No complaints, even when a huge comeback falls short
New Orleans was sweet today. I got on big fish and had one of the best days I’ve ever had on the water. But it was too late.
I guess I should be happy with a sixth-place finish, because the big day got me into the excitement of being onstage and part of the Super Six at the end of the day. Another reason I should be happy is that I started in 19th place coming into the day, so it was fun to have made things interesting for awhile. I caught an 8 pound, nine ounce fish early and got a five-pounder right behind it. All of a sudden I went from just another angler to the hot guy, with a bunch of spectators and television cameras moving into my area.
But as I mentioned yesterday, I had a long, long way to go. I figured I needed a 35-pound bag to even have a chance, because I figured Kevin VanDam would have another typical Kevin day - and that means he was going to catch more than 20 pounds. So I never really had the feeling today that I was challenging for the lead, but I got about as close as I could. I had almost 29 pounds, including what might have been the biggest fish of the day.
Every angler has a story of the one that got away. Well, I’ve sure got one today. I had another fish that was at least as big, and probably bigger than the 8-9 fish I caught. I lost that one. I tried to bring it in a little too fast, and it slipped away. That would have made things a little more interesting, but even that wouldn’t have been enough.
Overall, it was just a good day in a terrific environment. I have enjoyed the hell out of my time in Louisiana, from the first days I spent in the bayou with friends to the last cast I made today on Lake Cataouatche. This is a great environment, and I hope we all protect this place as much as we possibly can. We don’t want to lose these wetlands.
One other thing. As much as I enjoy talking about how good my day was, I can’t help but think about how amazing Kevin’s day was. He just wins and wins and he does it with class. Aaron Martens had a fantastic tournament and once again almost won, but Kevin was just a little bit better than all of the rest of us.
I had moved off the stage and was back in the media room when they were weighing Kevin’s fish. About 20 media guys in the room were watching the tv monitors when Kevin was declared the champion. I yelled, “Hey look, guys, VanDam wins the Classic! What a huge surprise!”
They just laughed, and so did I. Kevin is amazing. What a great angler.