Well this is my first blog of hopefully many to come, I really want to
let everyone know how I’m going good or bad! I’m going to give a
rundown of my past three month stint and then keep it up to date most
weeks as things happen. The support I have from back home from family,
friends, sponsors and fans is a major driving force for me so I want to
keep everyone in the loop.
So many things have happened it has already been an amazing experience.
On the water I am at home. I love these lakes and bass and I’m super
excited about the response I’m getting from some of my Aussie
Off the water things have been up and down. Trying to sort out a Visa is a hard issue and its frustrating knowing I’m going to have to fly home every 3 months, it’s going to chew into my savings and cut out a few important tournaments. Between that, social security numbers, bank accounts, drivers licence, insurances for the car and boat, finding my way around and learning to drive on the other side of the road (and no one understanding my Aussie accent) it’s been hectic and has had me wondering what I was doing here some days.
On my worst day of trying to sort these issues out I got out to my truck which I bought the day before to find my window smashed in and my GPS gone. No one told me leaving a GPS on the dash in LA is as good as giving it to them. Lesson learned and another testing day. I have resolved a few of those issues and I try to erase them once I’m out on the water.
In February we (Gary Boyd and I) travelled halfway across the country to New Orleans to watch the Bassmaster Classic first hand and to give me a taste of what my long time dream is all about and it didn’t disappoint. It certainly got the blood fired up, I want to get there one day no matter what it takes.
I want to fish against the best.
I know I’m going to have to work for it, I think most would say its near impossible as these guys are good real good and they won’t let it come easy. After the Classic we picked up the Skeeter in Texas and headed back to California. We did a 26 hour driving stint one drove while one slept.
The night before we left we stopped at a motel for the night just outside of Louisiana. Well, that was an experience only one light worked it stunk of mould, the air con never worked and it was nearly freezing and there was no way I was getting under the covers! There were domestics and fights going on outside and I ended up needing something out of the truck – but wasn’t game to walk out there as I don’t think I would have made it back safely. That was certainly a night to remember. We got out of there as fast as we could once the sun came up.
After spending weeks searching for the right truck and after turning down some pretty rough ones trying to save money I finally found a great Dodge 04. I have set it up now with a canopy on the back and a bed in the back to sleep in on the road and at some tournaments to save money. Saving cash will keep me here longer.
This year is all about learning, gaining confidence and setting myself up for a big year next year if the funds allow it. I’ll find a way. I have a great schedule of Non Boater and Boater tournaments this year to give myself the whole experience. Next year I hope to fish all the BASS Opens as a boater to try and make it to the Elite series, which is the road to the Bassmaster Classic.
I’m realizing quickly how expensive this game is – food, fuel, accommodation, entry fees and fishing licences it chews the money up quick so I have to be careful. I have put everything on the line, my whole life, I have sold everything I have ever worked for and gathered every bit of savings and the support from my fundraiser and could easily come home with nothing at the end of this year. It’s harsh, when I think about it. It scares me, but I know it’s the sacrifices I have to make to chase my dream.
The last two weeks were my first real taste of tournament fishing here. I had one week to pre fish Lake Havasu for a teams event and then another week to pre fish for my first Boater tournament a WONBass event. I spent 13 hours a day on the water for two weeks straight. Every day I got off the water sorted my tackle out cleaned the boat re fuelled made lunch for the next day ate dinner and got to bed for another big day to follow. The teams event went well – we placed 4th and got Big Bass – a great start!
Going into the WONBass event I was very happy with what I had found and was the most nervous I had ever been going into a tournament as I knew what I had found could put me up there. Well, as it turned out the weather got better each day and the deeper fish I had found had moved up to their nests and the nest fish I had found had been caught or had moved off. I had to really stay as calm as I could and I ground out 15 pounds each day for a 27th place.
This tournament was a huge learning curve and I know I have to follow and trust my instinct a lot more like I did back home. There were times that my gut feel was telling me to change but I didn’t, as I didn’t have the confidence to, but I know this will come with time. I really do feel I can make it. I’ve never felt so focused and driven on anything ever, I just need the time here, I’m in for some of the biggest challenges of my life yet to come and I’m ready.
I fly home this week and I’m super excited about seeing everyone, I think it will give me a great boost ready for the next 3 months! I have plans to do all the things I love and miss about home in four days then I’m back on the plane on the 7th and back at it. When I arrive I have a WONBass event on the California Delta and then the biggest tournament of my life a BASS Open at Lake Table Rock. It will be a 180 plus boat field – my biggest test yet! I will keep everyone updated as it comes, I can’t wait!