Against all odds
It all starts in December no matter what level you fish at Club, Pro, future Pro, next years promise of the new tournament season begins to enter your mind. You start to plan what circuit you’re going to fish what lakes you want to fish and where you may have the best shot at being competitive and even winning. The first tournament is really just around the corner in January or February. You begin to think of your boat and getting it up to par to take the beating of another tournament season. You begin to think of any new gear you need such as rods, reels, line and that new $80.00 swim bait your sure will bring home the Trophy and the Cash. You clean your tournament jersey and get all your sponsors logo’s looking just right.
You start the season off with a few goals, to win, to place and to show to earn your points towards Angler of the year. To make your way threw the required events to earn a trip to the ever so coveted Tournament of Champions. These are the goals that keep us focused on the prize past each event, or end of year bragging rights. You’re sure you will do well this new season and at this time the odds are in your favor.
On your way to pre fish for your first tournament cruising down the highway your trailer jerks you feel a thump and look in your mirror to see smoke blowing like a chimney from your trailer tire. You think you blew a tire. It is 28 degrees 4am on the first weekend in January. Your leaf spring just sprung and your trailer is resting on your newly melted tire. After hours of waiting for a tow truck finally Mr. Tow truck shows up and his flat bed is too narrow for your Bass boat. You’re stuck. Your odds have changed. You get lucky and find a way to get your boat to safety find a shop open on Sunday who actually has your leaf spring in stock and lends you the tools to fix it. Your odds have changed.
Once you are ready the season begins and in late winter to early spring your first tournament event arrives. The weather has been stable for 7 days and you are on the fish in practice every day and super confident you will do well. You check the weather the day before and sure enough a cold front with high winds and heavy rain is on the way.
The storm will hit the lake starting just at launch time. Of course it’s a tournament bad weather is a must! You dress up super warm all of your rain gear is on and you are ready. So you make your way out to the fish and begin to compete. The area you want to fish is blowing 30mph winds from the north and has scattered the bait and the fish. Your game has changed you are freezing and soaked and struggling to get a bite. The odds have changed. You find a pattern and manage a limit but its just enough to make the top 25 out of 100 boats and no trophy and no pay check.
You get in your tow vehicle and the whole way home you think about the winners and what they did that you did not. You think about if the weather and the odds didn’t change you would have done better. You realize that 25th will get you in the T.O.C at the end of the year but you know you will need to make up ground to be Angler of the Year.
The odds are against you and the season just started.
You rebound the next 3 events and you have moved up to 5th in the points and are close enough to make a run at the Angler of the year.
The next event is finally on your home body of water and in practice you stick a 25lb plus sack of fish but there is a week to go till the event. You feel good you have been catching good size fish and last week you stick a big bag of fish. The event comes and passes and you totally Bomb and take 58th out of 100 boats. Your ego is crushed
and the team at the top did great again and they extend there lead. You wait until the website posts your finish to see if this has bumped you out of even making the T.O.C with only two events left. Come to find out most of the people ahead of you bombed as well and people at the bottom of the standings moved up but your still in the top ten for the year. You are determined to keep your mind on your goals as last year the odds made you fall short of reaching your goals.
The next event comes and in practice you have no battery power and must buy all new batteries. Ouch this will set me back but now you’re good to go. You have full power and are ready to Rock. In practice you bust your favorite rod and now the odds have changed again. You must find a way to keep your cool. Stay focused on the goals.
You fish the event and do well and finish in 13th place out of over 90 boats and you now are in second place for Anglers of the year.
The final event comes and you have a shot to be Anglers of the year but you must do very well and pass the team in first they have done great all year. Against all odds you have hung in there and have given your self a shot. The event passes fishing was tough though you manage to come in 11th place and this was not enough to win Anglers of the year since the first place team going in wins this final event of the season. After you check the website you end up in second place Anglers of the year runner up in the points race. The good part is you are heading to the T.O.C with a good head of steam. The odds have shifted and are back in your favor.
The T.O.C is approaching your batteries are good, your tires are good, your leaf springs are fixed, you replaced your favorite rod you broke and you have enough tackle to fish for fifteen years the fall crank bait bite is on and you cant wait. Two days before the event the first storm of the fall has arrived and the temperature drops a bunch and rain is on the way. You pack all your gear and head to the event. All goes well no rain in practice but the bite shots off completely due to the front and the word is it is super tough, but you prepare as the first day of the event is tomorrow and you find out your bilge pump is broken and heavy rain is coming. This is a pain to replace, stuff for 10 years has accumulated in your bilge area and it is a nasty job. As prepared as you think you are you have taken your tools out of your boat and have no way to fix this issue the odds are changing badly. Luckily you are at the California Delta and Russo’s marina stocks bilge pumps. Next you need the tools to do the job and most people have left for the night to there hotels, A fellow angler from 100% bass comes over to you and offers a hand and his tools. You are thankful these kind of people are in your event and even though your competing against them they still lend you a hand, you feel saved and fix your issue not knowing you broke a live well hose due to age while doing this.
Off to food and rest you go. The next day comes real fast the T.O.C is here!! you run half way across the San Joaquin valley through the maze of the delta to the area you have been doing well in. The rain has come and the bite is off in the morning nothing at all no fish and no sings of improvement but your bilge pump works and seems to be pumping out a lot of water. You begin to feel some pressure building inside of you but remain focused. You finally resort to finesse fishing looking to just get a bite and start some changing of the odds. Finally tap tap you set the hook reel the fish half way to the boat and it comes off it was a good one. You look at your partner holding the net and just shrug your shoulders. But after all you have been through all year to get here a lost fish wont detour you from your goals. You continue on and another bite comes on a crank bait “POW!” this fish clobbers it, it’s a good one and ….gone..??? Your partner looks at you frustrated at the missed chances. After 5 more lost fish you beginning to realize the odds have completely changed and they are against you. You remain cool and know your tide is almost here outgoing tide is what you’ve been waiting for and sure enough Boom 1 fish, bang 2 fish and 3 and 4 and 5 a small limit but you have fish. You continue to fish with no improvements in the size of your catch. The rain begins to get heavy and you begin to think of moving to some big fish water and the trolling motor cuts out. What other odds do you have to face? You try hard to fix this in the pouring rain with no luck.
Your trolling motor is toast!
In your mind you have 4 hours left no trolling motor power 30 miles of river to cross in the rain. You remain focused on your goals and begin to think of how to deal with this situation. You know some areas you can fan cast and drag a worm and try to get bit. Your not going to quit it’s the T.O.C. On your second cast tap! Wacko! A little one no cull. Hmm we can do this trolling motor or not! In the last 15 minutes you finally get another bite tap! Wack! Nice one a 5 pounder who needs a trolling motor. You turn to your partner and say put one of these on they catch big fish. Normally your partner would look at you and say “NO” I’m good I have my favorite bait on. But with all odds up and down he goes for it. With five minutes left in day one your partner swings WASHAKA! And he says get the net!! You turn and see a toad rolling its head in the distance and the battle is on finally it makes it to the net and a nice near 8 lb fish is in the well. With no trolling motor. You end up in third for day one of the event against all odds.
You head to your hotel boat tied up back on the docs covered from the rain. After a hot shower you are ready for some sleep and day two of the event the final day what you have been fishing for all year. Better set the hotel clock there’s a time change don’t want to be late. On day two you get to go out first flight and you need this since you have no trolling motor in tidal water you need to get back on that same spot. You wake up in the morning well rested and ready to go but something doesn’t seem right there is a lot of light out side? A time change hmmm? You head out to the truck and ask the Hotel desk person what time it is. Its one hour later than your hotel clock and all the boats are gone from the parking lot at the hotel. Oh great more odds against you. You run upstairs and get your sleepy partner and tell him we are late! He does not believe you and remains cruising at his own pace until he sees the parking lot empty. We race to the ramp and the last boat of 143 boats is heading out. In a mad scramble you head to you boat and come to find it is almost sunk, full of water the broken live well hose has flooded the boat and you still have no trolling motor. Your batteries and everything is under water. Luckily that new bilge pump pumped water out real well and the big motor actually started. You get your live well checked and head out pumping a few hundred gallons of water out of your boat and your feet are in about 8 inches of water. You remain focused on your goals and get out on the water only to find that from your late start the two spots you have are taken. You have no trolling motor and decide to wait until they leave your area. You fish the same pattern as the day before and quickly boat a 5 pounder. The next three hours you don’t get a bite and realize the odds have again changed against you. You stay focused on your goals.
One fish after another you manage a limit of near a 4 pound average. You are proud of
the way you stayed focused for two days and all year against all odds and managed a limit.
You arrived at the scales and weigh your fish with no idea how you will finish. After
all you have been through all year and in this final event of the year, no matter what you and your partner feel like you won the battle of the odds. You are just happy that you never got mad and stayed focused despite all the issues you encountered. It gets down to the last team to weigh in and you find out you are winning the event at this point it would take a huge sack of fish to beat you .The last team has one fish left to weigh and unless it’s a 6lb or better fish you will win the T.O.C and then a 12 pound monster comes out of the bag caught on a drop shot in the California Delta . Well despite all odds this was the only time that second place felt like winning.
No matter how much you plan, prepare or think you have it all lined up just right
the odds are always changing. This is a year of Tournament Bass fishing rolled up, and against all odds stay focused, never give up, keep your cool and remember no matter what odds are against you, you are still Bass Fishing “life is good”