Its fall the leaves are changing and the Bluegrass Kayak Anglers 2 day Classic on Cave Run lake is here, not only is it the last tourney of the year but if you are in the hunt for some AOY point in the Bluegrass each day counts as a tourney so if one was to do well two days in a row could gain some serious AOY points. Before for Cave Run Lake going over the AOY points it looks like about the top 15 anglers got a shot at the AOY title and all of them are amazing sticks it’s a total honor to just compete against these guys. On the drive down my mind wanders back over the season, all the way back to a phone call I had with Chad Hoover, who in so many words told me to avoid going head to head with the KY anglers, hurting my pride I resolved myself too going head to head every chance I could. The Bluegrass Kayak Anglers s Cave Run Classic was having extra meaning for me.
The lake greets me with amazing looking cloudy skies, warm weather and the it is full of wood rock and weeds. Dropping 2 inches of water in 24 hours for some dock work, hearing the bite has suffered from this, a smile cracks my face these conditions tend to be when I do my best when conditions are tougher. Heading out on the main lake to look for and fish a bunch of man made fish attractors near the channel since there is going to be current, hoping to find bait fish holding to the channel ledges and fishing any anomalies I can find that Large mouth could sit on. Playing to my strength fishing structure with a small worm on a ledge. But this train made no stops here and the fish just weren’t biting for me, catching two dinks. “Not to worry I have more days to find them.” I tell myself but I need to do better.
Day two pre fishing much of the same just two dinks, throwing everything at them and it’s a weightless fluke and my favorite bait a texas rigged worm are the only things working for me. The deck of boat is littered with fallen soldiers (baits that just didn’t cut it). My mind whispers to me “You need to do better!”
Day three hits and I am now starting to think that there is no pattern that its just going to be a grind of turning over new water and thats what I do all day and I totally blanked! Thinking maybe its like that for everyone till my buddy AJ Mcwhorter sends me a text of how he was killing it being on the water for only 2 hours. One wheel just came off the track mentally, normally I have zero issues keeping that focus or keeping it together but this time a crack has formed. Finding my fish in 3 inches of water to 30 ft of water was not helping. Now my mind is yelling at me to do better.
Finally Tourney day and for the first time this year I was not excited, it was like waking up to a dark room. As soon as I launch my boat that cold dark gloomy feeling left finding a rock wall and catch two dinks back to back this day is looking better already. The grind was real as I never found another fish and that crack in my confidence grew wider, you could hear it as it cracked more. The absolute worst thing that a competitive angler can do is have a lack of confidence, even in the worst of conditions its only one cast away and everything can change. If it wasn’t for some good friends, I may have left and I would have never forgiven myself if I did even writing about this has me a little ticked off that I was contemplating leaving.
Tourney Day 2 hitting the water a little behind than I wanted to be but it’s a new day. Nothing really special to write about but I found 3 fish (finally a limit) all small but a limit. Fishing was tough for everyone even the leaders talked about the grind.
Adam Shepard took the top Honors after his consistent performance over two days, lets talk about just how consistent his performance all season has been. Seems like he was in the top 3 or 5 at every single event he also tied for AOY with Mathew Schaffer. Matthew got the tiebreaker and won AOY and Adam took second in AOY total bad ass performance my hat off to everyone who has fished the season in my book you all are bad ass! When you fish the Bluegrass Kayak Anglers tourneys you not only fish against some of the best anglers in the country you surround yourself with some really good people. Top three anglers 1st Adam Shaffer 2nd Tony Hobbs 3rd Corey Linkins
To be honest for a couple days after the tourney I didn’t feel like I learned anything just felt like I couldn’t put it together, but maybe I was meant to learn a bigger lesson. Placing 24th midfield during the tourney I felt nothing was going my way and that wasn’t true it was just my pride getting in the way of my fishing, wanting to prove something. The bigger lesson for me when I fish for my pride I do my worst and loose the focus needed to just fish and without my friends new and old talking me off the proverbial ledge those are the things that count have nothing to do with where I place but the experience I have with others and the laughs we share. My pride getting in the way of thinking of how to fish better i spent time thinking I need to do better. The lessons I learn best are some of the harder lessons.