I think the doctor took out what little skill I had in catching bass when he did my neck surgery! After missing all three club tournaments in June I fished three in July and one last weekend. The results have not been pretty for me.
Last weekend the Flint River Bass Club fished our August tournament at Clarks Hill. We have fished there the past two years the same weekend and I have finished third both times so I felt pretty good about three places I could catch fish.
I usually go over there on Wednesday to practice but this year since my collar is so hot and I was so miserable at Weiss I decided to wait until Friday night and fish the tournament without any practice. That hurt.
The idea of practice is to check places you think you can catch fish to see if you can, and if you can’t to make adjustments and find places you can catch them. Without practice I had to try to do that during the tournament and, no surprise, it didn’t work!
I started on a bridge where I have caught fish in the past and Wes DeLay, my partners, quickly caught a keeper. About 30 minutes later I caught a keeper on a topwater plug. That was it for the bridge and I was disappointed I saw no baitfish around it on my depthfinders. That is a bad sign.
Last year I found an old house foundation in 20 feet of water and there was a school of two pound bass on it. I caught four there last year but this year the only thing I caught was a big warmouth. Wes did get his second keeper there. The lake was down 5 feet and that may have been why the fish were not there this year.
We made a run longer than I wanted to with my neck brace but had to try the back of a creek where I caught bass last year around the hydrilla. I was shocked when we got back in the creek and there was almost no hydrilla there. It just did not grow this year for some reason.
By then it was very hot and I had told Wes we would probably spent a lot of time under bridges in the shade. Last year I caught a few fish under the bridges in Soap Creek but this year, although we fished under them for about four hours, we never caught a fish. Very frustrating but at least I was not miserably hot. For the day Wes had two and I had one to weigh in.
Sunday I quickly caught a keeper on a spinnerbait off the same bridge Wes caught one the day before. That was it. Although we tried the house foundation with no bites then ran to the main river bridge and fished it, neither of us caught another keeper the rest of the day.
I was shocked when we got to the big bridge and saw current running under it from the pumpback at Lake Russell. When current moves like that it usually makes bass bite. I told Wes I would normally bed $100 I could catch at least one keeper off the pilings but was afraid to this year.
Good decision. Although we fished every piling all the way across the bridge using a variety of baits I caught one small spotted bass. That was the only bite. Neither of us caught another keeper!
In the tournament 12 member landed 46 bass weighing about 87 pounds in the 18 hours we fished. There were two five-fish limits and one person did not catch a keeper either day.
Chuck Croft won with nine bass weighing 16.35 pounds, Niles Murray was second with seven weighing 12.49 pounds, John Smith had six weighing 11.20 for third and Travis Weatherly had fourth with three bass weighing 10.43 pounds and big fish with a 6.47 pound largemouth.
It was interesting. With the water temperature at 88 degrees on the main lake and 93 back in the creeks, three bass weighing over five pounds each were landed. At least two of them came in shallow water and I heard on buzzbaits.
The first day Phil King had a five pounder and just one other bass. The second day, after catching a limit weighing 6.41 pounds the first day, John Smith had one bass the second day weighing right at five pounds. And Travis had two keepers on day one and only one on Sunday, the 6.41 pounder. So it looked like they made a lot of casts for that one big bite.
Of course, I made just as many casts and never got that big bite!