What Are We Missing?
The Huk Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence presented by Go RVing is in the books and it marked a milestone for the winner, Kevin VanDam. It was here on the St. Lawrence that Kevin fished his 1st B.A.S.S.tournament in 1987, his 300th tournament fished with B.A.S.S., and his 24th victory. Quite an accomplishment for anyone. It also was the largest 4 day bag limit ever caught by an Elite angler weighing in just smallmouth bass.
Day one had Kevin leading the pack with an impressive bag of 24 lbs 5 oz, but only leading by 15 ounces over Bill Lowen, who had an impressive 23 lb 6 oz bag himself.Rounding out the top 5 were Seth Feider with 22 lb 11 oz, Brent Ehrler with 22 lb 9 oz, and Marty Robinson with 22 lb 4 oz. Casey Ashley, Bernie Schultz, James Elam, Dave Lefebre, and Jesse Wiggins rounded out the top 10 for day one.
Day 2 of the event saw a big shake up as Brandon Palaniuk made a hard charge with a huge 25 lb 15 oz bag, jumping him up from 72nd place to 9th for the day. Kevin held on to the lead still, increasing it to 1 pound 1 ounce over 2nd place Casey Ashley. Jonathon VanDam moved up to 3rd place with Brandon Coulter and Brock Mosley rounding out the top 5 anglers. Justin Lucas, Brent Ehrler, Bernie Schultz, Brandon Palaniuk, and Dustin Connell completed the top 10 anglers on day two.
With the field cut down to the top 50 anglers for day 3, Kevin once again held on to the lead, increasing it to 2 pounds 9 ounces over 2nd place Jonathon VanDam. Brandon Palaniuk moved up into 3rd place followed by Brent Ehrler in 4th and Brock Mosley in 5th place. Rounding out the top 12 were: Casey Ashley, Gerald Swindle, Bernie Schultz, Brandon Coulter, James Elam, Jamie Hartman, and Alton Jones. The stage was set for Championship Sunday.
Championship Sunday saw Kevin go out and close the door on his competition. With and impressive bag limit of 23 lb 12 oz, Kevin made it virtually impossible for everyone. He increased his 4 day total to 90 lb 3 oz of smallmouth bass, something that had never been done. He actually increased his lead to 8 pounds over his nearest competitor, 2nd place finisher Brock Mosley. Brandon Palaniuk held on to 3rd, just 3 ounces out of second. Jonathon VanDam dropped to 4th place and Brent Ehrler finished his day in 5th place.
While we all know that the Elite’s are made up of the best tournament anglers, it was who made the best showing and who didn’t that really shocked people, especially the fantasy fishing players. Granted, some did extremely well with their picks, but it was the top names that didn’t have a great tournament that hurt so many.Big names like Ott DeFoe (99), Shaw Grisby (96), Dean Rojas (95), Brent Chapman (86), Jordan Lee (74), Mike McClelland (73), and Randy Howell (64), who really struggled on the water, that hurt.
We all know that not everything works out the way we plan it. We know that as hard as we prepare, sometimes the bass just throw us a curveball that we didn’t see coming for the 2nd strike and we struggle to stay alive. We just can’t find the bigger biting bass no matter what we try. We can find them pre-fishing for a tournament, but once the tournament starts, they just seem to close their mouths to everything we throw. Just what changes that we miss? Why do we struggle? Is it our ego, our pride that hinders us? Are we so wrapped up in what we know that we fail to see what is given? Are we afraid? Afraid to throw away a game plan because it is supposed to work? Is it we are afraid to hit away when everything says to bunt? What are we missing? What are we waiting for? Just do it! Aim for the fences or bunt down the 3rd base line, which do we choose?