tournament fishing

Beatin’ The Bank with Bernie Schultz: Lessons Learned 2018

Beatin’ The Bank with Bernie Schultz: Lessons Learned 2018

When B.A.S.S. first released the 2018 Bassmaster Elite Series schedule, I saw plenty of opportunity. Most of the venues seemed perfectly suited to my style of fishing, and I was anxious to get things rolling.

Unfortunately, with each passing event that optimism faded. In the end, I was left with the worst season of my 30-plus-year career.

Beatin' the Bank with Bernie Schultz - 2016 Cayuga Lake BASS Elite

Beatin' the Bank with Bernie Schultz - 2016 Cayuga Lake BASS Elite

Whenever B.A.S.S. schedules an event in New York, I feel my chances for success are strong. The Empire State has always been good to me, and I expected this event would deliver more of the same.

Part of the Finger Lakes, Cayuga is nearly 40 miles long and 400 feet deep. Formed by glaciers thousands of years ago, it has evolved into prime habitat for both smallmouth and largemouth. And because spring came late to the region, I felt both species might come into play.

Team Tales from the Trail - FLW Tour Pickwick Lake

Team Tales from the Trail - FLW Tour Pickwick Lake

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?

Team Tales from the Trail - Lake Okeechobee

Team Tales from the Trail - Lake Okeechobee

*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.

Beatin' the Bank with Bernie Schultz - 2016 B.A.S.S. Elite Series Preview

Beatin' the Bank with Bernie Schultz - 2016 B.A.S.S. Elite Series Preview

The 2016 Bassmaster Elite Series will begin this week, and with it will come a broad range of lakes and rivers — several of which are new to the circuit.

The tour kicks off on the St. Johns River in northeast Florida, then moves to Winyah Bay, SC. Next is a combined event on lakes Bull Shoals and Norfolk in Arkansas. After that, Lake Wheeler in Alabama. From there, we head to Toledo Bend and, after a lengthy break, we resume on Lake Texoma in Oklahoma. Then it’s all the way to New York for Cayuga Lake.

Hawk Talk - A Difficult Decision

Hawk  Talk - A Difficult Decision

When the 2016 Elite Series field was recently finalized and published, I knew my name wouldn’t be on it, but I had to look anyway. I needed the closure. After finishing in 96th place in the Angler of the Year standings I’d failed to requalify, which left me feeling about as embarrassed and disappointed as if I’d been cut from my high school baseball team all over again. In both cases, I realized I lacked the skills to compete.