UPCOMING EVENT: ABU GARCIA COLLEGE FISHING - 2020 - Harris Chain of Lakes

New beginning to the new year

New beginning to the new year
Boater Miles Burghoff of Orlando, Fla., earned $5,632 as the winner of the Sept. 11-12 BFL Gator Super Tournament on Lake Okeechobee.

2012 ...

Usually, with a new year, comes a literal or figurative "new beginning." For many aspects of my foreseeable future, this is still the case. But one thing is certain, an important chapter of my juvenile fishing career will come to an end this year.

This, as much of you know, will be my last chance to make my mark in FLW College Fishing.

At the beginning, I admit, I had considered FLW College Fishing merely as a way to fish competitively for little to no money.

However, after two years of FLW College Fishing, I now understand how important it has been to my maturation as a competitor. And frankly, I am a little ashamed that I didn't see the merit of the tour earlier... but hey, we all make mistakes!

All that aside, I am ready for the 2012 FLW College Fishing season as my partner Casey and I have our sights on making the national championship.

`Big O' showdown

Our only shot at climbing up the college fishing ladder is coming up next week at the Lake Okeechobee qualifier.

Since our college club, the UCF Reel Knights, has so many people who want to compete, we only get to choose one event to fish this season. Though this makes it a little bit more difficult to assure a berth in FLW College Fishing regionals, it is a welcome challenge.

I have been out on Lake Okeechobee quite a bit lately. Most of my time has been spent on the south end of the lake, which is where the first BFL is being held. But I also have been able to spend a couple days on the north end where the college qualifier is being held.

Overall, the fishing has been spotty at best. A month ago if you didn't have upwards of 30 pounds you wouldn't have a realistic chance at taking the top prize in any event on the "Big O." But more recently, it has been difficult to find even one area where you can pull out a 20-pound stringer.

As a result, I don't think it will take but maybe 15 pounds to win the college qualifier because of the tough fishing conditions, which will be amplified due to the pressure the Everstart field will put on the fish. Luckily I feel like that my flipping techniques are strong enough to help me overcome the twin hurdles of the added fishing pressure and tough bite.

First things first

As much as I am looking forward to participating in the college fishing event, I still need to stay focused on the task immediately at hand - the first BFL event of the season.

While the conditions will be tough, that fact actually kind of puts me at ease. Though I love to compete under any conditions, I love it when the fishing is more difficult because it seems like tough events are easier to do well in sometimes.

As far as strategy goes, I will be staying away from the north end of the lake since those are the areas where I feel most comfortable - and where I will be fishing the college event the next week. I want to save those fish.

That being said, I am honestly not as comfortable down south. It seems a bit harder to pinpoint a solid area and the boat pressure seems much more prevalent. But I hope that what I have found in recent weeks is as solid as I feel it is.

We will see.

All on the line

I admit I am a bit nervous - or maybe a bit more anxious - about fishing my last FLW College Fishing qualifier.

Obviously it is my goal to do my best in my final season. But I do take comfort in the fact that if for some reason Casey and I don't finish in the top five, I still know that my short stint in FLW College Fishing has helped me improve an angler and a competitor.

Anyway, I do hope to report back to you with good news after the event because I plan on giving it my all and ultimately want to succeed.

So here's to a good ending in the new year ... and a new beginning.

Miles "SONAR" Burghoff is a National Guard FLW College Fishing angler who competes for the University of Central Florida. To visit his personal website click here.

Tags: miles-burghoff  blog 

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