Posted on July 7, 2017

July 4th was an average day, lunch with the in laws, working on the boat/tackle. Big plans to hit the Grand River in the morning and then work on Lake Michigan all night. Things quickly changed when Amanda's water broke and she jolted out of bed. I grabbed the bags and off we went to Grand Rapids, it was time to have this baby. I will say it was nice having the light traffic in the middle of the night.

I had been desperately pleading with the baby to stay in there until after my D&R tournament on Saturday. But it turns out she wasn't going to listen and the day was finally here (much to Amanda's relief). She has been over pregnancy for a little bit, and we couldn't wait to meet our little surprise. We (well mostly Amanda) wanted the gender to be a surprise at birth so that added one more exciting thing to the whole process. She was right by the way, the surprise at the end was worth it. Besides all that mattered to either of us was a healthy baby and mom.

After about 12 hours of labor we finally got to meet our little girl. I will say what a crazy moment, impossible to put everything into any actual words. I fulfilled my role of support staff without passing out or getting weak ( I struggle with that stuff). But I was very very diligent in making sure I didn't see things that I didn't want to see. Amanda rocked it throughout the whole thing, I'm really happy men don't have to go through all that. The nurses/doctors here are superhero's too, everyone has been awesome here at Butterworth in Grand Rapids. I'm actually writing this from the hospital right now, since I went home to get Hutch some activity today and grabbed my computer. Huge thanks to Aaron, Kyle/Lea, and Shaun Ford for stepping in spur of the moment to  keep the Hutch Man happy. 

It was also pretty special that all the parents were able to get out of work for the day and be at the hospital before Mabel was born. She's going to get lots of love from more than just Amanda, Hutch, and I. Anyway Amanda and I couldn't be happier with our little addition to the family, it's going to be a lot of fun!

I could go on and on about thoughts on the new addition. But we will get into some fishing instead. I had big plans for the Dylan Compagner Memorial tournament on White Lake and a lot of confidence. Chief meteorologist Dave Hoeker (he is the worst "meteorologist" I've ever met) and I went up to White Lake on Wednesday that week and won a West Michigan Bass tournament. Then the following day Doug Gray and I finished 2nd on Muskegon digging around in the grass with bullet craws again. I was getting excited they were finally going to start playing my game. Although I was actually pretty happy with how the post spawn bite played out for me this year (other than a couple of tournaments). So I was expecting big things now that we were getting to some early summer feeding.

We had a beautiful morning the tournament and a great turnout. It was good to see so many people involved this year because it was a memorial tournament. I had never met Dylan but it was obvious he is missed and well liked because there was a lot of support  for him, his brother, and fishing buds at the tournament. Quite a bit of money was raised in his name as a gift for an outdoor charity as well (I can't remember exactly what it was). The fishing started out bad for us and stayed that way. I spent  a lot of time in the grass and it just didn't pay off.  4 little ones and a 4lber was all we could come up with. Usually I don't have an issue catching quality fish there it's more of a challenge in getting that big bite or 2. To add insult to injury it got cold and absolutely poured for the last hour and a half. Neither my partner and I had rain gear in the boat since it wasn't supposed to rain. It was a horrible feeling being cold, wet, and having a weak bag of fish. But Billy (the founder of Reel n Smoke) and I had a ton of fun in our annual tournament even though we didn't catch a bunch of fish like last year.

During all this fishing I've been checking out a few new products. One that really surprised me was the Dobyns Fury 765 flip. For a budget flipping stick at 109.99, it's incredibly awesome. No it isn't going to replace my Champion Extreme 795's, but I think I'll keep one or 765's in the boat. It is the perfect rod for someone just starting out or a veteran who needs add another big stick to the arsenal without breaking the bank. They really did a good job balancing and making it sensitive and light. I also have spent some time with both the Lew's custom and the Lew's Mach II baitcasters. Both of those feature Winn grips and so far I'm a fan. They both cast a long ways, but I really like how light the custom is. They are also both part of the SLP series so they are even more compact than the Lew's you are used to.

Other than I've got the D&R series coming up this weekend and I haven't been on the river yet this year. Luckily Shaun was out there a couple weekends ago and hopefully some baby luck will rub off on me and we will be able to make the right guesses on tournament day.