Tuesday, December 15, 2009

2010 Tournament Schedule

I got a schedule for the 2010 tournaments from the Twin Rivers Bassmasters today. It is still in process and waiting for permits but I have looked at the schedule for next year and realized that I would not be able to compete in both the Elite Series and the Club tournaments due to 6 conflicting schedules. I decided to stick with the club tournaments as I think they will be more fun and are spread across many lakes instead of just 3.

I will not be competing as a boater this year. I think that will help a lot in the learning process. It will be pretty cool seeing how other people fish for bass. I have only had 1 friend that taught me bass fishing. The rest I have had to pick up on my own.

I might try to get in on some Thursday night action through Team Bass Xtreem since I will not get to do their elite series.

Here is the schedule at this point.

April 17, 2010 Alum Creek Spring Open Open TRB
May 2, 2010 Deer Creek TRB
May 16, 2010 Knox Lake TRB
May 22, 2010 Grand Lake St. Mary's FLW
June 5-6, 2010 Lake Erie TRB
June 12, 2010 Indial Lake FLW
June 27, 2010 Delaware TRB
July 11, 2010 CJ Brown TRB
July 17-18, 2010 Erie Ashtabula non points TRB
July 24, 2010 Ohio River/Maysville FLW
July 31, 2010 O'shaughnessy night TRB
August 8, 2010 Clear Fork TRB
August 21, 2010 Ohio River/Carrollton FLW
August 29, 2010 Griggs TRB
September 12, 2010 Rocky Fork TRB
Sept. 19, 2010 Pleasant Hill TRB
Sept. 25-26, 2010 Ohio River/Tanners Creek FLW
Oct. 2-3, 2010 Fish Off TBD TRB
Oct. 9, 2010 Alum Creek Fall Open Open TRB

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Registered for the FLW BFL

I registered for the FLW BFL Buckeye Division yesterday and coughed up the 585.00 for entry fees and the membership. I am really excited about it. The expenses will be a little high since only one of the tournaments is somewhat close to the house. It is not really about the cost to me though. The experience is what it is all about. I am going to be doing something that I dreamed about all my life.

I will be fishing 5 differnent spots that I have never fished. I would like to but probably will not pre-fish them. I will be fishing with a boater that might or might not have an idea where the fish are. I am just going to go fishing and make the most of every situation. Hopefully I will do decent, but most importantly I hope I learn some new things to use in the future.

I found out what the entry fees are for the club tournaments. They are 20.00 + 5.00 for big bass. 20% will be held back for a fish off at the end of the year. So that will be 250.00 for that plus the 80.00 membership as well as expenses. I think if I have around 2400 more saved by tournament season I should have the the rest of the tournaments and travel expenses for the year. Then I will only have to worry about catching fish.

On the poker front I am up to 70.00 on Full Tilt and 60.00 on Pokerstars. I transferred 20.00 to Mizike from Full Tilt. He played 1 game and I don't know if he is going to transfer the money back or give me 20 in cash. I have played quite a bit so far. I guess that is an understatement. I play almost every day. I am very confident in my game right now and thought about going to Belterra Casino in Indiana next week to play. Mizike said we should wait until after Christmas so he could go. I will probably wait.

The snow is starting to come down pretty good here. I know a lot of the rest of the Midwest has had it bad the last couple days. We will not get near what they had but I'm not a fan of driving in snow. It is getting really cold and the ponds are freezing over. We may be ice fishing on Lake Erie before too long.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Twin Rivers Club Meeting # 2

I left work last night and headed to the area where the Twin Rivers Bass club meeting was going to be held. I got there about an hour and a half early so I drove around looking for a place to grab a meal.

I found Carribean Jerks Bar and Grill near the Donato's we were having the meeting. I walked in and found a seat at the bar. I ordered a Shiner Holiday beer that turned out to be very tasty. Then I saw they had Keno so I played 4 spots for 5 plays and ordered a Philly Steak Sandwich. The sandwich was one of the best I have had in years. I will definately take my wife there. They had a great grill menu with anything from fish n chips to wings to burgers and sandwiches.

My 5 plays on keno went pretty quick while I was eating. I won a dollar so I ran it again and was done eating and playing in time to drive down the street for the meeting.

The meeting was pretty cool. They had the club elections for next year and set up the tournament committee. The tournament committee stayed after the meeting to set up the lakes and dates for potential tournaments next year. Most of the rest of us hung around and talked about fishing and drank a few beers for the next hour until the tournament committee finished. As soon as they get permits for the tournaments I will know what my full schedule will be like next year.

I have now attended 2 club functions and now will just need to fish with 2 members before I can be voted into the club. I had a couple guys offer to fish with me early next spring. They said I could still attend the club banquet in February and continue to do things with the club until I am voted on.

At work we have a weekly pool of about 27 people that put in 3.00 a week and pick who they think are going to win the nfl games for the week. This week I finally won after tying twice before and loosing by points. I got 81.00 for my lucky guessing this week. That money will be nice since I have my registration for the BFL tomorrow. I had saved 470 out of the 550 I needed. With the extra 80.00 I will have the full amount to buy into all the BFL tournaments tomorrow as a co-angler. I have an extra paycheck in January. Depending on the club schedule I will send off the entry fees for the elite series by Team Bass Xtreem if the schedules do not conflict too much. I think a lot of the club tournaments will be Sunday tourney's so I might not have to worry about a conflict of schedules at all.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Sick over Thanksgiving

There has not been much fishing content to write about lately with the weather finally turning sour. There were a few great weekends leading into Thanksgiving but I did not make it out to fish. I guess I had pretty much given up on the season and decided to wait until next year.

I had 4 days off for Thanksgiving. My nose started running steadily on Wednesday by the time I got off work. By the time I got home I was having coughing attacks to where I could hardly breath. I drank a little bit on Wednesday night as the wife and kids were back home to visit family. I stayed behind so she could ride with her sister from St. Louis to Wichita.

I woke up Thursday morning to start the turkey and I was feeling miserable. My nose was running like a faucet and my chest felt like it had flames swirling around in my lungs. We got Thanksgiving dinner prepared and had a feast. Everything turned out really good. It was just me Mizike and his fiance. We ate half of a 12 pound turkey along with a ton of side dishes. It was that good.

The rest of the weekend I layed around playing on-line poker complaining about how bad I felt. Finally on Sunday, around noon, I woke up Mizike and asked him to take me to urgent care. I felt like I couldn't even get out of bed. I was freezing and shaking and every muscle was tight and sore. While Mizike was getting ready I started sweating and got warm all of a sudden. I was breaking a fever that I didn't even know I had. By the time Mizike finished getting ready, I felt normal again. I didn't have to go to the urgent care and the only time I have been coughing was when I have flem building up.

Mizike called me on my way to work yesterday and said that he had looked up ice fishing and saw that some places had ice tournaments. I have ice fished before but like bass fishing, it has been some time since I had done it regular enough to be decent. I think I talked him into trying Lake Erie if it freezes hard enough this year.

I looked up ice charters at Erie and saw that they are pretty reasonable between the fishing, and the accomodations. You also have the opportunity to take a airboat to the islands. That would be really cool.

I would really like to try fishing out of a ice hut. I have only ever fished off a 5 gallon bucket in the middle of a frozen lake with 40 mile an hour winds freezing me within seconds of the start of fishing. I can't imagine ice fishing in comfort. Hopefully we will make the time to do it.

My second meeting with the Twin Rivers Bass Club will be next Monday. I really like the idea of being part of the club. They were a great group of guys the first time I met them. The FLW Buckeye League registration is right around the corner as well. I will be online December 9th to sign up for that.

Hopefully, I will have a few fishing updates throughout the winter. I have a great saugeye spot beneath the dam at Hoover lake that seems to be great fishing right around Christmas each year. I also have my Febuary trip to Lake Cumberland to look forward to when we go down after Striper.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Saving for Fishing and Poker

I have managed to get 400.00 in savings so far for the FLW tournaments. I need to get my entry form out for the Team Bass Xtreem Elite Series along with the 20.00 membership. I don't want to miss a spot in that series.

I shouldn't have a problem putting back enough money for the rest of the FLW series by December 9th. I had a pretty lucky weekend. On Saturday I bought some squares for the Ohio State Michigan Game. My numbers were Ohio State 1 and Michigan 0. The squares paid 50.00 a quarter. The third and fourth quarter the score remained the same with Ohio State 21 Michigan 10. I won 100.00 there. On top of that there was a poker home game at the house I went to watch the game. I took 2nd off a 20.00 buy in there for 70.00. I had a 120.00 profit for the weekend after the cost of the alcohol was figured in.

Some of that will go towards Thanksgiving turkey and groceries but the rest will go towards fishing.

My online poker has been o.k. at best. I start doing o.k. then the wheels start spinning and I lose ground a little bit. I started with 30.00 on 2 sites. On pokerstars I am up to 60.00 and on Full Tilt I am at 25.00. I have a holiday bonus I am trying to clear that would give me an extra 100.00 if I play a ton of games by the 16th of next month. It would be a little easier to reach if I add to the bankroll for a while. I might just keep playing a ton of small games though and keep building my bankroll that way.

I have found playing poker again to be enjoyable. It will be a good fix over the winter for not getting to fish.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The One That Didn't Get Away

I don't remember my age and some of the details are a little fuzzy but here is the story of the largest bass I have ever caught close to 20 years ago.

It was summer and I was wanting to practice on some fly fishing for our family vacation in Colorado at the end of summer. There was a set of sandpits about a mile from our house. It was just a phone call for permission and a short bike ride down the road and I would be fishing. I had been down there numerous times as I never have been able to fish enough.

I either had a mosquito pattern or a elk hair caddis tied on. I almost always fly fish with one of those 2 patterns for bluegill. I remember casting for bluegill then pulling my line in to entice a strike. As I was pulling in the line I noticed a fish rise to a dragonfly about 20 feet off shore. The water neer the bank was perfectly calm. Towards the middle of the sandpit there was a ripple from the slight breeze we had that afternoon. The fish had risen right where the water went from calm to ripple.

Instantly I pulled the rod up and began whipping the fly back and forth and landed the fly in the exact spot the fish had risen. Almost instantly the fly was engulfed and I pulled up on the rod tip. The fight of a lifetime was on.

I let the fish run while putting a little pressure on the spool. Not too much since I only had 2 pound tippet and didn't want to break the line. I would reel her in a little then she would go on one of her long runs. My heart was beating hard the whole time. The world slowed down around me and for about 20 minutes I battled the fish. She jumped clean out of the water a couple times. I wondered how I would ever get that big of fish into shore without breaking the line. I wanted that fish more than I had ever wanted anything before. If I lost her it would be devestating.

Finally I got her close to shore where she wrapped up in some moss. I didn't even hesitate to go in after her. I slid one hand under her belly and reached in her mouth with the other. I had her on shore. There was nobody else around to witness the beauty of the catch. I couldn't just release her. I had to get a picture. I quickly found some strong fishing line on the shore and made a stringer so I could leave her in the water while I rode home to get a bucket.

I rode the bike as fast as it would go up hill all the way to the house. I ran inside and breathlessly asked Mom to get the camera ready and tried to tell her the whole story in 3 seconds while I was back out the door. I grabbed a 5 gallon bucket out of the garage and rushed back to the sandpit.

I filled the bucket with water and put the fish in it headfirst. The fish was so big the tail stuck out the top of the bucket. I rode home quickly again. Mom was outside with a camera. We took a couple of pictures then I grabbed the deliar out of my tackle box and weighed it. It went 7 1/2 pounds.

I took it back down to the sandpit and turned it loose. I made sure to hold it by the tail and move it back and forth in the water until it swam off on its own.

I still don't know how I ever got that fish in with 2 pound tippet. I don't remember much else about that day but I do know I had a smile on my face the rest of the day. Even now, anytime I think back about that day, I get a proud smile on my face.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Twin Rivers Bass Club Meeting

The Twin Rivers Bass Club meeting was last night at the Donato's Pizza Restraunt in Polaris. I arrived about an hour early and the Donato's was empty. I walked around outside and saw a pet store close by and thought I would go in there to burn some time. The store had a few fish and a rabbit, but other than that didn't have too much to look at. I did check out a few aquariums as I am thinking of starting an aquarium again. The visit to the pet store lasted about 15 minutes.

I walked back over to Donato's and saw they had a bench in front of the building. I waited for about 20 minutes then saw a couple of trucks pull up. One of the guys getting out had a bass pro hat on so I asked if they were part of the club. They were so I enterred with them.

They walked up and orderred a bucket of beers. I asked if the others in the club would drink them if I ordered an extra bucket. They offered me a beer and said if we needed another bucket then we could get one.

We went back to the party room and sat down to wait on the others. It wasn't long before the others arrived. Everybody introduced themselves. I feel bad but don't remember all of their names. There were about 10 members that attended the meeting.

Everybody was talking fishing and hunting and it felt good to be around that type of group. The meeting started and they went over the business side of the club. I got a look inside the business aspect and the direction that the club was looking to go in the future. They are also getting ready for the club elections next month so I got to hear who was running for the positions.

After the meeting ended everybody started talking about the previous season. You could tell everybody had fun this year at the club events. I got some information on the club, the by-laws, an entry form as well as a schedule of last years events so I would have an idea where they would be fishing next year.

I also found out that to be part of the club I have to attend 2 club functions and fish with 2 members. After doing that, the next meeting they discuss the trips and decide whether to vote me in or not. The meetings count as club functions, but going fishing with 2 of the members might be tough during the winter so I might not get the chance until next spring to see about getting into the club.

I asked if I could still attend the meetings if I am not part of the club and they said that I could. I just wouldn't have voting power. I can handle that. I would like to get to know the guys a little better before the season starts next spring so I will try to make all of the meetings.

When I got home I checked with Mizike to see what happened to the Blazer. He said it was ticking like it was knocking. He said when it warmed up it quit. We went out to check it out since it hadn't been driven for a while. He started it up and asked if I heard what he was talking about. I heard what he was talking about and already knew that it wasn't the motor.

A couple years ago I got in a wreck and when I got the Blazer back from being fixed I had notice the same thing. The fan shroud had not been bolted in place. They just sat it into place and the fan blades would hit it when they were spinning. I had originally put a twisty tie around the bolt holes to hold it in place and had not gotten back to it. The twisty tie must have finally broken causing the bottom of the shroud to stick into the fan blade.

I got a zip tie out of the garage and zip tied it into place and fixed the problem.

That is a big relief knowing that the Blazer is still o.k. It still doesn't have A/C and a battery had tipped over in the back spilling acid everywhere and eating away the carpet but it is still drivable. I still have a vehicle to pull the boat. I have had it paid off for 2 1/2 years and it only has 120,000 miles so I am hoping to get a lot more life out of it.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Hoover Lake Fall Crappie

The recliner was pretty comfortable yesterday after a full night of drinking rum on Saturday. Mizike said "Let's go fishing". I finished the game of poker I had already started then we started loading the Blazer with fishing supplies. My 3 year old heard fishing and wanted to go too. I took him even though it was a little chilly and I knew he was going to whine a lot about being cold.

We made it to Hoover lake about 3:30 PM. I had fished a spot 4 years ago that had good crappie fishing but could not remember where it was at. We drove around looking for it for a while before we realized that we needed to get to fishing since we didn't have a lot of time before dark. We started under a bridge that was above a small cove. I had a few nibbles in the rocks under the bridge using a white beetle spin. My son played around and was having fun.

We packed up the Blazer and drove some more looking for my secret honey hole (so secret even I can't find it again). We found another promising spot on a penninsula that went out in the lake a ways. It had a cove on one side and islands around in front of it. There was a road that went clear out to the point with water on both sides. We fished a couple small coves with no luck. Then went to fish the rocks on the sides of the road.

It started getting cooler as it got dark and my son started whining a lot about being cold. I got his blanket and sat him down and put his blanket around him. He was still whining but I knew he would be o.k. until dark.

I fished around some laydowns and had a few nibbles on the beetle spin but missed getting them hooked. I lost a couple jig heads with skirts in the laydown. Then I fished under a mat of leaves that had blown into the corner of the cove. I saw a fish raise in the leaves and dropped my skirt down in that area and started to twitch it. After a few minutes I got the crappie to bite and reeled it in. I hadn't caught a fish in over a month so it felt really good to catch that little crappie.

We left shortly after that as it was getting dark. I saw a little activity but the fish might have been turned off by the cold rains we have been getting. The lake was up quite a bit and had quite a few green bushes in the water.

Mizike has been borrowing the Blazer since he hit the deer. This morning he text me and said that the Blazer's motor is knocking. The other day we noticed that our front van tire has slashes through the tread all the way to the steel belting. Out of the 5 vehicles we have at the house only 2 are drivable now. I hope that I can figure something out before next spring. I definately can't afford another vehicle payment right now.

Tonight I have the bass club meeting. My wife is going to drop me off and pick me up for that since we are riding together to work to save on gas money. I will be there an hour early and then wait for her to drive the 30 miles to come pick me up when it is done.

I need to start ebaying again to come up with some extra cash for tires, fishing, christmas, and everthing else that is piling up while we're trying to get debt paid down.

Friday, October 30, 2009

176 days until next tournament

I was checking out FLW outdoors website today and saw that you got a free hat for signing up with a membership. I went to the membership page and saw that you can now sign up for the tournament package for next year. Not just the rest of this year like the last time I tried to get my membership.

I started to sign up for the free hat but saw at the last minute that the hat is only for signing up for the non-tournament package. I will wait until next week when I have a little extra spending money to sign up.

Now I will be able to register for the Buckeye league when registration begins on Dec 9th. I have a little over 300.00 saved up for the series so far. I will need to crunch down and save the other 250.00 in a little over a month to pay for all the entry fees. I hope to have next season gas and all saved for before the end of winter.

I'm still not sure of the cost of the club tournaments. Hopefully this will be the highest cost for any of the series. The elite series is only 35.00 a week for 9 tournaments. The clubs website showed 10 tournaments last year so I assume it will be close to that, and hope it is not much more than 40.00 a tournament. I will find out more on Tuesday when I go to the club meeting.

Here is a list of the lakes and tournaments I hope to be competing in next year.

April 25, 2010 Alum Creek Elite
May 16, 2010 O'Shaughnessy Elite
May 22, 2010 Grand Lake St. Mary's FLW
May 30, 2010 Griggs Elite
June 12, 2010 Indial Lake FLW
June 13, 2010 Alum Creek Elite
June 27, 2010 O'Shaughnessy Elite
July 11, 2010 Griggs Elite
July 24, 2010 Ohio River/Maysville FLW
July 25, 2010 Alum Creek Elite
August 8, 2010 O'Shaughnessy Elite
August 21, 2010 Ohio River/Carrollton FLW
August 22, 2010 Griggs Elite
August 29, 2010 TBA Elite Fish Off
Sept. 25-26, O River/Tanners Creek FLW

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dean's Wedding and Parents Visit

I made it back to Kansas last week for my friend Dean's wedding. I felt a little out of place going back to my old stomping grounds I had not been to in the last 12 years. Amazingly, very little has changed. The things that did change were probably for the betterment of the town. If betterment is a word.

I recognized a few guys we had hung around with but most did not make it back. I thought my freshman roomate would make it to the wedding. He had other obligations with his wife's family and was not able to. I did meet with his Mother and her boyfriend for a couple hours during the reception.

The rest of the evening I felt out of place. I went alone and did not know anyone besides Dean's family and his friends in the wedding party. After several rum and coke's I started talking with a few more people and ended up having a great night.

Shawn, Dean's roomate for a few years and I talked quite a bit. He invited me back next spring for some walleye fishing. I will probably take him up on that. He has a nice brand new Ranger and know's the lakes around there pretty well. Dean and his father said they would be able to do a weekend so now all I have to do is plan it later this winter.

On a different subject, Mizike crushed a deer 2 nights ago on his way home from a bar. Luckily he doesn't drink and drive. He was out with his fiance watching a band from the Kansas City area that she knew. On the way home the GPS said to go down Broad Street. He didn't want to go through that area since it isn't Columbus's best so he went down to I-270 and would bring that back. Turned out that his gamble didn't pay off. The deer broke out the driver's side headlight and crunched in the whole drivers side of the car. It even took out the whole back door handle. His car was able to make it home but had to be towed from there since his new tire's he just bought last week were rubbing on the wheel well. He has a 1000.00 deductible so he is understandably upset.

That is 2 deer for the household this year. Maybe we should take up hunting instead of fishing.

My boat is still ready since I didn't know if Dad and I would be able to make it out this week while him and Mom were up. It didn't work out since I didn't get to use the vacation that I requested. The person that was going to cover for me couldn't because his grandmother passed away Sunday night. I wish him and his family all the best.

The week hasn't turned out too well at work. I have put in late evenings all week and have barely seen my parents. I hope this isn't affecting their vacation.

I saw yesterday that FLW has added the schedule for next years BFL. I can register for it on Dec 9th I think. I don't have the yearly membership yet. I tried to get it last week but it only lasts through the end of this year. I'm not doing tournaments this year so I might have to wait until January 1st to register.

So I have the schedules for 2 of circuits next year. Now I just need the schedules for the club tournaments. So far there are not any conflicting schedules. I'm pretty worked up about next year.

I have been watching the weather for this weekend. It is supposed to be raining and chilly. I really need to get out on the lake again. I might just tough it out and go. Hopefully the duck hunters don't get me.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ramblings

These posts are about to get shorter as we pass through fall and get closer to winter. I am going to try to keep this blog about fishing and my adventures. Those 2 kind of slow down throughout the winter, so there might be a little more rambling along the way.

This week has been a little warmer than the last couple with highs today near 70. It makes it hard to be at work. With it getting dark so early I really don't have time to stop after work to fish, and with everything else going on this month I don't think it matters anyway.

Tonight I have a parent teacher's conference for my son who is 3 in pre-school. Saturday I fly to Kansas for a friend's wedding. I fly back Sunday, then my parents will be out to visit the rest of next week.

Thursday I will probably get a haircut and Friday I will be packing for my trip. I might make it out next week with my parents if they want to fish.

Monday the 2nd of November I have an invite to sit in on a monthly bass club meeting. I'm pretty excited. I have e-mailed 6 bass clubs and only 1 responded. It sounds like a good club of guys that join to fish the club tournaments and have fun.

With winter approaching there is one good thing, I can fish under the spillways here most the winter. Since the lakes are all built on river systems a lot of saugeye get washed over and can be caught below the spillways, especially after rains or snow melts. It's usually not real productive and can be extreemly cold but I can still get the joy of fishing.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Money Management

Since the last post I have painted the kitchen, mowed the yard, disassembled the poker table and moved it into the basement, put up a chandelier and a foyer light, as well as a few other small things around the house. I have not been fishing since we returned for Kentucky/Barkley lakes. I guess if that is the last fishing trip of the year, it was a good one to go out on.

I have decided that to void my emptyness of not fishing this winter, I will get back into playing some online poker and maybe a live tourney or 2. If I get some deep runs in tournaments it may just pay for next season. I have 30.00 in my account at this point but should be able to use that and play some low buy in tournaments. I can usually make the cash and have had some success recently getting close to a final table in MTT's.

One thing that I have learned with poker that will help with fishing is money management. You have to have that in any tournament setting to do well. In poker you will not win or do well a majority of the time. In order to increase your bankroll you have to use your bankroll so that you will not run out of money. For me, I don't like to do tournaments that are more than 5% of my bankroll at the time. That allows me to lose some tournaments and still turn a profit in the long run. That 5% is pretty risky but with the amount of money in my bankroll I need to take the risk for potential higher rewards. If my bankroll were to increase substantially I would decrease the percentage in order to maintain the bankroll.

With professional fishing there are some other variables but the concept is similar. If I want to fish for a living I don't want my bankroll to deplete to where I cannot fish any longer. Most pros say to take small steps and move up when it is time for you to move up. That entails your skills as well as your financial situation.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Looking at Next Season


I am trying to join a bass club this fall so I can talk about my withdrawels from fishing over the winter. I think my first meeting will go like this. "My name is Rhett Hickert, I'm a fishaholic. I've been off the bass for 3 weeks now." Then there will be a round of applause. Ha ha! Really, Im joining so I can fish with different people next year so I can learn more in the clubs tournaments.

It seems pretty crazy, but it looks like, to get into most circuits you have to start planning for next year already. They will start accepting entry's in November. I don't know if they fill most of the spots right away but I don't want to take the chance. I pretty much know the circuits I'm going to try to get in, since I don't have a partner that can make most tournaments, and my boat is not necessarily a bass boat. I will probably fish the FLW Bass Fishing League as a non boater (5 Saturday Qualifier tournaments + 1 regional), my club as a non boater (? tournaments), and a boater only series that is put on by the guys who did the Thursday night series we fished this year (9 Sunday tournaments + 1 Championship).

If the schedules all work together and I can save the rest of the 1200.00 in entry fees by November, I will be set up for next year. Then I can save over the winter for fishing supplies, trips, gas, and boat expenses. I don't look forward to the winter but it allows me the time I need to save for all this and get prepared for next year.

I was hoping to make it out some more this year but it doesn't look promising. This weekend we are painting because my parents are driving out to visit in a few weeks. Next weekend we will be organizing the house for the same reason. The following weekend I have a friends wedding in Kansas to attend, then I come back and my parents will be here for a week. That is the rest of October. I might get a little fishing in with Dad and maybe a touch in November. I am going to try to fish until the lakes freeze this year.

Friday, October 2, 2009

A Look Back at This Fishing Season

Fall is definately here as the weather has changed for the worse and the leaves are starting to change color. This is the first week I have had to wear long sleeves to be comfortable. I could have possibly used a coat scraping the frost off the windshield the other morning.

In this season of fishing I have learned a lot and realize that there is so much more to learn. Especially for fishing the lakes around here, where you have to catch every bite in order to get a limit of bass.

I have gained experience on different techniques as well as gaining confidence in some baits and learning when and where to use them. I have learned some basics on bass movement throughout the year and am able to find them a little easier than at the beginning of the year. I have even targeted specific bass and been able to catch them.

I am excited that there is still so much to learn, but I am also excited because I can catch bass regularly now. The results of my learning are definately paying off in catching bass.

I am going to continue fishing local tournaments next year. There is a new series put on by Team Bass Xtreme next year that will be a one on one tournament. That works well for me as I have a hard time getting somebody to commit to a whole series. Mizike works 2 weekends a month and Gene doesn't like paying to fish in tournaments. I can fish these without worrying about anybody but myself.

I am also looking at joining a bass club in the Columbus area. I had been in contact with a person in one club but have not been able to contact them for a couple months. They might not need any new members or he has just been really busy. I really want in a club so I filled out a form on the B.A.S.S. website and was contacted by somebody with e-mail addresses for a few clubs around Columbus that are B.A.S.S. affiliated. I am going to send them e-mails and see if I get any responses back. I think the experience gained by fishing with other people would be invaluable, plus I would like to a chance to fish the Federation. I am still a little confused on how the circuit works but by joining a club I might get the information I would need. The FLW is a little more clear cut on how to work your way up.

I would love to be able to make a living fishing. This year I have been looking at our finances and coming up with a plan that would allow me to leave the working world in pursuit of a fishing career. My wife is very supportive. The time that seems the best at this point is when my kids both start school. If I am able to pay down all of our debt besides the house as well as build a decent savings my wife would be able to cover the living expenses and keep us at our current standard of living. I wouldn't consider it if those conditions didn't work out. Four years will also give added experience on and off the water.

Whether I end up fishing as a career or not, I had already been working on getting our debt on track. Shortly after my first son was born I developed a 5 year plan to have all debt besides mortgage paid off. The plan has taken a couple hits but for the most part is still on track. We have been able to clear some college debt out as well as some credit card debt. That has allowed us to start saving to buy things instead of relying on credit.

I am anxious for the time I will not have that debt but I am not in a hurry. Time goes fast enough on it's own. That time will come and I might or might not have the opportunity to fish professionaly. For now I will enjoy the local tournaments and fishing when I can make it out.

With all of the cold weather we have been having I thought about winterizing the boat and waiting until next year to continue fishing. I took a couple weeks off without fishing since the Kentucky trip and have realized there is no way I can wait until next year. I am going to try to make it out this weekend. Maybe the Sunday morning tournament at Deer Creek is still going on. If it is I will fish it. If not, I love fall bass fishing, so I will go out anyway. The lakes are pretty much left to the fishermen this time of year.

I told my wife last spring that this winter I will start working on projects around the house when I cannot make it outside. She took this last weeks weather as it is winter and she wants me to start on the projects this weekend. I still think it's fishing season. I have put things off long enough. I guess I will paint the kitchen Saturday as long as I can still get out Sunday to fish.

Monday, September 28, 2009

I fished against a professional bass fisherman

I was watching fishing on T.V. this weekend as there was 3 hours of B.A.S.S. coverage for the angler of the year 2 postseason tournaments. I have been following B.A.S.S. all year and it was a big thing for me as I am now a B.A.S.S. member and might be fishing their Federation Series next year as a co-angler.

While I was watching the show I was looking at B.A.S.S. online. I was reading a blog written by Charlie Hartley, a pro bass fisherman from Columbus. He was talking about his addictive behavior and how his Mother got him addicted to fishing before he got addicted to something bad. He mentioned that he still does the evening tournaments around Columbus. I remembered that I had seen a Venom Lures wrapped boat at one of our Thursday night tournaments. I looked up our tournament results and sure enough he had fished in a couple of the same tournaments we had fished. I had fished with a Bassmaster Elite Professional fisherman and did not even realize it.

He did better in the 2 tournaments that we fished at the same time but only had a little over a pound more than us in both. He also was skunked in 3 of the 6 tournaments he fished and only caught 1 or 2 fish in the other 3 tournaments. That is about how we did in our 8 tournaments. I feel better about my fishing now. It is tough around Columbus to catch bass. I feel even better now that I went down to Kentucky lake and caught tons of bass and some big bass there. I knew that he was a big time fisherman since his boat was wrapped, but I didn't know he was one of the best. That makes 3 professional fisherman I have ran into and didn't get to meet this year.

The first was when I bought my new boat and took it into the Marine to have the water pump replaced. There was a wrapped boat hooked up to a matching truck at the marine being looked at. I later saw a picture of the same guy in bassmaster magazine fishing a Northern Open tournament trying to make his way into the Elites.

Next, I passed and almost got ran into by a Chevy Pro that was there to practice for the Lake Champlain FLW Tour event that was going on the weekend that we were in Maine. I had passed him and thought what a nice boat he had. Then I got lost and turned around to go back where we had came from. We were sitting at a stop light and he turned a tight corner towards us and barely had enough room to make the corner. I thought he might hit us. I saw his boat wrap with all of the stickers including the FLW sticker that made me realize he was a pro. I had a pretty good look through the windshield and think it was Anthony Gigliardi that finished 2nd in that event. I had wanted to pass by Lake Champlain to see it since it was one of the stops on both the Bassmaster Elites and the FLW Tour. I didn't realize they were having a big time tournament that week or we might have stuck around.

Now I realized that I had fished at least 1 tournament with Charlie Hartley. I think I was on vacation in Kansas the other tournament he was in with us. He owns a sign business in Grove City near where my oldest son's babysitter is.

I wonder how many other people I pass or run into throughout the year that I don't realize are famous. I wouldn't have recognized any of these 3 without their boats and I have even been following fishing all year.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Barkley lake vacation





Finally, I am getting on here to tell about my Kentucky Barkley lakes vacation. I haven't been doing much this week other than relaxing at home so there is no reason this should not have been posted yet. I guess I was just procrastinating because there was so much I could write about.

We actually had a cabin on Barkley lake so that is where I did most of my fishing. We arrived at Barkley lake at the cabin area a little before 7 P.M. on Saturday. I checked in for our campsite we had for the first night. We set up camp and headed into town to grab some supper. There was a Chinese Buffett in Eddyville. I ate my fill of frog legs and crab rangoons along with some of the rest of the buffett. For being late the food was still fairly fresh. We got back to camp and settled in for the night.

The next morning we got up and had breakfast at Eddyville Creek Marina. It was a great breakfast, they even made the pancakes for the kids like a Mickey Mouse face. After that we checked in for the cabin and I got my fishing liscence from Holiday Hills Resort. They were able to get us in the cabin right away so we packed up the tent and moved everything into the cabin.

The lake was down quite a bit so we were not able to use the ramp at the Resort. My wife has not pulled the trailer or driven the boat before but we had to go back to Eddysville Marina to drop of the boat so she pulled the trailer back to the Resort. I brought the boat back and tied it up to the complimentary boat dock that accompanied the cabin. The dock even had electric outlets so I could charge the batteries. Then I put the trailer up and spent some time with the kids and wife at the cabin.

I made it down to the water a couple times to cast around the bank. On one cast I hooked into a decent sized drum with my ultralight with 6 lb. test. After running up and down the bank chasing him I finally pulled him to shore. I also caught numerous 6-12 inch bass and a few sunfish.

The next day I took the boat out and fished a few areas around the cove. I was still a little intimidated by the size of the lake. I was fishing around a cove within the cove when I saw a tree sticking up out of the water in about 10 foot of water. I didn't cast to it until I had the boat ligned up so I could run the spinnerbait along the length of the tree. My first cast to it my line went tight and I set the hook. I brought a big bass to the surface near the boat and my heart almost stopped. It has been a long time since I have seen a 4 lb bass at the end of my line. I reached down and scooped it into the boat and sat there looking at it. My trip had been made with landing that one fish.

I put it in the livewell and fished a little longer before heading back to camp. I had my wife bring down the camera and we took pictures of the fish then my oldest son kissed it and we let it loose. There were quite a few people in the cabins in front of the docks and they had been out on the decks watching as this all went on. After we turned it loose they came down to go out fishing, one of the guys looked at me and told me I needed to go out with them. He said since his wife seen my fish she wanted to go back out and I needed to bait her hook.

Over the rest of the week I caught a couple 2.5 lber's but most of the other fish were between 14-16 inches. I was out to have fun and I kept going back to a school of smaller fish. I would sit on a point and catch them almost every 3rd cast. They were thick.

We made a trip to Nashville during one of the rainy days. We found the grand ole' oprey and checked out that area along with Bass Pro. The night before I had a dream that I bought some giant purple worms and that was what the bass were wanting. I think it stemmed from the FLW Kentucky lake show where the big bass was caught on a 10" purple worm. I bought some 10"Berkley Powerbait curltail worms along with some 3/4 oz weights.

The next day I had one tied on and withing the first hour the first worm was shreaded from all the fish I caught on it. I kept having to tear the first few rings off so the hook would stay in the worm until I was fishing with about a 4 inch worm.

Besides the point with smaller bass I found a ledge that held a little larger bass. I was casting the purple worm on the ledge and dragging it into the deep water on the last day when a fish lifted the worm and started to swim with it. I gave it few seconds then gave a huge yank on the pole. The drag started singing. The fish stripped about 20 feet of line out before I could get him turned. I started bringing her towards the boat when it started another run at the end of which my line went loose. I had to bring in a hook with the worm wadded up around it. The fish at the end of my line felt like it would have been a fish worth bragging about. I am a little dissapointed for not catching that one.

I still caught a 4 lber when the other bass guys at the cabin were bringing in 2 lbers. I guess I can still anticipate my next 7 lber.

One thing I noticed while I was there is that a lot of people were keeping bass to eat. It was a little surprising to me and got me to thinking how many people do that here in Ohio. There were so many bass there that a few here and there wouldn't make a difference. But here in Ohio they could kill tournament fishing in a lake pretty quickly if each lake had several people that were keeping all the legal sized bass.

I kept about 20 shellcrackers that were a little bigger than my hand to clean and eat. They were a lot of fun to catch on the ultralight.

My oldest son caught 5 bass ranging from 6-14 inches. Not bad for a 3 year old. He was casting really good and getting his jig in the strike zone.

The staff at the Holiday Hills Resort gave some of the best customer service I had ever seen. Our stay there was great. I can't wait to go back.

I

Monday, August 31, 2009

Camping Trip

It must be getting late in the season. I went camping this weekend and only spent about an hour fishing. The main reason for the trip was to repair the trailer for the trip to Kentucky.

I got to the lake Friday evening after work and set up camp in the rain. It rained all evening. On top of that my wife and kids were going to meet me at the lake and did not show up until 9:30. I was thinking they would be there by 6:30 at the latest.

The rain was pretty anoying after I had set up camp. I was bored anyway so I got a plastic painting sheet out of the blazer. I tied it to each side of a picknick table and the other corners to my boat. I had a 2X4 that I was going to use to repair a boat trailer board that had rotted. I stuck that in the center of the plastic between the table and the boat. It drooped inwards so I looked in my truck and found a couple of stringers. I stabbed them through the plastic and then pulled it outwards until it was tight then stabbed the stringer into the ground. It made a nice little canopy and I was able to sit and wait on my wife to get there.

Her cell phone had died and finally she called from a payphone to tell me she was lost. I asked her where she was at. She was about 1/2 a mile from camp so I drove and showed her the rest of the way. Apparently she had been all around the lake before calling right before she came to the state park sign. I asked her why she didn't use the GPS that was in the van. I saw something click in her head as she picked it up. She had forgotten it was in there.

Saturday I got up and put the boat in the water so I could work on the trailer. I took the carpet off the old board and cut the new board to size. I then stretched the old carpet over the new board and stapled it on. The old board had rotted around a large knot in the wood and ended up breaking to pieces. The boat was sitting on carpet covering the metal. The metal had bent so I hit it back into place with a hammer then installed the new board. One of the tire covers was coming loose so I screwed it back together. While i was drilling it I slipped and drilled the inside bend of my left hand pointer finger. That hurt for a while but I got the trailer back in great condition.

Most of the weekend was spent in camp with the kids. The weather was not great as it rained Friday night, blew hard on Saturday, and Sunday a cold front had moved in. I did get a little fishing in on Saturday. I followed a canal back to some lilly pads. I pulled a rubber worm with a small weight across the tops of the lilly pads until a bass busted the surface. He missed the worm but it was pretty cool to watch. I also saw a small bass jump out of the water for a bug and land on a lilly pad where it flopped around for a while before it was able to fall off the side.

I am looking forward to Kentucky lake where I will be out in the boat most of the day every day.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Patterns Throughout the Day

As I fish more and more for bass I am also reading continuously to learn and make myself a better angler. Here are some bass basics I read in an article by Charles Stuart in bassresource.com. This information seems very useful especially for lakes around here. I have noticed that at certain periods throughout the day cetain presentations cease to work and other presentations start working better. This article really cleared that up. I would like to add that I also like to use a shallow crankbait for a morning bite as well. Here is a section from the article Bass Basics.

Morning

Buzzbaits and spinnerbaits can be excellent. Fish them on top or just below the surface. Your retrieve should be reasonably fast. Look for the fish to swirl beside the bait. If this happens but you do not catch a fish, a plastic worm will often do the job when cast to the same location. See below for the worm techniques.

Midday

Bass move to cover during the day. Fish "jig-n-pig" rigs close to the shoreline under fallen trees and bushes as these are "ambush points" for bass and you can capture larger fish. Fish this method very slowly along the bottom of the lake or river. Watch the line for movement or "twitching" and always set the hook hard. Crankbaits and spinnerbaits will attract bass from deep water. If you want to fish deep, reduce the line strength to perhaps 10-pound test and use a crankbait with a deep angled lip. Lipless crankbaits work well bounced off the bottom of the lake with an erratic retrieve. Plastic imitations of various shapes, styles, lengths and colors will also work fished with or without weights.

Afternoon

Plastic worms, crawfish, lizards, frogs, fish and grubs will all catch fish. Tube jigs and other plastic "shapes" which bear no resemblance to any living creature will catch bass on any given day. Do not be afraid to ask other fishermen what color is working that day. Your tackle dealer will also be able to tell you what is working in the area. Imitations such as soft plastics should be fished slowly. A good idea when trying a new lure is to drop it close to the shoreline and watch it move as you retrieve your line. The key to plastics is to make the imitation look as much like the real thing as possible. Watch closely and then imagine what you bait is doing when you cast out into the lake or river on your retrieve. You can also return to the morning methods shown above as the light begins to fade. This is when bass move back to shallow water and ambush points, such as downed trees, large rocks and lily pads to feed.

More Trips and a Glimpse Into the Past

I have finished booking our reservations at Kentucky Lake. We are actually getting a lake house on Lake Barkley. The two lakes are connected close to where the lake house is.


We started looking at cabins and cottages a couple weeks ago. There was one that caught my eye. It was a little more than I was wanting to pay for the week but was a beautiful lakehouse and had everything we would want for a fun filled week at the lake.


We ended up reserving it for 695.00. It has a complimentary boat dock and a 1000 square foot covered deck that will make a great play area for the kids and relaxing spot for us. The deciding factor was that I could not find anything that looked close to as nice even at the same price. Especially on the lake.


They seemed really nice when I spoke to them on the phone and their web site was nicely worded unlike some of the other sites I looked at.


I also booked a campground for this weekend on Indian Lake. I have only fished it once and barely did that time. The first time we went there we realized that the state campground was one of the best in the state. It has channels running through the campground so you can leave your boat in the water overnight.


Indian Lake also has some slightly larger bass and has many docks and lily pads to fish. It is also a very good lake for crappie and is the states #1 lake for saugeye fishing.


The main reason I got it is to leave the boat in the water while I fix one of the boards on the trailer. This week one of the boards that was rotting finally broke and I need to get everything ready for the Kentucky trip. I also need to install a hummingbird fish finder/gps unit. I am moving my smaller older unit to the front of the boat.


I am getting excited about both trips. I could easily live at the lake.


In fact, a couple years after college my wife and I were living and working in Omaha, NE. One of our landlords had not paid the city rental fees for the house we were living in. We came home one evening and they had posted a 30-day eviction notice on our door. I called the city and they told us what had happened and said not to pay him rent until he paid his rental dues. He came to our house later that day and said we needed to pay him rent so he could pay the rental dues. I would not give him his rent due to what the city had told me.


The next morning we woke up with a 24 hour eviction notice from him on our door. He had pulled some crazy things in the past and I knew if we did not get our things out of the house he was going to end up with some of them. He had already spent lots of time in the house while we were not there. One time he came in and started staining the hardwood floors in the living room. He did half the room and after a week I finished the other half because I could not take it any longer. He had also lit our candles in the bathroom while we were gone one weekend. Apparently he had a girl over while we were gone.


So with 24 hours to get out I called off work rented a storage unit and a moving truck and had everything out of the house by the end of the day. It hit us after our last load to the storage unit that we were now homeless with nowhere to go.


We drove back to the storage unit and I dug back to our camping supplies and loaded them into the car. We made our way outside of town to a place called 24 lakes near Freemont, NE. We set up camp. For the first week while we were looking for a place to live we camped at the lake in a little tiny tent with a great dane and 2 fish from the aquarium.


We had a hard time finding a place that would accept a great dane. We finally found a place that could get us in after a month and a half. We would have to stay at the lake until then.


I ended up talking to a guy at work that was wanting to get rid of his motorhome. It was a little older but had low miles. He could not get it to start and said the air conditioner quit working years ago but said if I could get it to start he would sell it to me for 1300.00. I went to take a look and the outside of the 28 foot motorhome was in great condition. On the inside you could see it had been used for some crazy partying. There was beer spilled everywhere and trash everywhere. The carpets were matted down and black and sticky. The fridgerator had meet left in it for who knows how long and had maggots crawling around. It was a mess.


I came back the next day and started to work on the motor to see if I could get it to start. Around dark it fired up and I had it running. The next 2 days I cleaned the insides of it with many different cleaners and carpet cleaners, spot removers, smell good things. I got everything really clean. The refrigerator was even clean but still had a foul odor. Finally on my day off I paid for it and drove it to the lake.


Once we had it to the lake I crawled on top and took the cover off the air conditioner. A wire had came disconnected and once I plugged it back in the air conditioner was up and running.


After that point we had to move once a week to a different lake still within the same park. Every evening I would go swimming and fishing and we would sit outside and barbecue. My wife even sat on the beach with the dog to watch fireworks on the fourth of July. It was only about 7 or 8 dollars a night for electric camping and showers were pay showers. We got good enough to take a .50 cent shower.


That was also one of the worst storm season's I have seen. We had heavy winds that broke tree branches down all over the campground and seemed like it was going to roll the motorhome. There were tornado warnings in the area quite a few times. One time during a hail storm we heard 30 miles south of us they were getting volleyball size hail. It had put holes in people's houses so big they could stick their kids through the holes in the roof of their houses. We spent a bit of time in the shower houses waiting out bad weather.


It was a great 2 months overall though. We saved money on rent and were outside living it up every day. When the apartment finally opened up we were both pretty upset. Not long after that we found out my job was ending and that we would be moving to Ohio. I sold the motorhome to my Grandmother who still enjoys it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Good Start Close Finish

I awoke to mildy cool weather Sunday morning. There was dew on the windows when I hooked up the boat and you could tell fall is right around the corner.

We considered just fishing to see if we could do decent. We haven't placed in the money at a tournament yet. We decided to go ahead and fish the tournement. We have been getting better each week we have fished it and if we get all of the fish in the boat we could walk away with some money.

As we pulled into the boat ramp about 15 minutes until the start of the tournament I saw that there were hardly any open parking spaces. There were a lot of boats there for that time of the morning. As I was paying the entry for the tournament I found out that there was another club tournament on the lake.

There was about 25 boats in our tournament and at least that in the other. With all of us on Deer Creek the water got covered pretty quickly.

We started off at a bank that we have had most of our luck on so far this season. The bass are of descent size and there are some good laydowns near the creek channel. Not long after the start of the tournament Gene was fishing one of the laydowns with a white suspending crankbait and hooked into a 2 pounder. That got us pretty excited. A little ways down the bank he hooked into another one next to a log that went about 1 3/4. We were really excited. Then Gene caught another 12 1/2 incher neer a tree base a little further down the bank. This was all by 9:30.

We were both happy that we had enterred the tournament. Gene was rubbing it in that he was catching all the fish. I really wanted to catch one.

There was another boat right behind us fishing the same bank about 50 feet behind us and another 50 feet behind them so we could not turn and fish it back. Why at the start of a tournament you would choose to fish right behind another boat is beyond me. I always want to fish fresh water at the beginning of the day. We reached a point that i had seen another boat fish so I decided to get us to another spot that we had caught decent fish. There were 2 boats there so we ventured back in the creek. We fished the bank on the way in. It looked good and I was wondering why we weren't catching anything until I saw 3 boats coming back down the creek.

Everywhere we went there were boats in all of our main places. We decided to hit a stretch of bank that had a 2 foot flat about the size of a football field. The trolling motor got us back there and we ended up catching a couple small bass and a crappie. One of the bass was 11 3/4 inches. We went back to our original area after that and caught a couple more small non keepers before the end of the tournament.

We ended up catching 7 bass (only 3 keepers), a saugeye, a crappie and a white bass in the 6 hours we fished. It was our best tournament to date. All of the other boats had worse days than usuall due to the volume of fishermen on the lake.

We ended up one out of the money with 4.61 pounds. We needed at least 2 more small fish to make the money though. It was a blast to have a chance. I wish I could have contributed to the keepers. Now I have to listen to Gene rub it in on how he outfished me. He says it doesn't happen often so he has to rub it in. He is getting a lot better as the season goes on though. He is becoming quite the bass man.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Wednesday fishing for fun!

Mizike and I went fishing last Wednesday night and had a good time. I was not going to be able to fish our regualar Thursday night due to issues at work.

We went to Alum Creek. Mizike showed up before me to get some extra fishing in. He caught one small bass by the time I arrived. He picked me up and asked where to catch the crappie. I had a little spot that was not too far out of the way so I took him there.

We fished with minnows which is pretty rare for me. I usually use a jig head and skirt when I fish for crappie. I used the jig head and hooked the minnow on it about 2 1/2 foot under a bobber. We had good crappie fishing and caught around 15. We kept 5 that were well above 9 inches and threw about that many back that were right on the line. Mizike also hooked into about a 6 1/2 lb. catfish on his ultralight. He got it to the boat and out of the water but his line broke when he was swinging it into the boat.

I had one pole hooked up for crappie fishing and the rest for bass. We anchored in one spot to float a bobber and cast around there looking for bass. I pulled out my hula popper first. I cast next to a tree branch that stuck down in the water and popped it slowly past it. On my fifth cast I looked at Mizike and said, "I'm about to make the bass under that branch mad and he's going to take this popper." Right as I ended my sentence the water boiled at my lure and I set the hook. After a good battle I finally landed the 1 1/2 lb largemouth. I wish I had instincts like that all the time.

I caught a couple more bass on the crappie rigs and one on a spinner next to a hump and a willow. The crappie were taking the bobbers under pretty regular and we were catching about 3/4 of the ones that bit. Setting the hooks on crappie doesn't work like it does on bass.

We fished for about 2 hours before a storm rolled in and soaked us. It was raining so hard that even with my bilge on the water was rising inside the boat. I thought we were going to have to pull up to shore to keep her afloat for a bit.

By the time we made it back to the ramp and backed the trailer in it had finished raining. It was still quite a trip. It always feels good to catch fish after fish and I love seeing fish hit topwater.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Deer Creek Tournament

After all the sun I had on Saturday there was no way I was going fishing on Sunday. I went to bed Saturday night with plans of sleeping in on Sunday then watching t.v. all day while I rehydrated.

In the middle of the night I heard a noise like the front door opening. I asked my wife if she heard it but she was out of bed. I assumed that it was her and went back to sleep. She woke me up and asked if I was going to the tournament in the morning. I told her no and put my head under a pillow. She said that Gene was downstairs sleeping on the couch. I told her I still was not feeling well from the dehydration and wasn't going to go.

She went downstairs to tell Gene and by the time she got back upstairs I was fully awake. I told her that I might as well go fishing since I was awake and feeling a little better.

I was concerned being able to find the fish when we got to the lake. I had not had any luck the day before but didn't get to fish much either. Gene had talked to a guy the night before that told him a good spot so we headed there first. Gene was fishing with a suspending crank and I fished with a craw. He caught a keeper withing the first 15 minutes fishing a fallen tree. I caught a small fish casting a spinner next to a rock bank.

We fished the main lake at the start of the tournament. Then once the boats came out and started making the water rough we headed to the no wake areas.

Late in the day as the sun was beating down on us I decided to try some back water areas. I put the trolling motor on 24 volt, high speed and headed down the shoreline. We casted spinners and crankbaits at the bank. We were trying to find active fish. I started to see bass rising to the surface around us on a flat that was only 2 feet deep. I cast past one of the rises and reeled to where the bass had risen and as it reached there the fish hit. It was about 50 foot from the boat and the bass was airborn several times before I finally got it in. It was a keeper.

We worked the area a little longer then cruised on trying to find some more active fish. One of the boats had saw me catch one and pulled up to the rock bank we were working toward. We worked back the other way until the tournament ended without any more luck. At the weigh in we found out the boat that had stopped at the rock bank had caught a 3 pounder for big bass at that spot.

We weighed in our 2 fish. They went 1.96 pounds. I felt like we had a pretty successful tournament. Even though we did not win I felt like we had a good day. We caught 3 bass and did not miss any of our bites. There are a couple things I would do different. I would work more areas and I would have fished more rubber baits. I also would have worked the area we caught the last fish with a few more baits to see if I could get another fish out of that area. There were several fish working the surface along that bank.

Fun in the Sun

There was an incredible urge to fish Saturday. It was partially due to how I had fished on Thursday as well as wanting to try a couple new things out.

Kimber decided she wanted to get some sun while I was out and my older son decided he wanted to go fishing too. I worked it out so my wife would come to the lake and we would meet at the beach then I would go fishing on my own to try some things out.

Well, plans don't always work out. My son was a brat and threw a fit for the first hour and a half at the lake. I did get to try fishing the river channel a little but not as much as I would have liked or quite the area I wanted to. My wife did not show up at the time she said she would be there.

We ended up at the beach anyhow and swam and played in the sand. It was pretty fun. My youngest tried eating shovels full of sand. I'd think he would learn.

It was hot, one of the hottest days we have had this year and Kimber and I got burned pretty bad.

After a couple hours at the beach I mentioned that I was going to go fishing. Kimber wanted to go in the boat some more and told my wife we should all go out. I fished around the boat ramp for a while then took them in. I decided that I had enough heat and sun and loaded the boat as well. I think I was dehydrated. I was pouring out swet and had a terrible headache and my hands were shaking bad enough I could barely open the hatches on the boat to store everything.

It was still a good day because we were at the lake.

TNT tournament results

Thursday was crazy to say the least. I was not ready for what was in store for us in order to compete in this tournament.

As usual I had to leave work and drive to O'Shaughnessy. My plan was to leave in plenty of time so I would get there, prep the boat and tie some lures on prior to the start of the tournament. Everything was going well until one associate showed up late. I hurried over to the plant to hand out paychecks but all of the associates there were already on the floor. I speed walked to the back of the building handed them their checks and by the time I made it back to the car I was taking off about 40 minutes behind the time I had planned.

I was starting to stress about making it to the lake on time. Then Mizike called. He said we had drawn the bullhorn boat. We were last and had to call out the boat numbers at the start of the tournament. I picked up my speed because I had to be there on time now. It seemed like every car I came to was turning and every light was red on the way to the lake.

My staying calm was gone. I couldn't settle down and was tense by the time I reached the lake. We hurried and got the boat to the ramp. I turned the key and it did not fire right away. I ran back and squeezed the bulb and tried again. It was turning over but not firing. I pushed in on the key to choke it nothing, throttled it up still nothing. Finally I just held on the key and it came to life. We made it on the water right as the directors were announcing the rules. We got the bullhorn and called out the boat numbers.

Finally after the last boat left I asked Mizike if he had any spots he wanted to start. He directed me to a fantastic looking bank that had a river channel running next to it. We pulled up and as he started casting I dropped the trolling motor. I pressed on the foot pedal and nothing happened. By this point I was feeling overwhelmed. We started searching for the problem. As we were the ski boats were bombing us with waves and pushed us next to shore into an overhanging tree.

We pushed our way out and Mizike started tracking the wires and checking fuses. He couldn't figure anything out. I casted a little while he was doing that. Then I don't know why but I started turning the trolling motor with the foot control back and forth. I felt a lurch in the motor and heard the problem. There was line wrapped around the prop. Must have happened at the end of the last trip and seized the motor before this trip.

Finally, about an hour after the start of the tournament we were able to fish. We tried the stretch of bank we had just floated down. I felt a couple of nibbles but they wouldn't take it enough to get a hook set.

We moved North to the shallower part of the lake to try it. We fished fast with spinners and crankbaits. We did not have any luck there. We finally came back towards the ramp and tried one last area with spinners where Mizike had caught one keeper before. We finished the tournament without a fish.

Here's how I did with my goals:

1. I didn't fish effectively on my casts. I made some good casts but was not following my instinct and slowing down. I didn't have purpose on a lot of casts. I was just throwing it out and reeling in.

2. Finding fish. I think we fished a spot that had fish but due to a lack of effort we did not catch any.

3. I didn't keep lures on my poles. I didn't even have a chance to tie lures on a couple of them prior to the tournament. I would tie a lure on then if I lost it I would grab a new pole.

4. Time got me again. After messing with the trolling motor for an hour we only had a couple hours left. We didn't use what time we had effectively. Instead we tried new water in 2 different locations that took most of the time, then had to leave early since we had not caught fish so Mizike could get home and showered before heading to work.

5. I fished the craw quite a bit and had some nibbles. I also used a beetle spin that I have had some luck on at O'Shaughnessy. I stuck with the baits I had confidence in but we fished all new areas that I did not so I guess this goal was half successful and half not.

This tournament was doomed from the beginning. I got way to stressed and things did not go right at all. There was something to be learned though. If I have an important tournament I will make sure I have plenty of time to arrive and have everything ready to go so I can relax for a while and mentally prepare before the start of the tournament.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

TNT return and preperations

Summer weather is just getting here but fall is coming fast. We are finally starting to get the warmer days of summer I have been waiting for all year. It has been a great spring and early summer with only 3 days above 90 degrees so far this year.

As the summer continues on I am still continually thinking about bass. Even if I could be out there every day catching them, I would want more, I would want to start fishing for them at night as well.

To keep gaining experience and grow on my so far poor rookie year I am going to fish the Thursday TNT tournament at O'Shaughnessy tomorrow evening. I will be camping at Indian Lake this weekend and will not be able to get in the Sunday Deer Creek tournament.

O'Shaughnessy has been rough on us this year with no keeper bass during a tournament so far. I hope to turn that around tomorrow. I read some articles on mental preparation that should help me focus on fishing correctly and not focus on the previous tournaments we have had there. There was also an article by the same author that wrote about setting goals. He was writing about yearly goals but I think I will make some for this tournament as well.

Goal 1: I want to fish effectively on most of my casts. Casting for even a small amount of time without anything to show for it can be dulling. I start short casting or working areas that don't even look good. This week I want to refocus at least every half hour so I can make my casts count and keep my lure in the strike zone the longest and stay alert for when a strike does occur.

Goal 2: Find the fish. I have a few spots now that were a little more productive than others. I will try them but if we try several effective presentations and still do not get bites we will try another spot.

Goal 3: Keep lures on all of my poles. I have a bad habit of grabbing a different pole with a different lure if my line breaks. I might do this if fish are around but if I don't catch anything on the other lure I will at least re-tie my line and have it ready to go in case I need it.

Goal 4: Keep my focus on fishing and not on the time. I get scared of the time limit. According to the articles I read worry can cause you to tense up and that tension does not help fishing. If I need to I will relax a minute then get back to why I am there, to fish effectively.

Goal 5: Use my strengths that I have gained. I have tried lots of styles of fishing this year, but I am confortable working area's slowly with a craw. I will try other tackle as the fish show me what they want but I will keep a craw tied on as that is definately my confidence bait right now.

I still think we can win a tournament, but that will not be my goal this week. If I can fish effectively then winning will follow.

Weekend Update # 2

There was noise coming from downstairs as I awoke from a good night of sleep. My sons were playing with their toys as they normally do on weekend mornings around 8:30. I grabbed my glasses from the nightstand and made my way down to the living area and kitchen. My son grabs my leg and gives me my morning hug.

Still a little tired I see that Gene had not slept on the couch as usual on Saturday night. I walked outside to see if his car was at the house. It was not but as I rounded the corner Mizike had the garage door open and was gathering his gear to put in the van. I gave him a funny look and asked about the 9:00 time that we were originally going to start loading. He said that he could not sleep and had already been to wash and vacuum the van to prep it for packing.

As I smoked a cigarette still half asleep I called to make sure Gene was up and on his way. Right after I got off the phone Thomas called and said he was about at the house. It had been quite a while since we had been fishing together so I gave him directions until he reached the house.

As I took a shower Gene showed up and the 3 continued loading the van. The shower helped me wake up and gave me focus on the day. I started to get excited. We were about to set off on an adventure to one of the greatest walleye fisheries in the world.

We finally had everything packed and sent the wife and kids off to church then it was our turn to get on the road. The 3 hour trip to the lake went quick with all of the joking and talking we were doing. Once we arrived to Port Clinton we stopped at a gas station to get some cash. The ATM was down so we continued down the road to a bank ATM to get some cash to enter the big fish competition and to tip the first mate on the head boat.

Next, we continued on to Fisherman's Wharf. It was pretty quiet near the store. It was Sunday and a lot of the crowd that had been there for the weekend were already on their way home. We found a spot to park and went into the store to get paid up. The store was unusually quiet as well and we were able to pay for the boat rather quickly. When we paid there were only 6 of us signed up. That was pretty exciting, that meant we would be able to fish off any part of the boat we wanted.

We picked up some Subway to take on the boat with us then came back to the van to wait to load into the boat. After about an hour of waiting in 95 degree heat we finally loaded. The boat we were originally going to take was out of commission due to the batteries not taking a recharge so they put us on another boat that still needed gas. We sat on the boat for almost another hour before taking off. That was a little frustrating because the captain and first mate said the last trip out they had found the walleye and caught most of their fish on the last drift. The conditions were changing and I knew that if we did not get out there to catch some right away we might not keep up with them or find them that evening.

The boat was filled up and we headed out for our 6 hour instead of 7 hour trip. We travelled further North than I have been in the head boats. I wasn't worried since we had taken plenty of beverages with us to keep us occupied on the trip out.

Once we arrived to our destination there were 3 to 4 foot swells. There were only 11 of us fishing but I decided I was going to fish off the bow so I could cast and reel instead of drift. It was rough on the bow because it lifted and lowered more with each wave than the rest of the boat. I was having a hard time getting my sea legs and had to hold onto the rail several times to keep from falling.

I finally figured out that it would only toss us around once out of 4 or 5 waves and the rest of the time I could manage to get a cast out and start reeling. The front of the boat paid off as I had my first hit as I was slowly lifting my harness off the bottom. I reeled it in and had a fairly large white perch. Mizike had a white perch on just about the same time. We fished for a while longer before the captain finally pulled in the first walleye. I followed with a small 16 incher.

One other guy on the boat caught a walleye on the first spot we tried. We had caught a few more white perch and some sheep heads. Finally the captain decided that he had lost the walleye they had been on earlier and made a half hour trip back towards port clinton.

Fishing there was not any better. Thomas caught a small walleye and the rest of the boat caught a couple more walleye as well as some yellow perch and more white perch. One guy on the back of the boat also caught a nice catfish. We were fishing a sunken ship.

It was probably a good thing we moved from the last spot because a storm had came in and looked like it was over where we had been. The captain commented on that being the reason we were not getting a good bite. The barometric pressure was changing and had shut off the bite.

The last 2 times we had been out the bite was slow. I am wondering if Lake Erie is getting fished out since they have not had a good walleye hatch for several years. The fish we had caught were just moving into keeper size. That could be a possibility. It could be that we just had 2 poor trips out to Erie due to the weather this year.

It was still good to be out there fishing. I might have as good of luck in the inland lakes but the potential to really get into em' goes way up when you go to Erie.

I will probably wait until next year to go back. I guess I will have to find some saugeye around home to catch to eat or live on crappie until next year.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Weekend Update # 1

We started a fire in the firepit behind the house Friday night in anticipation of roasting marshmallows for s'mores. Shawn and his wife had just shown up for the occasion slightly after the sun had gone down. A long week of work called for a few barley filled beverages.

I tore a paper grocery bag in 3 pieces then rolled them and placed some kindling and wood over the top of them tee pee style in the metal fire pit. I lit the paper as Shawn, his wife Jody, my wife, and Mizike's girlfriend Kimber gathered chairs to put around the fire. The paper was dry and I lit it in several spots so that all sides of the fire would ignite at once. The kindling and wood did not take long to burst into flames and before the chairs were arranged the fire was illuminating the back of the house and the woods behind us. At that same moment a few raindrops came down from the sky. Our perfect night for s'mores was getting ready to change.

The girls hurried inside while Shawn and I huddled around the fire to tell some tales of work and life. The light rain subdued and we continued to talk around the fire while the girls were inside chatting. After a couple of beers the girls asked if it was raining out still. We let them know that it had quit. Everybody gathered outside. Only a couple s'mores were made but stories were told and everybody became mesmorized by the flames of the fire.

Mizike arrived home after his shift at work. He sat around with us for a bit but he was ready for the bar scene. Jody was tired and Shawn and her decided it was time to leave. I was going to go to bed after a good evening when Kimber said I had to go to the bar with Mike because she was not feeling well. I had already been drinking and Mizike was going to be drinking so we convinced her to drive us to the bar and we would find a ride home.

At the bar we met a group of friends on the patio. We started out with a drink a piece. It was good and went down quick. I told Mizike I was going to order 4 more for each of us so we would not have to wait for drinks. When I asked for 8 drinks total the bartender had me clarify at least 3 times before making them. It was already a little late, I guess she didn't think we would finish them in time. I got back to the table and there were shots lining the table. There were 2 sitting in front of where I had been sitting. One of the others at the table had decided that was the night to drink as well.

We toasted and had the first shot followed with a whiskey and coke chaser, then another shot followed by 3 whiskey and coke chasers. With the beer and whiskey and cherry bomb's in my stomach I started feeling realy good. I started making my way around the bar and conversing with some friends that I had not seen in a while. Time went fast and it was closing time.

In the parking lot we discussed eating at waffle house. It was decided, and to Waffle house we went. They must love the drunk after bar crowds they get in there with everybody loud and obnoxious. We ate well and once outside the discussion of after hours came about. We were on the way to go to after hours when the lead car turned off the route and started heading towards our house. We got out and I said "What about after hours?" Mizike said, "It's 4:30 in the morning." I got his point and we headed inside for bed.

I woke up around 8:30 Saturday morning. I felt rested and was in the mood for fishing. My son came in the room and I asked him if he wanted to go. He did, so I loaded the van to go. We went to Madison Lake, a small lake close to the house. We have had some luck bluegill fishing there and I thought it would be a good lake to try some of my new baits that arrived in the mail Friday afternoon on some small bass.

We got to our spot and fished for a little while before my son was tired of fishing. My wife took the 2 boys to the park and I was able to try my new craws. I walked to the rocks of the dam casting along the bank where there were breaks from the trees. I had a couple of small nibbles on the way to the rocks. Then at the corner of the dam I stood on a rock and cast to the shad of an overhanging tree branch. There was a bass there and he nibbled at the bait but when I set the hook there was no fish attached.

I fished for a little bit longer then decided to walk the bank to the playground to meet up with the wife and kids. I was walking around one cove when I saw at the tip of the cove there was a tree lined with brush hanging over the water. In front of that I saw logs floating in the water with green seeds from the tree covering the top of the water between the tree and the logs.

I thought back to fishing in Kansas and remembered that there is always a bass under those seeds if they are gathered between structure. I took my craw and flipped it in the green. Immediately my line cuts through the seed and heads under one of the logs. I pull up on my rod to set the hook. Out comes the jig head. The fish had successfully gotten the plastic craw.

I walked back to the van and got some new rubber and walked the cove again with no luck. I got to the point near the playground and was on my last cast when I heard a thumping getting really close to the back of my head. I turned around just in time to see a flock of ducks dive bombing me. I ducked and covered right as they swooped past me and landed in the cove I had just fished. A couple at the picnic table were laughing hysterically. I guess the ducks didn't see me or did not care but I would have been whacked if I had not dodged them.

I walked back to the van and of course my wife had not seen it happen and did not see the humor of it. She would have been on the ground rolling if I would have walked back with duck feathers lining my mouth. We headed home to relax before going to see Harry Potter in Imax 3D that evening.

The 3D part of Harry Potter was awesome besides the fact that my oldest did not want to wear the glasses and I kept trying to put them on. The 3D was only for a small portion of the beginning of the movie. However, it was the best 3D I havr seen so far. I guess I will take a little bit of really good 3D over a whole movie of so-so 3D.

We finally got home about midnight and hurried to bed for our Sunday trip to lake Erie.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Upcoming trips

It's Friday. Two more days and Gene, Mizike and I will be heading to lake Erie for a trip out on the headboat to fish for walleye. We are stocked up on worms and harnesses from out last trip out this spring. We only caught 3 walleye that trip. We had a cold front come through and the bite turned off. I luckily caught 2 before that happened.

I have been going at least once a year with Gene for the last 5 years. It has become kind of a tradition. We had each gotten different jobs this last year so our schedules do not work out quite as well as working together. I have reserved the evening outing from 3 PM - 10 PM on Sunday. We will take off from home about 10 AM and drive there Sunday. Once we are done fishing Mizike can drive us back since he has to work 3rd shift this week. Gene and I can sleep so we can get up the next day.

It will be close to 2 or 3 in the morning before we get home. If there's something to be tired at work for it is fishing.

I ordered some new fishing tackle the other day. I keep thinking I should have enough but it seems that I keep needing more. I have 2 full tackle bags and 1 tackle box along with a seperate bag for my rubber baits. I keep asking myself if I need it all but each time I am out at the lake I find that I need just a small change on something. I need to run a little deeper or a little shallower, or a slight change in color.

The main reason I bought new tackle was because I am 1 berkley crazy legs chigger craw away from running out of a hot pattern for this summer. I ordered 3 bags to stock me back up. I also ordered 3 bags of 5" senko's. I keep hearing how good they are but have yet to try them. I am also getting 3 bags of 5" skirted double tail creature baits, 1 package of baby hogs, and 8 bags of smallie beaver's.

I am pretty excited to try some of these out.

Next weekend I am scheduling a camping trip to Indian Lake. It will give me some different experience for bass fishing. It has a lot of boat docks and rocky banks along with channels. It is a shallow lake and only has one area that has much depth to it. From what I have seen on tournament results it has a little larger fish than some of the other lakes I am fishing.

I am still working on our vacation for September. It will be at Kentucky Lake I just haven't set the dates yet. I am really excited. I just watched the FLW Kentucky Lake tournament last night. I love DVR. That's the only way I can ever watch fishing. The size of the fish that come out of there are huge. I am happy with a 2 1/2 pounder but the opportunity to see 4's and 5's is amazing. A whole week at the lake will be great too. It looks like a beautiful lake too. The closer September gets the more anxious I will be too.

My 3 year old loves to fish and camp. He will love being out there with just us and getting to fish every day. My 1 year old will have fun too.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Plan to becoming a pro fisherman

I might be getting ahead of myself but I really want to become a pro fisherman. I have looked up the routes to get to both the Bassmasters Elite Series and the FLW Tour. Both are very expensive and the routes to get there are not that easy. I also looked at smaller series like the Stren Series. I think the best route for me is to shoor for the Elites.

After looking at it I decided it is not impossible for a good fisherman to get on the Series to compete with the other Pro's. I look at some of the better fisherman in the tournaments I fish and think that these guys could do it. They are consistent and bring in big fish week in week out. One thing that I do notice though is that we fish the same lakes and from talking with them they always fish these lakes. They have had time to figure them out and know where the bass are located. Given the same situation and similar lakes they would do good but if they were to try a different lake in different conditions they would have to start over to pattern the bass and figure out where they would be.

I'm sure that there are several guys I fish with that could still do that.

I have devised my plan to shoot for the pro's. Like any plan it will take revision along the way but I have to start somewhere to go after my dream.

First I am going to try to join a bass club by the end of this year. I have already e-mailed the president of a club I had talked to at one of the clubs opens this spring. He e-mailed back and said to call him. I will learn as much as I can from from the other anglers in the club. It will also give me the opportunity to start giving back to the sport that gives so much to me.

I will also compete in smaller tournaments and get in as much fishing as I can while working to support the family and spending time with them. I will also fish as much different water as I can. I want to be confident on different waters as well as using different techniques and lures. I am also going to try to enter a few pro ams next year as an amature. I think that will be huge. It will help me to see how to go about fishing a tournament as a pro and the experience I can gain by fishing with new people and seeing how they fish will be invaluable.

Any money I earn in tournaments or on the side I am putting into a savings account. I also sell on ebay for side money. I think I can pull quite a bit of the money I need by doing that in the next few years. I am also going to try to sell my house in the next year and move into something more affordable. This is something we need to do anyway. I have been working on paying down most of our debt. I started about 3 years ago and most of it should be paid off in 3 more years besides the house.

Once my wife can support everything off her salary and we are living comfortably I am going to take my shot. That is if I feel confident I can win or compete at that level. Right now I am not at that level. I can catch bass and have came a long way since this winter, a lot has came back to me, but I need a lot more experience and some help. I will have an open mind and try to absorb and utilize everything I can.

I am hoping in 3 years I will be able to take my shot. I want to take the year off work and fish all three bass open series. I would have to quit, the company would not just let me have a year off. The top 7 in points from each open series have an option to move up to the elites. Each tournament is a thousand dollar entry. I figured up the cost for the tournaments, a weeks stay including food and gas. It would be close to another 1000.00 to prefish and for gas to and from the lakes with motel room. I need at least 18000.00 saved in order to take my shot.

To make it in the top 7 I will have recouped some of the cost to help pay for the elite entries if I make it. I will have to see from there if it is enough to get me through the next year.

I have talked to my wife and she was surprisingly supportive of my plan.

I do have concerns about being on the road all the time. I wish I would have went after this a little earlier in life before I started a family. I didn't have the money to pursue it back then. I was lucky just to have enough money to make it to the lake.

I have a lot to prove to myself. I don't give up on dreams easily.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Ramblings of the past

I have been fishing since I was a little kid. I remember fishing with a willow branch, some monofilament tied onto it, with a hook and worm catching bluegill out of a sandpit. I don't know how old I was but it was definately before I turned 5. I grew up fishing with my mom and dad. Mom would take me when Dad was working and Dad would do the same. When they were both off we were all fishing.

We had a lake about 30 minutes from the house that was the main lake for our fishing occasions but we would travel several hours to camp and fish at other lakes. I mainly fished for Walleye and Crappie until I got into high school. Dad was good at finding the Walleye. He enterred a tournament and took 7th place with my uncle at the Kansas Governor's cup at Waconda (Glen Elder) Lake.

I spent my allowance on fishing supplies and fireworks. By the time I was in Grade School I had a full arsenal of tackle and some great spinning rod and reels. I was outfishing my parents in Fourth Grade when we lived in Arkansas for a while. Even when we were camping and fishing all day in the boat, when we would get back to camp I would continue to fish from bank.

While we were living in Arkansas for a year Dad was invited to go fishing with a bass tournament fisherman at Greers Ferry. He was not able to take me since he did not know the guy that well, but my feelings were hurt. I had gone on almost every fishing trip Dad had gone on and I felt I would not have been in the way and could have caught bass. I had caught them before while fishing for other species of fish.

He showed me what he learned from the other guy when he got home. He taught me how to Texas rig a worm so that it was weedless and told me how bass would pick them up and you would have to set the hook in order to drive the hook into their mouth. I knew you didn't do that with Walleye or Crappie or you would pull the hook right out of their mouth.

I think it was that trip that really started my interest in bass fishing. I wanted to show Dad that I could catch bass and could learn how to do it on my own. I started with a few bass lures like a jitterbug that I had gotten as a present in some of the lakes around. The bass were a tough fish to catch on purpose but I started to catch a few.

I was already reading Field and Stream and In-fisherman making sure I knew the latest lures and strategies to catch all types of fish.

When we moved back to Kansas in time for 5th grade I had a friend that also fished with his Dad. They didn't go as much as I did but we started asking for each other to go on all camping and fishing trips. He and his dad taught me a majority of what I know bass fishing. They always fished for bass. My dad and me showed him how to catch walleye, crappie, and other sport fish.

When we got into High School we got our learners permit. I bought a small ABC plastic boat and used Dad's pickup and we would go to the lake and sandpits every chance we would get. We honed in on our bass fishing. We could find them anywhere and started catching up to 5 lb largemouths. We would have a ball and try different techniques. Some of them were absolutely crazy but ended up catching fish. At that time Fish Fishburne was on t.v. and he was wacky. We loved him so we tried to be whacky like him.

I remember taking a girl on a date in high school. We went to the movies and after the movies I took her to a really nice spot on the lake that was not heavily trafficed. I was telling her stories how we could outfish about anybody on the lake. To show her I found some wadded up monofilament in the rocks and an old fishing lure not to far from there. I spotted an area that was sure to hold a largemouth and threw the lure into the water. I pulled the string in by hand and sure enough a 2 lber hit and I pulled him in. She was not as impressed as the guys at work when I told them how the date had went.

My friend and I had little competitions each time we went to the lake. They were just for fun but ended up getting pretty crazy. One time we were doing first, biggest, most. As we were driving to our spot we were crossing a bridge. I grabbed a pole out of the back seat and cast a buzzbait while driving. I was letting it pull with the speed of the car like trolling. A bass hit and I had to stop the car to reel it in.

My friend and I were always trying to build memories and some of those trips will not be forgotten.

During my high school years I always wanted to get into a tournament but my Dad's boat did not have a livewell. I was able to enter a couple of tournaments with other guys I knew and we did o.k. They were multi species tournaments put on by my company though. I got biggest bullhead my first year. It was about 4lbs and only a little over a foot long. The next year I borrowed Dad's boat and 2 of my friends went out with me. We planned out how to get largest fish overall and took the boat clear back on the creek and cast out some corn. I hooked into a monster carp and once we got back to weigh in not only did we have largest fish, we had total most pounds and largest carp. We also caught a bass that won that catagory. We took home nearly 1000 dollars. We all three kissed the carp before turning him loose.

Throughout high school I did most of my papers on fishing. I even did a fly tying demonstration at the local church and several other places. I was one of the first people to fly fish from the area. Fly fishing will always have a place in my heart. I caught my biggest bass to date on a fly. It was a little over 7 lbs at a sandpit near my house.

When I got into college I met somebody that did about as much if not more fishing as I did growing up. I didn't think it was possible. We skipped a few classes and went to every lake in a 100 mile radius of campus. We even enterred a catfishing contest put on by the campus and won that.

I have always fished. After my first year of college I slowed down a lot but managed to catch a few meals a year.

After college I moved to Wichita with my girlfriend now wife. There was not any fishing close and I ended up moving again with the company I work for now about 2 hours from her, so all of my free time was spent coming back to Wichita to spend time with her.

I ended up getting transferred to Omaha NE that winter and lived there for about a year. There was not any big water besides the river there. I did fish some smaller ponds and creeks around there but the fishing was limited.

That company was changing locations so I had the opportunity to move with my company again. There were about 3 sites I could transfer to. I looked at the maps around them and made my decision. I told my Director that I would like to move to Columbus, OH. He asked how I made my decision and I showed him a map and pointed out all the lakes in the area. He laughed at me for making a decision based on fishing.

I made the move and have not looked back. Each year I have been here I have fished more and more. I have tried out a lot of different waters and fished for many different species of fish. I even fulfilled a lifelong dream of fishing Lake Erie for Walleye. I still feel all warm inside each time I go there. I never thought that would be possible growing up.

Fishing is always on my mind. I like to do other things too but fishing will always be my favorite next to my family. Hopefully my family continues to like fishing too.

A lot of times I realize that I have an addiction. I can't get enough and it's hard for me to go home after a day on the lake. I often consider giving everything up to fish all the time. I would be completely happy. That's why I am pursuing a fishing career. I know it will take a lot of work but I have been doing fishing so long and have studied it more than anything else that I should be able to excel at something in this field.

I like tournaments and have dreams of becoming a successful pro someday, I would also be happy doing something else. I have considered going back to school and trying to become a park ranger. I have had dreams of writing for Field and Stream. I have written a couple articles and sent it to them. I have had one story I wrote in high school published. It was a great story about winter camping and building memories. I watched people read it and many of them cried.

My writing here is mostly jotting down thoughts, but I can write well. Most of my writing inspirations come from the old field and streams (1932-1960). Back then the writers told stories and you felt like you were taking the trip of a lifetime when you read them. Now there are mostly articles on how to's and about products. Those things are very important. I might try to write a piece or 2 and send them to a magazine. It would be neat to see my writing published in a major magazine even if I didn't make money doing it.