I went to Hartwell on Tuesday, May 11 to camp and fish, getting ready for the Potato Creek Bassmasters tournament. Wednesday was miserable, windy rainy and cold, so I was on the water only about three hours. I went way up a creek to put in to get out of the wind and did not find anything to make me want to go back.
Thursday was nicer but still cold, and I explored some new places to try to find a pattern. I caught one barely 12-inch-long spotted bass. I felt completely lost even though I found one point with a lot of shad and bigger fish under them, so I planned to start there in the tournament Friday morning.
I pulled up there Friday and caught a throwback on my first cast with a topwater plug, then had a 2.5 pounder jump and throw my bait. I stayed there an hour and got one more bite but missed it.
I started running to places where I have caught fish in the past this time of year, trying all kinds of patterns, structure and cover. I manage to catch one keeper spot and one keeper largemouth by weigh-in.
Saturday I started in a different place and got no bites, so I went to a small creek that has been good in the past. I quickly caught a two-pound largemouth on topwater so I thought maybe it would be a better day. By the end of the day I had caught one more small keeper spot, on a Carolina rig.
That was a very frustrating trip for me.
Last week at Hartwell 21 members of the Potato Creek Bass masters fished our May tournament. We landed 102 spots and largemouth weighing about 157 pounds. There were six five bass limits during the two days and no one zeroed.
Raymond English won with ten weighing 15.89 pounds and Niles Murray placed second with nine at 15.46 pounds. Lee Hancock came in third with seven weighing 14.63 pounds and that included the big fish weighing 4.83 pounds. Kwong Yu rounded out the top four with nine keepers weighing 14.58 pounds.
Fish were reportedly caught on a variety of baits in a big variety of places. With weights that close, one bite makes a huge difference. On Friday, Kwong culled several fish but could land only four on Saturday. If any of his culls weighing 1.5 pounds had hit Saturday he would have won, just like if Niles had landed one of his culls from Friday.
Its amazing how often that happens and how close the top four often are in weight. I keep telling myself that during the tournament, especially if it is a bad day for me. Just one bite can make a big difference!
At Hartwell it would have taken a lot more than one more bite for me, though!