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Hunter or the Hunted

Posted by admin on August 17, 2017

JW Champ 2017.jpg

(Photo: Seigo Saito)

I’m currently up in Michigan after fishing an MLF event.  It’s pretty convenient as we’ll be finishing up the regular season of the Elites here at St. Clair this coming week.  It’s been as busy as ever this past month.  We got in to Michigan on Sunday night after flying out to California on Friday to fish a celebrity tournament with my buddy Paul George.  Paul played for the Pacers which is how I knew him, but now is with the Thunder.  We’ve fished together for some time now and it’s always a good time when we get to hit the water together.

It was a great event.  I don’t really get to fish in California much so that was also pretty cool.  We ended up finishing third against all the California studs.  There are definitely some really good anglers out there.  Obviously, I want to win, but I can’t complain.  The Thunder’s coach showed up and even Russell Westbrook stopped by for a bit.  We even rolled up to the ramp in Paul’s Ferrari which was pretty awesome.  Overall, it was a fun time and I was glad my fiancé was able to come out and relax for a bit.

It’s been a great month.  We kicked it off at the St. Lawrence where it was an absolute slug fest.  We had a decent tournament there, but ended up losing a few points.  Right afterwards, we headed to Champlain for another epic slugfest.  Champlain was definitely a great event as we stepped it up there.  To be in position to win an Elite Series event anytime is a huge blessing and that’s what happened in Plattsburgh.

We definitely had the opportunities at Champlain.  As is the case in almost any smallmouth tournament, fish coming unbuttoned will play a part.  The second day when we took over the lead, we ended up losing a giant that would’ve helped for sure.  On the final day, a couple more solid fish from three and a half to four and a quarter pounds came unbuttoned.  Those really stung as I had two three pounders in the livewell.  It’s a smallmouth derby and unfortunately that’s just something we all had to deal with.  My hats off to Aaron.  He did a tremendous job and I couldn’t believe how well he whacked them on the final day.

We’re well within striking distance to make a run at Angler of the Year.  St. Clair could throw a monkey wrench into things.  It’ll more than likely be a slugfest and if that’s the case it’s going to be all about a few key decisions.  Brandon is in the place where he will have to catch them and can’t really play it safe.  The chances are one of the other three or so guys behind him will make a top ten next week so that really puts the pressure on him.  With it more than likely being a slugfest, the decision to make the run to Erie or Huron or possibly stay in St. Clair will be huge.  It’s a good position to be in when you are the hunter and not the hunted in this situation.  It allows the hunter to take more of a chance because there’s less to lose in a sense.

I made it up there and to Mille Lacs to get in some prepractice before they went off limits.  I hit up St. Clair around the fourth of July just to get a look at it.  Overall, it’s very featureless and flat.  There is not a whole lot there.  It’s kind of a tough place to practice.  You kind of just have to try and find some of those bigger spawning areas or schools and hope to relocate them when we come back for the actual event.  I did fish Erie and both rivers as well to get a take on those.  I’ve got a good idea of what I’d like to fish so my time there was definitely productive.

Mille Lacs was also a productive trip.  I went up there for about a week and spent most of my time just graphing around and looking.  It seems like the increased fishing pressure is getting to them a bit.  However, there are still a lot of big ones swimming around in there.  That AOY Championship will be an interesting event no matter what. I’ve already mathematically made the Classic so that pressure is gone.  Hopefully, were in a great position after St. Clair to really make a push at the AOY up in Minnesota.