|My Boater Dave Branum from the Morning We Pre-fished|
Conditions: Cloudy in the morning turning sunny then partly cloudy. Wind from almost calm to about 10mph out of the S SE. It did sprinkle for a little while. I could have used less wind.
My Plan- I was really hoping the wind would stay low enough to allow me to fish topwater all day. After the pre-fish I figured it was a plan that had a chance of winning the tournament. Honestly, I usually don't fish thinking I am going to win a tournament, but that was my mind set on this one.
The Day- I believe we blasted off around 6:40AM and we got our starting spot. Well one caveat to that statement. We got our starting spot, which was a fairly big area, but there was a non-competitors boat fishing right in the middle of it. We did get to start on the spot where we got the double and I got 2 smallies. It took about 10 to 15 minutes, but I got a 15" largie on a Paycheck Baits Repo Man. I think I missed a hit and noticed on a couple of casts I had fish following but not hitting. So I took the Repo Man off and went to the KVD Dawg. I got a 14.25" and a 15.25" on that. Dave got 1 or two fish. The other boat landed a few as well. Eventually we moved on the other side of the other boat. I had a nice pike blow up on the KVD. Then it got calm for a little while. I started throwing a gold Frenzy Popper and I got 13.75" and a 12.5" on that. The other boat left and the wind came up. We weren't getting bites so we left.
Our next spot was a weedline where we got a few pre-fishing including 1 nice smallie. The wind was blowing here pretty good. I started out throwing the KVD Dawg, then a Kelly J, then a Strike King Spinnerbait. I got a hit right away on the spinnerbait, but it was a slimmer. I did get a 10 bass and 13.25" bass on the Kelly J.
We moved to a sunken island with weeds and rocks. I culled out my 2 smallest with a 15.25" and a 14" on the Repo Man. Dave got himself a nice smallie (2-10) and lost a another better largemouth as he was bring it to the boat. I decided to throw a Lake Fork Craw Tube for a little bit and was quickly rewarded with a 16.25" largie (1-15). I started catching a bunch of rock bass as well.
Next we headed to our starting area. The wind was blowing pretty good there. I started experimenting with lipless cranks. I was on my 4th one, a 3/4oz chart/red Red Eye Shad, when I had a 15 to 16 inch largemouth hit it. It only had one hook and got off. I then caught a hammer handle. Then I got the fish I was looking for, a good smallmouth. It hit on the end of a long cast and shot up out of the water trying to throw my bait. It then swam towards the boat. Reeling as fast as I could I was able to keep up with it. I had it about 4 feet from the net when it tail walked and came off. I would say it was 17" inch 3lb class fish. I ended up catching a rock bass and a perch on the Red Eye as well.
We moved to a weedline that was protected from the wind. I started throwing the Repo Man. A 17" or so smallie jumped on it about 12 feet out from the boat. It missed the bait and must have seen me because it didn't come back for it. Dave got a largemouth, which helped him and then he dropped one that had to be at least 3 1/2 lbs, probably a bit more.
We went back to the island where Dave got the smallmouth. I don't remember if he caught anything but rock bass. I got a couple of rock bass on the Red Eye. We finished up on our starting spot. I got a couple of rock bass on the craw tube.
Results- My 6 fish weighed 9lbs 8ozs which put me in 24th Place with 26 anglers fishing. Dave's fish went 10lbs 15ozs and put him in 11th Place. The winner was Darren Kiefer with 14lbs 5ozs and Lunker went to Bill Ludenia with a 4-1 largemouth, at least I think it was a largemouth. Bill came in 2nd with 13-14. Everyone got a limit. Fishing was tougher than expected.
Thoughts- I'm disappointed. Like I said in quick report I had the bites to do well, Top 10 for sure, and my boater had the fish on to contend for the win, but our execution left something to be desired. Part of my execution problem stems from the rod I was throwing the Red Eye Shad on. The rod is a Lamiglas Excel 735. Great for throwing a long cast, but not forgiving enough for playing the fish. It's great a rod for frogs and dipper style swimbaits, but treble hook lures not so much.. On a softer rod I may have gotten both of the one's I lost.
I can't really do anything about a fish that misses my topwater lure. I played that fish perfect, letting the topwater sit before starting it up again and then throwing a follow up lure. That fish saw me and was gone. The wind was such that I didn't get to throw topwater as much as I wanted too.
Next Tournament Leech Lake July 19th.