My big chance to finish high in the Bassmaster Southern Open tournament was lost when random misfortunes caused a shortened tournament day.
After six weeks of scouting the Harris Chain of Lakes and finding bass holding in a pre-spawn stage, I just knew that I had a mid-depth fishing pattern that would allow me to catch enough bass to place well in the event.
My pre-tournament preparation began with maintenance items being checked off and completed, rods rigged and baits carefully tied. I had a solid state of mind and a series of game plans depending on the weather and my boat number. I was relaxed at the partner pairing meeting and felt in control of my destiny.
On the first day of the tournament I launched out as boat number 175, so when I motored into a my small cove it surprised me that I had the area all to myself. The other 196 competitors overlooked my fish I knew I was onto a solid winning pattern. I fished the area and caught a nice little limit of bass that weighed 10.10 pounds. It was under my goal of 13 pounds but solid enough to place me in 53rd place.
On day two I was boat 24 and with an early start I was going to fish my best spot in another lake where I had found an abundance of larger bass. I figured I needed about 15 pounds to make the third day cut of top-12 anglers; which should have been an easy task given the conditions and the pre-spawn group of bass I had located.
Lady Misfortune had another idea for me and I never made it to my primary fishing area. Something on my outboard motor broke first thing in the morning. It was a random mechanical failure that could not have been prevented and I was forced to fish around the launch ramp on my trolling motor.
My plan to reach my fishing spots and my dreams of earning a large paycheck vanished. To say I was disappointed would be an under statement. Yet, I still felt in control of my destiny and remained in a positive frame of mind. I used my Bass Pro Shops AGM gel-cell batteries and Motorguide Tour Edition trolling motor to fish through 15 mph winds and catch two more bass.
Even though I lost the tournament, I ended up earning 105 points for a 93rd place finish. I beat over 50% of the field which included several well known professional Elite BASS anglers. All in all, not a bad finish given my misfortunes.
I was proud that I never lost my temper or got discouraged. During my downtime on the last day I had a chance to meet with many of my product representatives, and the seeds of friendship planted that day have already begun to grow. I look forward to a great year on the Bassmaster Southern Open trail in 2012!