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Smith Lake FLW Tour Re-Cap

Posted by todd on March 18, 2013

Well, after having a week to reflect on my 60th place finish at Smith Lake, I've taken time to make peace with my finish there.  We always want to get our season off on the right foot, good finishes allow you to relax and get in a groove.  Unfortunately, this year has started off as quite a bit of a struggle.  But it's part of the game, part of the sport that is ultra-competitive.  You can't miss a step with guys at the Tour level, or you are left behind.

My strategy at Smith was to fish for both spotted bass and largemouth, yet I couldn't find the qualify of spots to help me compete for making the Top 20.  I spent 80% of my time fishing for largemouth and was just a kicker bite or two away from having a really good event.  Sometimes the cards fall your way, and other times they don't.  As much as I love going to new lakes, there is always a learning curve to climb.  I'm working hard to learn from mistakes and to be more efficient in my practice time to get myself in position for a top finish.  In this event, there simply weren't enough largemouth up shallow for guys to do well on multiple days.  I was in the same areas as guys like Dave Lefebre and Randall Tharp, who were both in the Top 20 after Day 1 - but their weights and mine both fell off on Day 2.  I needed to find bigger spotted bass to fill out my 5-fish limit, and unfortunately all I could find were 13-14" spots.  I ended up weighing 10-01 the first day and 7-15 the second, for a two-day total of 18-00 and 23-00 made the Top 20 cut. 

The good news is that this event moved me up about 30 places in the AOY standings, and I'm still confident that I can keep the momentum moving forward and make the Forrest Wood Cup after the 6th and final event.  The Tour points system rewards the anglers who are consistent - and I pride myself on being consistent.  So far, on two new lakes to me, I've weighed in a 5-fish limit all four tournament days at Okeechobee and at Smith Lake.  We'll keep that going into Beaver and look for a better finish than I had in 2012.  I spent a few days there last year in early April before our practice cut-off, and I learned some things that will hopefully point me in the right direction this year.

Here's a quick re-cap of the set-up's I used at Smith Lake to cash a check:

-Dropshot Gear - 7'2" ML dropshot rod, 7# fluorocarbon line, 1/4 - 3/8 dropshot weight, finesse worms and River Rat Tackle Quiverying Fry (Morning Dawn and Green Pumpkin)
-Jerkbait Gear - 6'0" M Elite jerkbait rod, 10# fluorocarbon line, Reaction Strike XRM jerkbaits (ghost minnow, ayu)
-Jig Gear - 6'9" MH rod, 15# fluorocarbon line, 1/2 and 3/8 River Rat Tackle Arky and Football head jigs (Ky Lake Special, Dark GP, Money Maker)
-Umbrella Rig Gear - 8" Bulldawg Musky Rod, 50# braid, Castaic Jerky J School Flash Rig and Red Dirt Baits Hybrid Eagle Rig, Castaic 5" Jerky J Swimbaits (Blueback Herring)

Thanks for all of your support the past few weeks.  The start to this year has certainly been a grind, but I'm so blessed to be on the road with my brother, friends, and father-in-law doing what I love to do.  Look for a rebound at Beaver in April!