In short, I was a little disappointed in my performance this week. Prior to practice I had high hopes for this event, figuring Neely Henry fished like the other lakes on the Coosa River chain. Boy was I wrong!
My practice was dismal! Probably the worst practice I ever had. On a positive note, I was able to turn things around once the tournament started. The first day I had a small limit flipping the shoreline grass with a Zoom Brush Hog but was never able to connect with a big bite. The second day I decided to run new water and different techniques, I needed a big bag to have an outside chance of making the cut for Saturday. Most of my damage was done with a Jackall square bill crankbait around concrete bulkheads and flipping docks with a jig. I improved my weight but it was too little too late.
Reflecting back there are a few positives I was able to take away. After having such a poor practice I was happy with the fact I was able to fish with an open mind and change my techniques throughout the tournament. I took some gambles, ran some new water, and had all the confidence in the world. It didn’t work out this time….but next time it might. Tournament fishing is all about decisions, and I was pleased with the decisions I made during the tournament. One or two big bites over the two days could have made all the difference in the world.
The other big take away was something I thought about the entire drive home. Years ago, when I fished the B.A.S.S. Pro Tour on maxed out credit cards and sleeping in my van, I always wondered if the financial stress resulted in finishes not up to my own personal standards. That thought has been following me around for almost ten years. I consider myself a pretty good angler at the state and regional level, just this year I competed in the TBF Southern Divisional, a feat many anglers hope to accomplish. I’m very fortunate to have this opportunity with the support of my company and it has answered that ten year old question. It’s the same talk we hear around local tournament weigh-ins all the time, “if I had the time and money I could beat those Pros”. Well, I have to say….these Pros, fishing the Elites and FLW, are just that good!! They really are in a league all their own. I’ll have to work twice as hard at our next event.
The highlight of my week happened on Day 2 in the weigh-in line when an Elite angler said “Hey Tim, I was reading your blog last night, good stuff”. James, if you’re still reading I wanted to say thank you again, it sure made my day!