After reading Bob's blog on "When it all comes together" I wanted to flip the script and tell our story for Liberty hoping that maybe down the road it will prevent other teams from making the mistake I made.
On Sunday, when all was said and done we had a great plan. Our plan worked to ALMOST perfection. I started early in April following the fish from prespawn to spawn and was locked in on them all the way through postspawn with a slight 2-week lull we were back on the fish just prior to tourney time. Obtaining 20lbs bags by myself at times.
Upon Blast Off, we had our limit early by 830. Had your limit, you ask? How did you limit when you only brought 7 fish to the scales? Well here is the answer. My parnter and I caught nearly 30 fish with roughly 25 of them being keepers. Somehow between all the catching, weighing, tagging, etc....I ONLY TAGGED 7 FISH. This is where if you are still reading you can learn something....so pay attention. I have lived on this earth long enough and made enough mistakes to know that when you change up routine you are going to make errors. Sometimes CATASTROPHIC errors, which I did! In previous tourneys I would hang all of our cull balls in front of my steering box. Naturally, as we would catch a fish one cull ball would be removed and be placed on the fish until all 8 are gone. Well, the night before the tourney I decided to move the cull bulls and put them inside my livewell hanging on a PVC pipe in the box. At the time, I was proud of myself thinking of this. ;)... What I didn't realize was placing the balls inside the livewell when it came time to put fish in there the water level would pull the balls off the PVC pipe. Now, I have a tagged fish in the box with 7 cull balls floating around loosely. Got me so far? So as we were catching fish they were coming so fast I STILL DON'T KNOW HOW I DID IT??? but I only tagged 7 fish thinking we had 8 tagged.
So, when we beached the boat for the weigh-in we were thinking we are happy with the 8 fish limit, therefore, getting the bonus point and the roughly 16lbs would put us in pretty good placement going to Prettboy.....EEEERRRTT, STOP, HOLD EVERYTHING....there are only 7 fish in the well. HOLY CRAP HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? I must admit in my mind I knew I had managed the fish well all tourney, however, at the end of the day I nailed 3 fish on 3 casts, all keepers and let my partner handle the culling. I was convinced he messed up and dropped 2 fish back in the water. I was wrong.
After the weigh-in, while I was cleaning up I was going crazy trying to understand how we caught 25 keepers and only brought 7 to the scales. I was perplexed! Then, I figured it out. I went over the days catch log and saw that there was a GRAY cull ball missing in my tally. This is what happened! I forgot/missed tagging the 8th fish with the GRAY ball, somehow I got to 7 and started culling then, thinking I had 8 culled. UTTER DISASTER!!!
So, we ended with 14.32lbs to which our smallest fish was 1.13lbs. I'm thinking we tossed a near 2lber which would of put us about 16.32lbs which lost us 2-3 spots (not so bad considering) but we lost the crucial bonus point too. Of course, there are the lost fish, at least 5, that we both had hooked up and on the way to the boat and they for whatever reason just came unbottoned. Getting 1 of those in the boat would of put us near 20lbs. Would of, should of, could of.
Anyway once I figured out the mistake I apologized to my partner continuously as I feel like I really let him down making this rookie mistake. So again, Ian I can't tell you how sorry I am. Of course, being the great guy he is he blew it off and said LET'S JUST MAKE IT UP AT PRETTYBOY! Class act right there.
If you read this I hope that I have helped someone to not make the mistake I made or any others.
CHAD, MATT, KOSDEMBA....AWESOME FISHING GUYS!! VERY IMPRESSIVE!!