“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” That quote from ‘Tale of Two Cities” pretty well sums up my fishing at the Georgia Bass Nation Top Six tournament at Lake Eufaula last Friday and Saturday.
I went to Eufaula Wednesday morning, registered the Flint River Bass Club team, got a campsite, and put my boat in the water to look for something that would work in the tournament. The first place I stopped I quickly caught a two pound largemouth and a 13 inch spot on a ledge, so I felt I at least had something to rely on.
After about six more hours of riding ledges watching my depth finders looking for fish, I had found a couple more places that looked good. That night I tried to think of what to do the next day, the last day of practice, and in the tournament.
Niles Murray and Jennifer Spell, the other two team members, met me the next morning at the boat ramp and we headed out just as the sun came up. We tried some shallow lily pad fields and a couple more places and Niles caught one fish. Then we went into a small creek. Niles and I cast at about the same time to a rocky bank with overhanging bushes and we all three saw a nice bass come up and eat Niles’s Trick worm.
He landed a four pound bass and when I picked up my rod I had a nice keeper on the jig and pig I was fishing. I told them I knew where I would start the next day. They were both co-anglers, fishing with someone else in the tournament from their partners boat. I would be fishing from mine.
We then fished a brush pile and I caught a five pounder on a jig and pig. A little later Jennifer caught a good keeper off some riprap, then added a 2.5 pound fish from the edge of some lily pads in a cove. After looking at a ledge in the area that was covered with fish we could not get to bite we went in for the drawing.
I was boat 20 so there were only 19 boats ahead of me the next morning at blast off, but after running five miles to the small creek there was already a boat fishing there. So I went to the brush pile where I had caught the five pounder the day before. That fish hit at noon, with the sun high. The sun was just coming up when we stopped.
Neither my partner nor I caught a fish from the brush, so we went to the riprap. I quickly caught two solid 15 inch keepers on a Bitsy Bug jig and pig. Then we fished the lily pads and a 3.5 pound bass hit my topwater frog. I felt pretty good with three keepers at 9:00.
After fishing the pads we went to the ledge where we had seen the fish and I caught a 14 inch keeper. At 10:00 I went back to the brush pile and within a few minutes I landed two bass just under three pounds each on a Rattleback jig with a Zoom Fat Albert trailer. That culled my smallest fish so I told my partner he could have control of the boat the rest of the day since I had a pretty good catch.
He wanted to run up a creek and fish a frog in the lily pads, so we did that the rest of the day. I missed two good bass on the frog and he caught three, and missed about ten hits. It is often hard to hook a bass on a frog in lily pads.
Just as time ran out my trolling motor batteries went dead. It was not a problem since we had to go in, anyway, and we had been churning through lily pads for four hours, rough on any motor. I had fished at Lake Martin for ten hours on Saturday and seven more on Sunday a couple of weeks earlier with no battery problems, so I was not worried.
At weigh-in I had just over 12 pounds and felt good about my catch when I headed to the campground, hooked up the battery chargers, cooked and ate dinner and went to bed.
I was asleep by 8:00 since I had to get up at 4:00. A little after 9:00 my microwave beeped when the power went out and woke me a little. The wind had gotten bad and I was so groggy from sleep my only thought was that I hoped the power would come back on so I could have coffee in the morning.
Just after 3:00 the microwave woke me again when the power came back on. I had enough sleep that I woke well enough to think about my battery chargers. They don’t work very well with no power. I got up and checked and they were back on, too.
When I got up an hour later my batteries were still charging so I left them on until the last minute when I had to leave to pick up my partner for the day. When I met him he said he had checked and I was in fifth place out of 98 people.
We ran to the brush pile as soon as we started and the wind was so high it was hard to fish. Nothing hit but I was not worried, the sun was not bright yet. We tried to fish the riprap and lily pads but the high wind kept the fish from biting. At 10:00 I went back to the brush pile and found out my batteries were already so drained I could not control the boat in the wind.
For the next five hours we had to find a bluff bank where the wind was not so bad and drifted and fished. I never caught a fish and dropped to 24th place!
I have two new batteries in my boat for the Flint River tournament at Lanier today!