James Niggemeyer – Wheeler Wrap up Learning Again

Power Pole

NiggemeyerBlogWheeler was on the heels the Arkansas River where I had an okay finish, made the cut and fished Saturday; I finished 43rd. I knew at Wheeler that I basically had to win to make the Classic and so really what I focused on was just moving up the standings as far as I could and some AOY money and move into the top fifty, that really wasn’t too far off for me, I think I was in 53rd.

Wheeler has been one of those lakes for me that’s really been challenging over the past three times that we’ve been there on the Elite Series. I typically don’t have a problem catching fish there; it seems getting the right kind of bites, the quality bites have eluded me.

I spent the first day Carolina riggin’ a Strike King Game Hog; caught ‘em crankin’ a Series Five Sexy Shad crankbait, and I even caught them two keepers at a time. I really caught them a bunch of different ways, flippin’ and a football jig. You know, catching them wasn’t the issue; just catching quality was the deal.

I knew that for the early summer pattern that we had it was going to be an offshore deal and I really spent almost all of my practice offshore and I kind of skipped the time honored rule – I learned another lesson, harder than I wanted to, again, but I did not fish my strengths in practice. I spent a little bit of time doing it, but I didn’t really exhaust it, I spent more time exhausting my offshore bite fishing where I was fishing, off the bank.

Really, looking back, that was part of the biggest mistake in coming off of Wheeler’s that I had to re-learn a lesson that I thought I’d learned many times in the past and didn’t do. That is to fish your strengths and eliminate or establish it.

Because of past experience I really just put all my eggs in one basket and I really tried to get that offshore bite to go and I did; I found fish doing it and even found some of the areas that some of the other guys that made the cut were, however the quality of fish didn’t seem to appear and they seemed to just elude me for whatever reason.

I should have fished to my strengths, I should have at least eliminated or established it. And the thing that made it really frustrating or even more frustrating for me is that three or four of the guys in the top twelve were fishing shallow; power fishing, flipping, throwing soft plastics and frogs in the shallows and that would have been the thing for me. I would have been able to fish the way I like to fish, the way I am most confident, the way I feel that I am most effective.

You hate learning these lessons over again. Sometimes you get so caught up in what you know, the particular pattern for a body of water and you forego what you know is one of the Golden Rules and that is at least try to fish your strengths at some point during practice. So that was probably the hardest thing about the Wheeler event.

Right now I am at home getting the camper unloaded; I’ve got guide trips lined up for the next week or so, I’ll be working out on Lake Fork. I’m looking forward to that, it’s a lot of fun and there will be an offshore bite there and typically we’ll catch ‘em on a Strike King Tour Grade football jig or a Thumper worm, a Sexy Spoon and even a 6XD crank bait. I am looking forward to that and I’m going to be fishing again day after day in the hot sun; just like I was at Wheeler. Anyway, that’s it for now. The family is home and healthy and we are thankful.

Other than that, I’m looking forward to a couple of the Central Open Events coming up this fall.