John's Journal... Entry 238, Day 4
THE GREATEST DAY OF FISHING I EVER HAD WITH GEORGE COCHRAN
Age And Experience Make The Difference
Editor’s Note: Never before in the history of bass fishing does George Cochran know of a tournament angler who threw back 5-pound-plus largemouth because he had bass in the livewell that weighed more. In the BASS tournament at Lake Guntersville in Guntersville, Alabama the last weekend in February 2004, Cochran produced a four-day limit of five bass per day that totaled 99 pounds, 10 ounces. On the final day he had his greatest day ever of bass fishing. He won the tournament and the $103,000 prize. But more importantly for this two-time Bassmasters Classic champion, he proved that old pros still have what it takes to be one of the hot pros in today’s world of bass fishing. In this tournament, Cochran also demonstrated that wisdom can overcome youthful enthusiasm, and that patience and perseverance often are the keys to catching more bass. If you’ll read each day of this week’s information, you’ll learn some valuable secrets for catching more bass every time you fish.
On the first day of the tournament, you were in 10th place. On
the second day, you were in 6th place. On the third day, you went from
6th place to the leader of the tournament, but you only had a 1-pound
lead. What was the boat traffic like? What was the third day like as far
as spectator pressure goes, and how were you able to deal with that pressure
and catch enough fish to move into first place?
With that many spectators and that many boats, how did you concentrate
on your fishing?
If you watch ESPN and all the tournament shows that are on television, you’ll see that young, intelligent, aggressive anglers have won most of the bass tournaments lately. Every now and then, one of the older tournament anglers will sneak up on those young boys and win one. It was important to me not to just finish high in this tournament but to win one for my team of sponsors. On the night of the third day of competition, Jerry McInnis from ESPN, interviewed me and asked, “Do you think you’re going to win?” My answer was, “Yes, I am going to win.” I knew that by being this close to winning this tournament, I had to stay focused, true to my beliefs and give it my best shot. I really wasn’t interested in second place. This was an “all-or-nothing” tournament for me.
How critical was your age and your ability to fish slowly to win?
QUESTION: Were there any changes that
took place in the fishing environment during the tournament?
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TOMORROW: WHY I BELIEVE