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Old 04-06-2012, 08:20 PM   #1
bellcon
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WCW 2011 Recap

Thought I would do a little 2011 WCW recap.

I fished right around 55 trips during the 2011 competition, locations included San Pedro, Palos Verdes, Redondo, Dana Point, Catalina, Santa Cruz, Gonzaga Bay B.C. with approximately 24 of those trips at La Jolla.

My biggest fish of the year were a 24lb halibut from Dana, a 60lb white sea bass and a 41lb yellowtail both from LJ.

To be honest I had no intention of really “competing” this year, I had chased Greg and Jasmin enough last year to know how grinding this competition fishing can be. I only fished one day in April 2011 so I was behind from the start. The problem began when I started catching fish… then the juices start flowing and I found myself doing whatever I could to get on the water.

Being a husband, father of four and running my own business makes for a great life but also creates a challenge in finding days to hunt down fish. This is the first year in along time I did not coach football, which traditionally eats up everyday in August and too many days to count from the rest of the year. I laugh along and empathize with Eric when he jokes about being lucky that he is still married after the completion of the 2011 WCW, it can and will take a toll on your personal life.

My Dad always told me to reach for “balance” in my life, never work so much that you don’t have time for fun and never spend too much time in the pursuit of fun that you don’t have a job. Never neglect family and friends and never forget to set aside time for yourself, because if you don’t take care of yourself, nobody else will. Balance is not about everything weighing out equally on some imaginary scale; it is about doing your best at everything you do, and accepting the fact that there are only so many hours in a day and days in a year. Having no regrets about your choices and giving 100% to those in your life makes it easier to give 100% to yourself.

I work hard and I play hard, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I put in as many hours as needed at work to get the job done, I put in quality hours with my wife and kids, and I fish for as long and hard as I can when I get on the water, I think nothing of my regular 12 hour fishing day , 18 hours is still my record but I seriously think a 24 hour trip will be accomplished by the end of 2012. (should be a piece of cake in the Pro Angler)

Now that WCW 2011 is over, I look back and wonder where it all went; I’m amazed it is already April 2012. Am I satisfied with a 3rd place finish? To be honest, NO!
We all knew 1st place was decided months ago, hell it was basically decided when Josh threw his name in the mix. But when the time came that I could smell 2nd place I wanted it!
When I finally took 2nd place in February, I tried hard to do what I could to keep it. I started March by fishing 5 long days at Cabrillo for absolutely nothing and then finally got my fish at the Baytubers Tournament in Dana Point on the 26th. I had plans to fish LJ on the 31st and actually was at the launch at 4:30am, but something came up and I had to run back to my family at camp. Would I have got the fish I needed? Who knows? It is what it is and leaving the launch wasn’t easy but it was necessary to maintain that “balance” in my life.

So I dropped a spot to 3rd place and Eric took MY spot, damn you Eric, but I’m over it, (well not entirely) I really should count my blessings that I was even in the running. Eric is one hell of a fisherman and he deserved the spot he took, you made some amazing catches this year brother and it was great to get to know you better through the WCW, the sky is the limit for you and I’m glad your marriage is still intact.

I also have to say what an awesome job Sharon did. Sharon is hardcore, this site has a bunch of “experts”, guys who love to expound on everything from the chemical properties of spectra to long diatribes on useless mind numbing trivia all while catching little to no fish, certainly no WCW fish. Sharon just fishes her ass off and consistently catches trophy after trophy. I finally got to meet her on the water a few times this year and she is as friendly has she is hardcore. I thought for sure she would be a top place finisher at the end. I vote she gets a special trophy for 1st place in the women’s division, no one else even comes close, most men included.

And Ryan, one of the nicest guys on the water, always willing to share info and fishes like a mad man. Another month or two and Eric and I might well have been bumped down by Ryan the fish killer. He caught the biggest yellowtail and then killed us all with his March Madness halibuts. No doubt Ryan is for real and has to be a favorite if he fishes the WCW in 2012. Congrats on an awesome year Ryan you are badass, keep smiling and killing you’re made for it!

I have to say thank you to a couple other guys, guys who have helped me along the way become a better angler. Dave Pliska, the best halibut fisherman I know who taught me a lot and still teaches me to this day. Kiyo, John and the rest of the Baytubers, who always fish hard for the flat kind and since 2007 have always been there for me when I was trying to figure out the tricks of the trade in halibut fishing. You guys are awesome and I’m proud to be a Baytuber.

Of course I must mention my Sensei, Josh Pruitt aka THE DARKHORSE. I first talked to Josh back in 2008, and hired him as a guide in January 2009. I caught 2 yellowtail over 30lbs within a month, and it was all over for me at that point, kayak fishing was already an addiction but now kayak catching was a reality.
I have kept in touch with Josh since that time and he has always been willing to help, correct, and push me to a level of fishing that enables me to fish with a confidence that makes the whole experience that much more exciting and rewarding.
I have said it before; I hired a guide and found a friend. My wife jokingly refers to Josh as my “crack dealer” because sometimes when Josh calls it’s just to catch up, other times she knows he has just told me the conditions maybe right soon and I will be off to La Jolla in pursuit of big fish.
Josh, to you a BIG THANKS buddy for all you have done for me over the years. I hear your voice in my head when I am on the water, whether it's in La Jolla or any other location and that’s a good thing. I would not be the angler I am today without your guidance.
I guess I should go a step further and say to anyone still reading this, if you love kayak fishing and are serious about being the best you can be, or even if just landing a trophy fish is on your bucket list, then by all means talk to Josh. I personally give Josh the highest recommendation as a guide and friend. There are few men I have met in my life with as much dedication and devotion to the trade they have chosen, and even fewer men who are as successful at what they do as Josh.


So I will end this looooooooong thread with a couple thoughts:
  • DAMN that yellowtail that I lost at color to kill my chances of a slam! (BUT, I will get my slam someday!)
  • Thank you Kevin "The Kid" for not taking me up on the offer to pay your entry fee into the 2011 WCW. (And congrats on your success you’re killing it out there!)
  • Thank you Scallywag and a few other fishing machines for not entering.
  • Thank you Eric, Sharon and Ryan for fishing so hard and pushing me this year.
  • Thank you Greg Andrew and Jasmin for lighting a fire last year.
  • Thank you Andy, Adi, Brent and the entire OEX crew for BWE and for the WCW, your work is appreciated, the sport of kayak fishing owes a big debt of gratitude for this site.
I seriously doubt I will compete in the 2012 WCW, but who knows? I do know that it can being tiring when every fish you catch that isn’t WCW worthy is simply “by catch”, I may need to spend some time this year pulling on “tuggers” like some of my bass addict friends.

I also plan on fishing more with my two youngest sons, they have been asking to go fishing a lot the last few months and it maybe just what I need to keep that “balance” thing intact.

Tight lines and big fish to you all,
Don
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Old 04-06-2012, 09:28 PM   #2
theluckypig
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Don, you've been quite the inspiration for many kayak anglers for some time now... great job on the "balancing"
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Old 04-06-2012, 09:45 PM   #3
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Don,

Thanks for the kind words.

It was one wild ride of a year. I definately appreciate all the knowledge I gained by entering WCW. Eithen more getting to know the competitors! What a great group!

I think I will also be taking a year off WCW, unless theres a womens division!!!
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Old 04-07-2012, 01:00 AM   #4
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Good read there
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Old 04-07-2012, 02:38 PM   #5
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Great post!!

I like reading the end of the WCW recaps/comments by participants. You get a glimpse into how much time and sacrifice went in to getting each point.

Only the skilled and dedicated are at the top....that's the way it should be.
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Old 04-07-2012, 03:21 PM   #6
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Awesome write up. Thank you for a great post and a perfect recap to your time in this tournament. I am in awe of anyone who lives so far from the Jewel, has a full time job and family, AND still puts up that level of submissions...month after month.

Well done.
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Old 04-07-2012, 05:19 PM   #7
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Don great write up..... In all honesty second to my dad your my freaking hero dude!!!!!Sharon in all my ramblings I forgot to mention what a badass you are too kid!

Last edited by RK; 04-08-2012 at 10:07 AM.
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