Champlain broke my motor, not my heart.

By: Jim Root , 6:36 PM GMT on August 04, 2014

A friend of mine Chris Murphy sent me a text when I got home from Plattsburgh that read "Gerald Swindle said if you want to be a professional bass angler you better learn to lose."

There's an enormous amount of truth in that. And like the saying goes, the truth hurts.

I hate losing. Hate it. I work so hard studying, preparing, reading, studying, maps, forums, blogs, maps, charts, practice. You have to devote that time to compete at this level. It's exhausting, but when it all comes together it can be sweeter than honey. And then your motor gives out, and you're left with only what could've been. That's life on the water. Weather can be your best friend, and your worst enemy.

I knew it would get nautical on Thursday. I got a tiny taste of it on Monday (July 28th) and the forecast was for harsher conditions. I didn't expect waves that would push 7 feet. I knew my spot would produce fish, because I had data that supported that. There are places like that, where you know "OK, today the wind will blow from the west so this spot will be good" or "Today there's a north wind so this spot won't be good but this one will be" and it starts to come together. That's the benefit of the weather station. It's not a crystal ball. It doesn't tell me what to do. It tells me what I've done and what I saw, to prepare me for the future. Every entry I make brings me one step closer to the trophy. I had never seen weather that bad at Champlain, so I couldn't know what it would be like, exactly. I just had an idea. Next time I'll have an even better idea.

That's what fishing is. That's what studying weather is. This relationship between the two things is so Yin and Yang. When I was leaving Champlain I got asked the same question that I was asked at Douglas "So the weather station didn't really help you then, did it?" One piece of equipment against the greatest in the world doesn't bring you a win overnight, but it still helped me. On paper it might not look like it did. Two poor finishes. But the results are deeper than that. I gained knowledge from that unit that was invaluable, and I learned how to interpret that knowledge for future events.

But even that knowledge won't prevent breakdown of your equipment. That is something that you have to know will happen, and trust that when it does, the right people will be there in the service trailer to help you get back on the water. As for my baits, I caught all my fish this week on a Divemaster crankbait by Livingston Lures, on Bass Snax by Bass Attacker Lures when I was throwing a drop shot, and on two baits from Big Bait Bites: one was an Alabama Craw, and the other was a Tube in road kill color (I had dipped the skirt in chartreuse). The tubes were given to me by my roommate on the road, Anthony Lorefice. After I ran out of my stand by baits, and they were very effective. Most of the fish hit it on the fall. I was rigging it Texas with a half ounce Elite Pro Tungsten Weight, pegged, to keep me from getting snagged in the deep weed beds we were fishing around. All of those are great baits that can be found online at

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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4:01 PM GMT on August 08, 2014
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I'm Jim Root, one of the most published anglers on the topic of fish behavior as it relates to weather conditions. If you have questions let me know!

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