|3-Time Champ Chuck Fields|
Conditions: Heavy Overcast with some fog until about Noon, then partly cloudy. Wind: Calm to 4mph from all directions.
At blast off, we headed North to a fairly good size sunken island. Chuck made a self-described rookie move and accidentally ran us right over the juice. About a half-hour in, Chuck put the first bass in the boat. A solid keeper that may have been culled out by the end of the day. About 15-minutes later, I got the skunk out of the boat with my big fish of the day (3/10) on a craw tube. Chuck handed me the net with the fish in it. I went to step down off the back casting deck and got punched hard just under my nose by the net's hoop. Hurt like a son of a gun, and I was surprised I wasn't bleeding. The area is still tender more than a week later. A couple minutes later, Chuck had a 4lber jump him off about 10 feet from the boat just after I grabbed the net. I think Chuck caught one more fish on that jig but lost 3 or 4 more, so he cut it off and gave it to me. Chuck got his second keeper in the boat about an hour in. I wasn't getting any bites on the craw tube, so I decided to see if maybe they would hit topwater as there was some surface activity. I think I missed my first 5 or 6 bites; I think they were little bass. After a miss, I finally hooked into a boil, and it was a good fish (2.46). I got one short, and then the topwater bite shut off.
I think we moved, and I got a 2.25lber that clocked my Strike King Buzz Toad Buzzbait with Z-Man ToadZ. We moved again. Chuck filled his limit. I started throwing a jig and caught 3 pretty quickly. Chuck said I would be an idiot if I were to fish any else but a jig the rest of the day. We tried one more crowded spot on the North End, then headed East, but Snatcher Ludenia was on the juice, so we headed south to try a short stretch of docks. Chuck lost a good one that he very well might have caught later in the day one dock over. We ran back north to the starting spot. I got a pike on the buzzbait. I don't remember if Chuck caught anything. We moved a couple of times. I had a fish miss the buzzbait, fired a cast right back, and got my final cull of the day. We would have had a double, but Chuck lost the one he had on, which he didn't think would have helped him. I think I got a fish or two that didn't help on a jig. We returned to that spot on the East side of the lake, and Ludenia was there again. We went south and fished docks for the final couple of hours. Chuck lost a couple more toads. Culled up a couple of times. I got a few that didn't help my cause. Chuck hit the jackpot on one of the final few docks, finally getting a 4lber in the boat.
Results: My fish weighed 15/02, which was only good enough for 10th Place. Chuck Fields won his third tournament of the year with 18/13 and caught 5/04 Lunker. Snatcher Nate came in 2nd with 18/7. And Snatcher Dennis got 3rd with 18/05. Hammer was the Co-Angler Challenge Winner with a 17/11 bag out of Snatcher Dennis's boat, which broke down at their first stop on the North end of the lake.
My Thoughts: Basically, all the boaters but one really sacked 'em, and so did Hammer. Whaddya gonna do. I don't think I lost anything that hurt me. All of my fish were over 2lbs. Going to need a high finish and for a couple guys to stumble if I am going to make the Top 10 this year.