July 15, 2014 by Casey Martin
Editor’s Note: The writer's opinions and observations expressed here are his own, and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views, policies or positions of FLW.
As I sit here in Detroit taking time out from a family visit, I look back on the past season and try to find any positives. The things that could’ve gone wrong did go wrong, and I think that a lot of times, I wasn’t experienced enough or good enough to adjust to the circumstances. Bottom line: I didn’t make the Forrest Wood Cup.
I’ve been trying to put a finger on the biggest reason for the bad season, but really I haven’t been able to figure it out. I think my technical skills, such as casting, reading graphs, boat control, etc., have improved, but my finishes didn’t reflect it. I read JT Kenney’s recent blog post about practicing from daylight to dark and I think we have a lot in common. Except for an hour or two here and there, both of us spent the vast majority of practice time available to us on the water. He mentioned practice productivity and I think I wasn’t as productive in practice this year and on top of my game. Maybe I went through the motions too much.
A former hockey coach of mine used to say, “Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.” One thing I’ve noticed about JT and me is that we have both fished an insane amount of FLW events in the past three years: BFL, Rayovac FLW Series and FLW Tour events. Each of us has averaged more than 14 events a year with FLW. The pressure to do well is typical – we’ve got mortgages to pay off just like most everybody else. There are a lot of guys in this sport who are financially independent, but all of our income comes from fishing. Maybe fishing so many events has taken a toll, but I have learned a ton and that was the point. I also got tied up with starting a guide business this year too, but I’m sure all the time spent on the water will pay dividends in the end.
On a positive note, it’s said, “You’re known by the company you keep,” and as bad as I feel about not making the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Murray this year, I look at the standings and see that I’m sandwiched directly between Dion Hibdon and Jay Yelas. Both are multimillionaires, great people and great advocates of the sport. If I can be half the angler or man that either of these guys are, I’ll look back with satisfaction and fulfillment when it’s my time to hang up the rod.
Enough about the tournament scene; I’m looking forward to attending the ICAST fishing tackle show in Orlando this week and representing some great companies that have supported me. I’ll be splitting my time among Rat-L-Trap, Vigor Eyewear, Grizzly Coolers, DUO Realis, Duckett Fishing and FLW. At its booth Thursday afternoon, FLW will announce the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour locations. It should be an exciting time and I know there will be several of us pros there to share the news.
After ICAST, it’s back to Detroit for me where I’ll do some guiding for smallmouths on Lake St. Clair before I return to Alabama to finish up the year guiding on Guntersville. Come to think of it, as I approach the end of this post and reflect on things, I really don’t have to look far to find positives from the past season. I’m living my dream fishing the Walmart FLW Tour, guiding on two of the best bass lakes in the country, I finished the points race sandwiched between two legends of the sports, adopted a rescue dog named Barney from FOR (Friends of Rescue) and have the most supportive girlfriend in Lindsey.
Yeah, missing the Forrest Wood Cup in my second year has consumed me mentally, physically and emotionally. In the grand scheme of things, however, sitting there in Columbia, S.C. at the FLW Expo helping to promote the sport is also something to look forward to. I hope to see you there. Come on out to the Expo at the Forrest Wood Cup and stop by the Keystone Light booth for a visit. If you wonder why I’m smiling when you see me, it’ll be because I’ve had a great year and hope to have many more to come. I just hope there are better years from a financial and championship-qualifying standpoint, but for the most part I wouldn’t change a thing – except for a few lost fish, break-offs and bad decisions on the water.