Last weekend the Sportsman Club held our July tournament at Lake Weiss. I’m not real sure why we set up a two day tournament this time of year when it is miserably hot but I think it was because someone in the club heard the fishing was hot at Lake Weiss last January when the schedule was set. The fishing was not hot but the weather surely was!
I had one of those weekends when everything I did seemed wrong. I camped in my van. That may sound stupid but I have a small window unit air conditioner I use. Friday night I set it up in the passengers window and turned it on. The collar I have to wear kept me from twisting around to see the controls very well but when it came on it was blowing cool air.
All night I was too warm to be comfortable but not miserable. Even so, I didn’t sleep very well. The next morning when unhooking it I was able to see the controls and realized I had left it on the lowest setting. Pretty stupid of me. Saturday night I set it on its highest setting and had to turn it back down some after just an hour or so, it was very cold in the van!
We started fishing at 6:00 AM Saturday and I ran to a bridge and threw a topwater bait for an hour without a bite. That worried me but I was not too surprised since the water temperature was 88 degrees. I knew I should be down on the main lake fishing deeper ledges that some good fishermen had shown me for past articles, but I didn’t want to take a chance on making a long, bumpy ride from the boat wakes. I was afraid my neck would not be happy even with the brace.
At 7:00 I started fishing a line of docks where I have caught some fish before and at 7:30 I got a bite on a jig and pig beside a seawall and landed a bass that barely touched the 12 inch line. I put it in the live well but was worried. The tournament director for BASS calls those lengths of bass “line burners” since they are so close.
To be legal in a tournament the bass must measure 12 inches in length. We all carry measuring boards marked off in tenths of inches. One end is “L” shaped so you can put the mouth of the bass against it and see where the tip of the tail measures. The mouth must be closed.
I don’t want to be embarrassed by a short fish at weigh-in so I push the bass tight against the upright while checking on the lake. When I am measuring fish as tournament director I do like all the others, I just make the tip of the lip touch the upright and do not put pressure on it. The pressure will make the bass measure about one-eight inch shorter so checking it that way on the lake guarantees it will be legal.
At 8:00 I cast my jig and pig to a seawall where I could see the bottom. It was less than a foot deep but something thumped my bait. I set the hook but nothing was there so I assumed it was a bream, but I threw back to the same spot and bait and line started moving out from the bank. I set the hook again and this time landed a two pound bass.
About an hour later I cast to another seawall in less than two feet of water and landed another two pound bass. Then I got a 12 inch keeper from under the next dock. This one went a tiny amount over the line on my board even with pressure on its mouth. That was at 9:00.
Up to that time there had been some hazy clouds and it was not too terribly hot. But by 10:00 the sun was burning down and there was no breeze. Since this collar I wear is fiberglass with foam rubber that covers from my chin to the middle of my chest and back of my skull to middle of my back it is a little warm.
I got under a bridge in the shade and fished for about three hours without a bite, but at least I was in the shade! When some clouds rolled in at about 1:00 I tried some other spots but never caught another fish.
At weigh-in my three weighing 5.3 pounds was third place. I decided to not take a chance on the line burner. Niles Murray was in second with three at 5.5 pounds and JR Proctor had a limit weighing 7 pounds for first.
The next morning I fished from 6:00 to 10:00 without a bite. At ten I got under a bridge but as so disgusted I did something I have never done in 42 years of club fishing. I loaded my boat and came home three hours before the tournament was over!
I heard JR won but did not get the rest of the results. A guy I know that fishes the lake a lot won a tournament there Saturday with five bass weighing 15.5 pounds, fishing ledges down the lake!