Well, I was wrong! I said this year’s B.A.S.S. Open at Lake Lewisville couldn’t be any worse than last year’s event and I found out that it could. Once again, I managed not to catch a keeper bass in either of the two competition days. But unlike last year, I didn’t even get a bite during these two competition days. In fact, I only had a total of 6 bites in the 5 fishing days that included practice and competition. I wasn’t the only one. This year a total of 60 of the 176 pros fishing didn’t catch a fish during the tournament, including Rick Clunn.
You’d think that, other than an overwhelming desire never to return to Lewisville, you wouldn’t take away much at a tournament like this one. But the fact is that you can learn from almost any experience on the water. I learned several things during my time at Lewisville and hopefully, those things will help at some event down the line.
First off, I learned that first impressions aren’t necessarily right. I fished a small creek on Sunday (1st day of practice) and had two bites, the guy with me had one and I saw a 4th fish caught. Since all of these fish were short (the only shorts I caught all week), I wrote this area off until I got desperate on the first day of the tournament. It turns out that the eventual winner, Brent Chapman, would go on to catch the majority of his fish in that creek.
What I should have done, since bites were so scarce, was to figure out how to catch more fish in that creek. Chapman simply anchored his boat and threw at the same spot over and over until a fish swam by and bit. The size of the fish in that creek was much better than I expected.
Secondly, I learned that sometimes you have to think differently when the fishing is extremely slow and bites scarce to non-existent. Chapman’s approach of sitting in one place and throwing to the middle of the creek showed imagination and a true understanding of what the fish were doing with all those boats going past them all day. Instead of being on the bank, like you’d expect, the fish had pulled to the deepest water and you had to hit them on the nose to catch them. His repeated casts to the same spot did just that and triggered enough bites to make it worthwhile.
And most importantly, I learned something about myself. I realized on the second morning that even without a bite the first day, I was ready to go and confident that I could catch one that second day, even with worse conditions. It didn’t happen, but I had gotten past the disappointment of last year’s event at Lewisville and even the failure to catch a fish on Day 1 this year. That mental attitude (some might call it a mental disorder) will help me out the next time the bite is that rough. And I’ll appreciate the good days on the water even more.
After all, catching them is great, but it’s not the primary reason I do this. I could catch a lot more fish by going to better lakes, on better days. But testing myself and my abilities against other fishermen and women, in a big part of the reason I fish. So I’ll be at Lake Norman for the next event, ready to go, full of confidence and ready to prove that I can do better. That’s a victory in itself.
Thanks to the sponsors who make this all possible: Scoutlookweather.com, Lowrance Electronics, Phoenix Bass Boats, Costa del Mar Sunglasses, Bass Angler Magazine and Mississippi Van Lines. Without all of you, none of this would be possible.