James Niggemeyer – Florida Wrap Up

Power Pole

NiggemeyerBlogThe last few weeks I fished the first Elite Series events of the season and we started out at Palatka. Last year, I had two good days going into it and then the last day, kinda had a rough start or a rough day and kind of fell out.

This year Palatka was not very kind to say the least; actually, it was really just a struggle. Some tournaments you come away with some ideas on how you can improve your game and lessons you learned. I learned a couple of those there.

While I learned some things, at the same time, the event left me scratching my head. I really, just had a tough event. Typically, the type of event that really would have just been right in my wheel house. Obviously, it was a kind of sight fishing deal and over the years I have won more money sight fishing than any other technique.

And so, really, to have a bad event at the St. Johns was really kind of a gut punch; not what I wanted to have for the first event, or any event for that matter. Either way, I really feel like I took a couple of things that I took away from Palatka that could have given me a lot better event or I could have done a lot better overall.

I probably didn’t cover enough water during practice and I probably put my eggs in a couple of baskets that things were really going to get better and even though they did get better to a degree; but not enough to where we really made a big, significant difference in the way that I finished.

So I feel like I wished I would have covered a whole lot more water; and diversified a little bit more. I had a couple of patterns going, but I really stayed in the sight fishing game and that, in the end just didn’t pan out like I would like. I had a swim jig bite going and a soft plastic deal and I probably should have leaned a little bit more.

On to Lake Okeechobee – day one was just really, really a tough one. I was able to catch some Flippin’ and Punchin’ and on mats on a frog. Day one, I had the bites to have a decent day and end up in the top 50; however, the bites that I did need – a five or six pounder came off at the top of a mat and a couple of other Flippin’ fish that just never made it to the boat. That left me with four fish on the third day.

On the first day I lost some key fish that I don’t think execution was really the issue. Sometimes, when you are fishing super heavy cover like that, fish don’t make it to the boat; unfortunately. Not all the time, but sometimes that happens.

I love Okeechobee, and to start the day out and start the event out in 85 – that was just a downer – a super downer. But you know, I kept my head in the game; went back out and knew I was around the right kind of fish. I executed well and had 19.3 on day two which catapulted me into 34th – making the day two cut.

So, I was really excited; fishing the way I want to fish; fishing cleaner; executing well. I felt I was fishing well the first day – it is just that sometimes things don’t happen right on the water and it is just things that are out of our control that change the way that our event goes.

But anyway, day two, catapulted into 34th place and made the cut – pretty excited about that! Went back out and you know, I never changed anything. I caught a couple of good ones on a Sexy Frog and flipped a six pounder at the end of the day and Flipped fish during the day and culled up to get my 19 pounds.

That Strike King Sexy Frog was the one that put some really good bites in the boat on day two; but on day three the fish just never wanted to go up top to get a top water; at least for me they did.

So, I Flipped and Flipped and Flipped and culled throughout the day and ended up with a little over 10 pounds. I fell nine places – still, I feel really positive about the way things went. I felt like I made some good decisions on the water.

After Okeechobee we’re headed in an upward progression and we’re climbing up the Angler of the Year standings. After the difficulties in Palatka, that is the direction I want to go obviously. W have finished have one quarter of the season; but we’ve still got six events – a lot of fishing to do – I am excited!

We Stopped by Douglas on the way home for a little free practice before it went off limits and now I am headed home for some guide trips and then some work with some sponsors.

We’ll talk with you later.