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Launching into the Bassmaster Eastern Opens

Posted by destin on February 21, 2018

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PRACTICE AT TOHO

Overall practice was pretty tough for the first Bassmaster Eastern Open of 2018.  The weather conditions were a little unstable which for Florida typically means tough fishing.

I’m of the train of thought that at Toho I want to maximize my fishing time in a tournament.  While most people lock down to Kissimmee, staying in Toho offers a longer fishing day.  However, it is a tougher lake to fish and sets up much differently.  The fish to win live in Toho, but it is just a lot harder to dial them in most times.  I chose to fish Toho and not lock the last time we were here and it ended up working out pretty well.

I was fortunate enough to have a fishing partner for the official practice period, Michael Vice, who fishes on the co-anger side.  I enjoy having a practice partner because it allows me to dial in and dissect a place faster.  I feel like we can throw a couple different baits and cover more water, more effectively.  It’s also nice just to have company out on the water.

After struggling most of practice, the last two days ended up being the most important ones.  I completely switched it up and spent all my time fishing offshore.  

We put our heads down and grinded hard through the next day and half.  We were fortunate enough to find a few areas that I felt had a lot of potential.  The best of which was on the final practice day and I knew I would have it all to myself.

I am away from home a lot which means being away from the comforts of home, our dog, and Meghan.  Meghan made the trip down Tuesday in time for the last day of official practice.  It was really great having her around to help do stuff while I was on the water and just great to see her after nearly a month away.

 

MOVING INTO THE TOURNAMENT

I wasn’t really fired up after practice, but I have been there before and I know how to handle it.  If it is a tough practice I don’t let things bother me, I just go out and fish.  I have learned it the hard way many times.

I drew the first flight for day one and I was pretty pleased with that; I was excited to have a long second day and I felt like I could do pretty well the first day on Toho.

 

DAY ONE

I started on my best offshore spot in the morning.  I ended up losing a small fish first thing, but didn’t even sweat it.  I proceeded to run to some shallow stuff to do some punching and brief bed fishing.  Neither panned out very well.  

Unfortunately, I was a little hard headed the first day and spent a lot of time punching because I felt like I could swing for the fence and catch a solid bag.  In hindsight, I should have just fished the way I am more confident.

Although it was a tough day, I was still in pretty high spirits and new I just needed to make a little tweak the second day and I would do a lot better.

 

DAY TWO

I ended up literally just fishing the same areas as the day before.  I knew the conditions would be a lot better on my one offshore spot and I was optimistic that it would turn on at some point.  

The day was a pretty big struggle.  I only had a couple of fish by 3:30 when I decided to just stick it out at my best offshore spot.  I had already been there many times throughout the day; but, after making a couple of lure adjustments, I quickly started putting solid fish in the boat.  I started out by dragging a big worm and eventually picked up a jerkbait and started smashing on ‘em.  It ended up being pretty steady until the end of the day and it became a really fun experience.  I finished the second day smiling from ear to ear.

I came in with a very solid limit - one of the top bags of the day.  Day two quite possibly salvaged the season and was a huge confidence boost.

 

FEATHERWICK MEDIA SHOOT

That Sunday, I headed South to meet up with the guys from Featherwick for a big media event.  I was excited to see everybody and really excited to hit the water, do some fishing, and get some great footage.  Bud Cipoletti, founder of Featherwick and the guy in charge, is crazy talented and I knew everything would be top notch videography wise.

The next morning I met the Featherwick guys at Kissimmee to shoot a couple more takes. While I was waiting for them to arrive, I put the boat in and fished for a few minutes while I was waiting.

Glad I did!

A few minutes into my morning, I set the hook and my drag started screaming with what I knew was a giant bass. Yes, you read that right, my drag was screaming - I was using a spinning reel.

Shortly after setting the hook, about 10-15 yards away I see the figure of a giant head coming out of the water trying to shake my hook.  At that point I knew it was a massive fish!

I got it to the boat and landed it.  Fantastic start to my Monday!  The guys ended up getting some great photos and footage.  We also shot a few outtakes of some cool driving on the water shots.  I’m really excited for Featherwick to release the footage soon.

 

DURAEDGE BASS FISHING EXPERIENCE & THE ST. JOHN’S

I met up with Mike, who runs the DuraEdge plant down here in Vero Beach right after the final morning Featherwick shoot.  We hit the water for a few hours and were able to have some fun, catch a few fish, and ride around in the new DuraEdge boat!

That evening I made my way to Okeechobee.  I stayed there for a few days, to ultimately take out some of our DuraEdge customers from Roger Dean Stadium and had a great time on the water with Jason and Mitchell.  Spring training was just about to start so the guys were crazy busy but they were glad to take part in the DuraEdge Bass Fishing Experience and relax before all the craziness of the season began.

After finishing up the trip, I made my way back up to my homebase at the St. John’s River.  It was nice to get resituated for a week after living out of my truck and boat for some time.  I love life on the road but it is always great to get a few days to recharge, get groceries, catch up on laundry, and get caught up on some work.  It was great to see the St. John’s for the first time in a while and get out on the water with the guys from the lodge I guide at again.

 

PRACTICE AT TOHO

 Overall practice was pretty tough for the first Bassmaster Eastern Open of 2018.  The weather conditions were a little unstable which for Florida typically means tough fishing.

I’m of the train of thought that at Toho I want to maximize my fishing time in a tournament.  While most people lock down to Kissimmee, staying in Toho offers a longer fishing day.  However, it is a tougher lake to fish and sets up much differently.  The fish to win live in Toho, but it is just a lot harder to dial them in most times.  I chose to fish Toho and not lock the last time we were here and it ended up working out pretty well.

 

I was fortunate enough to have a fishing partner for the official practice period, Michael Vice, who fishes on the co-anger side.  I enjoy having a practice partner because it allows me to dial in and dissect a place faster.  I feel like we can throw a couple different baits and cover more water, more effectively.  It’s also nice just to have company out on the water.

 

After struggling most of practice, the last two days ended up being the most important ones.  I completely switched it up and spent all my time fishing offshore.  

 

We put our heads down and grinded hard through the next day and half.  We were fortunate enough to find a few areas that I felt had a lot of potential.  The best of which was on the final practice day and I knew I would have it all to myself.

 

I am away from home a lot which means being away from the comforts of home, our dog, and Meghan.  Meghan made the trip down Tuesday in time for the last day of official practice.  It was really great having her around to help do stuff while I was on the water and just great to see her after nearly a month away.

 

 

MOVING INTO THE TOURNAMENT

 

I wasn’t really fired up after practice, but I have been there before and I know how to handle it.  If it is a tough practice I don’t let things bother me, I just go out and fish.  I have learned it the hard way many times.

 

I drew the first flight for day one and I was pretty pleased with that; I was excited to have a long second day and I felt like I could do pretty well the first day on Toho.

 

 

DAY ONE

 

I started on my best offshore spot in the morning.  I ended up losing a small fish first thing, but didn’t even sweat it.  I proceeded to run to some shallow stuff to do some punching and brief bed fishing.  Neither panned out very well.  

 

Unfortunately, I was a little hard headed the first day and spent a lot of time punching because I felt like I could swing for the fence and catch a solid bag.  In hindsight, I should have just fished the way I am more confident.

 

Although it was a tough day, I was still in pretty high spirits and new I just needed to make a little tweak the second day and I would do a lot better.

 

DAY TWO

 

I ended up literally just fishing the same areas as the day before.  I knew the conditions would be a lot better on my one offshore spot and I was optimistic that it would turn on at some point.  

 

The day was a pretty big struggle.  I only had a couple of fish by 3:30 when I decided to just stick it out at my best offshore spot.  I had already been there many times throughout the day; but, after making a couple of lure adjustments, I quickly started putting solid fish in the boat.  I started out by dragging a big worm and eventually picked up a jerkbait and started smashing on ‘em.  It ended up being pretty steady until the end of the day and it became a really fun experience.  I finished the second day smiling from ear to ear.

 

I came in with a very solid limit - one of the top bags of the day.  Day two quite possibly salvaged the season and was a huge confidence boost.

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FEATHERWICK MEDIA SHOOT

 

That Sunday, I headed South to meet up with the guys from Featherwick for a big media event.  I was excited to see everybody and really excited to hit the water, do some fishing, and get some great footage.  Bud Cipoletti, founder of Featherwick and the guy in charge, is crazy talented and I knew everything would be top notch videography wise.

 

The next morning I met the Featherwick guys at Kissimmee to shoot a couple more takes. While I was waiting for them to arrive, I put the boat in and fished for a few minutes while I was waiting.

 

Glad I did!

 

A few minutes into my morning, I set the hook and my drag started screaming with what I knew was a giant bass. Yes, you read that right, my drag was screaming - I was using a spinning reel.

 

Shortly after setting the hook, about 10-15 yards away I see the figure of a giant head coming out of the water trying to shake my hook.  At that point I knew it was a massive fish!

 

I got it to the boat and landed it.  Fantastic start to my Monday!  The guys ended up getting some great photos and footage.  We also shot a few outtakes of some cool driving on the water shots.  I’m really excited for Featherwick to release the footage soon.

 

DURAEDGE BASS FISHING EXPERIENCE & THE ST. JOHN’S

 

I met up with Mike, who runs the DuraEdge plant down here in Vero Beach right after the final morning Featherwick shoot.  We hit the water for a few hours and were able to have some fun, catch a few fish, and ride around in the new DuraEdge boat!

 

That evening I made my way to Okeechobee.  I stayed there for a few days, to ultimately take out some of our DuraEdge customers from Roger Dean Stadium and had a great time on the water with Jason and Mitchell.  Spring training was just about to start so the guys were crazy busy but they were glad to take part in the DuraEdge Bass Fishing Experience and relax before all the craziness of the season began.

 

After finishing up the trip, I made my way back up to my homebase at the St. John’s River.  It was nice to get resituated for a week after living out of my truck and boat for some time.  I love life on the road but it is always great to get a few days to recharge, get groceries, catch up on laundry, and get caught up on some work.  It was great to see the St. John’s for the first time in a while and get out on the water with the guys from the lodge I guide at again.




Not the Destination

Posted by admin on February 2, 2018

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PA → ALABAMA

These past few weeks have been quite a journey.  It wasn’t long ago that the 2017 season wound down.  It was nice to have some time to get my tackle organized and ready for our upcoming season, relax a little, and get some business things ironed out.

Bud Cipoletti, with Featherwick Fishing, flew into Pittsburgh late in the evening on Wednesday January 3rd.  We have partnered to create a YouTube video series: ‘Not the Destination’.  We are looking forward to sharing the journey with everyone – the first full episode will be airing soon!

We started filming first thing the next morning getting shots of the process to get ready.  Bud got some great, really creative shots of Meghan making breakfast, us packing up the new F-150 and cap, and having to entertain the dogs all the while.

We headed into the DuraEdge offices; it was great for Bud to meet so much of the team.  Next, we headed to CrossFit Grove City.  Meghan talked me into starting CrossFit a few months back and it has been great getting back to working out and taking care of my body.  I used to put exercise at the bottom of my list, as many of us do, because there is always a never ending amount of fishing and business things to get done!

On the way out of town we stopped at the DuraEdge plant where Bud got some great shots of production and the hard work that goes on at the plant.  We didn’t leave town until about 2pm that afternoon and drove until we made it to Knoxville about 1am.

We got some sleep and a workout in before heading to Wedowee Marine South to pick up the new boat.  Along the way we got some great footage and were able to take the drone out for a spin.

WEDOWEE MARINE SOUTH

It was sweet seeing the Phoenix geared up and almost ready for our 2018 season!  I had checked out the boat back in the fall when I met with the guys and settled on the Phoenix.  The guys at Wedowee are great and do awesome work.  We were able to get some footage and take the boat out for a test drive. 

The boat still needed a few last tweaks, so we hunkered down for the night in Oxford.  We spent the whole day there on Saturday getting things ironed out and capturing some more great footage.   We departed for Texas that evening.

ALABAMA  TEXAS

We made a stop Saturday night in Meridian, MS to get some rest before the last leg of the trip.  Bud made a great travel buddy – it was a cool trip with lots of ideas flowing. 

TYLER WRAP CO.

We dropped the truck and boat off at Tyler Wrap Company in Texas.  It was a super cool operation, the guys were great, and they do great work.  It was a very convenient location for the trade show. 

We left the boat and truck, got a rental, and headed to Houston Monday morning.  I dropped Bud at the airport and headed to spend time with the family and catch up on some office work and emails.

FAMILY TIME

I rarely get to see my younger cousins down in Texas – about once a year.  Typically they come and spend time in PA.  I went to all of their baseball and basketball practices while there; it was great just to spend time with them. 

I moonlighted as my youngest cousin’s assistant basketball coach.  I was surprised how into I got!  I was able to spend about a week with them before heading back to Tyler to pick up the rigs.

STMA

I swung by Tyler, dropped off the rental and left with a much nicer ride; our new truck and boat wrapped top to bottom in DuraEdge.  It looked fantastic.  We are really impressed with the results.

I kept heading to the Dallas/Fort Worth area and picked up Bud to continue ‘Not the Destination’ taping.  We were able to get settled into the hotel before the festivities kicked off.

The Sports Turf Management Association conference is a great time.  We host a big kickoff party for our customers, partners, and friends in the industry.

Unveiling our fully wrapped boat and truck at the the party was really exciting.  Everyone loved it and we were able to talk with a lot of people about the DuraEdge Bass Fishing Experience.  I was able to hang out with people I don’t typically get to see too often and have a great time.  Bud was able to get some great footage, especially as we drove around the area showcasing the vehicles to the other conference attendees.

TEXAS  FLORIDA

Bud left Friday morning and I started the journey East to Florida.  I stopped again at the same Holiday Inn in Meridian, MS after about nine hours.  The lodging was great; it can be tough finding a place that can safely and easily accommodate a rig when traveling.

Ten hours later on Saturday evening I made it to the St. John’s. 

It was great having the time to reorganize the truck and boat after the journey South, West, and then East.  This boat has tons of great storage and it was important to rig things up for the first Bassmaster Eastern Open at the Kissimmee Chain. 

In the few days I spent at the house, I was able to catch up with David, the guy I rent a room from.  He’s a great guy and also guides for the lodge I work at.

TOURNAMENT PRACTICE

I’m staying at my buddy, Jesse’s, house for the first Eastern Open of the season.  I’m excited about the new tournament circuit; especially that we have kicked it off in Florida.

Tightlines in 2018!


Wishing Everyone Tightlines in 2018

Posted by admin on January 1, 2018

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2017 brought a lot of trials and triumphs, thank you for the support over the past year.  I look forward to the journey 2018 brings us this year.

2017 IN REVIEW

HIGHS:  

BIG FAT BASS
I started off 2017 in sunny Florida.  I escaped the snow and cold and had a really good season guiding.  The spring started a great guiding season on Erie the just finished up late fall.  I am grateful that there was a lot of good weather, great customers, and new friendships.

TOURNAMENT TRAIL
I was fortunate to fish both the Northern and Southern Opens again in 2017.  A highlight of my tournament season: catching an eight pounder off a bed on Chickamauga.  It was an especially gratifying way to go out on day two.

 

LESSONS LEARNED:

BOAT MAINTENANCE
One of my most important lessons learned was the importance of knowing basic boat maintenance.  Unfortunately, when there are so many moving parts on a boat, there are more chances for something to happen.  The last three tournaments of 2017 brought issues with my prop.  I have always viewed my boat as a tool on the water and this year I learned the importance of knowing basic boat mechanics and how to fix certain things on the fly.

FISH YOUR STRENGTHS
This year I continued learning a lesson I seem to revisit often: do what you are most confident in and don’t try to force it.  There are many situations where one technique or another might be more popular, but I have learned the hard way that I struggle most when I try to fish a technique I am not as confident in.

BALANCE
I often get consumed by fishing.  Between operating Big Fat Bass and fishing tournaments, it is easy to forget to commit the time to different parts of my life.  2017 brought a lot of things that caused me to recognize that when all things are in balance: health, exercising, home life, work, relationships, all things of importance, that it positively affects my fishing.

 

2018 GOALS

BIG THINGS COMING
We have been blessed with a great opportunity that we will be divulging more about soon.  It is very exciting and I am extremely grateful to be in this position.

BALANCE
In 2018 I strive to continue to find and maintain the balance.

TOURNAMENT TRAIL
I will be fishing the newly rearranged Bassmaster Eastern Open Series. I am very excited; the circuit kind of follows with my 2018 path.  I typically head to Florida in winter to guide and head up north the same time as the Lake Norman tournament hits.

Fishing the FLW Costa Northern Series was almost impossible to pass up.  Having a tournament almost in my backyard is a very rare, but welcomed, occurrence. The other two are at fisheries I have come to love in the heart of smallmouth country.  It’s a great opportunity to fish and get my smallmouth fix, as the schedule didn’t allow too much of that last year.

BACK TO BASICS
My main goal for this year is to truly go back to the basics.  Not forcing things, allowing my thoughts and decisions to flow freely is how I had success my first season as a boater and I will return to this way of fishing in 2018.


Get The Latest

Launching into the Bassmaster Eastern Opens

PRACTICE AT TOHO Overall practice was pretty tough for the first Bassmaster Eastern Open of 2…read more

Not the Destination

PA → ALABAMA These past few weeks have been quite a journey.  It wasn’t long ago that the 201…read more

Wishing Everyone Tightlines in 2018

2017 brought a lot of trials and triumphs, thank you for the support over the past year.  I lo…read more

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