The northern swing is something we all look forward to every year, and obviously I'm very happy with my trip. When I think about it, I don't really care too much that I stumbled at Cayuga with a 63rd. I was just happy to get a win at the St. Lawrence. And if you average out the finishes, it's 31st, which is still pretty good.
To be honest, going into Cayuga, I wasn't that gung-ho, fired-up or anything. I was so happy to have just won, I didn't have the same motivation I did going into the St. Lawrence. I don't really know how to explain it, but I was pretty spent. I slept in a little bit each morning of practice and kind of took it easy.
Of course I wanted a high finish at Cayuga, and I'm not happy with my finish, but part of this sport is how you'll miss things by just a little bit sometimes. I never got really dialed into the right deal at Cayuga. I was trying to fish grass more than anything else, but I think a lot of the Top 10 guys were fishing more isolated, specific offshore deals that I just wasn't looking for and didn't find.
Still throwing the dinger
I won the St. Lawrence with a Yum Ned-Dinger. I used the Dinger again at Cayuga, but I Texas-rigged it with a 5/16-ounce weight. I was pitching it around the grass in 10 to 12 feet. I did throw a Neko-rig a little around docks, but you can't fish an open hook in the grass.
I never got on them. There's no other explanation. I didn't find what I needed.
Basically, I'd found one area that had a lot of fish, but it was getting a lot of pressure in the tournament. It was a community area I guess, but I wasn't aware of that until the tournament started. It seemed like the pressure kind of shut the bite down.
When the tournament started, the fish were biting, but into the second day, with more and more boats over the top of those fish, it got really tough to get a bite.
I came out of the northern swing at 19th in AOY points, which I feel good about. We've got one more event at Tenkiller, and the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship at St. Clair. The cutoff for the AOY Championship is 50th, so I don't really think I'm at risk of falling out of the qualification.
And I've got at least a 100-point spread on 2020 Bassmaster Classic qualification, and more than that for the AOY cutoff, so I don't feel a lot of pressure as the season winds down.
Big swings in the North
At the St. Lawrence we saw a lot of guys make big moves up and down. And people were pretty surprised that I could come from 10th to win on the final day. When you look at it, some of the events in the South have a greater weight difference from first to 10th, and the leader may have a 5-pound lead over second place. But when I was in 10th, I was only 5 pounds out of the lead. There are plenty of events where 10th is 10 or 12 pounds back.
I think that in the northern lakes, there are so many more quality fish that the weights are a lot tighter. And that brings more people into the equation who have a chance to win.
That's one reason New York is my favorite place to fish. Another is the summer weather. I look forward to it every year. It has that vacation feel to me. It's so nice to get out of the Georgia heat and go fish New York. You can open your windows and still sleep at night. It's great.
And I do want to tell everybody again how thankful I am for all the messages. It blew me away how many people reached out after the St. Lawrence and said "good job." It was pretty cool. Thanks!