UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Dale Hollow Lake

Always Go Down Swinging

Always Go Down Swinging
Greg Bohannan

A good friend once told me that one of the hardest things in life is losing a parent. Well, after the last few weeks, I will absolutely agree. On March 5, one week before I was planning on leaving for the third stop of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit at Lake Martin, I lost my dad, Kenny. It was truly one of the hardest things I have ever been through. I lost the man who had always been behind me, from Little League baseball to high school football to college baseball and football and then to fishing. He was always there, encouraging, pushing and critiquing. 

Even though my brothers and I were extremely sad when Dad passed, we had to feel blessed and fortunate to have had him behind us for so many years. He taught us so many things: how to be tough, how to work hard, how to never give up. He taught us to never ever start a fight, but never back down from one. There are so many lessons he taught us that carried us through life. 

You see, Dad was a farmer. He could do anything, like a lot of farmers can. He could weld, plumb, do electrical work, fix your car, fix your tractor. He could do it all. He said, “If someone else can do it, you should be able to, too.” He also loved to help people. If someone needed something, he would jump at the opportunity to help. Dad treated everyone the same, no matter how much money someone had or their social status. He just wanted to help. 

That’s why I felt strongly about speaking at Dad’s funereal. I wanted to share about his selfless life. A few days before Dad left us for Heaven, I was able to share with him that I was going to speak at his funeral. After I told him, I waited for him to say something profound. But he just looked up at me and said, “Son, just don’t talk too long.” I laughed because that was very fitting for Dad. 

We had a great service. We opened with Paul Harvey’s video “So God Made a Farmer.” I would highly recommend you Google it if you’ve never heard it. It portrays the heart of a farmer very well. I also didn’t talk too long. I was able to share several funny stories about Dad, his love for Mom and us boys, and his love of sports and his competitive nature. It was a great celebration of life. 

There was one other thing Dad made me promise him in the last few weeks of his life. He said, “Don’t let my situation affect your fishing.” I promised him it wouldn’t, and that was in my mind when I left for Lake Martin.

I was able to get on the road for Alabama on time and met my roommates, Bill McDonald and Cole Floyd, at the house where we were staying. When I got there, we immediately spread the map out and started discussing the lake breakdown. I had never been to Martin before, so I was eager to see a new lake. 

On the first morning of practice, I launched the Pringles Ranger at Wind Creek State Park following our Fishing Church at the ramp. My first thought when I got out on Martin was the lake looked very similar to my home waters of Beaver Lake. The water was stained, so I started on some rocky banks with a Strike King 1.5. I immediately started catching numbers, but no size. I moved toward the lower end on day two of practice and found several shoals and flat points, which is exactly where big spotted bass like to spawn. I caught several of the right kind in the 2- to 3-pound range. I knew pretty fast that this was where I would fish the event. 

My plan every day of competition was to Carolina rig a Strike King Rage Bug, catch 10 to 11 pounds and then go largemouth fishing in the back ends of the creeks. It worked pretty well. I opened in 48th place with 10-14. On day two, I had 12-14 and made the top-30 cut in 26th. I was fortunate enough on day three to catch three spotted bass in the 3-pound range that resulted in a 13-1 stringer, which moved me up to eighth place. 

When I went out there on day four, I had a lesson from Dad in my mind. One of his biggest pet peeves in life was watching baseball players take a third strike. He’d say, “If you take the pitch and don’t swing, you never give yourself a chance.”

Four pounds back of the lead, my game plan was to catch at least 11 pounds and then spend at least four hours trying to catch a big largemouth. I felt like that is what I needed to win. 

At about 11:30, I had 11-8 in the box, and I could hear Dad’s voice: “Give yourself a chance to win.” 

So I picked up a Strike King buzzbait and a Lew’s flipping stick and went largemouth fishing the rest of the day. I did have one big largemouth hit my buzzbait, but it never hooked up. I ended up in sixth place overall, but I was happy because I did what Dad had always taught me to do. 

Dad, I went down swinging.

In hindsight, maybe if I would have fished for spotted bass all day every day I could have won the event, but at the time, I did what I felt I needed to do to have a chance to win. I swung, but I missed, and that’s OK. 

It was a good event. I earned a top-10 finish, moved to 10th overall in points, and, more importantly, I kept my promise to Dad and didn’t let losing him affect my fishing. 

I love you, Dad.

Tags: greg-bohannan  blog 

Buck’s Tent Camping Tips

Buck’s Tent Camping Tips

When not on the road for tournaments, my wife and I love to travel, fish and camp together. Our favorite destinations are Oneida Lake and the 1000 Islands in New York, in search of giant smallmouth, as well as National Parks around the country. READ MORE »

Decisions, Decisions

Decisions, Decisions

Coming into the final Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament event on Lake Erie there were so many things riding on it. Obviously, it was a chance to make a paycheck, but more importantly it was the last chance to earn enough points to qualify for the Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota. READ MORE »

Encouraging Youth Fishing

Encouraging Youth Fishing

Not long ago, with support from many sponsors, I had a blast hosting a very successful first-annual Youth Fishing Derby at Green Lane Park in Pennsylvania. READ MORE »

My Mississippi River Game Plan  

My Mississippi River Game Plan  

My plan going into the Mississippi River event is pretty simple. I’m going to have four rods on the deck of my boat: Two flipping sticks and two frog rods. In my experience in western Wisconsin, that’s what will work the best for me to get big bites. READ MORE »

Guiding and Mentoring

Guiding and Mentoring

Now that we are back on track with fishing, and hopefully developing some normalcy to our lives again, I am excited to keep going with what I started talking about at the beginning of the year – mentorship of young anglers. READ MORE »

Super Tournaments: Super Fun and Super Competitive

Super Tournaments: Super Fun and Super Competitive

There’s a big change coming to the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit, and I’m really excited to be a part of it. READ MORE »

Fishing with Confidence

Fishing with Confidence

This year, I’ve chosen to home in on trusting my gut, even with tough practices. I’m happy to share that I rarely have a practice that’s worth writing home about. It’s just the way it goes, and I’ve learned to not let the discouragement affect the tournament. READ MORE »

Renewed Excitement for Super Tournaments

Renewed Excitement for Super Tournaments

Like everyone else, I had concerns about when we would be able to resume our 2020 season on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit. Probably a bigger concern was what the rest of the season would look like. READ MORE »

Why I’m Excited to be Back with FLW

Why I’m Excited to be Back with FLW

This year has been an interesting one, to say the least. For the first time in my pro career, I’ve been home for much of the spring, and while it was great to fish local waters and get some projects done around the house, I’m ready to get back to fishing tournaments. READ MORE »

Big Changes for the Pro Circuit

Big Changes for the Pro Circuit

Recently announced changes to the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit have me extremely excited to get the season back under way. Specifically, a good number of the Major League Fishing anglers will be fishing the remaining three Pro Circuit Super Tournament events with increased payouts. This makes these truly the most lucrative five-fish-limit events in the country, with potentially half of the tournament field being paid $10,000 or more. READ MORE »

My Line-Thru Addiction

My Line-Thru Addiction

Pollen is in the air, on the water and covers my boat on a daily basis. When this happens, it means one thing to me – the bass are on the bed. Now, most people are all giddy about sight-fishing, but that’s not my deal. I can count on two hands how many fish I’ve caught truly sight-fishing. What comes to my mind during this time is swimbait fishing, but more specifically, one kind of swimbait in particular – a line-thru swimbait. READ MORE »

Making the Most of Quarantine

Making the Most of Quarantine

At the beginning of this year I was excited about the opportunity to fish the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit and the Bassmaster Elite Series. I was most excited about fishing the spawn in March and April on some of my favorite lakes. When the schedules for both circuits were first released I was feeling very confident about doing some sight-fishing on Santee Cooper, Eufaula and Lake Hartwell. READ MORE »

The Real Reason I love Spring

The Real Reason I love Spring

Fishing for a living is awesome, but when spring comes it can be tough. April is always a busy month for tournaments – and the fishing is usually fantastic – but I really love to turkey hunt and tournaments can put a damper on that. READ MORE »

A Silver Lining

A Silver Lining

From spending some quality time with my wife, Katie, and my dog, Doppler, to organizing my life and fun fishing, there are numerous ways that I have been able to take advantage of our current social responsibility to participate in “social distancing.” READ MORE »

Encouraging the Next Generation

Encouraging the Next Generation

Growing up in the city of Chicago, I didn’t have the outlet to the outdoors that a lot of our youth enjoy while growing up. It often takes hours to travel out of the city due to traffic, and there were no lakes within walking distance from my house. So it’s not like I could swing by the pond after school. READ MORE »

Picking out a New Favorite Rod

Picking out a New Favorite Rod

When selecting a new rod, I consider several elements: action, power, length and components.  Different rods will fit the role, depending on the type of lure, cover and fish species you are targeting. READ MORE »

How to Catch Your New PB

How to Catch Your New PB

Out of the five biggest fish I have caught in my life, four have come on a ChatterBait, including my personal best – a 9-pounder I caught this year on Sam Rayburn during the first Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event. READ MORE »

Why You Should Reel with Both Hands

Why You Should Reel with Both Hands

Without a doubt, during a tournament day I always get a question from my Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Marshal about why I have both left- and right-handed Abu Garcia baitcast reels. I get comments about the same thing from multiple social media followers if I post a picture that shows my reels. The remarks originally surprised me, but not any longer because of how frequently I see them. READ MORE »

Carrying Momentum into Florida

Carrying Momentum into Florida

Despite the solid start to the year, and the confidence that comes with overcoming adversity, Miles Burghoff knows very well how a good start to a season can either create positive momentum, or open the door to complacency, which often can result in a loss of motivation and focus. With the Harris Chain event kicking off this week, he's determined to keep that focus and motivation. READ MORE »

New Year, Same Feel

New Year, Same Feel

Ending 2019 on a bad note wasn’t how I pictured last season going. I was in contention to qualify for the FLW Cup going into the last FLW Tour event on Lake Champlain, but after coming in 97th at the finale I finished the season 51st in the Angler of the Year points and missed my chance for the Cup. Not going to lie, it stung a little bit and made for a LONG drive home, but it also made me hungry for 2020. READ MORE »