Dealing with adversity is common-place in tournament bass fishing. But now, just one tournament into my FLW season I have found myself looking up at the top of the point standings as I have zero’d in my first tournament of the season.
To say I am disappointed is an understatement. I prepared long and hard for the first BFL of the season on Kerr Lake. I spent 4 days practicing for the tournament and I was on a solid pattern. A spinnerbait on shallow wood was money for me during practice. I was so confident heading into the tournament because my practice days were so productive fishing this way. A White Hawg Caller spinnerbait was routinely catching me 2.5lb fish.
I can honestly say, that of all the tournaments I have fished, I was more confident going into the March 3 BFL on Kerr Lake than any other. However, I hit a brick wall on the tournament day as my fish disappeared after a day of 40+ MPH winds on Friday along with a drop in water temperature by 5 degrees. On tournament morning the air temperature was 36 degrees. A 20 degree drop from just 3 days before. This massive change in weather conditions without a doubt displaced fish across the lake and made the bite difficult for all anglers.
I knew I was in trouble at 9:30 am on tournament day when I hadn’t even had a bite yet. However, I stayed patient and positive because I knew that my bites were primarily coming between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm during my practice days. But after 3 more hours without getting a bite, I felt like I was back in practice mode and needed to find a new pattern fast.
However conditions were super tough as winds on the lake were blowing a constant 20 mph and gusting at times to 40. This created 3 foot swells on the lake making it difficult for me to fish main lake deeper points. I was forced to stay back in creek pockets fishing secondary points and wood lay downs.
I abandoned my shallow plan and went deep looking for fish. By 1:00 pm I knew I was unlikely to re-pattern the fish in time. So I went back shallow to my wood hoping the shallows would warm back up coaxing the fish to move back shallow to feed.
I casted until 3:25pm hoping for just 1 fish so I could get the points for the day. However, I went all day without one bite. And now, I find that my BFL season is nearly over before it really even got started. I am sitting in 90th place in the point standings and I’m over 200 points out of the top 45 which is what will qualify me for the BFL Regional Championship on Lake Norman later this year.
I spent the day after the tournament trying to do the math to see if it was still possible for me to qualify. I think it is, but it is going to require 2 finishes in the top 20 and of course, no more zero’s.
This website and my YouTube channel are built to showcase the highs and low’s of my bass fishing career. And this is honestly one of the lowest moments I’ve had. However, I am NOT giving up. I briefly thought about throwing in the towel for the season. But that isn’t me. It’s how we respond in adverse situations that dictates how far we go in this industry. And instead of backing down and bowing out for the season, I am doubling down.
I am headed to Smith Mountain Lake in less than 3 weeks to fight for redemption and to battle for my spot in the top 45. I love this sport too much to quit. So onward we go….