Recapping my 2017 tournaments
By Gabe Talley
From camping in a tent in 30 degrees, sleeping in truck beds and a boat deck, my tournaments in 2017 have been an experience.
First, the S.A.F high school state championship on Lake Rayburn, which was one of the few tournaments we were able to stay in a hotel. The morning of the tournament had an electrified mood, until we stepped outside the Bass Buster to 15 mile per hour winds and 25 degrees with snow covering the front deck.
Take off at Umphrey’s pavilion was a first time experience that I’ll never forget, especially after we turned around the island in front of the launch. Let’s just say being in a 17-foot aluminum boat on Rayburn with 15 mile per hour winds is not a good idea. Placing in the top half wasn’t too bad for only going half way from where we were originally going that morning.
The second big tournament this year was another Rayburn tournament, but for a Texas High School Bass Association regional championship. As much excitement went in this tournament as the last tournament. Luckily it was in April, so it wasn’t as cold as the previous one either. Also a new boat joined us for this large reservoir, which helped tremendously with long runs.
The morning started quickly with three bass in the live well, but sadly only smaller fish decided to bite for the rest of the day. Placing somewhere in the mid 100’s in the top half to go to state was uncertain. Sadly being my last high school tournament while as a freshman, I learned valuable lessons that would transfer to my fall high school tournaments.
Luckily, the Bassmaster Classic came to my home lake this year on Lake Conroe. I was able to volunteer to help clean the professionals’ boats along with meeting many pros like Kevin VanDam, Keith Combs and the champ, Jordan Lee. The Classic expo was my favorite part of the event, where I got to meet new companies joining the fishing industry and get to look at a few new items.
The beginning of the new season with a new partner had me thrilled to get back into high school fishing. Our first tournament on Lake Livingston was disappointing compared to our pre fishing the week before. Placing 25th wasn’t a bad start, but we wanted better.
The next tournament on Lake Somerville was brutal. The night before the tournament there were winds at 25-30 miles per hour, we decided to camp that evening. Surprisingly, it was warmer than we thought and way better than being outside the tent. At about 1 a.m., we determined we’d get up since no one was sleeping very well. Twenty mile per hour winds and 30 degrees was not pleasant when we walked out of the tent. We chose to launch at 3 and go to our beginning spot. By 8:30 we were culling fish and had about 15 pounds.
Battling the wind, we chose to get out of the wind and go shallow and while talking about who was going to catch the next fish my partner catches a 5-pounder. We finished in first place with 18.94 pounds and big fish of 5.64 pounds.
Fishing in 2017 would not have been possible without the companies that help support and promote high school bass fishing. Shimano and Tackle Addict are major contributors in the support of high school bass fishing in our area. These two companies have helped my high school team and me in our pursuit of bass fishing.
Without my parents support I would be nowhere. My dad has supported me through being my boat captain and my role model, so I very much appreciate him. Also my mom somehow stands my non-stop nagging about bass fishing and supports my decisions, My 2017 tournament experience has been a thriller roller coaster with ups and downs, but I am blessed to be able to do these things, and hope to learn more in 2018