Back from the inaugural Huk Bassmaster Bass Nation Kayak Series powered by TourneyX and presented by Abu Garcia on Lake Logan Martin in Pell City, Alabama. And it was incredibly awesome to just be a part of it all! I am working on a more comprehensive recap about the guys who did well….but I wanted to give my personal perspective, views and how it went down for me.
Let’s see…..woke up around two a.m. Tuesday morning, was going to leave but Chuck Mizer had just sent an IM to several of us that he was sitting around exit 48 in Nashville. He had timed his trip (unfortunately) just in time to cross paths with the tornado. He was ok…but cars were all over and debris was in his path. Sadly, several across Tennessee in its path were not so fortunate and I hope everyone takes time to think about the families.
After reading this and asking if he was ok, I decided to not rush leaving. I finally left Clarksville around 7 a.m., sat in Nashville for about an hour, then made it to the Lake around mid-day. I checked out the first spot I had mapped out and the parking lot was full so I moved to a place I had not mapped, but had passed on the way; Poorhouse Marina. I went to the back of the cove, where water moving into the cove turned to rapids, and caught many white bass and around 65 inches of bass; for every 20 white bass, I caught a large mouth. Due to medical reasons I may discuss in a minute, I only fished about two hours….I hadn’t been in a kayak but five times since December 12th.
I checked into the hotel, and had to do some wound care. It seems I had busted some stitches…the doctor told me not to get into the kayak…but did you read the first line(?); inaugural BASS!!!…I was not missing this thing.
Anyway, day two I headed way north and found myself sharing a muddy swift moving creek with Jake Harshman. I pedaled maybe a mile and a half against the current and just didn’t feel that I was going to catch fish….and was certain that I could not maintain that for the duration of a tournament in my present condition….so I loaded up, drove around a couple of hours, met Ron Himmelhaver for lunch….then back to the hotel. I knew that my pre-fishing was done when I checked the stitches….but hey….I had some hope that Poorhouse would at least get me a limit. I knew that the odds of me fishing for nine hours was slim anyway….and my odds of winning – a dream I had before the surgeries – was low…but I was fishing if it was only twenty minutes!!!!!
Then at the launch on tourney day….I got there two hours early, thinking I was going to be the first one there and was five in line….by launch time, there were over thirty kayakers at the ramp. I knew my spot was small, so I hoped no one would go that way. And they did not….and the fish did not either. It was blown out from the rain.
I forgot to mention it had rained all night….was raining….and had no intention of stopping…well, it finally did. After the tournament! But during….you had tiny drops of rain mixed with giant drops of rain….with intermittent bouts of rain. Rain…rain and more rain.
….sorry, blown out…yeah, so I knew I couldn’t cover water…so I started slowly and methodically beating everything that looked like it might have a fish that didn’t already have a kayak sitting on it. I was literally throwing a lure I fish for crappie with, just trying to get a limit. It was a small lead jig head on a tiny spinner…with a three inch(ish) Kitech swim bait.
At 12:30, I finally caught my fifth fish….could feel the need for some wound maintenance knowing that my doctor was going to be asking some questions about more busted stitches….so I loaded up and called it a day two hours early, but happy to have made it that long.
What I really want to talk about are the folks I fished with, not just at that ramp, but at the tournament as a whole.
Many knew my condition and were shocked to see me there, and offered help….many offered sympathy…many just flat out made fun of me and made up new names to call me. I never knew there was so many ways to make fun of losing one of your “boys” or “jewels” (seems to depend on where you are from on what you call it) and that there were so many gifs….so many jokes….sooooooooo many!!! Even people I had just met joined in….and it was all good natured fun – ok, at my expense…..
….but let me tell you this….even those who made fun of me, and joked did so with such compassion and understanding (most joking with a hand on my shoulder in support) that I was moved once again by this community. From Ron Champion stopping me to make sure I was ok, to Scott Beutjer just flat out laughing (not at, but with me), to Arlie Minton and all the guys at the ramp offering to load and unload my kayak….God, I love this bunch of people! So much!
Now….all that being said……I didn’t pre-fish as I wanted, I didn’t cover the water I normally would…but I fished the first BASS kayak tournament! YES SIR…..I WAS THERE! And I finished 43rd out of 230 registered anglers…..qualifying for the kayak classic! Far exceeding my expectations only a week out of surgery number two!
So….sometimes it isn’t winning….it is just being a part of it all. ANYONE and EVERYONE who thinks they might want to try one of the bigger events….and are a bit intimidated….just know that you do not have to be. This bunch will have your back and help you through just about everything…..they are family.