I know it’s supposed to go unsaid, but, FLW really needs to step up their live coverage game. This “on the water” crop that they currently have is only a little better than a punch in the eye. FLW is so far behind the likes of BASS with their live format, it isn’t even funny. FLW, please get your game on track with today’s information age. We need better coverage for these tournaments!! Oh, and while I am on my soap box, what’s up with not being able to go back and watch a weigh-in? The live weigh-in feature is nice, but, would love to go back through and see the ones I missed.
Archive for The Yellow Brick Road
Some thoughts going into this next tournament on Old Hickory. This has always been my worst Lake. I have had very little luck catching any bass over the 12″ mark. I’ve caught tons of fish, I’ve seen tons of fish caught. However, for whatever reason, I just never do any good.
A friend of mine (Jimmy Trigg) and I headed out a couple of weeks ago, just for some fun fishing. He, like so many others I have fished with in mid summer, wanted to beat the banks. This resulted in the same 12″ bass I have been used to. Given the thoughts of Kentucky Lake, I suggested we find a spot in about 15-20′ of water with a good hump or drop off near by.
Wouldn’t you know it. He knew of just the place, and we caught good fish. The biggest going for just under 4lbs, but we only hung out there for a little while as we moved on in favor of deep docks, which didn’t really pan out.
I can’t wait to get a decent boat and head out on that Lake and finally figure it out. I know, as is evident at the weigh-ins, that there are good fish in this lake. I just really want to spend some time alone on a boat with good electronics working the lake the way I should and figure out exactly what this lakes patterns really are.
As for the tournament this weekend.. I’m not even sure I will make it in. I don’t have a link this time, and didn’t really get my entry paid as soon as I would have liked.
Fingers are crossed and we will find out tomorrow. Saturday I will be at the mercy of my boater to get me withing casting distance of the fish, and at my own mercy to chose the proper presentation and adjust as needed, both to the 93 degree weather, and my boaters temperament in regards to Co anglers and whether or not they should be allowed to fish.
Until tomorrow, all I will be thinking about is a tight wet line…
I came across an inter view of Dave Mercer on World Fishing Network today. While Dave has some valid points in the video, I would like to argue one point he made. See Video Here
During the video he talks about how it doesn’t take a sponsor to become successful. That it is the chicken and egg argument.
He is right, there are good points for both sides of the argument. If you have plenty of money and can spend every day on the water honing your skills, then yes. Success is likely to come before the sponsors. If you are financially strapped, making sacrifices in your life for the sake of fishing, the only time you get on the water is when a buddy invites you, or you are in a tournament, then yes, the sponsorships make success possible. The money you get from those sponsors afford you the ability to spend more time on the water. They afford you better equipment. They take some, if not all, of the stress money brings to your daily life away so that you can focus on fishing and being a better angler and brand ambassador for those companies that believe in you, if only your determination and passion for the sport, enough to afford you those opportunities.
I agree, whole heartedly, that it is a job. A job that begins before you ever get that company to sign on the dotted line. Your job, is to promote their brand and increase sales. If you don’t do that for a company, then you are not doing your job.
I am lucky enough to be on the prostaff of some pretty amazing brands. I have not, yet, reached a point where I get paid by those companies. I haven’t even reached a point where I get products from those companies. I am low on the totem pole where it actually costs me to have these sponsors.
I get a discount on their products and for that discount I am expected to drive me sales to their door. I’m not very good at it yet, but, I am trying to learn and do anything within my means to promote those products, including purchasing products and handing them out to people as “free samples”. While it costs me money that I don’t have, I do it in hopes that one day I will become a sizable enough of a factor that these companies are not only willing to pay me to represent their brands, but, actually want to.
I know the struggles from the other side of the argument that either Mr. Mercer. Some of us need those sponsorship dollars to pursue and become successful in our dream of becoming full time Bass Anglers.
“Stick with me and I’ll take you places. The ride will be rough, but, the destination will be well worth the journey.”
This is something I said to my girlfriend Ashley Nichols a couple of days ago when I could clearly tell that she was just about over this ride we are on.
I meant every word of it. Things are rough, about as rough as I have had them. We just had Briana about 8 months ago. We moved out of our apartment because we couldn’t afford the rent as it was, but, sure couldn’t afford it with the rent going up.
We were having such a hard time finding a place to live because I’d been late on the rent 10 times in the past three years.
Laying in bed cruising through Craigslist, I get an idea. I came across a 23 foot 5th wheel camping trailer and look over at Ashley and say, “hey, we can buy that and live there for a year or two while we get things together. As soon as I can get a truck that can pull it, we can use it to help us chase these tournaments down as we fight to chase this dream.
She thought it was a wonderful idea. I asked her to contact them and go take a look at it while I was at work the next day. She did, and she loved it.
She came back and I met her after I got off work, went to get the money out of the bank and we headed out to buy us a home. The family who owned it was even nice enough to take it to the local KOA in Nashville and help me set it up.
We were set, all we had to do was sell everything we owned to lean down enough to fit in the trailer. It was going to be great. We were going to get rid of everything we didn’t absolutely need, put a bunch of money in the bank and start living on the cheap and start growing that bank account.
Yeah, that didn’t happen quite the we we planned. The money we brought in from selling everything went back out just as fast as it came in. I had reduced our monthly bills by about $800 a month, yet, when the third time to pay lot rent at the KOA came around, I still wasn’t going to be able to pay it. How does that happen?
So, we decided to have one of our neighbors move the trailer to her parents yard 40 miles away from the KOA and my job. Yeah, that’s right, I have a pretty amazing job, making pretty decent money and still can’t pay my bills.
We’ve been here for about a month or so now, and it seems that we have both gotten so sick of the way things are that it seems like things are slipping and I can’t seem to figure out how to hold on. Apparently, neither can she.
What has my life in such shambles? You may be thinking, “it has to be drugs, or, maybe alcohol”… You would think so. I mean I have known severe drug addicts and alcoholics that could maintain better than this.
Well, no, not drugs, not alcohol.. It’s a dream. A dream of working my way through the ranks of the FLW and, one day, walk across the stage at the Forest Wood Cup as they hand me a check for $500,000.
For the first time in my life I have a dream. I have a dream with goals and a plan to accomplish that goal. I’m working hard at my full time job, I’ve sacrificed most all of my worldly possessions, I am fishing as many tournaments as a co-angler as I can afford (or not even afford). I have a 5 year plan to put in the work that will allow me to work myself up through the ranks.
I have visions of myself and my family traveling around from tournament to tournament. Living in RV parks, and “living the dream”. For those of you who have gone down this road, or have known someone who has, you know what I mean when I say “living the dream”.
I know things will never be easy. Things are going to get a lot tougher before they ever get better and they may only ever get “better” once in a while. I tell you though, I’m good at what I do. I have the work ethic, the stomach, the talent, the heart, and determination to make this work. I also have an amazing woman standing by me that helps keep me on track, shares the dream, and wants this life just as bad as I do. Without those things, I would be lost.
I also have some amazing companies who have enough faith in me to allow me to represent their brand.
Raw Jigs makes the best hand crafted, American made bass catching Jigs on the market today. I have caught so many bass on those Jigs, that some times it can be hard to talk me into putting them down.
Big Bear Fishing Rods – I never knew you could feel a bite so well until I rigged up my Big Bear Rod with a Lews reel full of Seagaur Red Label Floro. Sensitive enough to feel the lightest bite, and backbone enough to pull that fish out of the thickest cover. These hand crafted, American made, rods sport a grip like you have never felt. You have to put one in your hands, when you do, you will never want to use anything else.
Grey Goat Lures – I don’t usually fish with a spinner bait, but, when I do, it’s a Grey Goat Lures spinner bait. They are amazing American hand made baits that I would put
up against anything on the market today.
So, with all of the support that I have, my raw determination, and willingness to make the sacrifices it is going to take, we are going to make it.
I hope you join us for this long bumpy ride, because the destination is going to be well worth the struggle.
I just read an article on Bassmaster.com written by Pete Robins that really got me thinking. So often in my young life, I was asked, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” I remember so many times answering things like, Police Man, Fire Man, and the most often soldier.
Reading the most recent articles written by so many people who have known Mark Davis over the years, I have to say those answers should have been different. If I could now turn back the hands of time, I think my answer would have to be Mark Davis.
I know a lot of people who share my passion for bass fishing want to be KVD. Yes, I want to have the ability to catch fish like KVD, but more than anything, I want people to think of me the way they do Mark Davis. I want people to say that it was a pleasure to fish with me, that I was always willing to help where I could. I want to be known as a good, no, great bass angler, but, I also want so badly to be known more so as a great man, a great father.
For those of you who have had the pleasure (or misfortune depending on the time of my life) to know me, you all know I have a long way to go to get there.
If you take nothing else away from this, know this… I will strive every day of my life to be the very best bass angler, man, and father that I can be. When the dust settles over my grave, I may be lucky enough to be known as half the man Mark Davis is today.
Thank you Mark for setting the bar so high.
‘Losing it’ with Mark Davis | Bassmaster
So, it has been an amazing first year in the bass fishing tournament world.
Being able to successfully complete one full season in the last year of the Bassmaster Weekend series by American Bass Anglers was good. Not the finish I would have hoped for, but, 47th for the season in my first try is somewhat respectable, if you were to ask me.
I would have loved to hit the water in the southern regional on Neely Henry and make it to the nationals on my second home lake Old Hickory. It just wasn’t in the stars this round.
On the up side, I am poised to make it to the FLW BFL regional on Lake Lanier in two weeks. Sitting in 13th for the season and only one tournament to go on my home waters of Percy Priest Lake. This is the lake I pulled the off the win on in March of this year.
Things are looking pretty scary as the tournament comes closer though. The last time I called to check my place on the waiting list, I was 10th. That was one week from tournament check-in. So, I don’t know if I will get to fish this last tournament or not. You will have to check back for an update.
As for the 2014 season, things couldn’t be looking batter. I have managed to pull in two pro-staff positions with some pretty amazing companies.
Gray Goat Lures is a custom spinner bait company that makes custom spinner baits of all imaginable sizes and colors. These are top quality spinner baits made from the best possible components. I am very proud to be a part of the organization.
Homegrowntackle.com is the future store front for Gray Goat Lures. The company is working to expand the selection of tackle and fishing products is offers. They will specialize in home made tackle from companies or individuals employing less than 5 people in their operations. This will help to expand the number of customers they reach and increase their bottom line.
My second partnership for 2014 is Raw Jigs rawjigs.com. Talk about amazing custom Jigs. Anyone who knows me, knows I throw a jig more than anything else. I catch the largest majority of my fish on a jig. So, I know what it takes to make a quality jig, the colors, shapes, sizes, and hooks it takes to get them to bite and keep them buttoned up and it the boat. Raw Jigs makes a jig that is of the highest quality. They offer many amazing colors, sizes, and styles out of the box. The best thing is, they can make whatever you want. Is there a special color you are looking for? Can’t find it anywhere else? They will make your Jigs to your exact specifications with no problem. Not many companies can offer you that type of service. Did I mention they are cheap too?
Anyway, like I said, things are looking like they are shaping up for 2014. My dreams of going pro are getting closer and closer.
I look forward to making my mark on the companies I represent. I will do everything in my power to increase their sales, and making them proud to have me as a representative of their brand.
So, here’s to new relationships, increased profits, and tight lines! Bring on 2014!
Center Hill Recap – BFL
Center Hill is a beautiful lake. I spent four weekends in a row down there practicing before the tournament. Every time I went, I caught between 10-20 bass at a time. All be it they were almost all Spotted Bass, they were nice and most of them in keeper range.
I caught one of my favorite spotted bass of all time there. I called her Miss Piggy. She was about a 3.5lbs spotted bass that looked as though she had swallowed a Nurf football. Miss Piggy was a whole lot of fun to catch.
Anyway, with all of the work I did pre-fishing Center Hill, as a Co-Angler, it did me no good at all. I dialed in the colors they were keying in on, the type of lures I was going to throw, and spots that would be good in case my boater needed a few.
The night of the draw, I was excited to hear I had drawn Adam Wagner as my boater. I had heard many good things about him, he is about as good as they come around this area, and his stats backed it all up. So, I, as excited as a teenage girl on prom night, went bouncing over to introduce myself.
The first words out of his mouth were, “you are going to hate me tomorrow.” Oh, great! As smart as I thought I was, and thinking of every angle, I missed one scenario that was going to be detrimental to my success. “Why am I going to hate you tomorrow”, I asked. “I will be bed fishing all day tomorrow”, he replied.
For those of you who don’t know what that means, it basically means that he would be fishing by sight all day, and he did. We trolled the banks until he found a bass sitting on bed and would work that fish until he caught it. This left me working every other location I could find. I spent the majority of my day slinging my Alabama rig as far as I could over the boat slips, down the banks behind us where he had already been, and all the way across pockets we were fishing to hit the opposite banks.
Now, it was far from Adam’s fault that I zeroed out that day, because, in the end, that is exactly what happened. But, it didn’t make it any easier for me. I had two different fish on and lost them both. One I had hooked from about 60 yards away on the opposite bank on my Alabama Rig, but she jumped clean out of the water at about 50 yards and threw the hook. I can’t even remember what I had the other hooked on, but, I am sure it was the ‘rig’. I had just come off of a win with that thing and didn’t want to put it down.
My unwillingness to let go of what I just knew worked, was what ultimately killed me.
So, the lessons learned from Center Hill are these..
1. Give it up if it isn’t working!
2. Being on the back deck of someone bed fishing sucks
3. Practice (for a co-angler) only helps if your boater thinks the same way you do.
Well Well Well, what an experience that was. Talk about a 180 degree turnaround from the last tournament. Fist of all, I drew one hell of a partner. I never thought I would ever draw a boater who was just as concerned about me catching fish as himself. Not only did he put me on the fish, he even gave me the tools to get the job done.
I was introduced to Scott Lefevers Friday night before the tournament at the Angler meeting. He seemed like a pretty cool guy, but I had no idea. When I showed up at the ramp the next morning I was introduce to Shamu. A really nice black and white Stratus boat. I am telling you, it’s the nicest boat I have been on, ever. I wish I had gotten more details on it so I could have listed the stats here. The good thing is, he works for C&O Marine, so you can contact him and he can hook you up with all the details. Maybe he will come across this one day and tell us about the boat.
On to good stuff..
We launched out boat #22 in the second flight. Twenty two other boats headed out before we did. With one special spot in mind, I thought for sure we were never going to get there before anyone else. I was worried, but, Scott didn’t have a care in the world. I soon found out why. I don’t know what he has had done to that boat, or how that man knows this lake the way he does. We took out Fate Sanders like a mad woman going, well you know. He laid down on that Hot Foot, pinned me to the back of my seat, and off we went. It wasn’t until about the third boat we passed that I realized just how fast we were really going.
We passed every boat by with easy. He would pull up right behind the boat ahead of us, then jump their wake to the right and around we would go. This was the most exciting boat ride I have ever been on, and Scott sure knew how to handle the boat better than anyone I had ridden with.
We headed way down river to a little spot where the river was choked down by a small point that took the river down to about 30-35 feet wide from the typical 70 or so feet it was to either side of this point. Right at the end of that point in the middle of the channel there was a tree submerged in about 14 to 18 feet of water. I built a Tennessee rig the night before with 4 small havoc sick fish, and one large matching sick fish. Two of the smaller ones were just on center pin screw locks, and the others were all on 1/4 ounce jig heads. I started the day off throwing that rig. Hung it up second cast. I caught one small Largemouth that wouldn’t measure, but never even got another bite on it.
In the interest of saving time, long story made short, we crushed them in that tree. He won the boater side and I won the Co-angler side of the tournament. Needless to say it was a complete 180 from the last tournament. I owe the win to Scott for putting me on the fish and even letting me tear up some of his spinner baits to build an a rig like his. That is how I caught my 4 fish. So, thank you Scott.
If any of you are looking for a new boat, used boat, or anything for your boat, head on over to C&O Marine.
I Just Want to Fish
I sit at my desk day in and day out looking out the wall of windows in my office building thinking of how nice it would be to be sitting in my little boat, listening to the birds sing, as I troll along a shoreline pitching a jig or burning a crankbait. Remembering the sign we used to sell at the Stuckey’s in North East Texas along I-40 I worked in when I was young that so philosophically stated, “The worst day fishing is better than the best day working”.
This makes me think of all of those lucky souls who have my dream job as Professional Bass Fisherman. How does that philosophical sign ring in their ears? I can’t imagine a better life than traveling around the country, waking up at 4am heading to the boat ramp, dumping the boat in the water and heading out on the lake for the day be it for practice or an actual tournament. I even look forward to all of the things in between. Things like sitting on my boat getting all of my equipment ready for the season, the next tournament, sitting in my hotel at night going over lake maps, fishing reports, local blogs and forums to find out what, where and when the fish are biting on the next lake I am heading to.
I even look forward to my losses as much as my victory’s. Walking up on stage to weigh in a big bag of Lake Amistad air, a small bag of Table Rock Bass, and most of all that first day I get to walk on stage with a 30lb bag of Bassmaster Classic winning Largemouth.
It is a dream I dream every day as I look out these windows, as I lay my head down at night after reading a few articles in the latest issue of Bassmaster Magazine and watching a few Bill Dance videos on my cell phone. At 34 years old, I am not sure it is still in the cards for me, but, I know I will spend the rest of my life chasing that dream. There are so many things I need to do before that first Classic or Forest Wood Cup.
I hope all of you will come with me as I embark on this epic journey of rollercoaster type success and failure in my chase of Bass Fishing Fame. Look for my “Plan for Success” in my next article in this series I am calling “The Yellow Brick Road”. So many of you know how much of a pipe dream this truly is. Some of you will be routing for my success and some of you for my failure. I welcome you all as in your own way you will be pushing me forward through all of the highs and lows I have heading my way.
With all of that being said, the first thing I need to do at this point is enter and finish my first tournament as a co-angler. That is the next goal in my Plan. To find out more about my
“Plan for Success” look for the next article!
Thanks for reading,
Blaine Wimberly (Future Forest Wood Cup and Bassmaster Classic Champion)
If you can’t keep them tight, at least keep them wet!
Bass Fishing is the chosen direction. It is my new obsession. I have missed out on several things I would have loved to put on here, like the 5lb Largemouth I caught in 48 degree water on a Storm Swim Shad the day after a small snow storm. Although I have missed a few things, I think I am starting this thing at just the right time. I am going to upload some random photos shortly of fish I have caught over the past few months just to get caught up, but then I will be posting regularly from then on about all things in my life that pertain to bass fishing.
My ultimate goal:
The ultimate goal of all of this is to one day fish professionally. This is a dream I am picking up from my father. He went pro for a short time. I would just like to try to pick up that torch and expand on it and I want to take all of you along for the ride. No matter where this ends, the trip should be a lot of fun. So, come on and join me on my bass fishing adventures.