Category Archives: Tournament Fishing

Fishing Eufaula In March

 Spring weather means fast-changing conditions for bass fishing. Two weeks ago, it was a ten-degree drop in water temperature in two days at Sinclair. At Eufaula the next week it was a drop in water level.  Those are my excuses!   

I got to Lakepoint Campground a week ago last Tuesday and set up my camper. A couple of folks camping near me stopped by to talk and told me they were catching a lot of catfish, but few crappie.  One of them pointed to a five-foot-high pole by the boat ramp and said it and half the campground had been underwater the Friday before.  The pole showed just over one foot of water on Tuesday.     

A four-foot drop in water level in four days had to hurt, and my fishing seemed to prove it.  I fished about five hours Wednesday and caught only two bass. Both looked like males that had moved in to find a bedding area in the 59-degree water. And the water continued to drop, going down .4 of a foot Wednesday. 

   Thursday morning I got up and drove south to put in closer to the main lake, hoping to find clearer water. It was even muddier! I did catch a keeper spotted bass and an eight-pound blue cat hit my shaky head worm.   

I did get a thrill. While fishing grass beds between docks, I eased around one and looked at the post with my Garmin Panoptix. What looked like a fish was at the base of it about a foot off the bottom.    When I pitched my jig to it and watch it sink, I saw the bass come up to it and the jig disappeared.  I was so shocked I just watched; I had not seen that before.  Then the fish almost jerked the rod out of my hand as it took off, and I did not hook it!  

  Friday, I rode around checking some creeks and found some clearing water that was 67 degrees back in one. I decided to start there Saturday morning in the Potato Creek Bassmasters tournament the next day.  It was a good decision, but a lot of other folks decided the same place looked good. 

   Saturday morning, I put my boat in at the campground ramp and ran up to the bridge where we were to meet.  Due to the Alabama Nation tournament with more than 60 boats and several other clubs taking off from the park, the ramp was a madhouse.  It didn’t help that one set of ramps was closed due to construction.   

Folks were backed up from the ramp all the way back to the highway, at least a mile and a half, waiting to put in before daylight.  It was so bad Niles called me, got the campground gate code and drove around to put in there. He was at the bridge while most folks were still waiting.   

In the tournament the first day, 27 members landed 79 bass weighing about 153 pounds.  There were seven limits and four zeros. Lee Hancock did it right with five weighing 16.02 pounds and had a 4.88 pounder for first. My five at 12.70 pounds was second and I had a 4.62 pounder. Third was Caleb Delay with fiver weighing 12.26 and Edward Folker was fourth with five weighing 11.59 pounds.

On day two, Sunday, the fish bit better – for some. There were 10 limits and three zeros. We landed 58 bass weighing about 173 pounds. Stan Wick had five at 13.80 pounds for first with a 4.59 pounder.  Raymond English had five weighing 13.68 pounds with a 5.11 pounder for second, Trent Grainger was third with five weighing 13.02 pounds and Edward Folker had five weighing 12.73 pounds.

Overall, Lee Hancock won with 10 weighing 26.80 pounds and Edward Folker was second with 10 at 24.32 pounds. Raymond English came in third with ten at 23.14 pounds and his 5.11 pound largemouth was big fish.  Fourth was Trent Grainger with ten weighing 22.91 pounds. I caught only three keepers the second day and dropped to a tie with Drew Naramore.  My eight and his ten weighed an identical 19.12 pounds. 

On Saturday I quickly caught a keeper on a spinnerbait, then two more on a bladed jig.  At 9:30 I laned my four-pounder on a jig. Then it got slow, I did not have another bite until 2:30 when I caught my fifth keeper on a jig then immediately caught another keeper on it.  A few minutes later I set the hook and felt a good fish fight for a few seconds before pulling off.

Sunday did not start well.  I did not get a bite until 9:00 and that fish pulled off the jig. I guess I set the pattern the last fish the day before.  At 9:30 what looked like a four-pounder just came off my bladed jig.  Then, at 10:00, in about ten minutes, I caught three keepers and a grinnel on the jig.

It got slow. Just after lunch I set the hook, my rod bowed up and the fish fought then came off. With 30 minutes left to fish I set the hook on a good fish, fought it to the boat, and reached for it with the net. It jumped, missed the net by THAT much, about two inches, and came off.

I had my chances, as did many others. There was a lot of talk at both weigh-ins of big fish lost.  Part of the problem was the number of fishermen, especially on Saturday. All-day there were at least ten bass boats within sight in the small creek I was fishing.  

Sunday at least four other club members were fishing the same area, it was get in line, go down the bank and hope you got a bite all day both days.

Right now is a great time to get on the lake to avoid the virus and catch good bass. That is my plan!

Sinclair March Tournament Did Not Meet Expectations!

After Ricky Layton’s great catch on Friday, I could not wait to get on the water Sunday morning in the Flint River Bass Club March tournament at Sinclair. 

I should have known better.   

After fishing from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM, 13 members landed 20 bass weighing about 36 pounds.  There was one five bass limit and five people didn’t catch a 12-inch keeper.   

Travis Weatherly won with five weighing 9.02 pounds and his 4.99 pound largemouth was big fish.  My three weighing 7.47 placed second and I had a 4.57 pounder for my biggest fish. Niles Murray placed third with three weighing 5.75 pounds and Brent Drake came in fourth with three weighing 4.20 pounds.   

The cold air made me shiver on my run to my first stop. Luckily there was enough wind to keep the fog down, it was wispy and hanging just off the water. But there was enough to make it scary trying to watch for all the floating wood.   

I stopped off a grass bed that was perfect for the pattern Ricky caught his big fish on Friday, but my heart sank when my temperature gauge hit 49 degrees.  A nine or ten degree drop just had to affect the bass. It surely did affect my optimism!    I fished three places in three hours without a bite. 

Around 11:00 the weak sun was warming the water a little, raising the temperature to about 51 degrees in the cove where Ricky caught a six pounder.  I cast a Chatterbait across in front of a grass bed, something thumped it and I set the hook.    My rod bowed up and the fish headed for deep water. I just knew I had a six pounder on, but suddenly my line went slack. The fish just pulled off without me ever seeing it.   

At noon I was in the area where Ricky caught two fish, hole #2. I was very down, fishing half the day without a keeper. The water had warmed to 52 so I had some hope. I cast my Chatterbait into some grass and hooked the four pounder I weighed in. That improved my attitude a lot.   

After another hour of fishing without a bite, I caught a two pounder in front of some grass, then at 2:00 PM landed my third keeper, a one pounder, from another grass bed.  That was it. I fished hard for the rest of the day without another bite.   

On Monday, the weather guessers said it would be in the 70s all week as I got ready to go to Eufaula for a week. I hope they were right, the Potato Creek Bassmasters are fishing our March tournament this weekend at Eufaula.I think I kinda wish we were at Sinclair!

West Point Club Tournament in February

Sunday, February 23, 13 members of the Spalding County Sportsman Club fished our February tournament at West Point.  After fishing from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM, we brought 31 keeper bass to the scales.  Ten of them were 14 inch largemouth and 21 were spots over the 12-inch size limit.  Three people had five fish limits and no one zeroed.   

Russell Prevatt won with five weighing 11.04 pounds and Zane Fleck placed second with five at 10.17 pounds.  Robert Proctor, fishing with Zane, had five weighing 8.30 pounds for third and Jay Gerson placed fourth with four at 8.10 pounds and had big fish with a 3.46 pounder. My four weighing 6.22 pounds was fifth.   

Robert told me he and Zane caught at least 20 keepers during the day. That always amazes me, I struggle to get four fish and others catch a bunch of them, doing exactly what I was doing!

After the Potato Creek tournament the Saturday before, I felt hopeful, but when I ran to the creek where I caught fish the week before, the water had come up 18 inches and the temperature had dropped five degrees! It was still very muddy, and there was already another bass boat back in it fishing.

I caught a keeper on a worm before 9:00 but then it got slow.  I probably should have left the creek and tried other places, but I was convinced bass were somewhere in that creek and stayed there all day.  It almost worked, I landed my biggest fish of the day at 2:00 PM and just knew they were moving up as the water warmed.

I had my chances, too.  About a dozen times I got bites and brought in half or no worm after setting the hook. They could have been small spots that are notorious about grabbing a worm but they are so small the tail of the worm is in their throat but the hook still outside their mouth.

But on one hookset, the fish was swimming to my left. When I set the hook, my rod bowed up and drag on my reel slipped, then the line went slack. I reeled in my jig and worm.  It could have been a gar that my hook could not stick, or it could have been a big bass that was clamped down on my jig head so tight the hook could not move and stick it. I will never know!  Thats fishing!

Fishing In The Mud At A West Point Tournament

Saturday, February 15, 28 members of the Potato Creek Bass Masters put mud grips on our boats and fished our February tournament at West Point.  After fishing from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM, we brought 58 bass weighing about 116 pounds.  There were seven five-fish limits and nine people didn’t have a keeper.

Tom Tanner blew us all away with four fish weighing 15.39 pounds and won big fish with a 6.90 pound largemouth.  Mitchell Cardell was second with five weighing 10.81 pounds, my five weighing 10.18 pounds was good for third and Lee Hancock came in fourth with five at 10.16 pounds.

The water was very muddy, I am surprised we did as well as we did.  It did not start very good for me.  At 9:30 I got a bite on a jig and pig and landed a keeper spot on a main lake point.  After another hour of fishing that area I went into Whitewater Creek, where the water was a little less muddy, but never hooked a fish and spent too much time in there.

At 1:30 I ran down the lake near the dam into a creek with a little better water color, and quickly caught a keeper spot on a jig and pig, then a second one on a shaky head worm. Both hit on a rocky point. Another rocky point in that creek is about 100 yards away. I decided to fish to it although I have never caught a fish between the two.  I put the trolling motor on high and picked up a crankbait.

The first cast I made with it a 3.35-pound spot hit it, my biggest fish. I slowed down some then caught my second biggest spot on the crankbait.  Before I got to the next point a keeper largemouth hit my crankbait.

I fished the point without a bite but felt pretty good with a limit.  I wanted to go back over that area since some decent fish were hitting but my cranking battery was dead when I tried to start the motor. No problem, I had jumper cables and three more batteries.

The first two I hooked up would not turn the motor over! When the last one did, I decided to run back to the weigh-in area and not take a chance on being late.


I fished near the ramp for the last two hours and caught one more keeper spot that did not cull anything I had.

Fishing In Mud at West Point Lake

Last Saturday 28 member of the Potato Creek Bass Masters put mud grips on our boats and fished our February tournament at West Point.  After fishing from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM, we brought 58 bass weighing about 116 pounds.  There were seven five-fish limits and nine people didn’t have a keeper.

Tom Tanner blew us all away with four fish weighing 15.39 pounds and won big fish with a 6.90 pound largemouth.  Mitchell Cardell was second with five weighing 10.81 pounds, my five weighing 10.18 pounds was good for third and Lee Hancock came in fourth with five at 10.16 pounds.

The water was very muddy, I am surprised we did as well as we did.  It did not start very good for me.  At 9:30 I got a bite on a jig and pig and landed a keeper spot on a main lake point.  After another hour of fishing that area I went into Whitewater Creek, where the water was a little less muddy, but never hooked a fish and spent too much time in there.

At 1:30 I ran down the lake near the dam into a creek with a little better water color, and quickly caught a keeper spot on a jig and pig, then a second one on a shaky head worm. Both hit on a rocky point. Another rocky point in that creek is about 100 yards away. I decided to fish to it although I have never caught a fish between the two.  I put the trolling motor on high and picked up a crankbait.

The first cast I made with it a 3.35-pound spot hit it, my biggest fish. I slowed down some then caught my second biggest spot on the crankbait.  Before I got to the next point a keeper largemouth hit my crankbait.

I fished the point without a bite but felt pretty good with a limit.  I wanted to go back over that area since some decent fish were hitting but my cranking battery was dead when I tried to start the motor. No problem, I had jumper cables and three more batteries.

The first two I hooked up would not turn the motor over! When the last one did, I decided to run back to the weigh-in area and not take a chance on being late.


I fished near the ramp for the last two hours and caught one more keeper spot that did not cull anything I had.

Manners when the B.A.S.S. Classic Comes to Town

Classic Takeoff

Let’s Mind Our Manners when the B.A.S.S. Classic Comes to Town
By Frank Sargeant High-dollar bass tournaments like the Bassmaster Classic, scheduled for Lake Guntersville March 6-8, are a great potential learning experience for local anglers as they get the opportunity to follow the top pro’s around on the lake and see how and where they fish and what tackle and boat they use.

And most of the pro’s actually enjoy the gallery of rooting fans—after all, the more popular they are, the more sponsor money they make.But a large gallery can also affect the outcome of the event. Big names like Kevin Van Dam (who won’t be at this Classic because he moved to the MLF circuit) sometimes have 20 or more boats roaring after them down the lake and gliding up behind them as they drop the trolling motor to fish. While lots of fans are a plus at a football or basketball game, on the water at a bass tournament, not so much. Bass don’t take kindly to the sound of outboard motors, or even of a dozen whirring trolling motors in their neighborhood. Some anglers believe they’re even put off by the “ping” of fish finders.

So while the well-meaning fans are cheering for their favorite, they may actually be reducing his chances of success. This is particularly true when an angler gets on an extended stretch of “hot” shoreline, where bass may be scattered over a hundred yards or so of terrain that the angler may want to work multiple times. As the gallery slides in behind him as he works down the structure, they turn off the bite that might have been active on repeat passes.

The best way to follow the anglers is from a distance, and carry binoculars so that you can see the lures they’re using and how they’re fishing them. This gives everybody a bit of breathing room, and hopefully won’t affect the outcome of the event. There are also some anglers who can’t wait until the tournament is over to try the new holes that the smart pro’s reveal to them. As soon as the pro angler pulls off, they pull on and start casting.

This makes things a lot more difficult in that spot on the next day when the angler returns to the spot again during the three day event. To be sure, the lake is a public asset and all of us have a completely equal right to fish anywhere in it at any time. Paying a tournament entry fee does not give any special rights. On the other hand, when you consider that the pro anglers are fishing an event where one successful cast could change the course of their lives, it seems only common courtesy to maybe save their spots to the GPS for future use but leave them alone for those few days of the competition.

In any case, for those who want to follow their heroes, the daily launches are at Civitan Park just off S.R. 69 on the Brown’s Creek arm of the lake at 7 a.m. B.A.S.S. welcomes spectators with free coffee, and a number of top boat manufacturers are on-site offering test drives of their latest bass boats. (You can’t launch at Civitan during the event, though—choose one of the other ramps around the lake.)

For those who can’t get out on the lake, the weigh-ins are at BJCC in Birmingham, with arena doors opening at 3:15 p.m. daily for the weigh-ins. The Classic Outdoors Expo, also at BJCC, opens at noon on Friday, 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. 

See more here: https://m.bassmaster.com/news/attend-2020-academy-sports-outdoors-bassmaster-classic-presented-huk 

Predicting Muddy Water At West Point

Muddy water makes bass fishing tough.  Bass tend to get very tight to cover and not move much. It is like us in a heavy fog, we like to stay in familiar places and not run around and get lost!

My Garmin Panoptix has confirmed this. In clear water I see bass holding near but not down in brush and just over rocks and stumps. In muddy water they are down in the brush and right against rocks and stumps.   

Bass still have to eat, though. They can be caught, especially if the water has been muddy for a couple of days and they have gotten used to it and have gotten hungry.  

  A bright lure that sends out sounds in the water is usually best. I will be fishing a bright chartreuse spinnerbait with chartreuse blades and skirt. A rattling chartreuse crankbait will also be used as will a black and blue Chatterbait, the bait I caught the three-pounder on at Neely Henry in the mud. Even my jig and pig, a black and blue one with bright blue trailer, will have rattles in it.  And I will fish all of then slowly and tight to cover.   

I home something works for me at West Point!

It did, somewhat. I caught three keeper spots on my chartreuse crankbait, three on the jig and ig and one on a dark Trick worm on a shaky head. My best five weighed 10.18 and gave me third out of 28 fishermen!

Fishing Jackson in January

Last Sunday 12 members and one guest of the Spalding County Sportsman Club fished our January tournament at Jackson.  After eight hours of trying, we brought 31 bass longer than 12 inches to the scales.  Only four of them were largemouth. There was one five fish limit and no one zeroed.

Wayne Teal won with the only limit and it weighed 7.72 pounds.  Second was Zane Fleck with four weighing 5.72 pounds, Billy Roberts placed third with four weighing 4.98 and Niles Murray had four weighing 4.83 pounds for fourth.  Randall Sharpton’s 3.21 pound largemouth was big fish.

I should have gone squirrel hunting!  I guess I used up all my luck at Sinclair, it was one of those days when everything was just wrong for me.  I fished hard but ended up with one keeper largemouth weighing a whopping 1.27 pounds for tenth place.

Glenn Anderson fished with me and caught a keeper spot on a crankbait the first place we stopped.  After fishing two or three more spots, I got a bite on a shaky head worm. The fish swam toward the boat and when I set the hook I pulled a keeper largemouth to the top and watched it come off the hook.

The next place we stopped I got five bites, four on a shaky head worm and one on a jig, in five casts and missed all five!  Then Glenn threw a drop shot worm to the rocks where I got the bites and landed his second keeper.

Soon after Glenn landed his third keeper, I felt a fish pick up my shaky head in a brush pile but felt the thump of it spitting out the worm just as I set the hook.  I missed several more bites during the day, finally catching my keeper with an hour left to fish. I was in such a hurry to get it in the boat I hit Glenn in the face with it as he grabbed the net!

To add insult to injury, there was a Robby’s tournament out of Berry’s Boat House the same day. It took five bass weighing 17 or 18 pounds to win it! When I hear results like that the same day I struggle to catch a keeper, I wonder why I even bother fishing.

Final 2019 Standings for the Three Griffin Bass Clubs

Final 2019 standings for the three Griffin bass
clubs are out.  During the year points are awarded at each tournament based on where you place. 

In Flint River and Potato Creek first place gets 100 points, second 90 on down to 10 for tenth. Anyone catching a keeper but finishing below 10th gets five points.  In Spalding County, first gets 25 points, second 24 on down to 1 for 25th.  We also keep up with numbers of fish weighed in and total weight for the year.   

Last year in Flint River, I won with 1340 points and 47 bass weighing 78.21 pounds.  Niles Murry placed second with 900 points, 40 bass and 67.42 pounds and Chuck Croft came in third with 880 points, 36 bass and 65.2 pounds.    Fourth place was won by Don Gober with 790 points, 34 bass weighing 45.79 pounds and his grandson Alex Gober placed fifth with 660 points and 22 keepers weighing 28.41 pounds. Doug Acree rounded out the top six with 410 points, 12 Bass and 16.12 pounds.   

In the Potato Creek club, I won with 890 points catching 73 bass weighing 130.39 pounds.  Trent Grainger placed second with 840 points, 61 bass weighing 106.03 pounds and Doug Acree came in third with 825 points and 70 bass weighing 111.79 pounds.     Mitchell Cardell placed fourth with 790 points, 56 bass weighing 95.03 pounds and fifth went to Kwong Yu with 700 points, 57 bass and 97.77 pounds.  Raymond English came in sixth with 670 points, 60 bass weighing 100.19 pounds.   

For the Sportsman Club, I won with 316 points and 65 bass weighing 129.94 pounds.  Kwong Yu placed second with 270 points, 51 bass and 82.11 pounds, Raymond English came in third with 266 points and 65 bass weighing 124.44 pounds.     In this club fourth went to Jay Gerson with 250 points, 55 bass and 84 pounds, Wayne Teal was fifth with 247 points, 44 bass and 68.24 pounds.  Billy Roberts rounded out the top six with 241 points, 37 keepers and 57.22 pounds.   

Since joining the Potato Creek club four years ago, my goal has been to win all three clubs one year. I was very happy to do it this past year while fighting health problems.  I guess I can retire from fishing now – not.

Cold Muddy Sinclair Tournament

Last Saturday, 19 members of the Potato Creek Bassmasters fished our January tournament at Sinclair.  After eight hours, we brought 71 keeper largemouth weighing about 126 pounds to the scales.  There were 10 five-fish limits and two members didn’t weigh a bass.   

I won with five weighing 13.0 pounds and had a 6.71 pound largemouth for big fish.  Kwong Yu placed second with five at 12.85 pounds anchored by a 3.91 pounder.  Third was Tom Tanner with five weighing 12.58 pounds and had a 4.09 pounder. Dan Dupree came in fourth with five weighing 12.44 pounds and second biggest fish of the day with a 5.61 pounder.   

Add in the 4.43 pounder Raymond English had and the three pounder my partner Mike Scoggins weighed in and you can see it was close and there were a lot of quality fish caught on the cold, rainy day.   

Fish were caught on a wide variety of baits.  My big one hit a crankbait, I also had a three pounder on a spinnerbait, another keeper on the crankbait, three on a shaky head and one on jig and pig. The only consistent thing for me and others seemed to be fishing shallow in the 53-degree muddy water