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The Importance of Fishing Hard

We all have tough days on the water; no matter what level you consider yourself as a fisherman. It is how we bounce back from the tough days and get back on track that make us the fisherman that we are. This is something I live by and I am sure that most would agree.​I had a very tough stretch of tournaments in the month of August. I had barely missed out on a Tournament of Champions opportunity by 2 places, and I struggled on waters where I usually had a go to summertime pattern. It is always tough driving home from a tournament that you feel like you had a chance at winning and it turns out your plan was way off before you even put the boat in the water.​In my early years of tournament fishing this string of events would have spun me out. Now as I have lived and fished through ups and downs of good and bad tournaments I know that even when the fishing is tough you should stick to your strengths. I know the late summer and fall bite on Winnipesaukee; my previous two tournaments there the bite wasn't quite right yet. I caught fish but the motherload of fish hadn't moved where I expected them to yet. I had one more shot to make my pattern work and the water cooled down just enough to set up right for me. By no means was this a "lights out" day and I think the fish were still primarily on the move into these prime areas but I still put fish in the boat all day. I still dropped a 2 1/2 plus fish that would have made a difference but that's fishing sometimes. The smallies came in numbers but it was a kicker 5 lb. largemouth in the afternoon that pushed me into 5th place and locked up big bass of the tournament. The largemouth bite has plauged me on this lake all year so this one was a big confidence booster. I think that as the weather becomes more seasonal up here in the Northeast, the bruiser smallies will come into these prime areas in greater numbers. I was catching "cookie cutter" fish on these spots last week which are usually the first fish to move into an area. It just proves that no matter what you should always trust your gut. I didn't have good showing on these spots the last three weeks but I had faith in what I knew these spots had the potential to be. All that previous knowledge and gut instincts resulted in a top 5 to end the year; something that felt great to have at the end of the season.

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