Wow! The first thing that comes to mind when I think of the Bassmaster Northern Open on Lake Cayuga is what a up and down week! The week started for me early Saturday 8/11 at 2:45am. My alarm clock went off and that got the tournament week going! I met fellow Molix angler Mike Iaconelli at his house in South Jersey at about 4:45am and followed him up to start the first day of practice.We got to a ramp on the South portion of the lake and to say the least I struggled the first day with just a few bright spots in the day one being a nice 4lb Cayuga Largemouth.
I learned very little about the lake this day just that I was going to eliminate the South part of Cayuga which is a big part of practice! At around 8pm we met back at the ramp and headed to our house that we would be at for the week! In the house this time we had Elite series angler Ish Monroe, Mike Iaconelli, FLW pro Bill Days and myself! I had some good company to bounce questions of off to say the least!!
Day two and three of practice would be better. I found some areas that had good Largemouth but they also had a lot of boats that were fishing there so I knew I needed something else! On Tuesday and Wednesday I found some spots that were really special!
They were deep Smallmouth and they were the right fish I would need, plus I had them to myself!! They were on deep flats of about 25ft that would drop off to 300ft! All I was doing was looking at the fish on my graph and dropping a Molix 3" Caleo Craw or a minnow bait down on them! If was really easy to catch them! But I knew in the back of my mind what happens with these fish! They like to disappear during tournaments!! Well with all the anticipation of bringing in a giant bag of Smallies for Day 1 of the event I could barley sleep the night before! Day one past and guess what??? I caught 2 for 3.3lbs. Wow I was disgusted! I was upset! I was depressed!!
My fish left me! When I got back to the house Ish had a good talk with me about keeping my head in the game and these things happen. He told me about some of his early experiences in tournament and to just put it behind me and to my thing the next day! I was a lot more relaxed on day 2. I fished my Largemouth spot and caught a 2.5lber first thing then things slowed down! Way down! I decided to go fish some new water and within a few cast I had a second keeper. Finally around 1130am I decided to go give my Smallmouth spot another shot! What did I have to lose? I was in 105th of 119th place after day one! I pulled up to my spot and things just felt right! I don't know how to explain it but it did! Within 5 minutes of being there I caught and small keeper.
That was huge because I knew they came back! For the next 2 hours I caught keeper after keeper with a surprise mixed in with the brown fish! It was a Largemouth that weighed 5.5 lbs and just narrowly missed lunker for the the whole event! I ended up catching just shy of 16lbs on day 2. My whole event went from being a total disaster to being a great learning experience!
I ended up moving up 50 spots on day 2 to a 55th place finish. Now I know that 55th is not a good finish but for some reason it felt really good! Some guys would say "Man I wish I could redo that first day". But I don't! That first day taught me a lot about my self and some of the decision I make on the water. I got way to zoned in on them! I knew in my gut in the first 30 minutes they had left that first day but I didn't react and make a move.
This wont happen again! I will remind my self to fish the moment!!
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