A fishing tournament with ups and downs

A couple weeks ago, my fishing partner Scott Sweany and I were at a local lake fishing a tournament.

The weather was horrible, the winds were blowing at 30 mph with 40 mph gusts.

The wind whipped over the dam and out onto the lake causing whitecaps and rolling waves.

I think everyone there that night was dreading the fishing conditions.

Rewinding several hours earlier in that day, we knew the water would be cold.

I thought I needed a slow gear ratio reel, so I made a trip to the local big box store and purchased the slowest one they had.

Bass move slow when it’s cold, they don’t always chase down your lure, so you have to try and make it easy for them.

I took the new reel home and changed out the stock line with a fishing line I trust and have faith in.

I thought it was a sure thing: Just add water and the fish are mine.

The first cast I made, I was using a brand new, fresh out-of-the-package spinner bait that was perfect for the conditions.

I made my first cast of the night and I hear what sounded like a bullwhip snap.

I looked on as my now untethered shiny new spinner bait went flying out of control into the abyss never to be seen again.

I ended up tying on another three lures and baits due to broken line and snags.

I’d love to tell you I’m the great American sportsman, but I’m just not: I’m a guy that loves fishing.

My partner, during my discombobulation, was doing really well.

He held fast to his plan and was getting good results.

I asked him what he was doing that I wasn’t. He could have said “catching fish,” but he held that one off.

He told me what he was using and what his approach was to it.

I kept on with my approach and fished what I thought still might work.

After a few minutes, I asked if he had any more of those Huckerdos with the Scooter sticks he was having so much luck with.

It was now around 8:30 p.m., and we had to be back at the boat ramp at 9.

I tied his style of bait on, threw out and started getting some really nice bites.

Time was running out, and a 15-minute boat ride back things seemed pretty hopeless.

The time was 8:38 p.m. and we were talking about packing up and heading back.

Of course, I had to make one more cast, I think everyone should make that last cast if given the opportunity.

In that last cast several things happened.

Our team caught our limit; caught our personal best bass in four going on five years; and we placed second overall that night in the tournament.

We could have packed it up and went to the ramp that night, but we gave it one more try.

How often in life do we stop just short of the goal?

If we take that one chance what could happen?

The answer is endless.

Toby Ortman is a local outdoors sports enthusiast. Send all comments to [email protected]