For anyone who has followed me through this tournament season knows that I have struggled through it. I’ve had many ups, and more then my fair share of downs between the boat coming unhooked, fish lost beside the boat that would’ve boosted the day, and many other adversities faced. However, this dream of mine to fish professionally gives a rough road, which I’m fully aware of. So I stayed diligent and focused, determined to get better and place higher.
I entered the Smith Lake Bass Fest with my good friend Austin with one Saturday of practice prior to the tournament. Practice went well, even though we didn’t catch many fish we found quite a few good spots to target on tournament day where the fish were either schooling or hanging on points. We made a milk run type pattern on tournament day, hitting 4 different spots in a rotation. The wind was strong so a few hook-sets were missed, but we managed to boat 5 fish triggered by a 3.5 spotted bass. We finished 96th of 250+, but we were only two pounds out of the money spot. On a lake I don’t fish much and less than desirable conditions, we considered it a good day and I geared up for my next two tournaments on Guntersville to end the year; the SPRO Frog Open and the Alabama General Contractors Trail.
First came the AGC Trail Tournament on Oct. 9th. Brian Oxendine from North Anna Bait Company and myself put in and went to the Waterfront area and fished a Zoom Horny Toad and a Buzzbait tipped with a North Anna Bait Company Minna, catching two good fish triggered by a 5 pounder on the Horny Toad. We fished around another hour with no prevail and moved north to the Roseberry Creek area and fished deep back in the grass lines. If you couldn’t hear the bream sucking on the grass mat, you were wasting your time. We sat in this area where the bream was plentiful and caught a 6.4lber that completed the bag for that tournament and then we left because we knew we had found our spot for the SPRO tournament the next day. We finished 4th out of 40 with 17.34 pounds! The next day, Oct. 10th, we put in and launched as boat 105 for the SPRO Frog Open and went right back to the jewel of a spot from the day before and sat there all day. We had approximately 10 other boats joining us, but were still triggering the most bites because we had the spots with the most bream locked in. We only caught three fish all day, but had 13.07 pounds triggered by Mr. Brian’s 6.50 hog. However, we caught and hooked into enough quality fish to win the tournament had they made it to the boat. I lost a 5lber beside the boat which would’ve boosted us to 18+ and a top five finish, and many other fish were missed by us both that day. We were off our game, but luckily we consistently got big bites and ended the tournament in 46th of 200+ with 4th place big fish money.
All in all, I had an absolute blast on this tournament season ride I took this year. I started off with the worst fishing I’ve experienced in years, to ending the year with my two best finishes on Guntersville. As Mike Iconelli always says, “Never Give Up!!!” Tournament fishing is an up and down game, but for any young angler starting out and teaching themselves, diligence and hard work will pay off in your favor! Major thanks to Kreative Koatings, Hammer Fishing Rods, North Anna Bait Company, Bass Angler HQ, Jesse Stutts Incorporated, and my family and friends for their support! On to preparing for 2016!!