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!