I have been working on forcing myself to learn or improve on techniques that I know are effective but are not my key strengths like drop shoting, top water lures and a few other lesser used techniques. My go to techniques usually involve flipping because I have so much success with it and therefore a lot of confidence. It is rare when I can’t catch them with this technique. This year I have fished some tournaments were you can only weigh 3 or 5 fish based on the different tournaments so you are not trying to catch large numbers of fish but larger fish that often frequent thick cover where flipping is usually your best option, in my opinion. I believe there are almost always some big fish in thick cover but with the amount of cover in Cheatham Lake it can obviously be tough to find them. Also just finding them is just part of the problem. Getting them to bite and getting them out of the cover is also a large part of the task. I am constantly striving to improve this process and I fish very different than I did just 3 or 4 years ago in relation to hooks, line, rod specifics, boat handling and several other variables. Sometimes they are very critical and other times if the fish are more aggressive it my not be. The problem is you never know until you get there which one it will be. There have been numerous times this year where I spent a lot of time prefishing and the first thing we do when we get there is make some kind of error were we get hung up and have to go in to retrieve our lures, let fish get off, alert the fish by boat handling errors or whatever and it has made the difference between a good finish or a bad one. This is why we must constantly be refining our technique to improve. Often one fish can be the difference between a win and just weighing fish in.
I saw a perfect example of this this weekend in the Bassmaster Elite series when one of my favorite anglers, Brandon Lester, lost a fish over 6 pounds and it literally cost him the win. I saw what a true professional angler is when he shook it off, as much as possible, and went right on to catch more fish. I was so impressed by this and it made me question my own reactions in the past and how it may have effected my performance the rest of the day. Since fishing is so much more mental than a lot of people realize this is something we can all improve on to improve our performance. This is one of my favorite things about fishing at this level, we can always keep improving and getting better. That is what really drives me.
The main lake is in relatively good shape in relation to clarity and about 80 degrees. Most of the fish I have seen and caught are still in the deeper water and scattered. They have not really got into chasing shad like they do in the fall yet but it has to be close. The Harpeth River is clearing near the mouth but once you get a mile or so up into it it is still somewhat stained. This is the first time in 7 or 8 years that I have seen this with so little rain. I really don’t understand it. It is about 81 to 82 degrees.