|1lb 10ozs Lake Fork Craw Tube (Grn Pumkin/Brown)|
Conditions: 60-83℉, Partly to Mostly Sunny, Wind All Day out of multiple directions
I came into this tournament without a care in the world. I was not prepared mentally for how difficult catching fish might prove. After the pre-fish I was sure we were gonna catch a limit a piece. Boy was I wrong. Normally, I am content to let my boater call all the shots for the day and am loathe to offer suggestions. I need to recognize instances where I need to be more assertive. This tournament was probably one of those instances, but I can't say with any confidence that the results would have been much different.
I had thought to myself that starting where we caught multiple fish and then quickly left in 371 Bay should be our start spot. Checkbook suggested we start in the reeds where we got fish in Merrifield Bay. No problem. Fish for 30 minutes, if we don't get a bite get out of there and go to 371. That is pretty much the way it played out.
When we got to 371 Bay a boat was anchored maybe 50 yards to the NE of the juice. We were there maybe 15 minutes and Checkbook got bit off. I don't remember if I had gone to the front of the boat or not when I caught my only bass of the day on a Lake Fork Craw Tube. I threw out a marker buoy and went and got the fish weighed and put a cull tag in. By the time I was ready to fish again Checkbook was retied and back on the trolling motor. Over the next hour or so I missed a couple of hits and got a pike. I think Checkbook caught a pike. The boat that was anchored finally left. Checkbook wanted to leave as well. I thought we should fish toward where the boat was anchored, but didn't speak up.
We went to the reeds in 371 that I had a blow up in during pre-fish. Checkbook got his lone keeper there on a jig.
Next we headed to the main lake. We apparently just missed fishing a spot that had a bunch of small keepers on it. We didn't find the weeds. I suggested we try some docks. We went to either a resort or marina not sure which. Didn't get anything there. We fished some reeds nothing. Tried another spot close by. Nothing. We headed back to Merrifield Bay and fished the steep break on the North Shore narrows into the bay. A good looking spot, but we didn't get a hit other than me getting bit off once.
Next we tried some reeds on the South shoreline, nothing. We tried some docks. I think Checkbook got a rock bass. We tried some more reeds and some great looking shallow slop along the cattail shoreline. Not a sign of a fish. It was now about 2PM and both us were pretty frustrated. I think I pulled the plug on where we were fishing maybe a bit to quickly as we were approaching some good looking water with some cain and thicker reeds, but I really wanted to get back to that weedline spot on 371 and that is where we went and spent the rest of the day. We caught several pike there and both got bit off in the final hour. I also missed a few hits that might have been bass. I later learned that a lot of the bass bites felt like panfish and you really had to coax them into taking it. Or it could be that panfish were playing with a bait until a bass came to investigate. Whatever, the day was over and we didn't figure that part of the puzzle out.
Results: My fish weighed 1lb 10ozs, which put me in 23rd Place out of 24 anglers with Checkbook taking last. Keith Tuma won by more than a pound and a half with 17/09 and with 4/05 Lunker.
My Thoughts: I didn't really get spun out. It's just that everything we tried didn't work. If anything I was to casual believing we would eventually find and catch some bass. Looking back at my tournament results in July I haven't caught a limit in the month since 2012, ouch. This finish pretty much forces my hand. If I want any shot at making the Super 6 at the end of the year I'm going to have to fish Thunder Lake and miss my oldest brothers wedding ceremony. A disaster on this level next month at Gull will make that decision a moot point.
Next Tournament: Gull Lake August 12th