The Tour’s sixth stop was The Mississippi River (pools 7, 8 and 9) out of La Crosse, WI. The Mississippi is well known for its plentiful cover such as wood, wing dams, vegetation, backwater pools and docks. Our first day of practice found Jimmy and me with no bites, so we decided to make a run. We quickly found ourselves on a sand bar, stuck high and dry. Luckily, fellow Yamamoto pro Darrel Robertson happened by and pulled us out. (Thanks, Darrel!)
Our fourth stop on this year’s FLW Tour was Lake Cumberland in Burnside, KY. Cumberland is a huge, clear water reservoir and the main lake is over a 100 miles long.
There are multitudes of creeks with bushes and standing trees as well as main lake areas with big rock and standing trees. It’s pretty easy on the eyes, too. The lake is very vertical with few flat areas. All three species of bass can be found here but there are minimums to take into account: an 18" minimum for smallmouth, 15" for largemouth and 12" for spotted bass. The fish were fat and in pre-spawn but with the smallmouth requiring an 18" minimum length, you sometimes ended up toss back a fish that weighs 3 pounds or more. Ouch!
As we made the long drive north for our final stop of the 2016 FLW Tour season on Lake Champlain, Jimmy spotted a BBQ place so of course we had to eat there. At this point in the season, I’m pretty sure I've eaten so much BBQ that if you cut me I’d bleed sauce.
On Friday night we arrived at the Shamrock Motel in tiny Peru, NY settled into our room. Early the next morning we did a chapter 11 reorganization: we removed everything from the back of the truck (guess who got to climb into the back to do that?). Thank goodness for the BedRug that Jimmy got from Top This at the beginning of the year - it was a life-saver on my knees.
At the end of April (seems like forever ago) we headed out for tournament stop number four of the FLW Tour; Pickwick Lake. As Jimmy and I reside on the west coast, the first leg of our journey began at the airport in Sacramento. On the plane to Tulsa, a gentleman asked if I was Ricky Dragon, a professional wrestler. Now I've been asked many times if I was Gary Yamamoto but Ricky Dragon?
*Editor - No one at Yamamoto Central was surprised to learn that our friend and legendary western angler Gary Haraguchi had finally decided to make the move up to the FLW Tour (though we may have been surprised he’d decided to remain in the back of the boat). He’ll be traveling and pre-fishing with his long-time friend and fellow Yamamoto Pro, Jimmy Reese this year. These … to coin a phrase … are their stories.