recap Ohio….and the Big Butter Man…

The reality of trying to maintain a full time job and chase tournaments is far from the romantic version that plays in my head during meetings…and not the version I tell most people who ask.  I mean how do you turn working long hours as a manufacturing engineer, then driving anywhere from one to thirteen hours (one way) every weekend into a good idea that can be explained to anyone?  I even ask myself if it is just a mid life crisis that has consumed me; left me incapable of rational thought or normalcy?  Then on top of that, I spend what little free time I have – time I should be sleeping – on this Macbook writing about it all; trying with all my soul to turn this into a living knowing the odds are against a soon to be 57 year old with a bad back and possibly worse heart.

Just last weekend I left work late in the afternoon, drove home, loaded up my Tennessee Trailer that always holds my Hobie PA14 in my two and a half car garage that I cannot walk through for the kayaks, fishing gear, camping gear, Halloween decorations (the only real holiday)…the boat that has only been out of the garage twice – once to wash it, once to replace the water heater – in the last two years.  Back on track…loaded up the kayak and drove just shy of nine hours to the KBF East/West Harbor event with Joy (got there after midnight), slept in a Wal-Mart parking lot about twenty minutes outside the boundaries for three hours; watched her sleep for a while wondering what she thinks about my insanity, wondering if she regrets riding up with me and sleeping in the parking lot…then rolled up to a launch, blind, and pushed the kayak off the trailer.  I fished the entire day, losing a limit of good fish…caught some smaller fish…and one 18 inch largemouth (my only measurable keeper).  Then I loaded up the kayak, drove to check-in…..and in spite of the sucky finish….I talked and laughed with fellow anglers (friends and extended family) as if I had finished in the top ten.

It was an incredible event hosted by the MI-OH Kayak Anglers and the Buckeye Kayak Fishing Trail; an event that was above average.  With the extra sponsorship and prizes provided by Dakota Lithium, I was more than impressed…but it was more about seeing Tim Issacs back on the water, talking with Matt Ball and meeting his wife, reminiscing with Russell Johnson and Casey Reed about the perfect day we spent on lake 14 at Bienville, watching the guys who figured it out and learning how they did it……talking about the New River with Mark Edwards and silently wishing it had not been on the same day so I could have gone to that event….laughing with Jim Strunk about how bad the day sucked for me…

Then Joy and I drove part of the way home (she had to drive a bit) and stopped to see the sight of Big Butter Jesus.  I hope I don’t offend anyone, I promise that is not my intent, but Joy had told me about the Big Butter Jesus song….and though it isn’t the original Big Butter Jesus, I couldn’t resist.  It is part of what we do when we travel to tournaments, stop at odd things or places (or drive 7 more hours to Niagra Falls)….and it was a bit weird as I stood on the grounds and looked up at the EXTREMELY large statue of Jesus with that silly song in my head as a sermon played over the sound of the fountains.

We made it home Saturday night, after midnight, and I finally slept good.

I woke Sunday, having stunk up Ohio, exhausted….and I still smiled and decided that I will be going to the FLW tournament.  I had just had close to my worst performance since stepping in a kayak (top five worst!) and I was still so freaking happy that I had gone…that there are more coming…

I just read what I had typed and am thinking that I should look up the number to some therapist in case I am lost in a crisis; in case I have stepped over the edge, I mean it isn’t like I…well…like…where was I….

… what lures should I carry to Arkansas, how do I make sure I finish well enough locally to make the Tennessee State Championship, LaCrosse in October, where is the next Hobie BOS…what can I do to get more time off from work…when does the new Hobie 360 come out!

 

So there is no way to make sense of it….unless you are one of those who drove that far or will be driving that far soon.  There is no way to paint a pretty picture that will sell anyone who doesn’t have the addiction on the idea that they should join up and chase the tournaments with us.  So I ain’t even gonna try to make sense of it.  I only know one thing to do….look for the next event; find the next foamhenge, big ball of twine or Wal-Mart parking lot…

Author: Mike Cheatham

Me…Mike Cheatham email…mikecheathamfishing@gmail.com something to know……….fished my whole life; now from a kayak….

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