Over the past several months as you know I have been practicing for the KBF National Championship. Today the last wrench was dodged and I'm as ready as I'll ever be.
I've picked new water in an attempt to recognize unfamiliar fish patterns, tried new lures and techniques and made a point to fish in some very unfavorable conditions. The goal was to become efficient at reading water, predicting movements and become a bomb proof paddler, by that I mean, capable of handling my kayak in wind, waves and extreme cold. I feel confident that I have achieved those goals.
I've fished on 11 different lakes and 5 different rivers in the past 6 months. I haven't necessarily mastered every one of those bodies of water but I have logged a lot of information that I can use in scouting future water and it helped me to catch more fish over 20" (a 20" fish averages 4lbs) in the 6 month period than I've caught in my lifetime.
I have broadened my lure selection and feel more confident in my use of swimbaits, crankbaits, soft plastics and when or when not to use them. I still feel most comfortable in trying to "match the hatch" by duplicating exactly what the fish are feeding on instead of using bright colored alien or fad-ish baits. What I found was the more natural baits out caught the others by a long shot.
I used a technique that dog trainers use...in every trip onto the water, whether I caught fish or not, I made sure to focus on the positive improvement that I gained. It is a difficult thing to do when you paddle and fish for 10 hours on one of the nation's best bass lakes in gale force winds only to draw a skunk or go fishless all day in sub freezing temps. It's hard but I learned a lot about myself, my boat and my equipment and on those fishless days...I knew where the fish weren't. Several times I went back the next day and caught some very big fish because of the water and lures I had eliminated the day before. I also know exactly what my limits are when it comes to weather and my own paddling skills....it'll have to be petty dang rough to keep me on the shore.
I've written in my blog not only to share my experiences with you but also to help sort my thoughts and build ideas...So, what does all of this mean? It means, right now...(to use pro fisherman Tim Horton's words) I have a 55 gallon drum slap full of confidence going into the KBF National Championship. I am confident in the skills I've developed, the information I've gathered, my physical strengths and even more aware of my weaknesses. I also know that when I launch onto Kentucky or Barkley lakes Sunday morning for my first day of practice that most of the technical stuff I've learned will not apply to that water but the problem solving skills and increased mental awareness should be very beneficial. I also know that the best kayak fishermen in the nation will be there just as ready as me but most importantly... this is fishing and it takes some willing fish to do this dance. Peace