Category Archives: Tournament Fishing

May Tournament At Jackson Lake

On Sunday, May 5, nine members and guests of the Flint River Bass Club fished our May tournament at Jackson Lake. After eight hours of casting, we brought 25 bass to the scales. As usual, there were only nine largemouth weighed in. There were three limits and two fishermen didn’t catch a keeper.

Niles Murray won with five weighing 9.03 pounds and Chuck Croft placed second with five at 8.29 pounds. Tom Murray, Niles’ 13-year-old nephew fishing with him, placed third with four weighing 5.61 pounds and had big fish with a pretty 2.89-pound spot. I placed fourth with five at 4.97 pounds.

I thought it would be a perfect day, with rain and thunderstorms guessed at. But, as usual, if you planned your trip on what the weather guessers said, you missed a beautiful partly cloudy day on the lake. I hoped it would rain to keep pleasure boaters off the water.

The first few places I fished were rocky banks and points where I hoped shad would be spawning, but I guess it is over, I saw no activity. And I got no bites on a crankbait or spinnerbait.

I finally caught a small keeper spot on a shaky head worm on some rocks at 8:30. That turned out to be the pattern of the day for me, small fish on a shaky head worm.

I got my second keeper on the shaky head on a rock pile out on a flat point. I kept catching short spots, ten and 11 inches long, and invited them all home for dinner. Spots have taken over Jackson and hurt the largemouth population. There is no size limit on spots, so I try to keep ten small ones for dinner each trip.

My third keeper, another small spot, came off a seawall. Don Gober and his grandson Alex were fishing the same bank and we were talking when it hit. My fourth keeper was a small largemouth that hit on some rocks, the only largemouth I caught, at about 10:00.

It got slow for the next few hours. Even the small spots quit biting. At 2:00, with an hour left to fish, I caught my fifth fish to fill my limit. It hit as the other spots, on some rocks on a point.

With 30 minutes left to fish I decided to change and ran to a brush pile near the weigh-in site. I caught may “kicker” fish, a spot weighing just over a pound, there on the shaky head worm. Maybe I should have fished more brush but that was the only bite I got around any brush I fished.

Winning A Clarks Hill Tournament – Details

April fishing was very good last weekend( April 27 -28) for the 13 Spalding County Sportsman Club members fishing our tournament at Clarks Hill. In 17 hours of casting over two days, we weighed in 98 bass weighing about 166 pounds. There were 15 five-fish limits and the only angler to not catch a fish went home early on
Saturday.

I managed to win with ten bass weighing 23.22 pounds and Niles Murray was a close second with ten weighing 22.01 pounds. Raymond English had ten at 19.12 pounds for third. Billy Roberts came in fourth with eight weighing 15.73 pounds and his 4.28 pound largemouth was big fish.

I found a shad spawn early Saturday and caught fish on a swim bait, underspin and whacky rigged Senko, landing a limit by 7:20, only 50 minutes after blasting off. The current was moving from generation at the dam, a critical factor. There was one big rock when I came over it just right I hooked a fish on almost every

Later in the day I caught fish on a shaky head and Carolina rig. Saturday, I had five weighing 13.95 pounds, including a 3.26 pounder, but I lost a bass that looked like it weighed about 4.5 pounds when it jumped and threw may bait back at me. I landed 15 keeper bass and 5 short ones that day even though I had to go in early and lie down in the back of truck while others fished the last three hours.

Sunday started slow, with my only bite before 7:30 a four-pound striper. But then I got on the right bite and had a limit an hour later at 8:30 and put my tenth keeper in the boat at 9:00. All those fish hit an underspin with a swim bait on it. Then, in other areas, I caught fish on a shaky head, ending up catching 20 keepers and nine short fish.

It was fun getting constant bites all day after a slow start.

Potato Creek Bassmasters April Lanier Tournament Details

The reason bass fishermen look forward to April was emphasized at the Potato Creek Bassmasters tournament at Lanier last Saturday. We had 26 members fishing for nine hours to land 162 bass weighing about 239 pounds. There were 16 five fish limits over the 14-inch minimum length, and two fishermen did not weigh in a fish. I did not see any largemouth at all.

Ryan Edge won with five weighing 14.12 pounds and his 5.30 pounder was big fish. Raymond English had five at 13.80 for second, Trent Grainger was third with five at 13.68 and Wes Delay came in fourth with five weighing 13.65 pounds. It took 11.57 pounds to place tenth.

We hit an ideal day with nice weather and water temperature and moon phase having big spots up shallow looking for a place to bed. It was a fun day for fishing and catching.

I thought I had a good catch until weigh-in. A ten-pound limit will usually place you in the top four in the club, and I figured I had about that weight by 8:40, but not this time!

I started on a main lake rocky point, but lack of wind was a problem. I caught several short spots on a crankbait but quickly decided to try something different.

Going back into a creek, I stopped on a long shallow point that runs out in front of three small spawning coves. I caught my first keeper at 7:20 on a Carolina rig on the point and at 8:40 I landed my fifth keeper on a shaky head in one of the spawning coves. All hit one of those baits going around the bank, casting to four to six feet of water.

A couple of the spots were good fish, over two pounds each, so I felt pretty good. Over the next two hours I tried similar places and caught five more keepers and many 13-inch spots. All of them fought very hard, as is usual for spotted bass. It was fun fishing.

At 11:00, contrary to the weather guessers prediction of no rain, it started pouring. I eased under a dock and sat there about an hour until it stopped. But something changed. The wind picked up and
I did not get a bite for the next two hours fishing shallow.

Since the wind was blowing, I went back to the main lake point and tried spinnerbaits and crankbaits.
As I rounded the point, I met another boat with two fishermen casting those baits coming the other way. They cranked up and left when we were about 50 yards apart.

As I continued down the bank, I noticed some brush under the boat in 12 feet of water and dropped a shaky head worm into it. My biggest fish of the day, a 2.97 pounder, almost jerked the rod out of my hand. That gave me three good fish over two pounds each, at 2:30 with an hour left till weigh-in.

At 2:45 I caught a short spot, then another fish over two pounds. I started to go in early but was having fun catching fish. It is amazing how catching fish can overcome pain.

In the next 30 minutes I caught two more keepers, one that culled one in the live well weighing less than two pounds, and two more short fish. Even a 13-inch spot will stretch your string and are fun to catch.

I felt good with five weighing 12.07 pounds but ended up in eighth place.

Lanier is a fun place to fish right now.

Flint River Bass Club April Tournament West Point

Last Sunday seven members of the Flint River Bass Club fished our April tournament at West point. In eight hours, from 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM, we landed 18 keeper bass weighing about 26 pounds. There were two five-fish limits and no one zeroed.

Don Gober won with five weighing 8.43 pounds and had a 3.92 pound largemouth for big fish. I came in second with five at 7.57 pounds, Dan Phillips had three weighing 5.61 pounds and Jack ”Zero” Ridgeway placed fourth with two weighing 1.86 pounds.

I thought the fish would really bite good based on the time of year and weather, and I’m sure they did for some. But it was hit and miss, especially for bigger bass. I was happily surprised that we weighed in 12 largemouth and only six spots – that is a better ratio than usual. Maybe largemouth are coming back.

I started fishing a favorite spawning creek but after 45 minutes I had not had a bite. Then, going around a point to the next spawning pocket, I caught a short spot then finally got a keeper spot, both on a shaky head worm.

Back in the pocket I picked up as spinnerbait and caught a largemouth just under the 14-inch limit, then got one that was just over 14 inches long. That gave me hope, but I never got another bite on that bait.

Rounding a shallow secondary point I got a bite but when I set the hook a keeper spot jumped and threw my shaky head. The next cast I landed a short spot – I lost the wrong one.

On the back side of the point a log ran off the bank with the outer end in about two feet of water. I ran a spinnerbait along it on both sides but nothing hit. I picked up the shaky head and the first cast produced my biggest fish, a two-pound largemouth. The next cast to the end of the log produced another keeper largemouth, and the third I hooked and lost as short largemouth.

That convinced me the fish did not want a moving bait, but I tried a spinnerbait around the next shallow pocket anyway. Nothing hit it. I went back to the log and caught my fifth fish, another keeper largemouth, in the same place on the end of it.

I was happy to go from no fish at 7:45 to a limit at 8:40!

I continued to fish the small spawning creek but fishermen from the big West Georgia Bass Club tournament started coming into it to fish. As I started down a bank into a short pocket, about 50 yards wide and twice that long, two fishermen ran in and started fishing across from me.

I caught my sixth keeper, another two-pound largemouth, as they started fishing. By now my legs were hurting and I could not feel my feet, so I idled around, looking at some other places, but was not willing to get up and fish.

I was back at the ramp, resting in the truck amore than an hour before weigh-in!

Potato Creek Bassmasters Club Classic

Last weekend the Potato Creek Bassmasters fished our Club Classic, this year at Lake Weiss. Club members must qualify for this annual tournament by finishing in the top eight in the club points standings the year before or fishing at least eight of the 12 tournaments the past year.

In 17 hours of casting Saturday and Sunday, 14 members landed 83 bass weighing about 159 pounds. Two fishermen weighed in limits both days and everyone caught at least three keepers. The weather was so bad some went home after fishing Saturday and others left early Sunday, before weigh-in.

I got lucky and won with ten at 24.72 pounds and had a 6.30 pound largemouth for big fish. Raymond English had nine at 21.93 pounds for second, Lee Hancock placed third with ten 20.51 for third and Ryan Edge had nine weighing 14.76 pounds for fourth. Frank Anderson rounded out the top five with eight bass weighing 14.42 pounds.

I did not get top practice before the tournament but had a plan in my mind. It did not change even when I saw the water was clearer and lower than expected. The lake flooded a few weeks ago but had dropped almost nine feet since then.

At blast off I ran to a bridge where I have had good luck in the past. As seems to be a pattern lately, two more club members headed to the same place. I fished it for almost an hour with a variety of baits without a bite.

At 8:00 I was fishing a line of docks leading into a spawning pocket. Docks were in terrible shape from the flood, with most torn up and some with boats hanging at weird angles from lifts under the docks.

By now the lake was getting busy, with boats running around and fishing. Another pattern this time of year happened then. A bass boat with two fishermen ran in, stopped two docks ahead of me and started fishing. There is no courtesy on the water any longer. But as they stopped, I caught a two-pound bass on a shaky head worm under the dock I was fishing.

I fished some more docks for about an hour without a bite. I guess I should thank the slobs that pulled in front of me because it made me try something different. I went way up a creek where the water was stained a little more and there were few boats fishing.

At 10:00 I was on a rocky bank where I have had good luck and caught three good keeper bass in the next hour, all on shaky heads. After trying a place further up the creek with no bites, I came back to that bank and caught my fifth keeper at 1:00.

I decided with a limit I would leave that place alone for tomorrow and try to find something else. I caught two more keepers but found no pattern.

Sunday morning, I ran straight to the good bank, but the wind had changed direction 180 degrees. It was hard to fish a shaky head in the wind, so I cast a spinnerbait for an hour without a bite. At 8:00 I tried the shaky head. Every cast the wind would blow my line in a bow, making it almost impossible to detect a bite.

As I was afraid, on one cast I realized my line was moving against the wind and set the hook. With all the slack line I did not get a good hookset. A three-pounder jumped and threw the hook. I was disgusted, I knew I was in third place from Saturday, six pounds behind Raymond and two pounds behind Lee. I needed to land every fish that bit!

A few casts later my line again bowed oddly. I tried to take up some slack without spooking the fish, then set the hook. My rod bowed and I knew it was big. But last year on this same bank in a tournament, my partner Chris Davies, had caught a big drum here and I figured this was another one.

When it got closer to the boat, about the time I could see it was a big bass, I also saw it was barely hooked. I managed to miss it three times with the net, about having a heart attack just knowing it would pull off each time. But I netted it on the fourth try and put it in the live well when I stopped shaking. It was the six pounder that gave me big fish and went a long way catching up.

A little later I lost another three-pound bass that jumped and threw the bait. A couple of casts later I was more careful and landed may second keeper, just under two pounds.

As I started down the bank again Raymond and his partner Tom rode by and started fishing several hundred yards from me. Although they started fishing toward me it did not bother me since I was fishing a short section of bank. When they got near me, they stopped casting and went around me, being courteous and giving me plenty of room.

Raymond said Tom had caught three off that bank the afternoon before. So much for leaving them alone for the next day! He had also just caught three on a spinnerbait down the bank, an area I had tried that earlier without a bite. I figured even with the six pounder there was no way I would catch him.

After a couple more trips up and down that bank I landed two more keepers on one pass, giving me four. Although I stayed there another two hours, until one hour before weigh-in, I got no more bites.

I had a pro moment that morning. I kept thinking about a small rocky point at the mouth of a nearby spawning cove. Although I had never caught a bass there it sets up just right for this time of year, and it was somewhat protected from the wind.

I pulled up on it and landed my fifth keeper on my first cast. Sometimes hunches pay off!

The wind was cold and I had a limit, so I did something unusual for me. I quit fishing an hour early, ran to the dock at the weigh-in sight, tied up and drank coffee until the rest of the guys came in.

Although my plan got changed, it worked out ok.

Lake Oconee March Club Tournament

Sunday, March 24, 11 members of the Spalding County Sportman Club fished our March tournament at Lake Oconee. After casting eight hours, from 7:30 AM until 3:30 PM, we brought 27 keeper bass to the scales weighing about 48 pounds. There was one five-fish limit and everyone caught at least one keeper.

I managed to scratch out a win with four weighing 7.54 pounds, Raymond English with the only limit was second with 7.34 pounds and Wayne Teal placed third with four at 7.19 pounds. Niles Murray, Raymond’s partner, came in fourth with two keepers for 5.71 pounds and had big fish with a nice 3.47 pounder.

It was a tough day. I had mixed hopes since the BFL there the day before had been won with five bass weighing 21 pounds 11 ounces so I knew the big fish would bite – for some. But it took only 10 pounds 11 ounces to get a check in 24th place. That is a low weight for a check for those guys, so I knew it would be tough for fishermen like me.

I started casting a spinnerbait and crankbait to a rocky point at the mouth of a big cove. Prespawn bass should be feeding on places like that. With the full moon last week, I thought they should be on that pattern, but the 57-degree water temperature discouraged me.

The area I fished was much clearer than I expected. I could not get a bite on moving baits, even though I tried off and on all day. But about 300 yards down the bank, in a small dip, I got my first keeper on a shaky head worm at 8:00.

After trying a variety of things, I went to a brush pile on a big, shallow point I found last year. After a few minutes I caught my second keeper at 10:00 on a Texas rig. Although I fished the brush and others around it for an hour, I didn’t get another bite.

Since the sun was high and the water should be warming, I went to some smaller spawning coves. I caught several 13-inch bass but no keepers. Going between two pockets I cast a shaky head in front of the boat, just to keep my worm wet. That cast resulted in my third keeper at 11:00.

After trying some more things, I went back to the brush. It is about 100 yards off the point and a danger marker is about 50 yards off the bank. I would position my boat about 100 feet from the marker to cast toward it, the brush was about half way to it.

Although I caught my biggest keeper that at 1:00, I could not fish it. Several skidoos and big boats illegally ran between me and the marker, right over the brush and well within the 100-foot law. Either the drivers were too stupid to know the law, were inconsiderate slobs, or both.

I went to a big, calm cove and fished shallow, hoping to find one more keeper. I caught several more short bass but never got my limit.

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March Lake Eufaula Tournament

In the March Potato Creek bassmasters tournament at Eufaula, 23 fishermen cast for 16.5 hours to land 107 bass weighing about 211 pounds. Most of us caught fish but not as many as hoped. The cold, muddy water made fishing tough.

Tom Tanner won with nine bass weighing 22.60 pounds and had big fish with a 4.53 pound largemouth. Trent Grainger was second with nine at 22.23 pounds,
Lee Hancock was third with ten weighing 19.15 pounds and Mitchell Cardell placed fourth with nine at 18.36 pounds.

I knew I was in trouble when a couple of local fishermen told me most tournaments were being won on deeper ledges fishing big crankbaits. I am worse at that method than any other. And they were catching them near the dam, a 30-mile run by water from Lakepoint. With the wind and cold I knew that was not something I would do.

On Thursday I caught a couple of fish on spinnerbaits while checking out some creeks closer to our launch. Friday, I went out for just a couple of hours, mainly marking a GPS trail to follow to where I wanted to fish during the tournament.

We started well before daylight, trying to beat all the other tournaments. Lakepoint has two launch areas, one with six ramps and a parking lot that can handle about 150 vehicles with trailers, but there was a big high school tournament using it. We put in at the smaller launch, with a ramp barely wide enough for two trailers at a time and parking for about 50 rigs.

It was crowded, too. When we came in there were 35 boats sitting out from the ramp waiting to take out. There was a big tournament using it, too.

I did not want to run far in the dark so I started on the riprap and landed a small keeper spot at 7:50. After trying a bunch of other things I went to a creek and, as I idled across a point going into a cove, I saw fish on it, but could not get them to bite.

I did catch a three-pound largemouth in the cove on a spinnerbait, but that was it for me for the day, two fish.

Sunday, I went to that creek and caught three keeper largemouth on a jig and pig before 10:00, then tried the point. The fish hit, I landed four keepers on my first four casts and for almost an hour caught fish every time I got to the GPS waypoint and made the right cast from it. I landed 14 bass in that hour, so I had a limit. I really needed three of them the day before!

Sinclair Bass in March

Sunday, March 10 only five members showed up for the Flint River Bass Club March tournament at Sinclair. Maybe the weather scared most off. After eight hours of casting we brought in 38 keeper largemouth weighing about 38 pounds. There were three limits and no one zeroed.

Niles Murray won again with a limit weighing 11.16 pounds and Chuck Croft placed second with four at 8.50 pounds, including a 4.25 pound largemouth for big fish. I placed third with five at 7.22 pounds, Doug Acree had five at 5.82 pounds for fourth and Brent Drake was fifth with four at 5.35 pounds.

The cloudy weather and fairly warm water temperatures had me excited. I just knew quality bass would be shallow and hit crankbaits and spinnerbaits. The day before Niles had placed fourth in an ABA tournament there with just over ten pounds but it took about 14 to win, so I thought bigger fish would hit.

Oddly enough, for the second tournament in a row, two of us headed to the same place to start.
Brent said he caught one there, but nothing hit for me.

At 10:30 after three hours of casting, I had not had a bite. I tried a bunch of different things, fishing deep and shallow and everything in between, with no luck. I finally caught a 2.23 pound largemouth on a crankbait on a deep rocky point, but others similar to it produced no bites.

At 1:15 I was even more disgusted Then I cast a shaky head worm to some deep brush and caught my second keeper, and the next cast to it produced a short fish. But repeated cast to it didn’t work.

The sun came out about 2:00 so I started skipping a shaky head under docks into the shade. I quickly hooked and lost a keeper, but then landed four more keepers on docks by 3:00. I was happy to finally catch some bass!

November Tournament Memories

Last fall 13 members of the Potato Creek Bassmasters fished our November tournament at West Point. We landed 47 keeper bass weighing about 71 pounds. There were at least four limits.

I won with five keepers weighing 9.75 pounds, Mike Cox was second with five at 7.66 pounds. Raymond English placed third with five weighing 7.55 pounds and Frank Anderson had five at 7.19 for fourth. Kwong Yu’s 2.94 pounder was big fish.

In comparison, Highland Marina held its Georgia State Championship that weekend. That tournament in invitation only that includes the top fishermen from clubs and other tournaments in Georgia. Entry fee is $300 per team and some of the best fishermen in the state, many of them West Point guides and experts, fish it. They are attracted to fish it due to the guaranteed first place prize of $12,000!

Guide Ken Bearden fished it and after Saturday, the same day we fished, was in fourth place out of 114 teams. He had 17 pounds! The two-day tournament was won with over 30 pounds. That just shows what really good local fishermen can catch on West Point!

I started slowly, not getting a bite the first hour we fished. I had heard some quality largemouth were feeding way back in the creeks and that is usually a good pattern this time of year. Shad move back in the creeks as the water cools and bass follow them.

At blast-off I ran to the back of my favorite creek. There are several brush and rock piles in it that I thought would have some feeding fish on them. Unfortunately, there is a boat ramp in it and when I arrived there were two jon boats, a kayak and a Bass Hunter boat fishing the key places.

That must have been a good pattern, since within five minutes of me getting there three boats from the big tournament came in the back of that creek, too. All day I saw fishermen in that tournament run into backs of creeks. But I never got a bite back in where I started.

After an hour I went out to a main lake rocky point and caught a keeper spot on a jig and pig, then a largemouth off a blowdown on it. So I started fishing those kinds of places. At 10:00, two hours later, I had my five-fish limit but all but the largemouth were just 13 inch spots.

I started fishing a little deeper on those kinds of places and caught my biggest fish, a 2.5-pound spot, at 11:00 and a keeper largemouth a few minutes later. With only 30 minutes left to fish I went to another deep rock pile and landed two good keeper largemouth and lost one. So I managed to cull all but one of the first five I landed and had four largemouth and one decent spot for the win.

From now to Christmas is one of my favorite times to fish. After Christmas the water gets cold enough fishing gets tough until late February, then it gets real good again. Enjoy the cool weather and good fishing while you can!

February West Point Tournament

Last Sunday eleven members of the Spalding County Sportsman Club fished our February tournament at West Point. After eight hours of casting, from 7:30 AM to 3:30 PM, we brought 45 keeper bass weighing about 84 pounds to the scales. There were seven limits and everyone caught at least one keeper.

Wayne Teal found the right five and won with five weighing 12.12 pounds and his 7.15 pound largemouth was big fish. My fived weighing 11.63 pounds was second, Niles Murray placed third with five at 9.65 pounds and Robert Proctor came in fourth with five weighing 8.91 pounds.

With seven boats in the tournament, who would have ever thought two of us would head to exactly the same place on that big lake. Jay had told me he and Wayne had fished there on Thursday and caught a lot of bass. I wanted to start on the point where I had landed 14 keepers the weekend before.

When we took off I took my time, letting everyone else get out of the way and not running fast. I saw Jay was ahead of me but did not worry, until he turned into the mouth of Whitewater Creek. Sure enough, he stopped on the point I wanted to fish, so I turned and went back to another point nearby.

The wind was dead calm at first but as I fished the point and around a cove, a breeze started blowing, a good thing. When I got to the secondary point back in the cove where I caught my biggest fish the weekend before, the breeze was just right, and I got my first bite, a keeper spot, then caught another one.

After a few more casts I looked and could see the point Jay had stopped on, but he was gone. I ran back to it and quickly caught two keeper spots, giving me four at 8:30. At weigh-in Jay told me the only thing he caught there was a carp and a catfish. The wind had made the bass start biting, but he left too soon.

I fished there for another hour and finally caught my fifth keeper at 9:30. The sun had come out and moved the bass off it, I guess. I knew the sun was warming the water so I decided to try fishing very shallow to catch a bigger fish.

At 11:00 I was back in a pocket with very muddy water. I almost decided to leave it was so muddy, but as my trolling motor got stuck in the mud, I cast a spinnerbait to a stump in about a foot of water and got a thump.

It turned out to be a 5.35 pound largemouth, second biggest fish of the day. It was a miracle I landed it, it got wrapped up in my trolling motor. But somehow, I got it unwrapped. My line was badly frayed for about two feet, but it did not break.

That fish convinced me to fish a spinnerbait very shallow the rest of the day, and I landed two more largemouth and a spot, culling three of the four spots I caught early. But it was not quite enough.