Category Archives: Tournament Fishing

Frustrating End to Tournament Year

Largemouth I caught while fishing with Michael Ward

Well that didn’t go as planned and hoped!  All three bass clubs ended our tournament years at
Jackson last weekend.  The Potato Creek Bassmasters fished our December tournament on Saturday and the Spalding County Sportsman Club and Flint River Bass Club fished a two-club tournament on Sunday.

    On Saturday 20 of us fished for eight cold hours to land 30 bass weighing about 53 pounds. There were two five-bass limits and seven people didn’t catch a 12 inch keeper.

    Raymond English blew us all away again with a limit weighing 12.01 pounds and his 5.03 pound largemouth was big fish. Kwong Yu placed second with five bass weighing 7.60 pounds, third was Trent Granger with three bass weighing 6.49 pounds and Shay Smith came in fourth with for bass weighing 6.43 pounds.

    Raymond said he caught the big one on a crankbait and Kwong caught a limit in the first hour we fished.  Others said they caught fish on spinnerbaits, Carolina rigs and shaky heads.  It seems if you found a hungry fish and got a bait near it, it might hit anything that looked like food to it.

    I tried a little of everything, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, jigs and shaky heads. I could often see fish that acted like bass in their positions and movements on my Garmin Panoptix but could not get them to hit in the stained 55-degree water.  And I fished from shallow brush and rocks to deep brush and rocks and everything in between.

    At 10:20 AM I was fishing a deep point with rock piles on it and missed a hit on my jig. I picked up a shaky head and cast back to the same place and caught a 14-inch keeper spotted bass. Since I got two quick bites and could see other fish around the rocks, I stayed there an hour trying to make them bite everything I had tied on, but never got another bite.

    Finally at 2:15 I cast my shaky head to some shallow rocks on another point, got a hit and landed a three pound spot.  That was it, I had two weighing 4.35 pounds and placed fifth.  It was a very frustrating day!

    On Sunday 19 members of the two clubs fished eight hours to land 38 bass weighing about 41 pounds.  There were three five-fish limits and eight people zeroed. 

    Travis Weatherly won with five bass weighing 7.10 pounds and his 2.39 pounder was big fish.  Jay Gerson came in second with five weighing 6.66 pounds, Russell Prevatt was third with five at 6.07 pounds and Kwong Yu had three weighing 3.68 pounds for fourth.

    Jay said he caught his fish on a floating worm early. Others said they caught their fish on a variety of baits on a variety of types of cover and structure. Like the day before, it seemed you had to put your bait right in front of the right bass at the right time to get a bite.

    At blast off I went straight to the point where I caught my first keeper the day before. There were fish all over it with no sun on it yet, so I had high hopes. I could see what looked like bass suspended, some on the bottom and baitfish everywhere. It looked perfect. I never got a bite.

    After a frustrating hour of trying to make fish that I could see bite a variety of baits, I left that point.  For the next six hours I tried everything I could think of to catch a fish. I had one bite on a shaky head on a deep rocky point but missed it.  That really frustrated me.

    At 2:30, with one hour left to fish, I cast a shaky head to a shady seawall. I though I felt a tap but could not see my line.  I took off my sunglasses and saw my line was already back under the boat.  When I set the hook, a small keeper spot came over the side of the boat.

    That was the only fish I caught all day, a 12.5-inch spot weighing .85 pounds. I came in last place of the people that caught fish.

    All three clubs start our new year with tournaments in January.  That would be a good time to join us for a lot of fun, and maybe a little frustration. 

    The Flint River club meets the first Tuesday each month and fish our tournament the following Sunday.  Dues are $20 a year and tournament entry fee is $25, with optional big fish pots each tournament as well as two other optional annual pots.

    The Potato Creek club meets the Monday after the first Tuesday and fish our tournaments the following Saturday.  Dues are $50 and entry fee is $30, with optional big fish pots for each tournament and for the year.

    The Sportsman Club meets the third Tuesday each month and fish our monthly tournaments the following

Sunday. Dues are $50 and entry fee is $25 with optional big fish pots.

    All three clubs have or will have club classics that members qualify for by fishing at least eight tournaments a year or placing in the top eight for the year in the points standings.  All three clubs meet at Panda Bear restaurant.

    Think about joining one club, or all three! 

Two Tournaments in November

Two weeks ago 20 members of the Potato Creek Bassmasters fished our November tournament at Lanier.  We landed 50 14-inch keeper bass weighing about 99 pounds in eight hours of casting. There were five five-fish limits and two people didn’t catch a keeper.

    Sam Smith won with five bass weighing 11.80 pounds, Drew Narramore came in second with five weighing 11.19 pounds, Raymond English placed third with five at 9.89 pounds and Niles Murray was fourth with five at 9.47 pounds.  Kwong Yu had big fish with a 3.51 pounder.

    Last Sunday 11 members of the Spalding County Sportsman club fished our November tournament at West Point.  We landed 37 keepers weighing about 49 pounds in eight hours of fishing.  All but four were spotted bass.  There were three five-bass limits and no one zeroed.

    Kwong Yu won with five weighing 9.27 pounds and his 2.52 pound bass was big fish. My five at 8.28 pounds was second, Niles Murray placed third with five weighing 6.17 pounds and Russell Prevatt had three at 4.46 pounds for fourth. 

Flint River Bass Club November Lanier Tournament

Last Sunday the Flint River Bass Club fished our November tournament at Lake Lanier.  Eight of us cast for eight hours to land 13 14-inch keeper spots weighing about 20 pounds.  There were no limits and three people zeroed.

Chuck Croft won with four weighing 7.57 pounds and had big fish with a 3.38-pound spot.  Don Gober placed second with two at 4.61 pounds, my two weighing 2.90 pounds was third and Dan Phillips had one weighing 2.71 pounds for fourth.

The wind made it tough to fish like I wanted, but I tried a variety of types of places, lures and methods.  The two I caught hit a jig and pig in about 15 feet of water, one on rocks and one in a brush pile.  I was frustrated all day watching fish follow my bait on my Garmin Panoptix but not hit it.

Tournaments like this make me feel like I do not know what I am doing. There was a high school tournament the same time we fished, and
I was told it took 17 pounds to win it and 16 pounds to place second.  It seems high school kids are much better fishermen than I am!

Fishing Tournaments In Early October

It was a busy three weeks in early October.  I left home with my boat and camper on October 1st and stayed at Blanton Creek Park at Bartletts Ferry until Monday for the Sportsman Club Classic on Sunday. 

On Monday I drove from there to Wind Creek State Park and camped for the three club tournament that weekend.  Monday after the tournament Linda joined me and we fished until Thursday October 15th. 

I was on the water every day but two while gone!

In the club classic, 11 of us qualified by finishing in the top eight for the year in points or fishing at least eight of the 12 tournaments last year.  We landed 41 12-inch keepers weighing about 45 pounds in eight hours of casting,  There were four five-bass limits and no one zeroed.

Raymond English won the classic with five bass weighing 7.55 pounds. My five at 6.63 pounds was second and I had big fish with a 2.24 pound largemouth.  Wayne Teal was third with 5 at 5.92 pounds, Kwong Yu was fourth with five weighing 5.72 pounds and Jay Gerson came in fifth with five at 4.92 pounds.

At Martin we pay back each day like two one day tournaments.  The first day in ten hours of fishing the 26 of us had 22 five bass limits and no one zeroed.  Lee Hancock won with five weighingg 11.07 pounds and Tom Tanner was second with a limit weighing 9.92 pounds.  My five at 9.84 pounds was third and I had a 3.74 pound spot for big fish.  Zane Fleck plaaced fourth with five at 8.04 pounds.

On Sunday we fished for seven hours in the wind and rain, again.  We had 21 limits and no one zeroed again.  that’s why we love Lake Martin in October.  We catch a  lot if bass even if they aren’t big.  Martin has millions of hungry 13 inch spotted bass!

Tom Tanner won, the  only one to place in the top four both days,  with five weighing 9.74 pounds.  He is consistent! Don Gober came in second with five at 8.38 pounds, Raymond English placed third with five weighing 7.71 pounds and Shay Smith placed fourth with five at 7.64 pounds.  JR Proctor had big fish woith a 3.45 pound largemouth.

I should have done better with all that practice!

On Friday at Bartletts Ferry I went up the river and caught five bass on four different baits in five different kinda of placees.  A largemouth hit a weightless Trick worm under a dock.  Then a nice spot hit a topwater plug three times on a bluff rock bank berore I hooked it.  My third fish hit a spinnerbait on some wood then another largemouth hit a Senko on a sandy point.  The fifth fish hit the Trick worm around grass.

Although they were all keepers there was no pattern at all that would give me confidence in the tournament.

I tried a variety of things down the lake without a bite Saturday.  At 11:00 I went to a point with some brush on it I found a few years ago and caught a four pound largemouth on a shaky head. I started riding points looking for cover 15 feet deep, the depth the largemouth hit.  The next one I found had stumps at the right depth and I caught a 14 inch spot on the shaky head.  A third point with stumps at the right depth showed a lot of fish and I caught a small spot on a drop shot worm.

Those fish gave me some hope in that pattern, especilly he four pounder.
Sunday morning I tried some shallow points early then went to the brush on the point at 8:00 and didn’t get a bite.  Hoping it was too early, I went to a dock with some brush and caught a keeper spot.  A few more docks didn’t produce, so back to the point at 10:00.  I immediately caugt the two pound largemouth and another keeper spot.

The next point with stumps produced two keeper spots.  I had my limit by 11:00.  

Although I rotated around those points the rest of the day I didn’t catch another keeper  Sommething big hit my shaky head about 1:00 but it got into a stump and broke my line.

Martin is a big lake with two long arms, the Tallapoosa River and Kowaliga Creek. Wind Creek Park is way up the river.  That area seems full of one pound fish and I have fished that area for 46 years so I know some good places.  But a few years ago blueback herring got started in Kowaliga Creek and the fish there seem a little bigger and fatter, based on what I caught when I started fishng it a little three years ago. 

I went over there the first three days of practice and found many brush piles in 25 feet of water that were covered in fish.  But everything I caught were small spots.  Friday morning I fished my favorite creek near the park and caugt 13 keepers in three hours.  There is a shallow point in Kowaliga Creek where big bass usually feed, but it is a 25 minute run at 60 mph.  And the bite ends at sunrise so I have only about 20 minutes to fish it.

The wind and rain almost made me stay near our takeoff point but at the last minute I decided to go there on Saturday.  As I made the rough wet ride in the dark, watching lights on docks and danger buoys and my GPS, I kept thinking about the millions of bass I rode past. It was worth it I guess.  In 20 minutes I landed six keepers including the big one on topwater.

Edward Fouker fished with me on Sunday and we made the long run.  And caught nine keepers in 20 minutes.  But none much over a pound  Not worth the three quarters tank of gas that day!

I’m already thinking about that run next year!

Fishing West Point Lake in September

  As expected, the weather threw me a curve in our club tournament in September at West Point Lake. I was hoping the bass at West Point would be feeding in response to the cooler water but was disappointed.

    The water temperature was around 80 degrees, the coolest it has been since last May.  But it was still too soon, I guess, for the bass to really respond.  And the day was hot with  no breeze and bright sun all day so it was not as comfortable as I had hoped.

    In the Spalding County Sportsman Club tournament 12 members fished eight hours to land 41 bass weighing about 54 pounds.  There were four five-bass limits and one person didn’t catch a keeper.  There were only two largemouth, all the rest were spots.

    Raymond English won with five at 8.53 pounds and his 2.76 pound largemouth was big fish. Kwong Yu was second with five weighing 7.03 pounds, Billy Roberts came in third with five at 6.58 pounds and my five weighing 6.05 pounds was fourth.

    I started fishing around the ramp, thinking some of the bass released in tournaments there might hit, but they didn’t.  The third place I stopped my biggest fish of the day, not very big at all, hit a Texas rigged worm in about 8 feet of water in a cove around some brush.  Then I caught a keeper spot on a rocky point in about six feet of water on a jig head worm.

    I tried a few more places then at 11:00 I went to what I hoped was my ace in the hole. There is a brush pile in about 17 feet of water and I have caught a lot of fish around it.  When I rode over it to mark it my depthfinder showed it covered in fish.

    Almost as soon as my drop shot worm got to the top of it a keeper spot thumped it.  Then a couple of minutes later I got another one.  But after fishing it for thirty minutes I had not gotten another bite.

    I left and tried another place, then went back to the brush and quickly caught two more keepers.  It is strange. Jordan and I caught two off that brush the last tournament we fished then didn’t get another bite for an hour.  The pattern seems to be catch two and leave.

    The water at West Point is clear and to fish a drop shot worm, a good tactic in clear water, you get right on top of the brush and drop it straight down. Although 17 feet deep sounds pretty deep, when you stop and think it is less deep than the boat is long.

    I think the boat right on top of the fish scares them and they quit hitting.  If you leave and come back after they settle down they will hit again – for a few minutes until they get scared again. I have tried staying out from that brush and casting to it from distance but can’t seem to get bite that way.

    I fished a lot more places and caught several short fish before quitting time at 3:00, but no more keepers.  As I said, the fish were much harder to catch than I had hoped!

Club tournament at Guntersville in July

July 25 and 26, seven members of the Spalding County Sportsman Club braved the heat and high school fishermen at Guntersville for our July tournament. We landed 23 15-inch keeper largemouth weighing about 57 pounds in 16 hours of casting.  One person had a five-fish limit – both days – and there were two fishermen without a keeper.

    Raymond English caught ten keepers weighing 26.71 pounds – almost as much as the rest of the club put together, for first place. Kwong Yu had four keepers weighing 12.52 pounds for second and big fish with a 5.74 pounder.

Zane Fleck placed third with three at 7.10 pounds.  Although my gas motor locked up before daylight Saturday and it took me five hours on the trolling motor to get back to the ramp, my three weighing 6.28 pounds was fourth.  Jay Gerson had three at 6.19 pounds for fifth.

Hot July Fishing At Eufaula

The weekend of July 18 and 19, 14 members of the Potato Creek Bassmasters fished our July tournament at Lake Eufaula.  To say it was hot is somewhat misleading. It was miserably hot. My shirt was soaked with sweat before 7:00 each morning. It was so hot and the fishing so bad that only six of the 14 members were still around for weigh-in at 1:00 Sunday.

In 15 hours of casting we brought in 37 keeper bass longer than the 14-inch limit that weighed about 73 pounds.  There were three five-bass limits and two people did not have a keeper.

Raymond English had a great catch Saturday, five weighing 16.68 pounds, and added five more Sunday for a total first place weight of ten weighing 24.71 pounds and had a 5.78 pound largemouth for big fish.  My five at 15.11 pounds, including a 5.36 pounder, was second. Kwong Yu placed third with seven weighing 12.56 pounds and had the third limit on Sunday.  Mike Scoggins had three at 6.71 pounds for fourth.

Raymond said he caught his fish on a Trick worm, as did Kwong.  Mine hit a buzzbait early.  We started at 5:30 each morning in the dark and I never had a bite after 7:00 either day.

It was tough but our catch included a high percentage of three to six-pound bass, caught in shallow water. Eufaula is full of them!

Waves and Bad Luck At Lanier In June

 Somebody in the Flint River Bass Club thought it would be a good idea to hold our June tournament on Lanier on Sunday, June 7.  In it 14 of us fished for eight hours and caught eight 14-inch keepers.  Ten of us zeroed!   

Lanier gets crazy on any warm day, and Sunday was no exception. Wake boats that cruise slowly and make huge wakes have to go back in creeks to get away from the ocean-going cruisers on the main lake.  Those big boats make waves even wake boats don’t want to face.   

Boat ramps are crowded, not a problem when we launch before daylight but we often sit in line for a long time waiting on folks that back their jet skis or ski boats down on the ramp then block it while they transfer everything from their vehicle to the boat and get the boat ready for launch.   

I have been on double ramps when we loaded eight bass boats on one ramp while an inconsiderate pleasure boater blocked the other one.  And it is often irritatingly entertaining watching some try to back their boat down the ramp as they repeatedly go off to the side and have to pull up and try again.   

On my “Fazebook” page, I posted about ten of us zeroing and got as response “I don’t see how anyone can zero a tournament.”  I said “Its easy, just don’t catch a keeper.”    Not only is it hard to fish from all the waves on the lake when its like Lanier was Sunday, bass definitely react to all the activity.  Trying to cast and work a bait is very hard when you are just trying to stay in the boat, and the bass get very skittish and inactive with all the noise and waves.   

Bass club fishermen fish under all conditions, from freezing cold winter days to miserably hot summer days.   And we go to different lakes every weekend.  Fishing the same waters week after week helps you keep up with what the bass are doing there, but all we have to go on is what they did the last time we fished there, often a year ago. Practice can help, but most of us don’t get to spend time on the water before a tournament due to work or health.   

Bass change their habits and activities daily, sometimes even hourly.  They follow seasonal patterns that we all know, but conditions change their daily activity within their patterns.  Trying to figure out what is going on in eight hours is tough.   

In the tournament, everything went wrong for me and I was one of the zeros.     I had no idea what the bass were doing other than some posts I had read saying they were hitting on windy rocky points. I ran to one of my favorites, a place where I have caught a lot of fish, and four spots over four pounds each, in fall and spring tournaments there.   

For thirty minutes I did not get a bite, then on a cast with a jig and pig, as I tightened up my line to move the jig, the line was slack. That often means a bass has sucked in the jig and is swimming toward the boat. Too often if you set the hook with too much slack line, you do not get a good hook set. 

I kept trying to get my line tight enough to set the hook.  That is an iffy situation. And unfortunately, I tightened it up too much, the fish felt the pressure and I felt it spit out my lure.

Another time I felt a tap and lowered my rod tip to quickly set the hook. Before I could, a big carp jumped and came down on my line, jerking it and making the bass let go of the jig.  That has never happened to me before!

In the tournament, guest Tim Puckett won with three bass weighing 4.87 pounds and had big fish with a 2.21 pounder.  Travis Weatherly came in second with three weighing 4.17 pounds, Chris Lee placed third with one weighing 1.66 pounds and Brent Drake came in fourth with one weighing 1.21 pounds.  That was it, the rest of us did not have a fish to weigh!

One Weekend, Two Tournaments

In the Potato Creek Bassmasters June tournament at West Point on June 13, 28 fishermen landed 65 bass weighing about 108 pounds in nine hours of casting. There were six five bass limits and ten people did not have a fish.

Niles Murray won with five weighing 11.44 pounds. Kwong Yu placed second with five at 10.05 and had big fish with a 4.02 pounds. Caleb Delay came in third with five weighing 8.58 pounds. Tom Tanner came in fourth with five at 8.18 pounds.My five weighed 6.42 pounds. 

The two I lost would have added at least three pounds to my weight but it was not to be.

In the Spalding County Sportsman Club June tournament at Sinclair the next day, 16 members and guest fished 9.5 hours to land 50 bass weighing about 88 pounds.  There were eight five bass limits and two people zeroed.

I won with five at 11.45 pounds, those two lucky fish really helped.  Gary Hattaway placed second with five at 10.88 pounds, Jay Gerson came in third with five at 10.88 pounds and Wayne Teal placed fourth with five at 9.21 pounds.  George Roberts had big fish with a 4.01 pound largemouth.

Why Is Eufaula Fishing So Tough For My Club?

Two weekends ago, May 30 and 31, 2020. 15 members and guests of the Spalding County Sportsman Club fished our May tournament at Lake Eufaula.  In 17 hours of casting, we landed 81 bass weighing about 161 pounds. There were eight five bass limits and one fisherman didn’t catch a keeper.   

Kwong Yu won with ten keepers weighing 23.60 pounds and had big fish with a 5.54 pound largemouth. He also had a 5.09 pound largemouth in his catch.  RaymondEnglish placed second with ten bass weighing 19.73 pounds, Jay Gerson had nine bass weighing 17.54 pounds for third and guest Dan Dupree fishing with Raymond had seven bass weighing 13.60 pounds for fourth.  Glenn Anderson, fishing with Kwong, had nine bass weighing 11.20 for fifth place.   

Eufaula is known for its big bass but we had a hard time finding them. 

Parker Guy, the high school fisherman I did a Map of the Month article with that is in this month’s issue of Georgia Outdoor News, has been fishing the lake every day.   

He fished a tournament Sunday and won with five bass weighing 18.5 pounds and had big fish in it with a six pounder! it helps to know the lake.