Posted by: Stephanie
May 11, 2010

Stephanie

On the road with Kevin Cudd – tournament bass angler

First I want to introduce myself and send a special thanks to TakeMeFishing.org for giving me the opportunity to share my life with you during my journey through the bass tours.  My name is Kevin Cudd and I live in Friendswood, Texas. I am currently fishing the American Bass Anglers Tour, the B.A.S.S. Central Open Tour and the Bassmaster Weekend Series. This month we will be at Lake Toledo Bend, I say we, because my family travels with me to each tournament.  Let me say, that without a great support system at home, you will be in deep trouble. Let’s get started…

Preparation: In order to be competitive, even in the lower level tours, you must prepare. So getting ready to hit a body of water is a must.

Getting familiar with the Lake:
I like to get a feel for the structure we will be fishing, (i.e.  grass or timber), the water clarity, colors of baits and techniques that I will use to hook up with my favorite fish, the largemouth bass!

Gearing up:

  • Cleaning: I check all of my reels to see if they need to be cleaned of any dirt or trash that has collected on them during the last tournament.
  • Re-spool: I re-spool all of my reels with fishing line, some guys don’t do this, but I want new line on all of my reels at all times.
  • Rods:  I check all the guides on my rods to make sure there are no nicks that may cause the line to become weak. Next, I go through all of my baits, hooks and weights to make sure they are all ready and accessible while I’m on the water.
  • Checklist:  I do a checklist of things I will need:  life jacket, fishing license and tournament confirmation paperwork so that I can make sure I know where the boat ramp is!

Preparation of all your equipment can result in a first place or a seventy-first place finish.  You must prepare! Ok, it’s time to get in the truck and drive four hours to Many, Louisiana!  Sounds like a long way, but knowing I get to go fishing makes it a quick trip.

Tournament Time:

Friday morning:
The truck is loaded with all the gear and it is time to hit the road. We arrive in Many, Louisiana about 1pm. We need to check in to the hotel and get a little rest before we go to registration at 4pm.  After registration we head to town for a much needed meal then back to the boat ramp at 7pm for the safety meeting, tournament briefing and partner pairing. After the 7pm meeting we head back to the hotel to hit the pool and relax before tying on some baits and giving all my equipment one last check. The lights and TV are out by 9:30pm; a good night’s sleep is a must before spending 8 to 9 hours on the water.  I never fall asleep very fast, I lie there thinking about the day ahead and hopefully producing a win.

Saturday morning:
Be On Time: I had set three alarms to go off at 4:30am, you cannot be late! However, I awake at 4:23am before all of the alarms have a chance to buzz. Its tournament day and I am ready to go. After taking a quick shower, eating a little breakfast and packing the gear back in the truck we head for the boat ramp to meet my partner for the day at 5:45am.

On your mark, get set…..
After we launch the boat, we get to chat a little about the day ahead. We start the day with the national anthem. After we honor our country, it’s go-time. Today we are the 18th boat out in the first flight, meaning we must be back in for weigh in at 3:00pm.

Penalties
There are two ways to be penalized at weigh in, one minute late you get penalized one pound and a dead fish is .50 pounds. You must take care of all your fish because B.A.S.S. considers itself and its members to be excellent sportsmen and conservationists. We want all of our fish to live and be released back into the same waters where they were caught as this keeps the fishery in good shape and allows more people to enjoy catching those fish again.

They call our boat number; we acknowledge and take off to our first spot! Here we go!

The day started out rough, the wind was blowing about 20 mph but that’s part of the sport, you must adapt to the conditions. Our first spot was a beautiful little cove with an abundance of grass and lily pads, a perfect spot for some top water action. We fished the spot for about an hour and a half and did I mention it was rough??  I missed a three pounder that would have been a great start to the day, but that’s just part of it. You have to move on and not let anything stick in your mind that will hurt you mentally because you have a lot more casts to make.

Our second stop was a wooded area in about seven feet of water with grass on the bottom. I had been fishing for three hours and I didn’t have fish in the boat, but you must keep grinding. It was 10:30am when I got a nice 2.5 pounder in the live well, hey things were looking up. At 10:40am I landed my second keeper of the day! See, three plus hours with nothing and then bam, two keepers. Never get down on yourself, because you can go for hours without a bite and then in a matter of minutes you can fill the live well….you never know!

The rest of the day we fought the wind and I continued to fish hard for that third fish. As the sun peeked out from the clouds I changed baits to offer another presentation they may be hungry for. Bam…. Fish on and it was a keeper! You ask how does he know it’s a keeper? Well I saw him as he spit my lure out beside the boat! That one hurt, but I had an hour left so I kept chunking. With about 45 minutes before we had to be back for weigh-in I hooked up again. I was happy to get this fish in the boat, but a little bummed when he measured ¼ of an inch short of the 14 inch requirement.

Weigh-in:
At the end of the day I weighed in two fish and ended up finishing 31st out of the 76 anglers entered into the event. Not in the money, but not bad and the points I get for the coveted 40 top spots that advance to regionals help as well.

At dinner after the tournament I found out that I am currently in 10th place for the season and a few more good tournaments and regionals will definitely be within reach.
Thanks for letting me share with you this month and I look forward to sharing with you again next month as we head to Lake Sam Rayburn, TX.

Courtesy of Kevin Cudd – Tournament Bass Angler

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