The Streets I Used to Own
The Streets I Used to Own
“I used to rule the world,
Seas would rise when I gave the word.
Now in the morning, I sleep alone.
Sweep the streets I used to own.
I used to roll the dice,
Feel the fear in my enemy’s eyes.
Listen as the crowd would sing,
Well the old king is dead, long live the king.
One minute I held the keys,
Next the walls were closed on me
And I discovered that my castle stands
Upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand.”
- Coldplay, Viva La Vida
OK, so I wasn’t really ever king, but if you’ve ever been at the top of your game and in the zone, then have fallen to less than that, you can probably identify with the words of this song. There was a magical time a couple of years ago, when I felt like I could win every time I backed my boat in at Kentucky Lake. I was continually finding the right places, the right fish, and had the confidence that I could win every week. As my mother would always quote me, “Let he who thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall.” –1 Corinthians 10:12.
I’ve had a really good spring tournament season. In a time of year when I’ve struggled in the past, I’ve made good decisions and finished in the money all but one time out of nine events through the first of May. But, I always look forward to June. I usually fish a tournament every weekend of June on Kentucky Lake. The fish are off-shore, schooled-up and biting, and I’ve been fortunate to have done pretty well in the past finding the right fish. Unfortunately, this June has been one of those “1st Corinthians” wake-up calls.
My last blog was about the Triton Owner’s Tournament at the first of June. We faired well, finishing 7th out of 320, but I guess I set pretty high goals for myself and wasn’t really satisfied with 7th. The next weekend, Jason and I fished in the Strike King Tournament out of Pebble Isle. This was just one of those days where everything went wrong. I had found some pretty good fish in practice, but the day started with a mechanical problem that made us have to swap boats. Fortunately, that only cost us about 1 hour of fishing time. After transferring almost everything we needed into a loaner boat, we headed off to catch a big sack. We arrived on my first school and could see the fish on the graph but couldn’t get them to bite. It took about 20 minutes to figure out how to trigger them, but when we did it was on! We boated several pretty good fish and got the school firing on every cast. Unfortunately, lost 4 and 6 pounders on back-to-back casts shut them down. I lost another big one on a swimbait later in the day that could have moved us well up the leaderboard. The one thing I forgot in the boat transfer was my needle, so we had two dead fish that would’ve been fine had been able to fizz them. We ended the day with 18.9 and finished in 15th place. I guess all-in-all we survived some bad luck with a decent finish, but it was certainly one of those “What could have been?” days.
There’s no rest for the weary. I headed back to Kentucky Lake on the following Tuesday for a Homebuilder’s Association tournament. Since my Triton was in the shop, we were forced to “slum it” in a junky 2011 Z520 Ranger. Thanks to my friend Pat Hatcliff for the loaner! Fishing a tournament on Tuesday is a much different animal. The lake wasn’t crowded. I could fish every place I wanted to, when I wanted to. We caught a quick limit that morning on a spot close to the take-off. Around mid-morning, I hit a river ledge “sweet spot” without a bite. Just as I was pulling up the trolling motor to head down the lake, my partner John saw what looked like bass chasing shad. I eased over to them and could immediately see them on the Humminbird. I backed off and fired a cast. The rod loaded up with a big one. She pulled drag and I had to do my best Mike Iaconelli to hurdle the console to keep her from getting the prop. She finally tired enough for John to net the 5.5 pounder. I dropped that one in the livewell and fired another cast. I turned the handle about 4 times and the rod loaded again. I looked at John on told him that we were about to win this tournament. In ten minutes, we had about 21 pounds and just as quickly as they had turned on, they scattered. We spent the rest of the day hunting for more big ones. We culled three times and ended up with almost 24 pounds. Unfortunately, that wasn’t quite enough as it took 25 to win.
I wish that I could tell you that the last two weeks went like that Tuesday did. That couldn’t be further from the truth. We’ve had really strange weather for June. Normally, the water would be in the high 80s to 90 degrees, but it’s in the upper 70s and low 80s. It rains everyday and the sun just can’t seem to break through. This has put the bass in less-than-predictable places, at least for me. On the 18th we could only muster 11 pounds. The weather included 30+ mph winds out of the South, then North, the West, then East, then back to the North, then back to the East again, along with constant thunder and lightening and 4 foot waves. It only took 13 to get a check, 13 pounds to get a check on KY Lake in the summertime is crazy. Last year we fished the same tournament and it took 20 just to get a check. This past weekend, I fished with my friend Adam Wagner. We probably caught 130+ bass in the tournament, but only managed a measly 15 pound limit. We did get a check, albeit a small one.
I’m not going to play the blame game here. No matter the weather, water temp, wind current, moon phase, lucky underwear, or any thing else we blame for not catching them, someone always wins. I’ve yet to be in a tournament that someone didn’t win. I’m going to have to step up my fish-finding and figure out how to boat some of those giants it takes to win tournaments. Otherwise, I’ll be left sweeping the streets I used to own.
Until next time, keep chunkin’ and windin’
Boat US Angler Pro-Staff
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