorite Paycheck Punch Skirts, some 4/0 and 5/0 Punch Hooks, Punch Stops all n a 3600 size Plano box. People will be able to pick up one of these kits and have almost everything they need to go froggin’ and punchin.’

I’ve also been working on a few exclusive Phat Frog colors for a few dealers. Ishalicious will be at Bass Pro Shops, Blowin’ Smoke and Explosive will be at Monster Fishing Tackle and Fred’s Frog Color will be at Tackle

It’s getting’ close to game time.

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Finishing Up

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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Doin it My Way

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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