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In the world of tournament fishing things are seldom perfect. You’ll often times hear other anglers talking about how they “fished clean” and it enabled them to get the win on a certain body of water. For the rest there are stories of the ones that got away or mechanical failures that derailed the day. But even on a bad day when the chips are stacked against you are you able to grind your way through the bad stuff?

My last couple of events have went far from planned, you could pretty well say they have been a train wreck. For our local event on the East Fork of White River I had set my expectations high and went in extremely focused. When the event is in your back yard you can’t help but set your bar to the maximum height. There’s just nothing quite like opportunity to attempt winning one at home. For the East Fork event it literally took 15 minutes for the wheels to start coming off and 45 minutes to totally take the train off the tracks. Let’s just give you a little time line:

7:15am Lost Fish #1

7:19am Lost Fish #2

7:30am Lost Fish #3

7:45am Lost Fish #4

After the 1st 45 minutes I was rattled as to why these fish were coming unhooked. I’d even muttered a few times that I had lost the whole deal in the 1st 45 minutes.

It took a few moments to regain my composer, I told myself to keep casting and to keep putting the bait where they lived. As I worked my way up stream I finally reached out, connected and landed my 1stfish of the day. Shortly thereafter I managed to lose one more fish before connecting with my 2nd fish of the day. With time fading out I knew it was time to start fishing my way back to the ramp. I need to make as many high percentage cast as possible in order to finish out my limit.

Using the Big Rig FD and the flex drive to the maximum I quickly worked my way back down stream casting at every lay down I could find. I pulled up to a brush pile about halfway back and connected with a nice smallmouth bass. The fish fought hard and as it came to the kayak I reached down only to have the fish shake off next to the kayak. Completely devastated I reminded myself to keep pedaling and keep casting..

As I am working my way back down stream I pulled up to another brush pile with 30 minutes to go. The 1st cast hits and I feel a quick bite, 2nd cast hits and it’s FISH ON! With my nerves totally shot from the events of the day I play this fish out like it was the winning fish for the bass master classic and get it up into the kayak. I finally had my limit for the day which may have not resulted in the win I wanted but it was good enough for a solid 2nd place.

While I didn’t win the event work ethic and that keep grinding attitude persevered in the end. The chips were down and I know whole heartedly that I had the kayak, equipment and presentation to get it done. I did have to talk myself through it a couple of times but I made it. Tournament fishing isn’t always roses and rainbows, it’s tough more times than not and things just can’t always be perfect. When they are perfect be grateful, when they are not keep grinding as hard as you can and do your best to keep those emotions in check.