Julia Davis and Rick LaCourse’s 2005 FLW Journal

Category: journal

 May 2nd, 2005 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified May 2nd, 2005 at 12:00 AM

Introducing Julia “Juls” Davis and Rick LaCourseJulia Davis and Rick LaCourse are the only full-time husband and wife combo on the FLW Tour. Rick and Juls both fish the pro side of the FLW Walleye Tour. Juls hold the distinction of being the only female walleye angler to make the Top-Twenty Pro cut on the FLW Walleye Tour.Husband Rick is a former PWT Championship winner with over seventy-five top 25 finishes to his credit, most recently finishing 4th at the 2005 Lake RErie FLW event, and 4th at the 2004 RCL Championship.Rick and Juls are sponsored by Evinrude Outboards, Ranger Boats, Minn Kota, Gemini Sports, Lowrance Electronics, and Off Shore Tackle. Juls is also sponsored by Lindy Legendary Fishing Tackle.Throughout the course of 2005, they will be giving you a play by play of their season through this journal. The ups, the downs. The good the bad, and the ugly. Their journal is an inside look at the “glamorous” life of the professional walleye angler. Preparing for the FLW Walleye Tour season:3.13.2005 (Sunday):After weeks of getting all of our gear ready for the first tournament at Bull Shoals, we are waiting for our new E-TECs to arrive, so we can get them hung on the Rangers and finish rigging them before we can leave for Arkansas. We must be patient, because Evinrude has to do 500 hours of testing on a new part in the lower unit before they will release any of the motors. We have not been given a shipping date yet. I just know it’s going to be a hectic time when they do arrive, since we had planned on leaving for Bull Shoals on the 20th, but it’s nothing we can’t handle together.3.14.2005 (Monday):We have been given a shipping notification!!! Our motors are expected at our dealer by Thursday or Friday. We call our dealer to find out if they will be able to hang the motors when they arrive. We are told that they will do all they can to “get-r-done” when they come in. 3.18.2005 (Friday):Bruce, at Dixie Marine, notifies us that the motors had arrived at 1:45 today, and that one of the service techs has agreed to come in on his day off the next day, to do the job for us. Now, that’s what I call going above and beyond the call of duty for a customer! 3.19.2005 (Saturday):Rick leaves at 3:30am to head down to Fairfield, OH, which is about a 3 « hour drive from Port Clinton, so that he could be there to help out when the doors opened at 7am. I am still at home, because my oldest dog Jack hurt his front leg romping on the beach the day before with our new puppy, Jill. I thought I would have to visit the vet, but as it turned out, Jack was walking much better by the time I got up in the morning. Rick called me at 9am and said, “your boat is done.come on down and pick it up. Mine will be done by the time you get here”. 4 « hours later, I arrive at Dixie, and help finish up some odd and ends rigging with the boys, and Rick and I head back home around 4pm.3.20.2005 (Sunday):Rick and I spend the day rigging the boat with everything that didn’t get done down at Dixie. Rod holders, Panther Electro-Steer, and Prop Savers ect.Earlier, it was our plan to leave for Bull Shoals today, but since that is not a possibility, I have had to contact some of the friends I had lined up to pre-fish with down there, and reschedule them for the following week. Several had to cancel since it no longer worked into their schedule, but two of them we able to work it out.3.21.2005 (Monday)In the morning Rick and I drove the boats over to the building where we keep all our gear, to load the boats up with everything that was taken out of our old boats last year, and with everything we think we will need for Bull Shoals. Having never fished there before, it was a little difficult to figure out what we needed to take with us. By the time we finished with both boats, and loading both trucks, it was dinner time. Another day gone. Will we ever leave for Arkansas?3.22.2005 (Tuesday)Another busy day, but we are getting closer to leaving! List of chores for the day:LaundryClean houseGo to court house to get boats titled/registeredGo to BMV to get trailers licensedCall sign place to get boat numbers made asapGet oil change on my truck while I wait for the boat numbers to be finished across the streetPick up boat numbers and go home.Pack the trucks with suitcases etc.First Tournament Site of the Year.Bull Shoals!3.23.2005 (Wednesday)After closing up the house, getting the dogs in the truck, and making sure we have plenty of coffee and “road food”, we finally hit the road! A good book (on cd) makes the uneventful drive much easier, since the entire drive was in gloomy/raining conditions. 14 hours and 800 plus miles later we arrive in Bull Shoals. We are staying at the Dogwood Lodge, and have a nice 1960’s style two bedroom cabin, with a screened in porch for the dogs, that looks West over the Bull Shoals boat dock. What a view! The sunsets will be awesome.3.24.2005 (Thursday)The first order of business for us this morning is to head over to the Ranger Factory to get my boat in for some minor adjustments with the rigging..nothing serious. We visited with our friends in the offices too.While we are there we put our boat numbers on the hulls to make us legal. In the afternoon we found a sign company that would make up our names to put on our motors. With the price he quoted us down here, I wish I would have had him make up our boat numbers too! He was 1/3rd the price of the sign companies in the North. What’s up with that??It’s raining again, and getting late, so we didn’t fish. On the bright side, signs of Spring are dotting the countryside here. Colors are everywhere. The Dogwood and Redbud trees are starting to bloom, as are the Daffodils, Crocuses, Forsythia, and Pear trees. The grass is green here, and it’s a welcome site from the snow and dead brown colors we left back in Ohio.3.25.2005 (Friday): It’s Good Friday, but it’s not so good for us. Thunderstorms are on the radar. The cabin doesn’t have a phone, so I do not have internet access (poor addicted me). Our cell phones do not work here, so we are trying to find a way to communicate. The calling card Rick has is an old one from North Dakota, and no longer works. We bought another one, but for some reason, it’s not working either. That’s weird. We finally give in, and go buy a Trak Phone from WalMart around 9pm. It’s money well spent, since Rick would go nuts without a phone. It’s getting late, and it’s another day spent running around and not on the water.3.26.2005 (Saturday):We sleep in, because the rushing and running around is catching up to us. After a good breakfast, we make some phone calls, and meet up with some friends and discuss the lake and the conditions we face with the spawn. The locals are telling us that the Walleye don’t spawn here until the water hits 55-56 degrees and there needs to be good weather for at least three days before they will spawn. That’s hard for us to believe, since the Walleye up North spawn at cooler temperatures. We take them for their word, and figure that since the water temps right now are in the high 40’s, the Walleye are staging for the spawn. We will check out the creek arms first.3.27.2005 (Sunday): It’s Easter. The town closes for the Holiday. We decide to take a day off, rest, and putz around in the boats getting the gear ready.3.28.2005 (Monday): Finally going fishing! Or, so I thought….Since Rick and I were basically the first to have 225 E-TECs on Ranger 621’s, no one knew which hole to mount the motors in. Rick had Dixie Marine mount his in the second hole, and mine in the third hole. We ran both boats and tested the rpm’s and speed, and found that both of us would need to move the motors to the fourth hole for the best performance. While Rick goes out fishing in my boat, I get sent to Ranger with his boat to have the motor moved. I’m stuck on shore.again. At least I have the dogs to keep me company.My boat will go back to Ranger one more time to get my motor moved too. We’re still trying to find the right prop to use, and Ranger has given us a few to try.3.29.2005 (Tuesday): After breakfast we hit the water with great anticipation. We fished for 7 hours. A few Bass were the only thing we caught today. 3.30.2005 (Wednesday):Had to take Rick’s boat to Ranger for some minor adjustments, and after breakfast we hit the water again. With gas prices as high as they are right now, we’re doing our pre-fishing together. We trailer the boat up to the upper dam at Forsyth, put in and drive around looking for fish on the locator. After a few hours we put the boat back on the trailer and head home. We will come back tomorrow when the winds have died down, and put in a long day with some friends who will join us.3.31.2005 (Thursday):Two friends I met on the Outdoor Missouri site, and who belong to the MWAA club in Missouri, meet Rick and I for breakfast at an agreed upon location up by Forsyth. After breakfast, we decide who is going with who, and we hit the water. I have Bill Lynn a/k/a CoyoteWhacker with me, and Rick has Marty Ford a/k/a TableRock. Both men are fun to be around and they’re both looking forward to learning a new technique that hasn’t been used in their area..until now. It’s called Handlining. After some quick training, both men seemed to adapt to the technique pretty easily. Unfortunately, there were no fish caught in my boat today. Rick’s boat however, caught one short fish, and they lost two nice fish. There’s no telling what those two fish were that they lost. Bill brought the lunch for all of us, and when he handed me a sandwich with some funny looking meat, I asked, “what is this?” He replied, “what’s the label say?” After looking at the label I rolled my eyes and said, “oh man, no thanks! I don’t eat road kill”. He laughed and said, he made the labels up as a joke. The label read, “smoked possum”. It was actually very good. Smoked brisket that he ground up in the food processor with mayo, mustard, and some type of Cajun spice.I forget the name. He also brought Moon Pies and some homemade blackberry wine. ***Of course the wine didn’t get opened until that evening, when we were back home and relaxing. My parents called and said they have arrived at the Lodge. They will be spending a couple days with us. They are on their way home to Wisconsin after spending 5 months wintering down in Texas. It’s Dad’s Birthday today, so I make sure we are off the water in time to make the hour and a half drive back without being late for dinner. Rick and I took my parents out to dinner at the 178 Club (the nicest restaurant in Bull Shoals). After dinner everyone decided it was time to hit the hay, so we could get a good nights sleep.4.1.2005 (Friday): It’s raining again. I decide today is a good day to go do the laundry and spend the day with my parents. Rick has gone over to Ranger to try on another prop. The rain stopped in the afternoon, so Rick and I planned on heading out to hit some fishing spots, but that got delayed with one test ride with the new prop. Back to Ranger we go, to get the original prop again. We decide that we will run the motors with their current props for the tournament and work on finding the best prop when we get back home to Port Clinton.We’ve run out of daylight, so it’s a no-go on the pre-fishing..again. 4.2.2005 (Saturday):Parents left this morning after a early morning visit and some coffee. Rick goes fishing with Randy, and I take my boat out to explore some spots and wet a line. I’m skunked again. Rick and Randy caught some bass and crappies, but no walleye. I’m beginning to think that there are no Walleye in Bull Shoals, but I saw the catches the boys on the PWT had last year during the month of June, so I know the lake has a healthy population.I/we just can’t find them, and it seems from what I’m hearing, no one else can either! This is going to be an interesting tournament to say the least.4.3.2005 (Sunday):Rick and I fished together today. We concentrated on the creek arms, and found shallow water way up and in back of them. We had some fun catching bass in Jimmy Creek, but again no Walleye to be caught by either of us today. We are both very frustrated with this fishery so far.4.4.2005 (Monday):Things are looking up! Rick and I drove up to Forsyth again today, to try Handlining the river again. I changed the length of my leads from our previous time up here and had better success. I caught 4 short Walleye and one about 5-6 pounds. I thought we finally had a pattern to work with, so our enthusiasm was picking up. 4.5.2005 (Tuesday):We took the day off to organize the boats and our gear. The rest of the day was spent doing PR work for our sponsors. We registered at 3pm, and went back to the cottage to finish making up leads and shanks for the Handlines, or I should say, “I did”. Rick got dressed in his fancies and went back to the meeting hall for an interview/photo shoot with the Lindners for their FLW show. I met up with him later for the meeting. After meeting with my Co Angler, for the next day, we went home and got some sleep. 4:15am comes early.4.6.2005 (Wednesday) First day of the tournament:Rick and I were both making the long run up the lake to Forsyth, which is about a 67 mile run from the Bull Shoals Boat Dock. This would be our first time making the run by water. It didn’t take as long as I had expected, and maybe it was the beauty of the countryside that made the time fly by, but it only took 80 minutes to make the run up. My Co-Angler and I stopped at Beaver Creek Marina to gas up before heading further up river to my spot. To make a long story short, it was an uneventful day with no fish caught in my boat, or Rick’s boat. My Co Angler, Guy (that’s his real name), was super, and made the zero just a bit easier to take. Out of 104 teams, only 32 fish were caught today. That’s not looking good. With some of the top names in the Walleye world coming in with zeros today, I’m not feeling as bad.4.7.2005 (Thursday): Second day of the tournament:My decision to stay below on the lower lake today was made entirely on the price of gas and oil. For both Rick and I to make the run up to the upper end it cost us close to $500.00 ($250.00 per boat). Unfortunately, for me, it was the wrong day to choose to stay below. Rick caught one keeper and lost two good ones up there. Rob Lampan, who was also fishing up above with us, caught the big fish of the tournament, a nice 9 pounder and a 3 pounder, moving him into 3rd place. Both Rick and Rob were trolling bottom bouncers with spinners.I however, had worse luck. My Co Angler Julie reeled in a big fish, that at first glance we thought was a huge walleye, but turned out to be a walleye with Botox- injected lips..you guessed it.it was a carp. Julie and I were trolling shallow running cranks along the main lake points, with three Off Shore planer boards close to shore, and one deep crank off the corner of the boat. At around noon, my transducer plate fell off and left me without the ability to measure depth, which in a place like Bull Shoals is a real tragedy. We decided to hit the back of Jimmy Creek, where I had marked a lot of fish, and we casted cranks, so I could use the bow mount and the locator up there. No other fish were caught in my boat today.Out of 104 teams, only 29 fish were caught today! That’s worse than yesterday! Thank goodness Rick has caught a fish. He will have his points towards the championship and angler of the year standings. I have one more day to try to get my fish.4.8.2005 (Friday): Third day of the tournament:With some prodding from Rick and Rob, I bit the bullet and opened up my wallet to make the run to the upper end again today. With the fish that were caught up there yesterday, my outlook is a little brighter. I will be fishing with a Co Angler from Nebraska. His name is Jason Lange, and he’s sitting in 9th place right now. Rick’s Co Angler is sitting in 8th place. On our way up, my prop decides it wants to spin a hub..ouch! Luckily Rick is behind me by only a ¬ mile and stops to assist me. He has a spare prop in his boat. As the two Co Anglers hold the boats, Rick does the job quickly, and has me back up and running in less than 5 minutes. Thanks Honey!After hitting a thick patch of fog in the most hazardous part of the river, that shuts us down to a crawl, we make it to our destination. I decide once again to gas up at Beaver Creek before fishing, so that I know we will have enough time to make it back to weigh in. With Rick’s advice, and because of the spare prop that is on my boat, I will have to give myself more time, since I have to make sure to keep my speed and rpm’s at a certain level.The dam is not letting any water through this morning, so there is no flow. The flow is what turns the fish on up here and it’s just not happening for us today. Jason kept a positive outlook, and expressed that he was just happy to be learning a new technique. I really enjoy fishing with people like him, because it makes it a much better time in the boat with someone like that.Rick and Rob have both zeroed today too. Oh well, they still have their weights and points from yesterday. Rob will make the cut and go on to fish tomorrow.I’m bummed, because I will not have my points towards the championship.Out of 104 teams, only 21 fish were caught today! How can that be? The weather has improved daily, but the fish catches are worse each day. That’s very weird.After going back to the cottage for a shower and a change of clothes, Rick and I head over to Ranger for the evening. They are holding a “Meet the Pros” event, and several of the pros are giving short seminars. Among them are Rick, Ted Takasaki, Bill Leanord, Ross Grothe, Ted Merdan, and Tommy Skarlis. Rick and Tommy have the crowd laughing during the raffle drawings.We go to dinner, and then to bed. Even though we are done fishing, we still have a very busy day tomorrow.4.9.2005 (Saturday): Top Ten fish todayWhile Rick lets me sleep in a little today, he goes down to the dock to pull my boat. He changes my prop, and brings the boat back to the cabin. I jump in and get it clean, while he goes back down to the dock to get his boat. When he brings his back, I jump in that one and clean it up too. Then we have to launch the boats again, so we can use them to give people test rides during the “Ranger/Evinrude On the Water Display” that is open to the public from 11am-2pm. After a quick lunch, we head over to the WalMart to help Ted Merdan, who is inside talking with customers about walleye fishing and the tournament. At 4pm we head outside to watch the weigh-in. Out of the top ten, only one angler has caught a fish today. Unbelievable! Please check out the leader board, here on Walleye First, for the final results. Rick and I head back to the cabin, and start packing up the trucks and boats for our trip home tomorrow morning. Rob Lampman, who finished 4th (I think) has invited us and a few others out for dinner at the 178 club tonight.Thanks Rob!4.10.2005 (Sunday):14 hours later, we arrive home. Home Sweet Home! The dogs are very happy to have their couch to sleep on again, and we’re happy to have our own bed to sleep in again!The next tournament is in our backyard, so the good news is.we won’t have to travel for this one. It will be fun to be catching fish instead of scratching our heads wondering why we can’t catch them!To be Cont’d at Lake Erie…

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