After a long summer break from tournaments, I’m back on the road today and headed to the Toyota Owner’s Tournament. It’s their second annual tournament and it’s a pretty cool event. It’s a no entry fee tournament with a $5000 first place check and payouts to the top 30 teams. All you have to do is own a Toyota and participate in their Bonus Bucks program (also free).
Last year’s tournament was at Lake Norman (one of my favorite lakes) but the 12 hour drive out there kept me from being able to go. Since they’re having in on Wheeler Lake, it was a no brainer to load up and go. Wheeler’s always been fun to fish and it has a huge population of bass. Even better, you can catch largemouth, spots or smallmouth.
I’m partnering up with Austin Bank’s and we’re going in his boat, so the Phoenix will be sitting at home this weekend. But that’s the only downside to this weekend. The weather forecast is great and I’m looking forward to catching some of those smallmouth. If you’ve never had to opportunity to catch a smallmouth bass, just imagine casting out of your front yard and hooking onto a passing car. That’s what the strike feels like and it an addiction I’ve never been able to kick or for that matter wanted to kick.
It’s been a long break from tournaments and even from fishing since I’ve been fighting a nagging knee injury for most of the summer. Thanks to some first class work from Dr. David Gandy, the knee’s ready for action. I’m rustier than a WW2 shipwreck, but a little time on the water will be a fix that right up. I might miss the first couple during practice but I’ll bring my A-game for tournament day.
So wish us luck and I’ll be back next week with a report on the tournament. Hopefully, it’ll be a good report but no matter what happens it’ll be fun. With no points on the line, we’ll swing for the fences. It’s about time for a home run, but I’ll just about as happy to experience some fine Wheeler fishing and a couple of great days on the water.
Thanks to the sponsors who make this all possible: Lowrance Electronics, Phoenix Bass Boats, Denali Rods, Bryan’s Marine, BoatUS Angler, Power Pole, Costa del Mar Sunglasses and Mississippi Van Lines. Without all of you, none of this would be possible.