Wednesday, June 22, 2011

.....and the bite is back on

     Sunday we had our second club tournament of the year and if I could sum up the fishing in one word, that word would be...."unbelievable". It wasn't a tournament that saw quantities of 3lb and 4lb fish, however, when your tossing over dozens of 2-1/4lb to 2-1/2lb fish because they wont help increase your weight, then you know it's been a good day on the water.
     My partner for this tournament was club member Harry, who is a quality stick with club championships and regional qualifiers on his resume. Harry is the proud owner of a new Legend boat and I have to say this smooth riding boat has all the amenities to go with the balanced ride, quick hole shot, and top end speed. As we idled out of the marina, we discussed our strategy for the day and decided to start in a spot we were comfortable getting a quick limit, and later in the day we'd try and locate larger fish to increase our weight. With any tournament, its never a good sign when you drop the boat down, turn around and see a half dozen other boats doing the same. However, this particular day there would be enough action for everyone. Harry dropped the Minnkota and we barely made it 20 yards and he had the first keeper of the day in the boat. Harry started the day throwing a spinner bait and I made a few casts with a pop-R and quickly switched to a spinner bait because of the current position on the rocks. This first stretch was an east west rock wall with current spilling against half the stretch and current flowing over the other half. Water depth was 2'-3' with water clarity slightly stained compared to normal pool 9 water clarity. As we made our way up the rocks we started to pick up more and more fish off spinner baits, chatter baits, and shallow crankbaits. The outstanding thing about the bite this particular morning was the way in which these fish attacked the lures. A few would just lay on the bait and load up your rod, but most would crush the spinner bait, chatter bait, swim jig or crank bait. Needless to say, we quickly filled out our limit but knew we had to increase our weights to have a chance at the win.
     As we watched our surroundings throughout the morning, we noticed several boats with rods bent and nets going into the water, so after a few hours, and a few increased ounces here and there, we packed up and headed to our next spot. The next two spots echoed each other in the fact they were main channel rock walls with shallow water bordering deeper water with steady current. Harry had found fish in these areas during practice and as he predicted, they were still there. This time, the fish were tight against the rocks so once the lure hit the water, you had to be ready for a strike. The bottom side of one little rock point in particular had four largemouth over 2-1/2lbs and two solid fish pushing the 3lb mark. To give you a perspective on this, imagine all six of these quality fish sitting in a foot of water in an area no larger than your dining room table. Harry would have me step up to the trolling motor and keep us in position while he weighed his fish, and just about the time he was ready to start fishing again, I would hook into one and we'd switch positions. Its just the kind of day it was.
     We continued to catch fish everywhere we went, and would gain an ounce or two in weight to slowly but surely work our way up to 25lbs-26lbs. Most of the spots we fished were very similar with rocks, current, and a few weeds, however, one area behind the rocks was a very shallow weed flat with sparse lilly pads and patches of fresh green grass. This area had "Frog" written all over it, so Harry grabbed his spro frog and launched a cast right next to the rock bank surrounded by weeds. Boom!!! The frog was inhaled by a solid 2-3/4lb largemouth he quickly wrestled to the boat. After the fish was released and Harry's very next cast landed beside another patch of weeds, Boom!!!!, another 2-3/4lb largemouth. Back to back casts produced quality fish, with only one draw back. We couldn't go any further because the water depth ran out and the stumps became to much of a risk. So we headed out and decided to finish our day in the same area we'd started.
     As we arrived back to our first area of the day, neither of us were surprised to see the same amount of boats in the general vicinity. Harry dropped the boat down quietly and we got into the rotating line of boats surrounding the rocks and weeds. Just as we reached the spot we finished at in the am, Harry slammed another solid 2-1/2 lb largemouth off a swimjig between the weed and the rock line. At this point, Harry had almost a 3lb average so these fish were not helping him at all, but left me slightly jealous because I needed to get a couple smaller fish off my board. We continued around the bend in the rocks and with roughly 15 minutes of our tournament day left, I was blessed with almost back to back 2-1/2lb fish off a Stanley Vibrashaft spinner bait. This helped bump me closer to a 2-1/2lb average and helped our total to 27.04lbs.
     As we idled into the marina and the talking started between boats, I began to feel that everyone had a tremendous day on the water. And that was indeed the case as everyone in our club had almost the exact fishing experience Harry and I had on the water. It took 27.14lbs to win the tournament with Harry and I coming in second place with 27.04lbs and every other team weight close behind. Almost everyone in our club reported excellent fishing with 2lb to 2-1/2lb fish very common on a variety of lures and techniques. Simply put, the bass had the feed bag strapped on and we had the pleasure of being on the water at the right time. Pool 9 was almost back to normal water level, the water clarity and temperature were just about ideal, and the overcast skies and slight winds were all contributing factors to a remarkable day of fishing.

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