I left work yesterday after a very stressful day and headed to Grand Lake St. Mary's to register for the FLW BFL Buckeye Division Tourmanent as a co-angler. I did not have my GPS and had not been there before so I had to make several calls to my wife to get me on the right track.
Once I arrived I checked in and waited around for the pre-tournament meeting. It was all new and exciting to me. There were several people around that helped me so I didn't feel so lost on the process.
Finally it got down to pairings and they called out the boat numbers and the names of the boater and co-angler. I must have misheard the boat number and wrote down boat 13. I went to meet my partner and an individual was calling out boat 13. I raised my hand and we walked off planning the next days meeting area.
On the walk I asked him if he pre-fished the lake. He said that he had not. He then asked me the same and I told him no. I asked him what kind of boat he had and he said a 20 foot Javelin. He then said that he would be bringing 4 poles and asked if that was o.k. I realized that one of us had made a mistake at that point and asked if he was a boater. He said no so we walked back to the FLW trailer and I was actually boat 14. I found my partner Craig that had been looking for me and he found his. Craig and I made meeting arrangements for the morning and I left to stay with a friend at Indian lake.
At Indian we went to eat all you can eat Walleye at Blackhawk Bar and Grill and I had a couple bud light limes. We went back to Chads house and I got my tackle organized for the next day. Finally, at 11:00 I laid down on the couch to catch a few hours of sleep with a plan to wake up at 3:30 AM to head back to Grand Lake.
While asleep, I had a dream that I was fishing in the tournament and caught my first keeper. My adrenaline rushed and I awoke at 1:30 AM. I laid there but was unable to fall back asleep. I felt like I was a kid waiting on Christmas morning to come. Eventually, after I realized that I wasn't falling back asleep I left for the lake.
There were quite a few cars still in the parking lot filled with anglers that were sleeping in their cars. I sat in the Blazer and waited for people to start showing up. There were a few people stirring in and out of their cars.
Craig arrived around 5:00. I loaded my tackle and poles into his boat and we went to get in line to put in the boat. It was still very dark.
Once the boat was in the water and I had parked his truck we sat in the boat and chatted with the other anglers waiting for the start of the tournament. There was a lot of dock talk going on.
I had a plan on what I was going to start out with based on what I had caught fish on last weekend. We were boat #14 so we got our choice of spots. Craig said he had quite a few fish in his areas. We arrived to the first canal we were going to fish and there was a boat there already. Luckily they were panfishing. I was casting a rubber worm and pulled it across a log when a bass swam up onto the log chasing it. It would have been a keeper bass. We continued to work around the channel to a rock shoreline made up of smaller rock. I pulled out a different rod with a 1/16th jig head on it and wacky rigged a drop shot worm on it. From now on I will refer to this as a Wacky MiRketti. It is kind of a cross between a wacky rig and a flick shake.
We worked our way down the rock bank and I got a bite. I set the hook and soon the 2 lb. 14 oz bass was netted and in the livewell. We worked around the corner and I caught a short and a bluegill on the wacky MiRketti.
We worked around the channel a little more then went to try a channel on the opposit side of the lake that Craig had quite a bit of luck on in practice. We made our way into the channel and boats were everywhere. We got to the end of the channel and there was a good rock bank similar to the one we had luck on in the other channel. One boat had just fished it and Craig asked if they would mind if we fished it. They said they would not but they had caught all the fish out of there. They had caught a catfish and a sheephead. I cast into the spot a couple times and was shaking my wacky MiRketti when I had a hit. I called for the net and I had my second bass was in the livewell. It was a 2 lb. 9 oz. beauty.
The rest of the day was tough and all I could catch were some more shorts, 4 total through the day, and a bunch of giant bluegill. We passed a lot of boats and all of them were saying the fishing was tough and most of them had 0 or 1 fish. Things were looking pretty good for me with 2 nice fish in the livewell. I wanted at least 1 more to make sure I made it in the money.
With about 5 minutes left before our return to check in Craig had a hit on his buzzbait. He got it to the boat but it got off at the boat. It was 13-14 inches and he was going to swing it in.
Craig was a great boater and got us in the areas that had fish. It was a pleasure fishing with him and I hope that we will get to fish together again sometime in the future.
I was one of the first to weigh in. My 2 bass weighed 5 lbs 7 oz and I was in the lead on the co-angler side for more than half the weigh in. It felt awesome getting the way to go's and the good jobs from the crowd when I walked off the stage. I figured 5 lbs. 7 oz. was not enough to win but with the tough day on the water I was hoping for a high finish. I was not dissapointed at the end of weigh in with my 4th place finish out of 114 co-anglers.
Now I need to keep up the momentum in tomorrow's Deer Creek club tournament.
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