No great man ever complains of want of opportunities. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Stop #2 of the Elite series took place at Winyah Bay in beautiful Georgetown, SC. I had a lot to prove to myself after the upsetting finish at St Johns River. In the end it is still not where I want to be; but on the other hand, I am learning by baptism of fire. Either learn how to handle the mental side of professional tournament fishing or get left behind.
Tournament week replay:
Practice went pretty well for me and I was comfortable getting 10-13 bites a day ranging from 13-15lbs. I was on a decent pattern and able to fish the way I like to, topwater and flipping! I was really looking forward to tournament time and ready for redemption.
Day 1 blast-off was held up for an hour and a half due to area storms. After getting the okay to go, my marshal and I headed up the Intercoastal Waterway all the way up nearly to North Myrtle Beach. My topwater bite was gone due to the heavy storms and lightening which took place early that morning. Changing tactics I switched to the Reaction Innovations Smallie Beaver (Hematoma and Blank Check) and pitched it to as many targets as possible. I never got a big bite but my 9 lbs. 13oz. proved to be enough to have me tied for 22nd at the end of the day.
Day 2 began with rejuvenated hopes of catching topwater fish on the Reaction Innovations Trixie Shark. My first stop, I fire the Trixie Shark out and hook up with what looked like a 5-pounder only to have it jump off before getting in reach. Things seem to spiral downhill after that as I lost two more fish during the day and only able to bring 2 to the scales for 3 lbs. 9oz; a total of 13lbs. 6oz. and a 75th place finish.
I am definitely improving and understanding how to perform at this level of competition. I will have a few days at home to get gear ready and then on the road for a while before being able to return. The lesson learned at Winyah Bay is that I have to improve my mental game and fish with confidence.
Once again, I am very anxious to get to the next Elite Series event. Coming up we have a new tournament style fishing two lakes, Bull Shoals and Norfolk, which should make the competition even more interesting. I would like to thank Georgetown County for their great event coverage, my family for making the trip from NC again to support me, everyone else for watching via Bassmaster LIVE, and always my sponsors: Foothills Marine Center, Skeeter, Yamaha, Abu Garcia, Costa, TrueSouth Custom Lures, P-Line, Reaction Innovations, Bass Mafia, Bluewater LED, Brian’s Bees, Lowrance, Power-Pole and TH Marine. Good fishing Shane Lineberger.
Men’s best successes come after their disappointments. – Henry Ward Beecher