Day One: The drive to Eufuala is short compared to most. Only bad thing is going thru Atlanta. I hit Atlanta just as a severe thunderstorm hits. Downpours, lightning, and massive traffic jam. I left the house, it was in the mid 70's. You can feel the temps dropping with this front. I will arrive at my hotel for the week in time to spend some time on the water. I run to get some license, and the sky turns black. There was a severe storm warning and its here. The winds pickup, as does the rain. The storm blows thru with a vengeance, with hail and gust up to 50 mph. At least 2" of rain will fall. After it has passed, there is debris everywhere, along with shingles from the hotel roof. Another line of storms will pass thru the nite. Glad I didn't get on the water.
Day Two: I will awake to 20 degree drop in temperature. Bad news is that there is a wind warning for today. What is it about tournament week? Today the wind will howl! It makes travel on the big lake pain staking slow. The front is passing by like a Lion. Good news is that I did manage to catch a few fish. At the end of the day, the dock that I tie up to trailer my boat is like a swinging bridge. I almost fall in just trying to keep my balance and walk to the end. Back at the hotel, several make the comment they went out, only to put it back on the trailer.
Day Three: Today the wind again will howl. Along with cold temps, it feels more like Early March instead of April. The forecast was for near record lows, it will miss it by a few degrees. Just great, wind and record cold. The bite seems to have gotten worse, with only mangaing a few smaller fish. I don't think I took off my sweater and coat all day. Its forecast to set a record low tomorrow morning. I packed shorts and t-shirts, guess I better go look for some thermals!
Day Five: The sound of rain awakens us this morning. The rumble of thunder and the howl of wind. This has been a roller coaster of a week with weather. The forecast today is for rain and more rain, along with gusting winds. The forecast will be right. I manage a few fish today, with one really nice one. One thing I noticed today is there is no denying who is KING on this lake. It is the big gator. I was fishing in this little slough, where several big gator's were slowly swimming around. You can tell they know you are there, but have no real fear of you. There is also alot of turtles about. You know how sometimes when you are fishing, a turtle will slowly rise from the depths up to get air, well, one did beside my boat. As the turtle seems to be either resting or wondering what I am, a big gator slowly swims up behind and inhales it. The gator sits there, moving the big turtle into place within his mouth. When he gets the turtle just right, you can hear shell and bones being crushed. In a matter of seconds, the turtle is gone. and the gator swims off. King of the water showed his reign.
Tonight is the pairings meeting. Talk is quiet, no one really has much to say about the fishing. I hope I can get an early take off number. No go, I will again be next to last boat out in last flight. The forecast for tomorrow is sunny and 30 mph winds. Not sure what this will do to my fish, but every day has been different. I just hope I can adjust in the short day of fishing like in practice. I meet my co-angler, tell him to be ready to just go fishing.
Tournament Day One: Its an early wake up call, we are going out at 6 am. I think the early bite will be the key for me since the forecast today is for sun and more sun. Good news is that the wind will blow after noon. I met my co-angler, who is from Fla. We are in the last flight, so its a hurry up and wait. The day will start off with several bites, cept they are all hybrids. Throw in a couple catfish, and my spinnerbait bite has gone to trash fish. Once the sun gets up, I will struggle. Thank goodness the wind picks up and I will start to catch a keeper here and there. Its a run and gun deal, looking for little areas that the shad are spawning in. I think the key is finding area's with wind, which until after lunch was hard to find. Alot of the area's I found in practice, the shad are gone. Its easy to know they are there, the first cast you will feel them on your spinnerbait blades. I will end the day stuck on four keepers, and in the top 40, bout 5 pounds out of the top 10 cut. I'm alittle nervous about tomorrow, with the forecast for sun and sun and NO wind. All I can do is go run my deal and if it happens, it happens. I got nothing else. My partner tomorrow is from Japan. His English is limited, and my southern draw will make interesting conversation. Long as he understands, "Git the Net" and "We're moving", we will be fine.
Time to hit the sack, I'm in the first flight tomorrow, 4 am comes early.
Tournament Day Two: This morning is cool and crisp, with not a hint of wind or clouds. I met my Japanese co-angler, and we get ready for the day. He can speak better English than I first thought, though we still will have to repeat everything several times, even sometimes having to re-sentence or explain a word. Being in the first flight, I get to my area, which is rip rap. The shad are spawning on the rocks, and under the right conditions, is one of my favorite ways to fish. In practice, I could run the pattern, and catch a limit, with an occasional good one. Yesterday, until the wind picked up some later in the day, I struggled to catch 4, with having a good fish on, only to come off. The lack of wind this morning has me changing up some, switching from a spinnerbait to small crankbait. The morning will get off to a quick start, landing several just barely short fish. I will have a good one on, getting it up to the boat, only to have it come off. Sort of frustrating, but least they are here.
But I will go a long time in between bites. To make a long story short, the day will be one of sheer frustration. I will get 4 more bites total, only to have each one pull off beside the boat. Each one was a good fish, with one being close to 6 pounds. The six pound fish will jump off just outside the reach of the net. I can't explain it, just wasn't meant to be, but when you get the kind of bites needed to perhaps even make a run at the top 10, and for sure, get a check, you must put them in the boat. Today I did not execute.
At the end of the day, I will fire a blank............unbelievable. I look at my Japanese partner, ask him what is the word for 'frustration' in his native language? I can't even begin to spell it or perhaps say it, but he makes the comment the feeling is the same in any language. I did learn one other Japanese word that he referenced to: "Harakiri". Translation........"Self inflicted death by great warrior".
I couldn't have said it better...........