THINGS DON’T ALWAYS GO AS PLANNED
Editor: Angie Scott is a woman on a mission. That mission is to lead by example in introducing other women to the outdoor life. Angie strives to be, as her podcast touts, the Woman Angler & Adventurer. Every week her podcast features a very interesting interview with people and organizations working to make a difference for women in outdoor sports- hunting, fishing, camping- and highlighting their businesses and charitable initiatives. Angie will be a guest speaker at the Outdoor Media Summit 2022 in Lake Tahoe on Oct. 30- Nov. 1, where she will speak on monetizing podcasts. In addition to advancing women’s participation in the outdoors, Angie herself is working hard to become a winning tournament angler. She is new to that scene, but like everything else Angie does, she is all in. She recently qualified for her 2nd Lady Bass Anglers Association’s Lady Bass Classic and, now that that event is “in the can” as they say in the film industry, Angie has had time to reflect on the event and her tournament season in general. Here are some of her reflections.
Now that we’re back home and have had time to reflect and analyze, I wanted to do a more detailed dive into the 2022 Lady Bass Anglers Association Lady Bass Classic on Logan Martin in Lincoln, AL- a look behind-the-scenes. I’d say the overall theme of the event for me would be “Things don’t always go as planned”. Looking back, I guess that can easily apply to my entire season! Tournament life is not an easy road. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication. Long hours studying maps, preparing gear, and a lot of time on the water. Sort of like the postman, tournament anglers have to get out there and fish in some brutal, sometimes dangerous conditions, when most sane people just roll over and pull the blanket over their heads. At times like that I always remember words of encouragement I received from highly respected female kayak tournament angler Kristine Fischer at the beginning of this year when I was going through a tough time trying to figure out how I was even going to make this season happen. She said, “Most don’t make it because they get discouraged and quit. That ain’t you.” That really turned my attitude around. I was determined to fish, and with the help of so many key people on my team we made it happen to the point where I qualified to fish the Classic for the 2nd year in a row.
This year’s Classic was held at the Lincoln Tournament Venue on the banks of Logan Martin. Team Scott hit the road on Friday the 14th to set up camp at Riverbay Resort in Lincoln. We arrived later than planned due to bad traffic in Birmingham, so we hurried to drop the boat and the Lance Truck Camper Mobile Podcast Studio and hook up everything. Then we ran to Pell City to stock up on groceries before settling in for the night. The first official day of practice started the next day and I couldn’t wait to get out there and start checking things out. Saturday morning, I squeezed in a podcast interview with Kay Cole Donaldson, director of the Alabama Bass Trail. We were hoping to do the interview in person, but something came up and the timing didn’t work out. It was still good to be sitting lakeside and speaking over the phone with Kay about how the trail got started and what it’s like being a tournament director. Being flexible not only applies to fishing, it applies to podcast schedules as well. Ironically, Kay was involved in the planning of Lincoln Landing, the new tournament site on Logan Martin. The City of Lincoln pulled out all the stops to make the perfect tournament destination.
After wrapping the interview, I got out and checked out a couple of places I marked on my map that were near the resort. To my surprise, there wasn’t much of anything going on at either spot. I had to rethink the rest of my practice plan. Saturday was a short day because I just couldn’t miss the epic Alabama/Tennessee college football game. What a great game to watch sitting outside on a fall afternoon in Alabama. Our neighbors at the campground were Alabama fans- they were pretty quiet throughout the game, while we hooted and hollered for Tennessee.
Sunday I was out early to see if I could formulate a game plan for the morning bite. I had a couple of areas in mind to start. The first spot didn’t produce, but at the second. I caught a spotted bass right away with a finesse-style chatter bait. Unfortunately, that was about it. I ran to a few other areas- nada. I knew the conditions would be changing by the time the tournament started, but I was beginning to scratch my head. Sunday was another shortened practice day because of football as I had to watch my Minnesota Vikings beat the Miami Dolphins.
Monday was the day to really dig in. I wanted to “fish some history” from last year’s Logan Martin event. I made the run down to Cropwell Creek to check out my honey hole- there was no activity. I wasn’t surprised, it was much later in the year than last year’s event and conditions were totally different. I checked another area that was good for me last year and got a nice spotted bass on a square bill crankbait. After finishing that pocket, my motor wouldn’t start. I switched over to the other battery and it fired right up. Looked like I either didn’t get a good charge or I had a bad battery. I was getting low on gas, so I ran over to Town & Country to fill up. As I was filling up, I was trying to decide whether to continue fishing or head back to try to figure out the battery issue. The next thing I know, I see another angler, Nikki Jo Hatten. We exchanged numbers so I could call her in case I had any trouble. That made me feel more at ease, but I ultimately decided to run back to camp and see if the battery would take a charge. Better to get this worked out now than after the tournament started! We plugged it up and since we had some time to wait, we drove over to Lincoln's Landing to check everything out. Last year the venue wasn’t quite finished. It is very impressive!
When we returned to camp, both batteries were showing fully charged. I set my battery back to the questionable battery to see if it would hold up and went back out to try a few more areas close by and re-check the ones from Saturday. Didn’t find anything exciting going on, but the battery was still holding up, so I had high hopes. I knew conditions would change, and Tuesday was cold and windy. As a native Minnesotan, I thought I had it covered, but I did not put enough layers on, and was shivering most of the time I was on the water. Temps were in the 40s but with the wind, it felt much colder. I caught another nice spot with the same crankbait I was using the day before on a sun-drenched grass edge. So far no luck with slow finesse stuff- usually my go-to. I went to crank up and head north but the battery was dead. At least now I knew it was bad. I switched over to the good one and decided to pull out and drive to Rodney's Marine Center in Cropwell, AL to get a new battery. I called first, and a gentleman named Cody answered assuring me they had what I needed. We weren’t there more than 30 minutes before he had us fixed up and heading back to camp. After my experience being cold, and seeing a Day 1 forecast for the upper 20s, I decided I needed warmer clothes. We made a drive over to Leeds, AL to the Bass Pro Shops to pick up some gear.
Last day of practice, Wednesday morning was brutally cold. Some of the anglers opted to take Wednesday off to rest up, work on gear and get ready. Typically, the last practice is shorter because we have to be off the water in time for the tournament pre-meeting. Since this was also the Classic, and last derby of the year, the meeting is more of a banquet where the Angler of the Year trophies are handed out. We headed over to Oxford, AL to the Planet Fitness to get showers since we were having a draining issue with the shower in the camper. We also did some laundry. That morning I saw that Teri Cindric, a fellow Tennessee angler also fishing the Classic, had posted a picture of her boat covered in frost. That had me concerned because when my boat is covered in frost it turns into an ice-skating rink. I experienced that during my 1st tournament of the year on Percy Priest and it was no fun! We decided to visit Walmart and buy a tarp to cover the boat.
I was supposed to fish Day One with Co-angler Whitney Cook. We had been looking forward to it since we found out the standings after the Bull Shoals event. , Unfortunately, Whitney had to bow out due to a family emergency. LBAA Tournament Director Larry Valentine called me to break the news, I would be fishing Day 1 solo. I’ve never fished a tournament solo, but always wondered if I would make different decisions if I had no co-angler in the back of the boat. Either way, per usual, butterflies were building as Game Day approached. After getting ready, we headed to Lincoln Landing for the banquet. It was an outside in the pavilion, and chilly. Thankfully they had the fireplace going- the first time it had been lit. All the ladies were in front of it trying to keep warm. It was great to see everyone since June was the last event. The delicious meal from Cater Up! included chicken tenders, fish, hushpuppies, fries, coleslaw, and peach cobbler. The AOY trophies were presented, and there were some giveaways. Larry gave us a rundown on how things were going to go, and we were sent off to get rested before the early wake-up call. Blast-off was scheduled for safe light. I planned to get to the ramp by 6 am to get everything ready. Our campground was less than a 10-minute drive from the Landing.
Thursday morning – Day One – was cold as expected- 29 degrees at 6 am, but thankfully no wind. I didn’t wear the facemask I bought at Bass Pro, but the other warm gear I picked up really came in handy. It was foggy, but it looked patchy at the ramp. Secret York made a quick run out to check the fog, and in the meantime it had lifted off the water to where you could see. Larry decided to let us go. I was boat #11. I didn’t have much of a plan, except to go where I caught fish early Sunday morning. Once I started running, the fog dropped, and I couldn’t see three feet in front of my face. It was eerie, especially being by myself. I slowed my speed way down hoping that boats coming up from behind wouldn’t hit me. I quickly realized this was a dangerous situation. My starting spot was relatively close, but not in these conditions. I used my electronics to navigate and just went slow, watching for lights and shadows. I finally dropped down to just over idle speed trying to decide what I was going to do. After what seemed like forever, I saw the campground on the map. I never fished it in practice, but at least I was familiar with it and knew there were probably fish there. I decided to veer off and just start fishing.
I got to work and to my surprise, I quickly caught a keeper on the square bill. That’s always an incredible feeling to know no matter what happens, I’m going to cross the stage at the end of the day and not going to zero- my biggest fear. With that pressure off, I made it around to where our camper was. By now the fog had broken up and Dana came out to say hi and take a picture. Just then I had another bite! It was probably the smallest bass I have ever caught. Pretty funny that happened right in front of the camper. I continued to fish and got my 2nd keeper. I felt like things were starting to come together. They seemed to like the square bill around shallow docks. I decided to check a spot I had checked several times in practice but never had any activity. With the clearer conditions, I proceeded to my next area of shallow docks cranking. Caught some short fish and finally, a 3rd keeper! It was still early. I was starting to feel confident I would bring in a limit.
After I fished that area, I went to the area where I caught a nice fish in practice. It was there where I lost what would have been my 4th keeper. It hit the crankbait, jumped out of the water and did what bass love to do, threw the hooks. After that, I couldn’t seem to get bit. I even tried the campground again, and a couple of areas closer to the Landing, it was getting close to weigh-in. Time flies in tournament fishing. I threw a few last-minute Hail-Mary’s hoping for a miracle, but it wasn’t in the cards. Three fish would be what I would bring to the scale on Day 1- 4.48 lbs. That put me in 7th, my hopes of winning were looking dim.. My focus shifted to being able to cash a check. I was going to need a limit for sure, and, hopefully, some bigger fish. Friday was supposed to be warmer, and anything could happen. After the weigh-in Thursday, a few of us including Alisa Johnson and Denise Sustaita, met up with our friend from iBass360, Eric Evans, and enjoyed a nice meal at Mangos Mexican Restaurant. Shout out to Eric and all he does to support women in fishing and especially the LBAA!
Friday- Day 2 of the 3-day Classic, and today I had a co-angler, Lynette Fitts. Lynette and I fished the Ray Hubbard tournament together back in 2021, and that was probably one of the hardest days of fishing I’ve ever experienced. We were seeking redemption. My plan was to do the exact same thing I did the day before. The weather was warmer, and I hoped the bite would be better. Thankfully, I was right! We blasted off as boat #7. Again there was fog, but nowhere near as bad as Day 1. We hit the campground and got to it. The day was a bit of a blur. We caught a lot of fish, many short, but I had 4 keepers by the time we worked our way out of the campground, one was decent. I continued the same rotation as the previous day and, along the way, I managed a 5th keeper- a limit! Now maybe I could start culling with some bigger fish. Unfortunately, that was not in the cards. My 5 fish limit was “small”, one right at 12 inches. I was praying it didn’t shrink in the live well. I was hoping to move up a spot or 2, but ended up dropping a spot from 7th to 8th with 6.92 for the day. I needed a big Day 3 bag if I wanted a chance at cashing a check.
Saturday– Day 3. My Co-Angler for the final day was Cindy Adler-Jackson. We had never fished together. Thanks to Alisa Johnson and Pam Ridgle who had heard of our issues with the shower we got invited use their rental to get showers instead of having to drive to Planet Fitness. They even fed us! Cindy was staying with them, so we were able to touch base a bit before meeting at the ramp. There was another, bigger tournament taking off from Lincoln Landing, and one out of Riverside just across the river from there. The LBAA had the priority at Lincoln, so as Boat #8 we blasted off. I had a feeling Day 3 was going to fish totally differently than Days1 and 2 and that my morning area wouldn’t hold up. It was the warmest day yet. but I still had to give it a try. After the anthem, we took off, still a bit foggy but not bad. We hit the campground and it wasn’t too long before I had one. Cindy grabbed the net and right before she could get it in the water the hook came out. I was disappointed I didn’t get a good hookset, but optimistic because they were still there and biting. Cindy was using a different technique behind me and started getting bites, but nothing was committing. We trolled across to the campground. Dana came out to take pictures, and wouldn’t you know, Cindy hooked up with her 1st keeper of the day right in front of the camper! As for me, I wasn’t getting interest in the crankbait, so I switched to the chatter bait. It became clear my hunch was right, it was turning out to be a totally different day. Cindy was using slow-moving finesse style baits, like the ones I prefer to use. Despite my lack of success previously with this style. I decided to stop on that spot one more time. Sure enough, with all the tournaments going on, we pull up and there is another boat already on it. No problem, I thought. We’ll move on and fish this row of docks and once they move, we’ll hit it. I was confident they weren’t throwing the right baits.
On our way to the docks, Cindy pointed out a nice-looking laydown off an island surrounded by grass. I took out my Texas-rigged finesse creature-style bait and started tossing, and it was on! We circled the entire island and caught several fish. It was a ton of fun. They weren’t of any size, but we got a few keepers. The day was starting to look pretty good. Instead of cranking shallow docks, my plan changed to flipping and pitching shallow grass. After seeing that boat leave, we moved over there. This was a deeper spot, but a place I knew had fish. The kind of place you could probably sit on all day and get a limit if you were patient. We had two good bites right away, but then it died off. We decided to move on to another area where we both finished getting our limits. Cindy only needed 3 and culled twice, but we both needed more weight to have a chance. We tried our hardest to find some bigger keepers but again it wasn’t in the cards. We went back to that little honey hole where I know there are some bigger bass, got several bites but to no avail. It was getting close to weigh-in. We didn’t want to leave but we couldn’t risk not making it back in time. We hit a couple of bridges on the way back. Cindy had one break her off. My 5 fish only weighed 5.47 lbs. for a 3-day total of 16.87, dropping me another spot to 9th. Not what I was looking for, but it is an improvement on my finish of 12th in last year’s Classic- a Top 10! I’ll take it. I really wanted to win this to honor the memory of Bill Sheriff who passed away on August 27th, 2022. He was the owner of Freedom Boat Club of Nashville and gave me this opportunity. He hooked me up with his friend Hutch Holseberg, owner of Key West Boats, and made this dream come to life in 2021 by sponsoring me with a Key West 230 Bay Reef and was able to fish tournaments as a boater (Pro) with the LBAA. Hopefully, my efforts still made him proud.
Fishing an event at this level tends to really make you think and put things in perspective. As a result, I have decided to take the 2023 season off and work on making some adjustments before I dive back in, head first of course, in 2024. I might fish one regular-season event just to see all the women with whom we’ve formed a bond and love so much. I again want to thank all my sponsors. This year would not have been possible without your generous support. #lancecamper #keywestboats #freedomboatclubnashville#nashvilleboatingcenter#stcroixrods #hellwigproducts#costasunglasses#stealthrodholders#alsgoldfish #floridaheartbeat#yolotek #ibass360