Closer to home the Potato Creek Bassmasters fished our first tournament of the year at Sinclair last Saturday. The water was very muddy in the Little and
Oconee Rivers. Even the creeks at the dam, usually clear, had very stained water. I do not like cold muddy water, especially like it was Saturday when my chartreuse crankbait disappeared about two inches deep.
In the tournament, seventeen fishermen caught 45 bass weighing 80 pounds. Niles Murray showed us all how it can be done in cold muddy water by winning with five that weighed 14.50 pounds. Edward Folker placed second with two weighing 8.54 pounds and had big fish with a 5.79-pound bass. Doug Acree came in third with five at 8.10 and Ryan Edge was fourth with three at 6.65 pounds.
Niles is in the groove fishermen love. It happens sometimes that everything just seems right. Maybe he is getting that “sixth sense” that some have. He has won three of four club tournaments in the past month and also placed third in the Berry’s tournament in January against some of the best fishermen in the area.
Me, not so much. At Sinclair I started on a mud flat with a small hard clay patch I found years ago. It has produced some good fish for me over the years, especially in January. But my hopes fell when my crankbait did not show up in the muddy water.
I fished that area for about 90 minutes without a bite then decided to run to the dam to look for clearer water rather than fish the next place I had planned in Beaverdam Creek. Rocky Creek usually has the clearest water on the lake, and its rocks are good this time of year, but the water was very stained, even there. My chartreuse crankbait disappeared about four or five inches deep, better but not great.
I fished that area for over four hours and had two bites, one on a jig and one on a shaky head worm but missed both. They could have been bream or crappie, or a big bass, but I will never know. I made the decision to go back to Beaverdam Creek for the rest of the tournament.
I again fished the clay spot but got no bites, and a deep brush pile where I won a Sportsman Club tournament last January, but nothing. At 2:00 I went to where I did not go that morning. At 2:20 I hooked and landed a largemouth a little over three pounds, then a few minutes later landed a keeper on a spinnerbait. The hooks fell out of both in the net, so I knew the fish were just nipping the bait. I was lucky to land them. That was enough to make me decide to fish that point the rest of the day.
At 3:00 I hooked a fish on a crankbait. It rolled on top and I could see I had barely hooked it on a back hook and was another three pound plus fish. I carefully worked it toward the boat and put the net in the water. As may line got close to the net I could not see the bass in the muddy water. I did see it as it swam by the net and for a second though it was in it.
No such luck, the front hooks of the plug hung in the net as the fish swam under it and the bass pulled off. I ended up with about 5.5 pounds. That fish would have put me in second place, but the big ones always seem to get away. I needed Niles’ luck and skill!