UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

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 


Fishing Through the Stress

For some of us, the Forrest Woods Cup’s memories are still fresh. They come back again and again to give us moments of satisfaction and joy as we’re reminded of the great times we had during those hot summer days at Hot Springs. READ MORE »


True Sportsmanship

In recent years it seems I’ve read an increasing number of stories about bass anglers and their lack of common courtesy: hole-jumping, waypoint-stealing, cutting off other anglers – you get the picture. With that in mind, I want to relate an incident that happened to me during the 2015 BFL Regional on the Potomac River. READ MORE »


6 Rules for Fishing Safely in a Kayak

There will never be a replacement for the almighty bass boat. It has secured its place as the tool for the trade on so many types of waters. But there are also places where the fishing kayak reigns supreme, and many of the “who’s who” of bass fishing are discovering that a kayak is a great addition to their fishing and fun tools. READ MORE »


Mom’s Fishing Lessons

I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of great fishing friends and mentors who helped me become a better angler. However, the best inspiration for my fishing career was my mother, Cheryl, and she also gave me the best advice regarding it. She was a mother who only fished a handful of times in her life, and who was always sure she was going to fly out of my bass boat anytime I got it over 35 mph. But, boy, did she help guide me. READ MORE »


An Unexpected Gift

What a year it has been! As I begin my very first blog post, I am thankful, humbled and extremely proud to call myself a breast cancer survivor. Not necessarily the club one expects or wants to be part of, but I am here to tell you that it has been a gift in so many ways. I know, many of you are thinking a "gift" to be diagnosed with cancer? The answer is yes. READ MORE »


How to Catch Big Fall Smallmouths

What's the best time of year to catch lots of big smallmouth bass in the northern United States? Well, get ready, because it's going to happen in the next couple of weeks and continue until the lakes freeze solid. And the best part about it is that often times you will have entire lakes to yourself since most anglers switch gears and start their hunting seasons, leaving the lakes almost completely void of pressure. READ MORE »


Weekend Angler: Off the Water Practice

Of all the excuses I hear fisherman use when it comes to fishing tournaments, the one that intrigues me the most is, "I haven't been out that much, so I couldn't practice." There is no substitute for time on the water – that is not debatable – but there are things that can be done to assist you in your weekend efforts if you can’t spend every free moment on the water. Below you’ll find just a few tips to hopefully help you become a more efficient angler. READ MORE »


The Good Ol' Days

It’s hard to believe that the dog days of summer will soon be coming to an end, seen in the shortening of days and frigid mornings. For some, fall means hanging up the rods and picking up the bow or shotgun in preparation for the upcoming hunting seasons – for others, falling water temps signify hungry bass stocking up for the descending metabolism of winter. READ MORE »


Frog fishing 101

People often ask me about what frog I use and when. It’s a good question, because there are many, many frogs available to anglers these days. The answer depends on the situation you expect to encounter. READ MORE »


A Fisherman or Fisher of Men?

It was a series of ups, downs and way downs, though I ended my season with a nice check at the Potomac River. I thought squaring off against a prehistoric reptile in its own backyard was tough, but I have to tell you that fishing against these FLW guys was tougher than dealing with alligators back home. READ MORE »


Rhinos, Bass and Great White Sharks

Tournament fishing in South Africa is pretty solid, with about 500 serious tournament anglers in the country. There are many more recreational anglers in the region too. READ MORE »


Getting Whipped by the Young Bucks

It really goes against all logic, but logic flew out the window again at the recent Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. Take the example of Brandon Cobb and Dion Hibdon. Cobb, at the tender age of 25, not only qualified for the Cup (the most difficult championship in the world to qualify for, much less win), but he finished in the top five. READ MORE »


SOAR Derby a Success

Be it children or adults, we all want others to be able to experience the pure joy that we feel when hooked up and battling a fish that we have worked so hard for. READ MORE »


Shifting Gears

I am stripping the big line off the Halos and re-spooling with 6- and 8-pound-test Berkley flouro, and reflecting on how much fun it was catching all those fish with all these relatively new baits, how hard some of the strikes were and how easy it was catching fish on baits that they haven't seen before. Well, that's all over now – back to smallmouth fishing. READ MORE »


Do You Really Need So Much Stuff?

Lures and clothes have a lot in common. Just like clothing evolves and new styles come out and old styles come back, so goes fishing lures. The difference between the two, however, is that you can outgrow your old jeans, but you can never get rid of your old baits. READ MORE »


Never Miss a Bass Again

Do you ever listen at the weigh-in at how many guys talk about all the fish they missed? I can’t accept that it’s part of the job at hand. It’s one of my pet peeves. Most of us would do much better if we would just ask the simple question “why?” In prefishing we have already done most of the hard work. During the tournament, a missed fish can’t be accepted. I consider it a good tournament when I come back to the ramp with no missed fish, regardless of my finish. How does that happen? It starts way before the tournament. READ MORE »


A Bass is a Bass, But Not Always

Amigos, as you may remember, we left the past blog with a big question mark on the well-known saying, “A bass is a bass, no matter what.” Well, it’s time to give you a different point of view. A lot of you, while reading these lines, might start questioning my ideas. READ MORE »


From Kayak to Bass Boat

Like many anglers, I am a fanatic about my equipment for the things I do. For example, I’m a four-time world champion whitewater kayaker and have won three of them in a boat of my design. I started Jackson Kayak to take kayak design to the next level and to do things that the bigger company I was working for wasn’t willing to do. I am also a long-time bass fisherman, which led me to fishing 2015 Walmart FLW Tour as a co-angler. READ MORE »


More Than a Fisherman

The competitive fishing world is a small one, and when narrowed down to the competitive bass fishing world, it is even smaller in the grand scheme of things. This, of course, isn’t to say that this small group doesn’t have an absolutely huge impact. It does. READ MORE »


The "No Excuse" Guide

Chatter can be dock talk, personal abusive talk, hater talk, fan talk and everything in between. The list goes on. I truly believe tournament fishing is all a mental game. I feel that the most successful anglers know how to tune it all out and fish in the zone. It is crucial to know how to tune out all the chatter and shut up and fish. READ MORE »