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Tough Road, Leaning on Your Confidence Bait, Special Fishing Partner and Breaking Streaks

This year has been the toughest of my career, but I wouldn't change a thing! I have fulfilled a lifelong goal of fishing on the FLW Tour as a professional. Even though this dream, became somewhat of a nightmare at times, with little to no success – it has fueled my fire to return for my sophomore season ready for redemption.

Throughout the year I relied on my confidence baits to add what fish I caught to the live well. TRD (Ned Rig System), Chatterbait, Zinkerz and my favorite crankbait were my go to baits of choice throughout the season. These baits are what I call my confidence go to baits. I carry this combination with me, no matter what lake or river I am fishing. When you go to a new body of water, you go into the process of figuring the fish out with an open mind. After all is said and done, it never ceases to amaze me, what baits end up on my deck come tournament time. I can't stress to you enough how important it is to have go to stuff you believe in. With those baits, I feel as if I can go out and catch some fish and that is important!

With everything going on throughout the season, summer is my favorite time of the year for several reasons. The weather and fishing are great, but without a doubt my most favorite part is fishing with my 12-year-old daughter in a local team trail. My little girl is a trooper! Getting up at 4:30 am, staying out for 12-hour days during practice and dealing with all the highs and lows of a tournament day, as well as, dealing with a very demanding tournament partner. This little girl, who is in her own right a good fisherman, is just great to be around! She is also competitive too. High fives for a great fish catch and upset (almost to tears) when a fish jumps off the line. We have had a pretty good year on this trail, which takes place on Lake Erie but only targets largemouth bass. Although we have not won a tournament this year we have1 second, two 3rds and 4th place finish, qualifying for the year end championship to be held in October. No matter what is going on elsewhere, I always look forward to these tournaments because of our time together. I just love being on the water with her!

If your season is not going the way you want it too, what do you do? You keep fishing. Like a major league hitter who is going through a slump, you work on your game and try new things. Ultimately, hitting your way back on track. Same thing applies in fishing. You keep at it, knowing better tournament days are right around the corner. For me this "slump" came to an end on September 16th in a BFL super tournament help on Lake Erie in Ohio where I finished 11th out of 84 boaters. This finish ended an FLW Outdoors checkless streak of 16 events dating back to January 2014. Although I have had success on other trails during this period, it was this trail I was happy to see a drought finally come to an end. This 16-event checkless streak encompassed this year's 7 events as a rookie on the FLW Tour. Looking back, 6 of the events could or should have resulted in a pay day. However, because of poor execution, the outcome was unfavorable.
With one event remaining in 2017 – the Great Lakes Largemouth Series Championship out of West Harbor in Sandusky, Ohio, I look back at this year with a new found perspective and renewed confidence. For 2018 I will work on execution, keeping my head down and fishing hard. All while relying on the confidence baits which always add fish to the live well. Fish hard and stay focused! Until next time, tight lines and good fishing!!!

Z-Man pro Mike McCoy

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