Event #4 of 6 is now in the books at the Potomac River. I finished a disappointing 95th place after weighing in two consecutive 12-pound limits.
To be honest, I can't say that I messed this event up - I fished clean and found the same areas holding fish that everyone else did. I didn't miss anything in practice and I didn't have any execution problems. I've had a day to reflect on this event, and knowing that I finished ahead of guys like Jason Christie, Dave Wolak, I can't hang my head too far. This was an interesting event where 20-40 boats would pile into small areas. Those who got the 3 and 4-pound bites moved up. Unfortunately, I didn't get those bites.
In the big picture, I should stay in the points race with a chance to make the Cup with two events to go. Going to a brand new venue without any experience on it, and throw in a tide to complicate matters - I'm proud of myself for catching a solid limit both days on a new body of water.
I've also had some up-close and personal encounters with both some of the good-guys and the bad-guys in the sport. I've seen how some anglers use each other to work them for information, fishing spots, and even steal waypoints. Terrance and I had dinner out the night that Day 2 wrapped up and witnessed an example right in front of our eyes, where one "rookie" tried to work me for Kentucky Lake info while his father worked another Kentucky Lake expert for info and waypoints at the next table. It's really sad to see that the new generation of anglers thinks that this is the way to succeed. I'm learning who those guys are on Tour, and trust me, you know their names quite well. In fact, the angler that was working me for Kentucky Lake also told me a story about how he was used and abused by another Indiana rookie. I've been there too. I left dinner pretty disgusted that night, knowing that some of the success these guys are having is directly tied to them getting better help and in many cases taking advantage of people. It's a sad, but true, reality in our sport. I'll continue to work hard using my own resources and not trying to steal anything from anybody, but rather earn my finishes and gain the valuable experience to benefit from in the years to come. But more importantly, I'll continue to try to help others and honor God in the process, and I'll let Him decide when I will do well in my next tournament.
With that being said, I also had an opportunity to help another angler who is one of the good guys on Tour, Clifford Pirch. Clifford was broke down a few miles from check-in on Day 1. I pulled over to pick him and his co-angler up to get them back to weigh-in with one minute to spare. Once the weigh-in was over, we troubleshooted his problem and ended up having to track down a prop from Ish Monroe and a cotter pin from the service trailer over the next few hours. I joked with Clifford that he was on my mother-in-law's Fantasy Fishing team, so I had to help get him back on the water so he could make a Top 10. As I write this, Clifford was in 3rd going into the final day and had a chance to win. He went out of his way to thank me and show his appreciation for me stopping to help. I pray that Clifford wins at the Potomac, as he deserves it.
I've been away from home for 17 days and missed several of my sons' baseball games. Multiple traffic jams, parking in unsafe neighborhoods, equipment failures, 12 hour drives, sleeping in the truck, running out of clean clothes, getting caught on the lake in storms, dirty bathrooms, cold coffee.....these are just some of the unpleasant things you get to deal with as a professional angler. If you think this is "living the dream," reality quickly sets in. But let me tell you, I'm honored and blessed to be out here doing what I love in the outdoors and pulling the Red Gold boat across our beautiful country.
We'll regroup over the next couple of weeks and will be looking to make a move at Kentucky Lake. Thanks to all of you who continue to support and encourage me. God Bless!