Following a week of unseasonably hot weather that saw temperatures hover in the triple digits, the 240 plus anglers that made their way to the seventh annual Yamamoto Big Bass Challenge were greeted with cooler temperatures and changing weather conditions. At stake were 60 big bass cash prizes, entrance into the Super 12 Grand Prize Drawing for biggest bass weighed in during each official tournament weigh in period, and a cash award for the biggest overall bass of the two day event.
Yamamoto co-angler Gary Haraguchi didn’t miss the money in any of the seven FLW Tour events of 2017. In fact, the last time he missed the check line was in April of 2016 at Beaver Lake, and even then it was only by a few places. Had he made the money that week in Arkansas, he might’ve been the Tour’s top co-angler, instead of finishing second. This year he left nothing to chance and has the Angler of the Year hardware to show for it.
The 2017 season was shaping up to be the worst of Tom Monsoor’s lengthy career on the FLW Tour, and the biggest body blow occurred on his home pools of the Mississippi River. The Wisconsin pro was expected to dominate the sixth event of the season, but rising water threw him off his game and he ended up a dismal 105th.
The last few years have been somewhat brutal for me and my writing has reflected that, largely talking about lessons learned but seldom applied. If you have fished tournaments for more than a few years you know that fishing can be streaky and generally good fishing begets good fishing, but start making bad decisions and the next thing you know you are questioning every decision you make.
It’s been said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. For years I have approached tournament fishing utilizing that very game-plan, and to some extent I have been successful. I have a couple of team and a BFL angler of the year crowns, but the events I’ve fished have been one or two day events, usually on lakes and rivers that I have significant experience on.
I’ll be the first to admit, I was a little slow to get on-board with the social media craze but two things pushed me over the hump. First and foremost, the Inside Line magazine went digital and second, lots and lots of peer pressure. While I may be slow to adapt, I am also a very cautious individual and I monitored a lot of good and bad material before I decided to dip my own personal toes into the drink.
Heading into the Elite Series event on the Potomac River, the eighth of nine regular season full-field events, Fletcher Shryock sat in 70th place in the Angler of the Year standings. For the first time in his nearly five full years on the senior circuit, he stood in genuine danger of not requalifying for the tour, but at the same time still felt that he had a legitimate chance to make the 2017 Bassmaster Classic.