There are just three days to go until I’m on the road again for a tournament. I have to say that after a long and very busy summer off from tournaments, I’m more than ready to get back on the water and back into competition mode. But before I can get back to what’s really important; like fishing patterns and surviving the late summer Oklahoma heat, I first have to make the 493.82 mile (thanks for that depressing detail, mapquest) trip to Fort Gibson Lake.
You’d think by now that road miles wouldn’t bother me. After all, with about 15,000 miles a year towing the boat and another 35,000 without it, I should be used to it. And don’t get me wrong, there are some great things about this kind of travel. I’ve seen a lot of the country and been to a bunch of great lakes along the way. I’ve seen some amazing sites along America’s interstates and got to meet a bunch of nice people (as well as several very nice state’s troopers) on my travels. The miles have all kind of run together over the years but some trips do stick out in my mind.
Trips like my first one to a B.A.S.S. tournament; which was on the St. Lawrence waterway on the US/Canadian Border in New York. I’ll never quite understand that decision to fish that division and make that 2 day drive up there, but it was well worth the trip. The memories of watching the flash on a jigging spoon on the bottom in 30 feet of water, huge schools of smallmouth chasing a spinnerbait and the monster waves on Lake Ontario when the wind blows hard out of the southwest will stick with me for the rest of my life.
Most of my trips have been without incident, but I’ve also had some trips with breakdowns. They range from a fire under the hood of my Suburban when I blew up a transmission and it dumped all the fluid on the exhaust manifold, to a couple of burned up hubs, two broken trailer springs and the occasional flat. But, none of them was bad enough to totally cancel a trip. So in the long run, they don’t do anything but add to the memories.
And, of course, the weather has contributed it’s share to the experiences on the road. There have been floods, tornados, hail and enough lightening to power the entire country for a year. And this time, it looks like the remains of Hurricane Issac will be following me to Oklahoma. There’ve been hot days, cold days, snowy days and even the occasional pleasant days, but I wouldn’t trade a one of them for another day sitting at a desk.
So I guess, in the long run, that’s what it all boils down to. I dread the thought of making these drives, but once I’m on the water, it’s well worth the effort. So when the sun comes up Saturday, I’ll already be on the way to Fort Gibson. Looking to catch a few fish, make a few memories and maybe even pick up a check along the way. Stranger things have happened!
Thanks to the sponsors who make this all possible: Scoutlookweather.com, Lowrance Electronics, Phoenix Bass Boats, BoatUS Angler, Power Pole, Costa del Mar Sunglasses and Mississippi Van Lines. Without all of you, none of this would be possible.