The top of Smith Mountain

I almost don’t know what to say after a weekend like I just had.

I start every season with two goals: (1) to win a regular season Elite Series event and (2) to win the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year title.

One goal down; one to go.

It feels really good to break through after losing in the Delta by an ounce; but to win, and by the second largest margin in Elite Series history, is a great feeling. I guess it may even be enough to make up for all those ounces that other anglers beat me by.

The first time we were there, I threw a drop shot a lot, and last year I mainly fished for spawners but threw a swimbait a little as well. This year, the swimbait was the main thing, and I mixed in a little bit of sight fishing when I came across one.

Smith Mountain just seems to set up really well for me. In three trips there I’ve finished in the top 10 twice — and now a win. I grew up fishing docks on Clear Lake and, with so many of them on Smith Mountain, I feel comfortable there.

That being said, I didn’t really target docks this year. Instead, I ran a bunch of different banks — as many as 40 to 60 spots a day — throwing the Rago Bait Co. SKT Swimmer. I was catching them in 1 to 3 feet of water around rocks.

I threw the swimbait on my 7-foot, 6-inch Wright & McGill Co. Skeet Reese Tessera Swimbait/Carolina Rig Rod and SKT Revo with 20-pound-test Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon.

I filled in a few fish on a watermelon Berkley PowerBait Heavyweight Worm on a 1/0 TroKar drop shot hook on 8-pound-test 100% Fluorocarbon with an Abu Garcia Soron spinning reel with my Wright & McGill Co. Shaky Head/Senko rod.

After the big move I made on Day 3, and starting the final day with a 6-pound lead, I really wasn’t sure what kind of weight I’d need to close it out. So, when it took me a while to catch my first fish on the final morning, I started to get nervous.

I managed to catch a 3-pounder, then a 2 1/2, and when my third fish of the morning was a 5-pounder, I felt like I had enough. But, without knowing what everybody else has, you always feel like you want a little more. When I closed out my limit, I felt pretty confident; and when I caught the 6-9 at 1:30, I knew it was over.

I got so excited when I landed the big fish, I raised my arms over my head and somehow knocked my Wiley X signature sunglasses off my head, bouncing them off the deck and into the water. I told the spectators to mark their waypoints, because they could be one of the first to get my new shades if they wanted to swim.

The fans were awesome. It was a great weekend. I loved being able to hold that trophy high. The only thing that would have made it better would have been if Kim and the girls were there. They make everything better.

It’s OK that they weren’t though. It was for a worthy cause. Lea and Courtney rode a trike-a-thon as a fundraiser for St. Jude’s Hospital on Sunday afternoon and Kim volunteered, as well. Lea rode 275 laps in two hours, breaking a record. I guess she’s kind of like me. When she sets her sights on something, she goes after it. I’m really proud of my girls. It was a great weekend for the Reese family.