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Lake life

What? A day off for MLF anglers

MLF angler Skeet Reese, left, has control of the remote while he and fellow MLF anglers John Murray and Brent Ehler enjoy a few relaxing moments watching MTV on TV.

Skeet Reese laughed when I asked him just what does a Major League Fishing professional angler do when he finds himself facing an unscheduled day off on the grueling pro bass tour, especially when the California resident finds himself in a weather cancellation in northeast Louisiana.

“We’re watching the show Ridiculousness on MTV,” he said, laughing again. “Right now we are just relaxing and hanging out. It’s pretty low key watching a bunch of stupid stunts on TV. Actually, it’s pretty entertaining.”

Ridiculousness showcases viral videos from the Internet, usually involving failed do-it-yourself attempts at stunts. It’s a good diversion from the pressure of fishing for the $100,000 first prize on the first stop of the MLF 2022 tour on D’Arbonne, Caney and Bussey Brake the next seven days.

Later this week, Reese and the other 79 MLF anglers fishing the prestigious event — a first of it’s kind for this part of the country — will still have to relax, but their mind will be on one thing. Catching bass.

“When we hit the water, it’s all serious business,” he said. “But today, we are just taking advantage of the time off. We’ll go up and look at the lake a little bit later this morning, but that’s about it for today.”

Breakfast for VanDam

Sandwich bread and hand warmers were on KVD’s Thursday shopping list

Perhaps the most well known pro bass angler in the country, Kevin VanDam, took advantage of the weather delay to do something he never gets to do.

“We went down the street in Farmerville to Tribe’s and ate breakfast,” he said. “I had eggs, sausage, biscuits, sausage gravy…the works. I don’t ever get to do that because I’m out on the water at daylight fishing in a tournament or practicing.”

VanDam also said it really isn’t a day off after that. He was spending the day catching up on his to-do list and getting on a couple of conference calls to plan out the business of being a pro bass angler.

Then he and several other anglers that are staying together went to the grocery store and got sandwich stuff and snacks.

“It’s going to be very cold for this tournament and you burn a lot of calories. Normally we only eat one meal a day and that’s at supper, but it will be important to keep our calories up in this weather,” he said. “I’m also taking the time to make sure I’ve got plenty of gloves, warm gear and handwarmers. I’m from Michigan, so we are used to the cold, but you’ve still got to keep comfortable.”

And they are going to make a day of it by ending it tonight with a crappie fish fry hosted by some local folks on the lake. Sounds like he’s got it figured out.

Jacob Wheeler

Wheeler: Mapping & social media

“I’m headed up to D’Arbonne to do a little scouting of what I can see from the boat ramps,” Wheeler said. “We can check out the water color, take a look at some of the lake in person and then enjoy some of the things the area has to offer.”

Then, it’s back to his room and spend some time looking at maps and making a plan for the first day of fishing. He’ll also double check all his gear to make sure he’s good to go when they do get to put a bait in the water.

“I didn’t get to practice on any of the lakes here before the cutoff, so it’s important to be organized in my approach. Even though we are off, and that doesn’t happen very often, there’s no time to twiddle your thumbs. I’ll be learning all I can from the maps to make a good plan.”

Wheeler is also going to shoot a little footage for some social media and catch up there, including doing a little work on a podcast later in the day. It’s always good to have a few extra minutes to catch up on that because it is an important part of what pros do today, especially if they want to be profitable at their chosen career.

The pro bass life is fun, but it is also a grind. So a day to slow down is appreciated. Wheeler said he’ll only be home in Tennessee about five days in the next two months. The rest of the time he will be fishing in practice or tournaments, attending boat shows and putting miles in on the road heading from one event to the next.

Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming MLF schedule. In fact, it might be easier to catch a 10-pound bass than to keep up with all this. But it’s a big week. Get out and enjoy it if you can. And keep up with what’s going on through the numerous MLF social media sites. It’s a big one!

The Schedule:

• Friday, Feb. 4
o 6:30 a.m. – 6:15 p.m. Official 80-Angler Practice Period on Lake D’Arbonne or Caney Creek Reservoir
o 4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Kickoff Event for Boys & Girls Club of North Louisiana at Monroe Civic Center

Saturday, Feb. 5
o 6:30 a.m. – 6:15 p.m. Official Group B Practice Period on Caney Creek Reservoir
o 6:30 a.m. 40 Anglers Competing in Qualifying Group A Arrive to Lake D’Arbonne State Park
o 7:30 a.m. Group A Anglers Depart and Ride Through Begins on Lake D’Arbonne
o 7:45 a.m. MLFNOW! Livestream Starts
o 8 a.m. Period One Begins
o 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Major League Fishing Festival at North Delta Boat & Outdoor Show
o 10:30 a.m. Break One
o 10:45 a.m. Period Two Begins
o 1:15 p.m. Break Two
o 1:30 p.m. Period Three Begins
o 4 p.m. End of Competition
o 4 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Anglers return to takeout at Lake D’Arbonne State Park
o 4:30 p.m. MLFNOW! Livestream Ends

Sunday, Feb. 6
o 6:30 a.m. – 6:15 p.m. Official Group A Practice Period on Caney Creek Reservoir
o 6:30 a.m. 40 Anglers Competing in Qualifying Group B Arrive to Lake D’Arbonne State Park
o 7:30 a.m. Group B Anglers Depart and Ride Through Begins on Lake D’Arbonne
o 7:45 a.m. MLFNOW! Livestream Starts
o 8 a.m. Period One Begins
o 10:30 a.m. Break One
o 10:45 a.m. Period Two Begins
o 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Major League Fishing Festival at North Delta Boat & Outdoor Show
o 1:15 p.m. Break Two
o 1:30 p.m. Period Three Begins
o 4 p.m. End of Competition
o 4 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Anglers return to takeout at Lake D’Arbonne State Park
o 4:30 p.m. MLFNOW! Livestream Ends

Monday, Feb. 7
o 6:30 a.m. – 6:15 p.m. Official Group B Ride-Through (4-hour) Period on Bussey Brake
o 6:30 a.m. 40 Anglers Competing in Qualifying Group A Arrive to Lake D’Arbonne State Park
o 7:30 a.m. Group A Anglers Depart and Ride Through Begins on Lake D’Arbonne
o 7:45 a.m. MLFNOW! Livestream Starts
o 8 a.m. Period One Begins
o 10:30 a.m. Break One
o 10:45 a.m. Period Two Begins
o 1:15 p.m. Break Two
o 1:30 p.m. Period Three Begins
o 4 p.m. End of Competition
o 4 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Anglers return to takeout at Lake D’Arbonne State Park
o 4:30 p.m. MLFNOW! Livestream Ends

Tuesday, Feb. 8
o 6:30 a.m. – 6:15 p.m. Official Group A Ride-Through (4-hour) Period on Bussey Brake
o 6:30 a.m. 40 Anglers Competing in Qualifying Group B Arrive to Lake D’Arbonne State Park
o 7:30 a.m. Group B Anglers Depart and Ride Through Begins on Lake D’Arbonne
o 7:45 a.m. MLFNOW! Livestream Starts
o 8 a.m. Period One Begins
o 10:30 a.m. Break One
o 10:45 a.m. Period Two Begins
o 1:15 p.m. Break Two
o 1:30 p.m. Period Three Begins
o 4 p.m. End of Competition
o 4 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Anglers return to takeout at Lake D’Arbonne State Park
o 4:30 p.m. MLFNOW! Livestream Ends

Wednesday, Feb. 9
o 6:30 a.m. 38 Anglers Competing in Knockout Round Arrive to Caney Creek Hooks Marina
o 7:30 a.m. Anglers Depart and Ride Through Begins on Caney Creek Reservoir
o 7:45 a.m. MLFNOW! Livestream Starts
o 8 a.m. Period One Begins
o 10:30 a.m. Break One
o 10:45 a.m. Period Two Begins
o 1:15 p.m. Break Two
o 1:30 p.m. Period Three Begins
o 4 p.m. End of Competition
o 4 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Anglers return to takeout at Caney Creek Hooks Marina
o 4:30 p.m. MLFNOW! Livestream Ends

Thursday, Feb. 10
o 6:30 a.m. Final 10 Anglers Competing in Championship Round Arrive to Bussey Brake
o 7:30 a.m. Anglers Depart and Ride Through Begins on Bussey Brake
o 7:45 a.m. MLFNOW! Livestream Starts
o 8 a.m. Period One Begins
o 10:30 a.m. Break One
o 10:45 a.m. Period Two Begins
o 1:15 p.m. Break Two
o 1:30 p.m. Period Three Begins
o 4 p.m. End of Competition
o 4 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Anglers return to takeout at Bussey Brake
o 4:30 p.m. MLFNOW! Livestream Ends
o 5 p.m. (estimate) Stage One Championship Trophy Presentation at Bussey Brake Ramp

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