49th Place out of 190 Pros FLW BFL Regional Championship La Crosse Wisconsin
One of the hardest parts of being a tournament fisherman while also working a full time job is having enough vacation days to prepare and practice for my tournaments. This year I fished the Ozark Division BFLs to qualify for the Regional Championship in La Crosse. Switching from the coangler side to the boater side just requires a lot more time in preparation and for each tournament I had to take off a couple of vacation days because at a minimum I need about two and a half days to find fish and prepare to fish a tournament. I was going to get a day to practice for this event with work and having to take off a week to fish the All-American tournament that I qualified for in November.
I tried to maximize my practice time by doing a lot of study on Google Earth prior to arriving in Wisconsin along with studying my navionics maps. I ended up having a pretty good practice. On Tuesday before the tournament I ended up catching some really nice largemouth fishing swim jigs, spinnerbaits, alabama rigs, and a jerkbait. Wednesday I went out and found the fish to be cooperating again on the same pattern so I decided to call it a day a little after 2 o'clock so I wouldn't end up burning up fish that I was going to need for the tournament.
The first day of the tournament grass had gotten blown up really bad in the areas that I had found in practice and it was really hard to fish the baits that I wanted to fish in these areas but I was able to get a limit in the boat in the first hour of the day. I kept catching a lot of keepers and made a couple of culls but ended up weighing around 11 pounds. Kinda disappointing considering one day during practice I was able to catch a couple of really nice ones.
The second day of the tournament when I got to my primary area I was able to fish a lot easier because all the grass had settled down and once again I was able to catch a limit in the first half hour and ended up catching fish all day long to cull up to almost 13lbs. I ended up catching two really nice smallmouth at one part of the day on the same cast!
I caught so many bass during this tournament that I had a good case of the bass thumb when I left Wisconsin but ultimately I wasn't able to get on the right size of fish during the tournament. The weather changed a lot and I think some of the big largemouth that I had found in practice had moved on or possibly the pressure got to them from other anglers.
In the next couple of weeks I'll be headed to Lake Hartwell in South Carolina to compete in the All-American tournament. I'm looking forward to salvaging this tournament season and hopefully it's going to be a good pay day. Stay tuned I'll have an update when I get back!