home > news > Trying to Look on the Bright Side after BASSfest

Trying to Look on the Bright Side after BASSfest

Posted by stephen on June 10, 2015

Stephen Browning Day 1 Kentucky Lake.jpg

(Photo: James Overstreet)

There are about a hundred different ways to look at this past week’s BASSfest event on Kentucky Lake.  As far as getting points, I dropped slightly from 70th to 72nd, but on the positive side, the gap between me and the top 50 has lessened.  As far as my decision making, I see one decision that I probably would have changed if I could do it over.  Managing offshore schools of fish in a ledge fishing event is often what can make or break you.  At this event, my fish management probably ended up costing me in the end.

Day one I went straight to a road bed that I felt held some quality fish.  It didn’t take long for that inclination to be proven fact.  I got into a real good flurry and by 9:30am I already had a good sack.  After eyeballing them, I figured I had somewhere in the 21-22 lb range.  At that point I basically stayed there and protected it.  I specifically didn’t cast to the best stuff in the hopes that I could save some fish for day two.  Looking back I really should have weighed those fish, because after the weigh in, I realized I misjudged the weight by a few pounds.

I went back to my road bed on day two hoping I could sack up another good bag of fish.  Unlike day one however, I never was able to get the school fired up.  I could see them down there on my Raymarine units, but just couldn’t get them to bite. A few guys even came up and asked if they could fish and I said come on in, hoping they would show me something, but no one was able to pluck a fish off of there.  I went to scrambling around trying to put something together and got into a little flurry at the end of the day.  I put a couple solid three pounders in the boat, but needed just one more decent bite to get into the cut range.

The conditions changed on day two making it tougher fishing for myself and a lot of the other competitors.  They had been running a lot of current from Pickwick, but basically stopped on day two.  There was also a Triton Owner’s tournament which seemed to have a tougher day two as well.

With the BASSfest format, despite not making that check cut, I still had a chance to get back in with the second chance event at Lake Barkley.  To be honest, I was pretty bummed out about the way the Kentucky Lake event went going into the second chance.  I did what I could to put together enough weight, but fell short with around eleven pounds.  Knowing that wasn’t enough, I just released my fish without even weighing them.

I really think that the format of BASSfest, including the second chance day needs tweaked some.  For the second chance day I don’t think everyone should start at zero.  Taking you to a different body of water with no practice, it doesn’t seem fair to just reset, especially after you’ve already worked to get what you did at the true event.  Also, with BASSfest itself, it would make more sense to have the cut line at closer to half the field.  Something like 60th place for this event would seem more appropriate.

Looking back on my BASSfest, I see where I could have fished a little smarter on day one.  Managing a school or multiple schools of fish at an offshore fishing type event is something that adds another degree of difficulty.  The good thing is, I learned a lesson from this experience that will end up helping me in the future.

With three events left in the Elite Series season I’ve got to come at them strong.  I figure I will need to make at least two top ten’s out of the final events to have a chance to make the 2016 Bassmaster Classic.  Looking at the schedule, I can say I feel like it’s well within my capacity.  I feel like I can do well at St. Clair after having success there in the past.  At the St. Lawrence River, it doesn’t necessarily fit into my traditional style of fishing, but I learned a lot from our last time up there. The Chesapeake Bay is a place I have not fished, but being a shallow tidal fishery, it should fit right into my style of fishing.  I know I’m better than the finishes I’ve had this Elite season and I’ll be doing everything I can in the next three events to fish at the level I know I’m capable of.  -SB