After returning home to Kenora, Ontario, following the Lake Eufaula Elite Series event, I was told by the Canada Customs officer at the border that I would have to do a 14-day quarantine at my home because of COVID-19 concerns. This wasn’t unexpected. I had stocked up on a few cans of gas, thinking that I would be able to go fishing without having to visit a gas station or make any stops. I live in a remote area out of town, so I thought that would be okay, but I was told I had to stay home.
So it’s been a pretty slow couple of weeks for me. We live on a small lake, and I did get the okay that I could fish on our home lake because I can access it through my property. It has some bass in it, so I’ve been able to catch a few fish and go through a few boxes of crankbaits to weed out some of the ones that don’t run properly. Outside of that, my tackle is nicely organized, and my yard is looking pretty good.
I have a couple of weeks before I hit the road to New York for a three tournament stretch that will visit three of my favourite bodies of water – Cayuga Lake, the St. Lawrence River and Lake Champlain. Before I go, I’ll be fishing a bunch on Lake of the Woods, getting warmed up for this New York swing. We have excellent bass fishing around home, primarily for smallmouth but with some largemouth mixed in as well. So I can catch some fish on a lot of the techniques that will be effective out in New York.
When it was announced on the original schedule that we would be fishing the St. Lawrence and Champlain, I was excited because I love getting the opportunity to fish up north on water that is a lot more comfortable to me than fishing in the South. Then Cayuga was added, a lake where I had a great event last year. That made me pretty happy.
I have never fished three pro-level events three weeks in a row so it will be a workout for sure, but one that I’m looking forward to. Leaving home for this extended amount of time is also tough, especially when we only get like three or four months of nice weather up here in my part of Canada. Thankfully, I have an amazing, supportive wife who keeps everything rolling if I am not around.
Fishing wise, the biggest challenge for me will be to fish the conditions when I get out to New York. Even though I live in Ontario, I’m a 20-plus hour drive out to New York so none of these waters are local to me. I have fished one tournament at each venue, all at different times than when we’re visiting in July. In a three-day practice I think you check some of the things that worked in the past, learn what you can and then develop a program based on the current conditions.
I have struggled at times returning to lakes where I have some good history with not being able to give up on past success so I’m going to be careful not to fall into that trap this time around. Sometimes past knowledge works out and helps you, but that is the one thing I like about fishing new water — not having any preconceived notions about where and how I’m going to fish.
I will have a bunch of G. Loomis rods and Shimano reels loaded into my rig when I blast off for New York, and I’m excited to see what happens at this next stretch of tournaments we have coming up on the Elite Series.