By Gary Haraguchi
We started out for Beaver Lake, the third stop of the FLW Tour, on April 8th. From Sacramento we flew to Dallas, and wouldn't you know it, they had a Dickey's BBQ in the airport. If you’ve kept up with my previous blogs you know how much Jimmy loves BBQ, so you know we ate there.
From Dallas we flew into Tulsa and picked up Jimmy's boat and truck and hit the road for Rogers, AR. Okay, we might have made a pit stop at the Cherokee Casino in Watts, OK. We pitched in $50 each and hit the roulette table, putting $100 down on Black. If we won we would walk away and have sushi for dinner (and possibly spend a bit on bait?). If we lost it would be the McDonald's value meal. Lady Luck was on our side and I was happy to enjoy sushi (instead of barbecue) for dinner.
Life on the tournament trail has it challenges, and I usually do our laundry after the tournament, but at Hartwell I had to leave early so I left laundry duty to Jimmy. As I unpacked in Rodgers I quickly realized the laundry hadn’t been touched. What little clean clothing I had would have to last for a few days (thanks, partner!). Jimmy's mantra on the road is "If all else fails just buy new socks and underwear." Did I really sign up to travel with this guy?
We spent the majority of our first prefish day looking for spawning fish. We saw fish in the 2lb range but not the big girls we were hoping for. Jimmy caught a nice Walleye on a Green Pumpkin Kut-Tail Worm (7L-10-297). We threw it in the livewell, dreaming of fish tacos later, but it ended up being the only fish we caught that day so we released it.
The second day of practice greeted us with rain. We bundled up in the dark but as the sky lightened I realized Jimmy had put his rain gear on backwards. It’s a good thing I’m around to help this poor guy out. Seriously.
Jimmy had a good tournament at Beaver and ended up in 38th place. A green pumpkin 5" senko (9-10-297) helped him catch the majority of his fish in the clearer water near the dam. My pros fished the river both days and I caught mostly largemouth from the back of the boat, but had a hard time getting the fish I caught to meet the 15" minimum size limit. I ended up weighing in two largemouth and four spotted bass in two days. Four of those fish I caught with a 5" Green pumpkin Pro Senko (9P-10-297). On Day two my pro came in one minute late for check in. That resulted in a one-pound penalty which moved me down 12 places and cost me a check. Ouch! I’ll admit that one hurt.
The Beaver was not good to me and while I’m not holding that against her, things didn't get any better for us on the trip home. Our flight out of Tulsa, scheduled to depart at 8:30pm was delayed until 12:30am, so we missed our connecting flight in Denver and had to rebook for a flight at 6:00am that went from Denver to LAX to Sacramento. Now that’s a long day two days. To add insult to injury, on the flight to Denver Jimmy suffered a major rod casualty. Seven out of eleven rods were crushed. We managed to bandage up the rod tube and limped home to California with the remaining four rods.
Lady Luck was kind to us in Oklahoma, but she certainly didn’t follow us on to Arkansas. Pickwick just has to better.