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Tourney Nerves



      It's Friday afternoon, I'm driving home from work and wondering if I have done enough. It feels like the longest week ever, even though, I took Wednesday off to “prefish”. All of my equipment is ready, I am taking the full arsenal. Hell, I'm just as good as the rest of them, I have paid my dues, I am ready.


     I get home, now the dilemma! Should I load up my beautiful fishing vessel now......just to show it off? Why not, she's mine and I'm going to do it. Next, quickly find my “second” favorite fishing shirt (wearing my favorite tomorrow) and throw it on. I'm off, headed to my favorite fishing store. Damn, look at all thoses guys/gals. I want that guys shirt, those are some cool glasses, why didn't I think to do that? I hear the static of the microphone, while I'm picking up my “goodie bag” and heading for the “snackage”. It is time for the rules, I listen intently while “eyeing down” my opponents. A few friendly gestures to the guys I know.....but keep my distance.....this is serious business. Then pick up the rules and poker chip and it is straight to bed..........only problem......the old fishing fantasy, keeping me awake for hours.


     4 o'clock in the morning, no alarm needed, logged 3 hours of sleep, I am up like a shot. Coffee, suntan oil, and mental checklist. Great, all is good, now I got up so early, I have to wait around for an hour (Sports Center on TV). I need to get to my “super, secret” spot before anyone else does! Jump in the car and I am gone. Drop my “fishing machine” into the water. Everything has to be loaded just poles on the right side, since I am right dominant. I have my poker chip in my hand and the camera is ready to roll.

I'm on the water, can't get “Queens lyrics, I am the champion my friend” out of my head. Ten minutes on the water, I get my first strike, drag screaming, it's big and is doing a great run. Then the run stops and it feels like I am pulling in an old boot, Sailcat! In the next few hours, I pull in a couple of slot Trout and miss something big that breaks me off immediately. The visions of me having the beautiful trophy, held high over my head are diminishing.


     Crap, it's getting late, have to start thinking about loading up. Then an enormous pull, putting a hurting on my medium action rod. Must be a Red, 10 feet before me, I see the fish surface. Holy S&%@, it's a Gator Trout. I won't win the Slam division, but this baby can win me something.


     “Stop thinking”.............GET THAT FISH TO THE BOAT! Got my fish grippers, bam, got him. Now I lay my ruler out, get the poker chip, reach for my camera....all while holding this big ass fish. I need another arm! “He”, is big, got to be 27-28 inches. Lay 'Him” on the stick next to me and KERPLUNCK, their goes my fame over the side!


     I'm tired, I'm a loser, should I go to the ceremonies? Yes, these are my friends and I need to support them and the sponsors. Plus, there are going to be another hundred people, “doing the walk of shame”! The trophies are awarded, I put on my best fake smile and then head for home.


     In the car, I am completely focused.......what did I do wrong, should I get more equipment, when is the next tournament?


Published by Kayak Angler Magazine January 2016

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