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Stay mentally tough when battling weather

It drives me crazy when “other things” get in my way of what I want to accomplish. I’m sure you are the same way.

It had been several weeks since I last backed the boat into the water and this last weekend I decided enough was enough.

Everything else could wait. Cody and I went fishing.

The first thing I noticed once on the lake was the clarity.

The water in late summer on the lake I live on gets exceptionally clear and it was. I knew fish would be buried in cover.

The second thing I noticed was that 90 percent of the vegetation was dead.

It wasn’t dead because it had been cold or because of winter approaching. It was dead because of recent weed treatment by the association.

The bottom resembled a barren wasteland with piles of brown and decaying weeds. I could voice my opinion on proper lake management, but I won’t.

As far as fishing goes, I knew things were going to be exponentially tougher than I had planned.

Cody and I worked through a couple of areas that traditionally yield nice fish on every trip.

Nothing. Not a bite, not a weed, not even a single sign of life.

It was time for a new plan.

At this point I had two options. I could fish the boat docks or I could search for any remaining vegetation that was lucky enough to avoid the deadly weed killer. I decided on the latter.

The trolling motor fired to life and I cranked it up a notch attempting to cover as much water as I could in the limited time I had to fish.

Vast expanses of shoreline cover were long gone and so were any signs of life. We cast to a few promising places as we kept searching, but so far I had only managed one decent largemouth.

I headed to a small indentation that I hoped had avoided the herbicide used in the lake.

The main channel swings at that point and creates a protected area. As we approached, I saw weeds emerging from the surface that were green and healthy.

If there were going to be fish around, this place would be my best chance at landing some.

The first cast into the small pocket yielded a feisty fish in that 2-pound range.

Two casts later, my rod doubled over as a beastly bucketmouth ripped drag from my reel. As I was releasing that fish, Cody followed up with two more quality fish.

The area we had found was about 30 feet long, but it was full of fish. There were also schools of minnows, lots of turtles, and even some wading shorebirds.

When I first noticed the massive vegetation kill, my heart sank. But then a quote from one of my angling heroes crossed my mind.

This veteran of the bass wars had been quoted about the bad weather during a Bassmaster Classic. What he said has always stuck with me.

It went something along the lines of, “You can’t let the weather beat you mentally. Someone is going to win, so it might as well be you.”

That is the approach I took. I knew the fish were still in the lake, and I knew they would be bunched up if I could find them.

The first hour involved lots of casting and hauling through empty water, but when we found them, the catching started.

When things get tough, we can really grow as anglers. Never give up.

Think about the situation and try to put yourself in the world of the fish. Some unforgettable moments happen when we stay in the game mentally.

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