Monday, August 17, 2009

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.

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