Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Camping and Knox Lake Club Tournament

The weather was perfect on Friday and I was able to get off a half hour early to get the camping supplies ready and the boat hooked up before Christina got home with the kids.

She got her and the kids cloths ready and we were on the road by 6:30. The campground we were staying was on Kokosing lake about 5 miles from Knox lake where my tournament would be on Sunday.

We got to the lake a little after 8:00. Kimber, Leo and I set up the camp while Christina ran to town for groceries and supplies. The campsite we picked up was on the water so I had Christina pick up some chicken livers so Leo and I could catfish Friday night.

Christina and Kimber went to bed early with Gavin. Leo and I sat on the shore of the lake near the fire and watched our catfish poles until 1:00 AM. I caught one tiny catfish and set the hook on another that I was going to let Leo reel in but he got off while Leo was slowly reeling him in. I let Leo listen to the small catfish while I was unhooking him then I put him in a minnow bucket for Leo to play with while we were fishing.

Leo finally got tired and wanted to go to bed. I sent him to the tent while I cleaned up camp. I dumped the catfish out. The next morning I was up by 5:00 AM. I hadn't slept hardly at all with Gavin trying to crawl underneath me all night.

The first thing I did was set up all my poles with bass rigs. I was going to try a lot of different presentations to figure out the bass. I started out in front of camp. The first thing I tried was a wacky rigged drop shot worm on a 1/16 oz regular jig head. I cast it out and let it sit then lifted the rod tip. As I did the worm would vibrate on it's way up. I caught a 13 inch bass right away. Then I caught a decent 10" crappie that I put in the minnow bucket.

I walked down the shore a little ways to really shallow water with a tree trunk sticking out. I cast to it and lifted the worm. I let it sit on bottom for about 15 seconds when my line started darting off to the side. With a good hook set the fish was on. I could tell that it was a decent fish and I had to run along the bank to keep up with him as he was swimming away. As the battle concluded I lifted the biggest bass I have caught in Ohio out of the water. It was 16 1/2 to 17 inches and was thick.

I woke everybody else in the tent up because I wanted a picture. Kimber came out and snapped a picture of the bass. Leo ended up getting up as well. The first thing he did was go to check on the catfish that we had in the minnow bucket. He opened up the lid. His eyes got big and he yelled out, "It grew". The crappie was quite a bit bigger than the catfish we had caught the night before. I'm glad I had something in there for him. He would have been disappointed to see an empty bucket.

He started fishing first thing when he got up as well. I had already rigged his pole with a crappie set up.

About 10:00 the kids Christina and Kimber went to play at the playground. I was itching to try Knox lake with their 18" length limit. I had already caught a good limit off Kokosing by 8:00 in the morning and hoped the pattern would work for Knox.

The girls wanted to go to town. I had a bass that I was missing next to a stump in front of the camp so I stayed there a while to catch him and try my luck at fly fishing. Both failed. I cleaned the crappie and headed to Knox about 1:00 hoping I could find an afternoon pattern there.

Once I arrived at Knox I figured out that it was a totally different lake than Kokosing. It had a few similarities but there were hardly any reachable structural areas like the one I had caught most of my fish on at Kokosing. I tried a few areas and found one spot with some decent fish on it.

I drove around the lake trying to find spots to fish the next day. There is a stump field on the East side of the lake. The bank on the other side of the stump field looked like the area I had fished in Kokosing. I tried to make it there but only made it about 10 feet into the stump field before I was hitting all kinds of stumps. It took us about a half hour to get back out. The stumps were thick.

The girls and kids met with me at Knox and we went out to try some more fishing and driving around the lake. They had found a red ear slider turtle and brought it along for the kids to play with.

Leo caught a crappie off one spot casting out toward the middle of the lake. I couldn't get any more bass. Then we went to the other end of the lake. We pulled up to one spot near the end of the day and I pulled out the tiny dancer trying to catch us some crappie for a meal that night. I pulled in about 15-20 crappie all of which were small. Leo caught a couple more as well.

My skin was turning red and everybody was ready to get back to camp so we headed in for the evening.

At camp I got a hot dog fire going and we roasted hot dogs and smores. I cast out a catfish pole. Everybody scattered to the tent around 8:00 when it starting drizzling. I stayed out and was poking the fire when my pole started heading towards the lake. I grabbed it just in time and set the hook. I brought in about a 5 pound carp on chicken liver. It was almost a good fight. He fought hard for a minute then turned towards shore and tried to tangle me in a brush pile.

After that I figured I had better get some sleep since I had to be up for the tournament at 5:00 Sunday morning.

Sunday morning I woke up early and headed to Knox lake. I had heard from everybody the day before that the fishing was tough. I hoped that I had something going that they didn't since I had caught a lot of fish early on Saturday.

Ken and I drew boat number 5. He decided to try the spot that I told him I had some fish on the day before. We pulled up to the bank and 2 other boats pulled up to it at the same time. All three boats fished it and only 1 person pulled in a short fish. I guess I caught a crappie right as we were leaving.

We tried a couple more areas in some shallow water before moving to some deeper water. It was getting to mid morning and we had not been bit. We were following a deep bank and had just gotten to shallow water. Ken was going to speed fish the shallow area and started moving the boat faster. I had just cast into an area with a bunch of pipes sticking up out of the water.

I had a hit and I set the hook. My line started going the opposite direction as us. I finally got the fish to turn. As it did I got a side view of the fish. It was huge. I pulled it in a little then it started another run. I pulled to get it to turn direction again and it came unbuttoned. I was really upset as I am sure it would have been big bass for the tournament and possibly big bass for the year in our bass club. When I got the worm back to the boat the fish had hit the worm so that it doubled over and hooked itself again leaving just the point to hold the fish.

We made it down the bank a little further in some deeper water and Ken got hung up. We started to float near a lay down and I had a hit. I set the hook. The fish pulled under the lay down. I was able to change his direction and he swam past the front of the boat. I got to the front of the boat and got the bass to the surface where he rolled onto his side. I went to grab him and as I did he shook his head and spit the lure. I was a millisecond from having him in the boat. He was about 16 inches. I should have swung him into the boat.

Ken had one on a little ways down the bank in a lay down. He fought it a while and it came off. The rest of the morning was uneventful. Ken finally caught a keeper with about an hour left then another short fish and a crappie. Towards the final minutes of the tournament I had a bite. I wasn't taking any chances and had a solid hook set. It was a crappie again. He will have a headache and will swim crooked for a while with the hook set I gave him.

The first tournament of the year resulted with 0 bass for me. I am 15 points back from 1st place so it wasn't a disaster if I can consistently get fish the rest of the year. Big bass was 3.61 pounds and first place had 10.06 pounds. There were 14 of us fishing. Three had a 5 fish limit and three had 0. There was one other that had 4 fish and the rest of the group had 1 or 2.

With fishing the way it was the day before I had confidence that I would go out and at least catch some fish. My next tournament will be at Grand Lake St. Mary's for a FLW BFL event on Saturday, then on Sunday at Deer Creek for a club tournament. I will catch some fish at these tournaments. I know Deer Creek pretty well after last year and I have been waiting for the Grand Lake tournament forever.


  1. Bummer on the big fish that came off and the tourney but at least it sounds like you had a good time camping and got a nice fish in the morning.

    For some reason your posts don't show up on my dashboard like everybody else's. Any idea why?

  2. I'm not sure why it doesn't show up on your dashboard. Maybe try clicking follow again.