story and photos by Dan O'Sullivan
I'm in the early part of a three week trip away from home. I spent last week at a resort called Candlewyck Inn on the shores of Grand Lake of the Cherokees near Grove, Okla. I was there for the Gene Larew Lures, Lew's and Plano Media Days event. from there, I am on my way to Kentucky Lake for the Strike King Lure Company Writer's Conference and then I'm on to the next Major League
This extended trip will be the longest I've been away from home at any one time since I started working in this industry. It certainly will be the longest I've been away from my family since we got married 15 years ago. I know, you're all weeping for me as I toddle across the country spending time with bass fishing's best and brightest. But, while I love what I do, there are sacrifices that are made - for all of us.
It's always amazing to me how connected I can feel to people when I'm away from Christina and the Girls, and how many people I know across the country who work so hard to make me feel at home wherever I am.
We started out our Larew, Lew's and Plano conference at Daylight Donuts' headquarters in Tulsa. I walked in the front door and was greeted by someone I've been around for two weeks at Major League Fishing events over the past year. John Bond is the owner of Daylight Donuts, and he has been one of the Boat Officials for MLF.
I had forgotten that John was at Daylight Donuts, and it was really nice to see him. They treated our whole group to breakfast that day and then delivered breakfast to us each morning at Candlewyck Inn. We also visited the Gene Larew / Bobby Garland Lures factory in Tulsa, getting the whole tour. after that, some of the group headed to Grand Lake, and others visited the BOK Center; where the 2013 Bassmaster Classic weigh-ins will be held.
I also got to spend some time with my friends at Dollahon PR, and colleagues and friends like Ken Duke from B.A.S.S. I spent great time with Gerald and Gayla Brown, whom have become great friends of ours, and along with them, I hung out with Tommy and Sharon Biffle at their home in Wagoner. The folks there really made me feel like family and it helps take your mind off of missing your family.
Now I am on my way to see friends at Strike King and Major League Fishing that are the same type of people. I really need that kind of interaction on the road, because the more I'm away, the more I miss my family, and the harder it is for me focus on my job.
How do these people help you, the readers of Advanced Angler?
Relationships = Better Info
the longer I get to know the pros and people of the industry, the better we work together, the more information I get to share with all of you. At Grand Lake, I started out Tuesday evening with Bobby Myers, the Bassmaster Opens pro who lives in Tulsa. Myers was able to show me some of the lake, and was really informative about what he felt would win the Classic in February.
Myers said that he felt a jerkbait and a football jig would be a pair of lures that would play a big role in the tournament if the weather is normal for Northeastern Oklahoma throughout the winter. He said that a heavy winter of rain and snow could leave Grand muddy, and then things would change.
I spent my first morning session on Wednesday with Stephen Browning, the Elite Series pro from Arkansas. Browning ran into a small creek channel that had been beaten by the winds the day before and gave me a lesson on how to deal with immediate post front conditions.
Browning said that his experience is that the first day after a storm front does not immediately show the effects of the post front doldrums that often hit the lake. He said that he recommends anglers to stay with the baits and patterns they were using before and during the storm the next morning, but as the days wear on, and change into the next day, fish start to respond negatively to the effects of the rising barometer.
Kevin Short, also from Oklahoma shared with me his approach to dock fishing with his trademarked balsa WEC crankbaits by Ed Chambers. Short showed me how he approaches the docks in regard to boat alignment, casting angles and even the retrieve.
Then there was my session with Biffle, who showed me how he keeps track of falling water during the summer and fall. Being from Northern California, I pay attention to the waterline by looking at the wet mud banks to see what the water level is. Our lakes tend to drop quickly and there is no way for vegetation to establish itself.
Biffle remarked how he pays attention to the moss line on the bank and the vertical pieces of cover that get coated by the green slime. His approach is to look for the green layer around the shallows and he can tell how much the lake level has dropped by making a mental measurement of how much moss is visible.
Tim Horton is known as a crankbait angler, but like any other bass pro, he is adept at many other things. One thing that surprised me was the fact that Horton likes to swim a grub for schooling fish when they make themselves available.
All of these tips are available in our video coverage of the Lew's / Larew / Plano Media Days on the site.
While I'm there to gather information to share with all of you, I leave with a sense of thankfulness of being able to reconnect with people I truly enjoy working with. I'll be gone for three weeks by the time I get back, but at least I'm with people who I enjoy being around, learning from and working with.
Hopefully, with the videos I'll share with you from each event, and with the articles that will come out of it in the future, you will get as much from them as I do when I'm gathering it.
I truly appreciate all of your visits every day, and while I'm away from my favorite people in the world, at least the people I'm with help me feel like I've got a little sense of home away from home. Because truthfully, this job is about all of them, and you. Because without all of you, I don't get to do what I do.
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