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Some Like It Tough

On the last day of the Tourney, I drew a local worm fishing legend named Johnny Adams. That was when we drew two competitors per boat, you remember. He was positioned in 10th and I was in 8th place so we did what any good pairing of pros would do. We tossed a coin. I lost, so we took his boat. I agreed to go to his worm flipping fish first and ended up winning the event in his area but with my spinnerbait. He never caught a keeper all day.

Anyway, the oddest thing is that in the photo of me holding the 8-4 bass that made the difference, Johnny is in the background walking behind the low-boy trailer we used as a “stage” for the event. It took only about 44 pounds to win that 4-day event, so it wasn’t exactly a big bag event.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I like slugfests as much as the next guy. I like catching bass, but winning this type of event requires catching big bass, not lots of them. In these situations I get side tracked catching bass and forget to leave small ones and go look for lunkers. This usually bites me in the behind. That’s exactly what happened at Kentucky Lake.

The opposite happened at the Mighty Miss. I had plenty of input from the fish to narrow my search for populations of bass and I liked the lures I was using with success. The result was better, not as good as I would have liked, but not a disaster either. My choice of fishing locations was a little weak, but I made the most of my decision to target one little backwater in pool 19. Could I have made a better choice of locations? Probably. I knew of a couple more areas that held keepers too. Once I committed to my choice, it was too late to change, at least in my mind.

I realize that catching lots of big bass makes better TV and I applaud BASS for making the apparent decision to target outstanding fisheries for most of the Elite Series competitions. Still, I think it is good to force the anglers to rise to the challenge presented by difficult fisheries. By challenging the anglers in this way, the more versatile anglers will always rise to the top of the pile. That’s the way it should be.

We got home from Iowa and summer has arrived with us. It has approached 100 degrees every day this week and there is no end in sight. That’s summer on Tarbone Ranch.

It’s time for a break in tournament fishing and doing a little farming for wildlife. I always need a short break from the demands of the road. I have spent quite a bit of time riding my tractor mowing the weeds off the alfalfa foodplots. I do some of my best thinking and planning while going round and round. It’s also really rewarding to develop the land for its maximum output for my animals.

The next project is to turn the dirt in some of the plots with a plow in preparation for the fall planting season. Working with the soil gives a satisfaction that simply cannot be understood until you experience it. Even if it is just planting a tomato or flower plant on the patio or windowsill, I recommend getting your hands into the dirt for a degree of personal satisfaction you have to experience to believe.

The animals are bringing their babies out into the open. We are seeing lots of deer fawns and our first bison calf has hit the ground this week. It’s a girl and will contribute to the herd for years to come. She is the first bison born on Tarbone Ranch land for probably hundreds of years. That’s pretty rewarding too.

The next few days will find me re-shuffling my fishing tackle and boat. Soon afterwards, I will be harassing the local bass populations. This season, I like to use my mini-boat to access a few ponds and lakes. It’s amazing how the fishing bug has bored into my life. That too, is a good thing. Tammy never complains that I spend too much time fishing, nor that my clothes smell fishy. Good wife, good life.

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