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Trying to Get Back on Track at Beaver

Posted by blake on April 26, 2017

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The next FLW Tour event at Beaver Lake kicks off tomorrow and it’ll definitely be an interesting one.  A lot of the fish are done spawning and the water is continuing to rise and muddy up in the upper portion on the lake.  Whenever you have these kind of changing conditions with finicky postspawn fish, it usually sets the stage for a tough event.  Just driving over the creeks on my way here, I could see how flooding and high they were.  We’ve continued getting rain all week and we can expect them to keep bringing that water up.

Before last year, Beaver was the only place I had made a check every year I’d fished on Tour.  It’s a place I understand a little bit, but this week will be much different than what we’ve experienced in the past.  The weights will probably be down some from last year with much of the upper river being out of play so we’ve got to go grind them out and hopefully we can get a couple bigger bites each day.  In this event a big bite should go a long way.

Our last event at Cumberland was a tough one for me.  I caught fifteen pounds of smallmouths eveach day and had to throw them back.  With the eighteen inch limit on smallmouth it really made it interesting.  Before Cumberland, the only event I’d fished with the same kind of limits was at Norris Lake last year and it didn’t go well for me either.  I felt like I fished well in both events though; it’s just a weird situation when you’re catching 17-17 ¾” smallmouth all day and can’t seem to get one over that eighteen inch mark.  I guess it just takes a different strategy and I’ll be approaching it differently next time.  One of the other things I feel like I could have done was to throw a jerkbait more.  I threw a spinnerbait and it seemed like a lot of guys were able to get some bigger bites on that jerkbait.

After Cumberland I headed back near home on the Tennessee River for the second Bassmaster Southern Open at Lake Chickamauga.  There was a lot going on at Chick with fish being in all three phases of the spawn so every decision really was magnified.  In practice I mixed it up and saw and caught some really good fish.  I caught one eight pounds or better nearly every day of practice and in every stage of the spawn.  My co-angler practice partner even caught a five pound meanmouth which was by far the biggest I had ever seen.  It was changing every day, but I felt pretty good heading into day one of the event.

That first morning I made one poor decision.  I was a late boat draw and made a decision that caused me to totally miss that shad spawn.  I went way down the lake and did not stop mid-lake where it was still going down which cost me big.  I fished a crankbait deeper and caught a couple before I ran bed fish on day one.  I was never able to run into a big one and started off in the middle of the pack with four fish.

Day two, I didn’t make the same mistake.  I pulled up on an area with an early shad spawn going on and went to catching them.  I caught an eight and a four and my co-angler caught some too.  I did most of the damage with a DT-16 and a Carolina Rig with a Senko and ended up with nineteen pounds which left me just outside the check cut.  All in all, it was a really fun day.

I headed home afterwards to spend some time with my family and celebrate my daughter’s birthday.  Happy 11th birthday to her!  I rolled into Beaver mid-day into the first practice day on Sunday, but it was well worth being there for her birthday.  Now it’s time to see if we can get back on track on Beaver.

 


Kicking off the 2017 Season

Posted by blake on January 24, 2017

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(Photo: FLW LLC)

We just kicked off the season at the first Bassmaster Southern Open at the Harris Chain of Lakes in Florida.  Fishing in Florida is usually pretty tough this time of year because of the cold fronts moving in and out.  However, last week we had the rare privilege of a warm, stable weather pattern that is usually the formula for great fishing.


Healthy, Happy and Hungry going into the New Year

Posted by blake on December 19, 2016

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(Photo credit: BASS)

With the FLW Tour season starting at Guntersville this season, I’ve been spending as much time up there as I can.  It had been pretty warm until recently when we finally got our first good blast of cool weather which I’m happy about.  More than likely our event will be very cold and I wanted that water temperature to drop so I’m getting a more accurate take on things now.  I’m focused on not spreading myself out too much in that event.  Guntersville is a pretty big lake and especially when it’s cold you need to slow down and be methodical in a few key areas.


Norris Lake Recap

Posted by blake on November 1, 2016

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(Photo: FLW LLC)

The FLW season is officially over for me after the final invitational at Norris Lake, TN.  Norris was an absolute grind as the weights showed.  For me, it wasn’t really from lack of fish caught, but more about what species.  At Norris, for the first time that I can remember in my tournament career, I never caught more fish right under the length to keep.  At Norris, in order to keep a smallmouth, it has to be at least eighteen inches.  The problem for me was getting one to measure after going through tons of seventeen plus inch fish. 


Hanging Out with McConaughey

Posted by admin on September 30, 2016

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(Photo: FLW LLC)

I just got home after filming a Lincoln commercial with Matthew McConaughey.  I had you there for a second, but in reality, I was with Matthew McConaughey.  My cousin just got married over in Savannah and they were roommates in college.  My brother and I were ushers and he was also in the wedding party.  Matthew was actually one of his groomsmen.  My cousin is a pretty cool guy so I knew Matthew would be as well.  It was a fun time at the wedding and good to get away for awhile. 


FLW Tour Invitationals and 2017 Schedule

Posted by blake on August 10, 2016

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I just got to fish a couple days at Lake Norman to prepare for the Invitational coming up.  It’s pretty neat that they are having these two invitationals after the Tour season and the format of not having any co-angler’s makes for a no pressure situation.  It’s not that being a co-angler is a bad thing, it’s just that at the Tour level its additional pressure.  When you have so much on the line, having another person/personality in the boat definitely adds to it.  These events give us two chances at making next year’s Cup and I’m excited for more opportunities to qualify.


Family and Fishing

Posted by blake on July 26, 2016

 

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A lot has been going on in the last couple months outside of fishing.  After the final FLW Tour event at Lake Champlain, we took my wife in to have surgery.  What was supposed to be about a three day hospital stay turned into about eight days after having some complications.  Her body had some trouble recovering afterwards and some of the additional medications also made her sicker.  She wasn’t able to lift her arms for about a week, so I needed to help her with her daily functions.  I ended up staying there with her while our kids were with their grandparents.  One of the positives out of the whole thing was that the hospital food really wasn’t as bad as people say.  In all reality, it’s been a long couple months, but Jennifer is improving a lot.  We had to go back to the hospital for a few more treatments afterwards, but those are finished up.  I’m really happy that we’re getting through this and that my wife is a fighter.  Even though I love to fish, family is always number one.


Poor Execution at Pickwick

Posted by blake on May 24, 2016

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(Photo: FLW LLC)

I just wrapped up the last FLW Tour stop at Pickwick Lake.  I love the Tennessee River, no lie, except I haven’t had the best of luck at Pickwick.  I had all the bites to make a good check again.


Faith and Fishing

Posted by blake on April 27, 2016

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We’re halfway through the FLW Tour season and it’s been a rocky start so far.  There have been some good things to build on, but I know the main thing that needs corrected if I’m going to get back on track.  Really, I don’t think the issue has as much to do with fishing right now.  I’ve never been good being in the middle on anything especially when it comes to faith.  Being a Christian it’s got to be all or nothing for me and I’ve been spiritually empty.  It’s something I’m really searching for and will continue to get back on track.


FLW Tour Stop #2 at Lake Hartwell Recap

Posted by blake on April 5, 2016