By Steve Graf
Oh, the joy of fishing tournaments! They say half the fun of any trip is getting there. Well not for me!!! Every hobby or job has at least one thing that you probably don’t like to do…like yard work, where you have to clean out the flower beds or after mowing the yard, then you have to rake it. For me, the biggest drawback to tournament fishing is the road time. Today, I’ll tell you about my travel habits that have taken me from Oklahoma to the Carolina’s down to South Florida and all points in between.
These trips can be a grind with some being 8 to 12 hours away. The one exception, which was a nightmare, was my trip to Lake Okeechobee in South Florida. This was a 17-hour trip one way and one that I hope to never make again. A few other places I’ve traveled to for a tournament over the last 25 years include Lake Hartwell, South Carolina (12 hours), Lake Eufaula, Alabama (9 hours), Lake Pickwick, Alabama (9 hours), Kentucky Lake (8 hours), and Lake Chickamauga, TN (10 hours).
These trips give a guy plenty of time to think, time to plan and reflect on life in general. Sirius XM Radio is the best thing that has happened to live radio in years. All I have to do to transport myself back in time is turn to the 70’s channel. I’m instantly back when times were simpler and slower, and listening to the best music ever made. But if I want a dose of reality, I can turn to channel 111 and hear Dr. Laura Schlessinger give her analysis and advice on people’s personal issues, or I can align my conservative self with Fox News on channel 114. But you have to be careful when listening to Fox News because too much of today’s news can send you into a deep depression and then you’ll have to call Dr. Laura for advice. If all else fails, I can find the Elvis channel with nothing but his greatest hits 24/7. Seriously, Sirius XM Radio is the best thing ever for road warriors! But these long road trips also give me time to try and put a game plan together on how I will attack the lake I’m headed for.
Nothing makes a road trip more enjoyable than snacks. This is a huge decision that requires a lot of preplanning. Do I want to go with sunflower seeds, peanuts, or cashews? Do I buy a trail mix with both nuts and dried fruit (which I really do like)? Or do I go with Oreo’s and chips which I have gotten away from now that I’m so health conscious. Just kidding! But out of necessity, I have taken a new approach to my daily intake of good food vs. bad food. You’re never too old for change.
There are definitely many things to consider when traveling to my tournaments. I probably don’t take advantage of all the places I’ve gone. I’m pretty much fishing focused when I’m headed for a tournament, and I don’t take the time to explore or sightsee. Another thing about me, when I hit the road, I have one thing on my mind…. get there. Whether it’s going to a tournament or going home. I’ll drive all night to get home after my final weigh-in. I actually do very well driving at night as long as I have my snacks. Now you have just a little insight as to what traveling to a tournament is all about for me. Other than a blown trailer tire every now and then, most of my trips are safe and uneventful; hopefully this trend will continue. Till next time, good luck, good fishing and don’t forget to set the hook!