Music City Division Recap – Brandon Russell

What an amazing fishing year this has been! Where do I even begin? This season has taught me many lessons including, and probably the most important lesson I learned all year, how to overcome the mental aspect of fishing tournaments. The greatest fishing tool you can have in your tackle box is a positive attitude! Being confident in your fishing abilities, keeping your head held high after losing a solid keeper, and understanding that not every tournament will go just as planned in practice are just a few ways that an angler can possess a positive attitude when it comes to fishing tournaments.

The Music City Division has definitely helped me to better hone in on my ability of keeping a positive attitude during tournaments. Our first tournament, Dale Hollow Lake, helped me to jump off to a great start by landing a few good keepers on a Gary Yamamoto 4″ Senko rigged on a 1/8oz shakey head by my Kistler Rods. Going to the scales with a couple keepers is always a good thing on any tournament as a co-angler! I ended up placing 27th out of 106 anglers, which allowed me to place above the cut so that I could qualify for the Regional at the end of the year on Sinclair in Georgia, but I still had four more tournaments to go.
Our second stop brought us to the beautiful Center Hill Lake. This was another fun tournament as I finished in 29th place by flipping Hoppy’s Lures jigs around bluff walls. I had a few mental mistakes, which cost me a good smallmouth keeper, but once again I needed to focus on keeping a positive attitude. My boater was a great encouragement, which is always nice to have in the front of the boat. Always remember to start the tournament off right with your boater, you will be fishing with them all day long. I have made some great friends through having a good relationship with the boaters that I draw.
Stop number three took us to one of my most favorite lakes to fish, Kentucky Lake. At blast-off my boater let me know that we had a long ride ahead of us, and boy was he right! We cruised around 65mph for over 50 minutes. We fished several ledges holding bass, but for some reason they just weren’t hungry. Fortunately, I was able to trick three keepers into biting a 4.5″ Shadalicious Swimsuit by Strike King. Those three fish brought me a 21st place finish! All of a sudden a new goal started to form, winning Co-Angler of the Year.
The third tournament and the super tourney were both held on Old Hickory Lake. Old Hickory has always seemed to be good to me, so I was looking forward to hopefully another decent finish. Once again, Old Hickory came through for me as I was able to pull off a 4th place finish and win my first Top Five trophy, and a nice check as well! We caught our fish by skipping frogs under laydowns and crawling square bills around docks in 4′ or less of water.
Heading into the super tournament I found myself sitting in 3rd place for C.O.Y. (Co-Angler of the Year). All I needed to do was catch one keeper fish to qualify for Regionals! This was the day that brought me to the point in tournament fishing that I told myself I must fish tournaments in a positive attitude. I made, to my knowledge, two mental mistakes during the day, and both mistakes cost me a fish. Waiting too long to set the hook and not using the net for a fish caught on a crank bait, those two mistakes made me miss the cut for the second day of the tournament by less than 1lb. My boater ended up winning this tournament on the second day.
While I was back at home on championship Sunday for the Super Tournament, my phone buzzed with a text from FLW showing the final standings for the Music City Division. I didn’t win C.O.Y. and I found myself beating myself up over losing the two fish, where either one would’ve allowed me the opportunity of winning my entire division – then I stopped myself…I finished in 3rd place! I had punched my ticket for the Regional! My attitude changed. Why focus on the lost fish? Why focus on a missed opportunity, when more doors opened, the Regional,  just down the road!
So to wrap-up the Music City Division…I had a fantastic year of fishing, made some friends that will last a lifetime, gave myself the chance to qualify for the All-American, but probably most of all – I learned to always use the best tool in my tackle box, a positive attitude.
Be sure to follow my social media page on Instagram and Facebook “Co2Pro Fishing” as I will be filming my life as a Co-Angler. Thanks to the best companies out there Kistler Rods, Hoppy’s Lures, HUK Gear, and Bass Militia/Militia Money Contingency Program.