For the past few weeks my mind has been going a mile a minute with thoughts and emotions. I am sure by now the little hamster running on the wheel is exhausted; and mentally, so am I. Tomorrow is the start of the biggest tournament I have ever fished in my life. Not one with the largest field but one with the largest entry fee and payout that I have been apart of. The stakes have been raised in the realm of kayak fishing and well, things are about to get real.
The Elite Redfish Series, who holds a professional tournament series for boaters, has decided to start a new chain of tournaments directed towards kayakers. The start of it and the first ever is going to be held on my home waters of Sabine Lake. Well I like to fish and I like to gamble so why the hell not? It is just another tournament and I have fished several before but I have treated this one differently.....
This one is HIGH risk, HIGH reward!
So that right there is enough reason to kill the little hamster who is trying to keep up with his wheel that is spinning out of control. I am spending a pretty good amount of money to enter a tournament with hopes to have 2 days worth of fish that will trump the rest of the field. This is not my normal tournament where I lose a days worth of pay but instead a weeks worth. But what if I win? AHHH but what if I win! That is a crap shoot that I am willing to throw the dice on.
I, for one, do love the idea of taking the chance of doing big things but quite honestly, I have not been on any good fish lately. Good ones, but not tournament winners; that in itself has put another level of stress on me. To top that off, nearly all of our marsh in our area is off limits due to duck season. So I have been forced to move to new areas and start fishing in new ways. I have racked my brain over where I should even attempt to try and fish! I have hit several areas, new and old, and they all have produced mediocre fish. My only hope is that consistency is a key factor and I can land a solid upper slot on both days. The fish I have been catching are the right shape and are healthy but are not the right length.
So that being said, you start to second guess yourself asking if you are in the right area or if you need to move? Am I fishing to slow? To fast? Wrong presentation? To heavy? To light? Wrong color? Wrong lure? Top water? Popping cork? Texas 2-Step? These are constant questions I ask myself with hopes that I will find the correct answer before my first cast once the tournament starts.
The thought of this tournament has lingered in my mind since the day I signed up for it. I have been anxious, excited, nervous, doubtful and every other kind of emotion you can throw in there. I then remembered about the first time I marshaled for the Elite Redfish Series and I was paired with Rob Ferris. I asked him what our plan was for tomorrow and his reply was....
"We're going fishing!"
And that is exactly what I need to remember. I am just going fishing; do not over complicate this; do not overthink this; just do exactly what I do best.....and thats fishing. Go out and have fun, enjoy the day and the rest will come.
It is hard to treat tomorrow like another tournament because the stakes have been raised. I have literally woken up at 12 a.m., 2 a.m., 5 a.m., and in the middle of a dead sleep thinking about netting a fish that is in the upper slot range. Some people may call that anxiety but I call it adrenaline. After all, the difference between the two is either worrying about the situation or embracing it! So now comes the real question- Are you going to win?
That is a question that I do not have a answer for but I will say this....I am at the far end of the table with the dice in my hands and I have laid my money down........and I damn sure didn't bet on the house.