A little more chaos required

JT Kenney

Well, it actually happened. For the first time in eight years, I’ll be sitting on the sidelines at the Forrest Wood Cup. As I sit here and drink in the intoxicatingly sour flavor that this revelation has left in my mouth, somehow I find myself savoring the flavor. Perhaps that’s because it’s the flavor of something that I will never taste again. At least that’s how I feel, anyway; that’s how I’m taking it. Never again.

This game that we all play is one of the oddest forms of competition imaginable. There are so many variables that are out of our control. To some extent it’s almost as if it doesn't matter how hard you try. Take my year, for example. I know for a fact that I spent more time on the water this year than ever in the practice periods for the Tour events. All season, when practice was allowed, there was maybe an hour or two of daylight when I wasn’t on the water. The exception was a day at Beaver Lake. I hate that lake. I hope they drain it. Please don’t let any of that nasty water into any other lake because it’ll probably ruin it too.

I was more organized, more prepared and – or so it seemed to me – more ready than ever for this Tour season. I’m a veteran. I know what it takes to do well in this game. Yet I had my worst Tour season in a long time. As a matter of fact, I had an embarrassing season (40-something in the point standings) and would like to apologize to my sponsors and fans.

Now, let’s be honest here. When I say it doesn’t matter how hard you try, I don’t mean that literally. What I think I lost track of was not the hunger to do well. It was certainly not the need to make money or the desire to be the best at what I do. Rather, what I think I missed was the ability to let things happen and adjust accordingly.

That’s something I’ve prided myself on being able to do very well, and I preach it all the time during seminars. Maybe I should listen to myself instead of trying to help other people. I think being on the water as much as you can be is essential to doing well. But it has to be productive time on the water. If you practice for 10 hours a day and you’re very focused for all 10 hours, that’s great. If you practice for 14 or 15 hours a day, but are only focused nine or 10 of them, you’re just wasting that time and making it harder to be focused all day the next, and the next and the next ...

At the Tour level of this game, everybody out there can cast a crankbait a country mile or read a depth finder. At this level it’s what’s between your ears that matters the most. It’s the decisions that you make and how you let the day ebb and flow.

Some of the best fishermen I know are train wrecks on the water. I’ve seen Luke Clausen come in to the check-in boat at the end of the day with broken lines flapping in the breeze behind the boat, rub rail half hanging off, and more colors and sizes of lures piled on the floor and deck than I could count. I asked him what he did to make it look like a tornado just went through his boat. Oh, about 19 or so in the livewell, he answered. That tornado that went though his boat was a genius in disguise.

Don’t even get me started on David Dudley. Here’s a guy who can’t even remember to put oil in his boat while fishing a $500,000 Forrest Wood Cup (which he won, by the way) with the ceramic missing from his rod guide. Dudley is also a three-time Angler of the Year. Then there’s Steve Kennedy, who can pick up a jig with a rusty hook off the floor of his boat and win a tournament with it. These are the guys that are my heroes.

This year, that would not have happened to me because I wouldn’t have had a jig in my boat with a rusty hook. In fact there wouldn't have been a jig on the floor because it would have been put away in its proper place. Next year I’m gonna get back to fishing that way – with a little more chaos.

Well, let’s say organized chaos.

Tags: blog  jt-kenney 

/tips/2015-04-24-blog-east-vs-west

Blog: East vs. West

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Blog: Back in the Groove

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5 Pivotal Moments in my Career

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A Year of New Firsts

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Up, Then Down Again

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Sweet Home Alabama

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When Everything Comes Together

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Garrick Dixon Gallery: The Best of JT at Toho

Photographer Garrick Dixon followed Walmart FLW Tour pro JT Kenney for four days as Kenney pieced together his wire-to-wire win at the season opener on Lake Toho. In this gallery, Dixon shares with FLW fans his favorite shots of Kenney on the water, at weigh-in and behind the scenes. READ MORE »

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Expect Change and Adapt to It

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So You Want to be a Co-Angler?

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/tips/2015-03-16-a-30-piece-puzzle-with-four-pieces-missing

A 30-Piece Puzzle with Four Pieces Missing

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/tips/2015-03-12-a-clean-slate

A Clean Slate

The 2015 season opener of the Walmart FLW Tour wasn’t at Okeechobee, as in recent years, but at Lake Toho in central Florida. I was excited about the change, and even more pumped to start a fresh new season after blowing my motor on day one of the first event last year. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-08-kenney-connects-the-dots

Kenney Connects the Dots

Mercury pro JT Kenney was as confident as he could be early in the week at the Walmart FLW Tour season-opener on Lake Toho. He had an incredibly refined plan built on a series of precisely placed waypoints. The waypoints marked isolated spawning areas within beds of lily pads. In the first two days of competition, Kenney looked unstoppable with limits weighing 29-14 and 22-9, respectively, to build a lead of 12-10. On day three, Kenney looked human. His limit of 14-5 could have left the door open – but after weigh-in Kenney’s lead shrank by only 2 ounces. And today, it looked as if the king, despite a massive lead, was about to give up his crown. Kenney weighed in only 9 pounds, 4 ounces. But that was enough. The Florida pro squeezed through by an 11-ounce winning margin to win the first Tour event of 2015. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-08-strader-striding-kenney-gaining-steam

Strader Striding, Kenney Gaining Steam

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/news/2015-03-07-kenney-on-cruise-control

Kenney on Cruise Control

For those who don’t believe that professional fishing is a game of offense and defense like any other sport, consider JT Kenney’s strategy for the last three days of the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Toho presented by Mercury. The first two days, Kenney ran pure “offensive plays” on key, precise bedding areas to run up the score. Today, he ran more “defensive plays” to protect his lead. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-07-a-morning-with-the-leader

A Morning with the Leader

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/news/2015-03-07-giants-are-falling-at-toho

Giants are Falling at Toho

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/news/2015-03-06-kenney-crushing-the-field

Kenney Crushing the Field

Day two of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Mercury on Lake Toho saw JT Kenney extend his lead to 12 pounds, 10 ounces over second-place pro Stacey King with a 22-9 limit. Kenney has lived near Toho for some time and prepared meticulously for this event – it appears to be paying off. Fishing in Kissimmee all day, he managed another strong bag on a day when weather changes caused many in the top of the ranks to stumble. READ MORE »

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Top 5 Patterns from Toho Day 2

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