It seems like every tournament is a learning experience. And at Kentucky Lake I learned that when you got fishing biting, catch every single one you can, because it’s not going to last forever! Practice was pretty discouraging as one by one my favorite spots from year’s past failed to produce. It was tough to get on any offshore bite during practice because of the weather, so I loaded up the boat and towed it from Paris to the dam so I could fish up there without having to endure the rough ride. Once I started fishing up-lake, things started to go a little better. I found some good offshore humps that produced lots of fish. In practice I caught several doubles while cranking, and lots of 5 lb + fish. My strategy in practice was to put my Lowrance Side Scan to work while I idled over likely areas looking for hard bottom spots with fish on or around it. I found 5 such spots in practice, and come tournament time only 1 of those 5 spots produced for me! That’s how much those fish were moving around on us out there.
On day 1 of the tournament I caught almost 19 lbs on a Bomber Fat Free Shad and a football jig. On day 2 I caught a 4 lb smallie followed by a 3 lb smallie right off the bat, which was weird considering I hadn’t boated any smallmouths the entire week. I continued through the rotation of my spots and couldn’t buy another keeper bite. So, at 10 a.m. I ran up to my spot by the dam. I knew there were fish on the spot because I could see them on my Side Scan, but when I threw my Fat Free Shad through them I got nothing. Then I picked up my football jig and still nothing. But when I threw the War Eagle Twin Spin Jig at them, it was like they had never seen a lure before! After I wore them out with the Twin Spin I picked up a Spoon. First cast I lay into a huge fish. Huge fish turned out to be a giant freshwater drum! I was so disappointed and frustrated at the amount of time I put into that fish! I shrugged it off, and fired my spoon back out into the school. Same deal again, I lay into a huge fish that isn’t even acting like a bass. I kind of got lazy with this fish because I figured it was another drum, but when I got the fish boat side I saw that it was a huge largemouth! Got her in the boat and she went 6-11! Glad I didn’t let that fish come unbuttoned! After that, I was catching fish on the spoon almost every other cast. This is where my day 2 dilemma comes in to play. One of my smallmouths that I caught in the morning was belly up, and the other one was headed in the same direction. I had a decision to make: Either stay and try to cull out some of my other fish, or leave so I could weigh in early and save any other fish that might have been on the downward spiral and save the rest of the school on that spot. I opted to leave and weighed in at 2 p.m. I weighed in 22 lbs.
On day 3 the fish had vanished from my magic spot. I didn’t know what to do. I figured that the overcast conditions had shutoff the offshore bite, and turned on the shallow bite. So at about 10 a.m. I headed towards the bank and assaulted them with a frog. I caught 4 keepers in a fairly short amount of time on the frog. After I had 4 in the box, I ran back out to my offshore spot and never came up with another keeper bite. I ended my day there wishing I would have caught more of them on day 2. Just a few more pounds would have put me in the top 12, and fishing on the final day.
But, I achieved my goal of a top 30 finish, and now I just have to go to work in Oklahoma. I have it figured that I need at least a top 40 finish in Oklahoma to make it to the Classic. I just have to keep the intensity and fish hard. Hopefully this one will go better, as I’ll be fishing more my strengths.