James Niggemeyer – Early Season Update

Power Pole

NiggemeyerBlogThe tournament year is really young, it feels like so much has taken place, but that is a good thing. I love my job and while tiring it is a lot of fun traveling and fishing whether they are guide trips at home or tournaments on the road.

After the Classic the first regular season event for me was a Central Open in Mississippi on Ross Barnett reservoir. The lake was high and mostly muddy and it rained in some form every day I was there. My Cabela’s Bass Angler Guide Wear rain suit got a work out, but never let me down as it kept me dry and comfortable throughout the entire event.

During practice I never felt like I was on the right quality to win. I struggled with most the field on day two and I pushed my fishing time as long as I could. As weigh-in approached, a bad storm front hit and caused big waves as I ran to check in and it took me longer to return. I ended up catching enough weight to finish in the money, but was late to weigh in by one minute. That one pound penalty cost me a check, I missed the money by 15 ounces.

The first Elite Series event of the season was on the Sabine River. Even though this is a tough fishery I looked forward to the getting the year kicked off with a good start. It didn’t happen the way I hoped and came away from Orange Texas with an 82nd place finish. I had fish going in a couple areas and really thought I was on them enough to do well, but I had a difficult time trying to catch keepers. Even with catching as many as 20 fish a day there just wasn’t enough 14” keeper fish in the groups that I found.

Even though these two events weren’t what I had hoped for I still felt confident about the way I am fishing. That might seem strange, but sometimes in fishing we can locate fish, perform well mechanically on the water, make decent decisions and not have the results we want. That is just part of the sport we play. Don’t misunderstand me, I am not happy with my finishes in either event, but it doesn’t affect my overall outlook as a competitor. Plus, it helps that the year is so young.

The next event was Elite Series stop number two on Lake Guntersville. I like this lake a lot, because it has similarities to East Texas lakes and it doesn’t hurt that I have had decent tournaments there in the past. On day one I caught 23 pounds and was in the Top 12, which is a nice start at a heavyweight event.

The second day didn’t go as well, because I changed things up a bit. In hindsight that wasn’t a good move, but I remained inside the Top 25. On the third day I recognized that the quality in my primary area was not replenishing as fast as I originally assessed, so, I began running new water with my Strike King Game Hawg. That lure which had proved to be so strong for me the whole week, filled my limit and allowed me to cull.

My weight that day was less than half of my first day weight and settled into 41st for the event. I really wanted to make a top 12 at Guntersville, but with the tough practice that I had there, I’ll take it, and finishing in the money is good too.