Thursday, September 30, 2010

Twin Rivers Fish Off

With the clubs 2-day fish off coming up this weekend we have a meeting tonight to decide the lakes we will be fishing.

The decision will be made from a drawing. Each person that qualified for the fish off gets to include 1 lake we have fished this season. There were 8 of us in the club that qualified. Also, each lake we have fished this season also gets put into a hat for the drawing. We will be fishing 2 different lakes unless lake erie is drawn first. Then we will fish lake erie both days.

Deer Creek will be eliminated out as that lake recently closed due to the Algae problems we have had in some of the lakes around here. Knox lake is also eliminated due to the size limit being 18 inches.

There are some lakes that I like more than others. I am hoping lake erie is not drawn. I don't have enough experience on that lake to have much of a chance. That and I'm scared to take my boat out there. The waves from the other boats out there are enough to scare me.

Here is a list of the lakes we have fished and why I think they would be good or bad for me.

Lake Erie - 8th out of 10 - Poor - Long ways from Columbus to pull my boat. Not enough experience on the water and hard for me to make the decision to boat to the islands. I won't have a partner so I would be alone on Lake Erie.

Delaware - 4th out of 13 - Good - I have quite a bit of experience fishing on Delaware and have a few good bass spots. We had a another club tournament and a large tournament there the same day we fished it and still caught quite a few fish. If we had the lake to our small group we could catch a lot of bass.

C.J. Brown - 6th out of 9 - Neutral - I had a great practice there 2 weeks prior to the tournament 5 keepers in a little over an hour. During the tournament I only caught 1 bass. Nobody in the club did well the day we were there. There are quite a few smallmouth and largemouth in the water but can be difficult to catch.

O'Shaughnessy - 6th out of 14 - Neutral - I have a lot of experience on O'Shaughnessy the last couple years. Mostly bad experience. I know the bass are there and I caught a couple this year. My skills as an angler have improved since last year but not catching a keeper out of there all last year in multiple tournaments has left a sour taste in my mouth.

Clear Fork - 9th out of 11 - Good - I didn't do great at Clear Fork, but it was my first time fishing it and there was another tournament there at the same time. I didn't know where to start for the morning bite and it cost me. If we go back I think I could have a good chance at bringing in a good limit. It is also a big fish lake. Some good ones come out of there.

Griggs - 2nd out of 10 - Good - I had a good practice and a decent catch there. I know where the larger fish are hanging out. It's just a matter of getting them to eat my bait. The lake is low now so that would affect the fishing. Not sure if it would be good or bad though.

Rocky Fork - 1st out of 12 - Good - I won here and have big fish for the year. How could I say Poor. There is a good amount of bass in the lake and it is fun to fish. The only drawback is the distance from the other lakes.

Pleasant Hill - 5th out of 10 - Good - This would be good because we fished here the last tournament. It was like a practice. I learned quite a bit about the lake and would be able to go back and give a decent showing. I have a better idea of what to throw, when and where.

I only get 1 vote and have all these lakes to choose from. Only 3 are below good. This argument has gone on in my head for a while now on which to vote on. Right now it's between Delaware and Clear Fork. Delaware I might have a better shot against the guys I'd be fishing against. Clear Fork was probably my favorite lake I fished this year. For sheer numbers of bass Delaware is a blast but getting a fish longer than 12 inches is tough.

The vote I will put in is Clear Fork. It is still new to me. Fishing is phenomenal there. A lot of patterns work there. It is also a of Columbus, so hopefully it will be drawn and paired with Delaware or Pleasant Hill. Then I can stay between the lakes over night and have fun with the club members.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Late Season Buying Spree

Here are my newest purchases for the end of the season. I ordered the roboworms online. All of the ebay stores shipped quickly. The strike king super finesse worms, the luck e strike, and the bass pro flick n shimmy worms were purchased at bass pro on the way back from the Ohio River.

The first finesse worms I started using this spring were the strike king. They were on sale at Gander Mountain for 2.00 a pack. I have since purchased about 6 other packs at full price. That is why sales work.

Luck e strike are on the lower price scale but work well. I like the cotton candy color. The bass seem to like it to.

This will be my first experience with the flick n shimmy worms. I won't be able to compare them to the flick shake since I had never purchased the flick shake.

I also purchased some flick - it jig heads by buckeye lures. I have missed several fish this year on the hook set. I have used a 1/16th oz. ball jighead all year. Most of the fish I miss I assume are bluegill but if they have been bass and the curve of the hook, or strength of the hook, is preventing a better hookset then I have cost myself hundreds if not thousands of dollars on missed hooksets this year.

The cost is quite a bit higher for these but with the design they look like they can improve my fishing so I have to give them a try. Each improvement I can make will potentially put that many more bass in the boat and hopefully earn me more checks to help me pay for the higher prices I am starting to pay for baits.

I generally go through a lot of worms and not that many jig heads so if they work, they will definitely be worth it.

I have 3 tournaments left for the year. The fish off for the club is a 2 day tournament at two of the lakes we have fished in the regular season. We draw for those this Thursday and fish the fish off Saturday and Sunday.

The next tournament is 2 weeks after that. It will be our clubs Open tournament at Alum Creek.

The last tournament of the year is the regionals at Kentucky Lake the following week. I will need to make another lure purchase for there. I fish Kentucky lake a lot different than most of the lakes around here so I need to stock up on a couple things that worked well for me last fall as well as what I think would be good there.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Ohio River BFL Buckeye Super Tournament

I left work early Friday to make it to the pre-tournament registration early. I didn't run into any problems on the way there and actually registered an hour early. I was ranked 24th in the standings in the FLW BFL Buckeye Division as a co-angler. They mentioned at the meeting that to ensure a top 40 finish for the year I would probably need to catch at least 1 bass. I had already thought that but now I was really feeling the pressure.

After the pairings meeting I visited with a few of the other anglers, one of which was Jacob Wheeler. He's a super nice person and I have a feeling he will be a superstar in this sport eventually. He's already really good. We were talking about next year. I have been doing some thinking on it, and figure that if I can, I should use the FLW to fish some bigger waters. I will probably, if my job allows it, fish the American Fishing Series Central Division or Northern Division next year as a co-angler.

If I can sell my boat this winter and buy a new used bass boat I might also fish the BFL as a boater. I still have a little time to decide. I like being a co-angler but also like to be the decision maker on where to fish and when. In actuality I will probably remain a co-angler if I am fishing the American Fishing Series since I would not have the time off to pre-fish each of the tournaments.

I might go south this winter to fish a BFL tournament as a co-angler on a larger lake. I would like to try Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, or Oklahoma. It would give me a chance to fish for bass while the ice is still on the water here, and I could learn how to fish on some different waters.

I called Dad and talked with him as everyone was leaving the meeting area. I had plans on a place to stay but that fell through so I was thinking of staying at a campground or in the van. I decided to stay the night in the van and met some other cool people doing the same thing.

I ended up going out to get drinks and a sandwich for the next day and drive around to check the area out a little. There was a barbecue place down the road called Big Daddy's Barbecue and Lil Momma's Fixins, or something close to that. I decided to stop in. The pulled pork was great and came in a healthy portion on the bun. My stomach was stretched out from the pulled pork sandwich, onion rings and the 2 corona's I had so I decided to head back to the ramp to sleep.

The ramp area was unlit so I fell asleep pretty quickly. Dreams of poor fishing went through my head. In my dreams I would cast to all these great looking spots and not catch any fish. I woke up and was disappointed in my dreams. They were brought on by my previous experience with the Ohio River.

I got up and prepped my equipment for the day. My partner called and was entering the ramp area. I met up with him and were one of the first to get our boat put in. We were second to last boat to get to leave the area though.

We pulled up to a bank and waited as everyone got to pass us and leave to fish. Finally they called the last 2 numbers and we were off. We made around a 15 minute run and were fishing pretty quickly. My boater caught 2 keepers pretty quick.

I caught a few short fish then had one on that was close. Upon measuring the bass, he was barely short. I caught a few more that were just barely short. Then I was lifting my worm out of the water at one point and a huge bass came up out of the water after it. He just barely missed it and my side of the livewell was still empty.

It was getting later in the afternoon and I was still catching just barely short bass. I kept thinking any one of them could be a keeper but just couldn't bring one in. finally I had a nice bite next to a dock. I set the hook and the fish seemed like it wanted to surface and jump. I kept my rod tip down to keep the fish in the water until I got it to the boat. My boater dipped the net and I brought it up and into the net. It was about a 3 pound catfish. I felt devastated. I really thought it was going to be a keeper bass. I needed 1 bass for points in this tournament.

We continued fishing then my boater said we were going to hit a spot on the main river where he usually can get a keeper.

I had several bites and was getting low on the finesse worms I was having luck on. My boater brought in a barely short bass, and right after that I have a hook up that feels like a nice bass. I get it to the boat and my boater nets it. It was a 14 incher, 2 inches into the keeper category. I sigh of relief ran through me. Then the excitement hit. I was more than likely going to make the regional cut. I looked at the clock. It was 2:30. We had about an hour left to fish. I started working to try to catch a second keeper and try to make the 2nd day.

I caught 2 more nice sized catfish. One of them even jumped completely out of the water when I hooked it. The second 1 I caught came out of the same spot I had brought in the keeper. My boater was retrieving a lure he had caught up and I fought the fish to the boat and into the net thinking I had a big bass, again to turn out to be a catfish.

The time ran down and I weighed in my 1 bass. It was 1 pound 7 ounces, good for around 33rd place out of 72. The cut for the next day was a little more than a half pound away.

I had a good tournament. My boater was really fun to fish with. We caught a ton of fish, just not enough of the right size or right species. The Ohio river left a little better taste in my mouth this time. I look forward to going back now.

Thoughts After the Tournament:

1. The reason I think I caught so many short fish without keepers - the creek we were fishing was not a long ways from Tanners and is pretty well known. There are a lot of tournaments out of Tanners so a lot of the keepers probably get plucked out of there and hauled back to Tanners.

2. There was not a lot of water being pulled on the first day of the tournament. There was abut a 15 minute pull and that is when I caught my keeper. He was in a current break.

3. There were large schools of shad and fish blowing up in them. It might or might not have been a good idea to spend a little more time casting an imitation shad bait right under the balls of shad. Looking back it couldn't have hurt. It might have been a good time to try a swimbait.

4. I went through 2 1/2 bags of worms. It was good fishing.

5. I finished the season in 18th place overall. I'm within the top 40 cut so I get to fish the Kentucky Lake regional tournament October 21st through the 23rd.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Pro Tackle Solutions Ebay

I ordered 5 bags of straight tail roboworms off ebay on Tuesday afternoon. Yesterday, Thursday, I had 1 bag in the mail already. Pro Tackle Solutions had the fastest shipping I've ever seen.

I was expecting to go into this tournament with 2 roboworms left. I have some other finesse worms but like I said in the last post these things are great for me. Now I have 12 and feel a lot more comfortable.

There was a thought in my head that I was going to need to swing by Columbus on the way down to the Ohio River to see if any came in. Now I can go straight down from work and will not have to take the 45 minute detour.

This will be my first 2 day tournament. I can't wait to leave it all out on the water and try to make the second day and the regionals.

My confidence level is soaring way above where it was last year. I have been catching bass this year in all but one trip out, even if they were small. The one time I didn't catch a bass was the Ohio River.

It scares me but at the same time I love tough fishing. I have a bait I know will entice a bite and am starting to get a little experience on the Ohio River. Maybe this will be the time that everything works out.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Roboworm 4.5" Straight Tail ST-B6BF, Folkestad Special

Throughout the year I have been using different finesse worms, colors, and sizes trying to pin down one that outperforms all others.

I have had a lot of luck as of late with Roboworm straight tail worms. There was one color and size at a Dick's Sporting goods store in Kansas and they looked perfect so I bought them. They were a little higher priced than I wanted to pay. Somewhere around 6.00, but I had to have them as they were what I was looking for.

That pack got lost in the shuffle of vacation and I didn't find them again until a few weeks ago. The first time I tried them I caught a 4.7 pound largemouth quite a few smaller largemouth and ended up winning the tournament I was in. Now after 2 tournaments, I only have 2 worms left.

Yesterday I went on a mission to find roboworm with a variation of purple as that seems to be a great color. I can't keep junebug or any purple in my arsenal long as the fish seem to steal that color often and then I'm out again.

I ended up finding the Folkestad Special color of Roboworm and feel that it's everything I've been looking for all season. I still have quite a bit of fishing left this season so I ordered a pack. There was only 1 left where I found them. Luckily the roboworm website sells them too, I think. I also ordered a few other colors as well. I'm excited to get them and put them to work. I doubt they will arrive in time for this weekends tournament. I'll have to make good use out of the 2 I have left.

I have no doubt that the roboworm straight tail will get me a lot more high finishes in the future!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Upcoming BFL Tanner's Creek

I'm off to the Ohio River again Friday for the last of the BFL Buckeye division events this year. We are taking off out of Tanner's creek in this 2 day Super tournament.

Currently, I am ranked 24th. I need to be in the top 40 to make it to the regionals at Kentucky Lake. I think that out of the 3 stops we have made on the Ohio river, Tanner's creek will fish the best.

The weather's supposed to be 79 degrees and partly sunny. That's a 10 degree dip from the rest of the week with a chance of rain the night before.

The Ohio River so far has been tough with only about 38% of the co-anglers catching fish at each event. I failed to catch a fish at Maysville. I only caught 1 out of Carrolton. I have a feeling I will be fishing for 1 bite again Saturday. Hopefully, it will be more and I can cash in another tournament and make it to the regionals.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pleasant Hill Club Tournament

Our final club tournament before the fish off was this Sunday. There were 6 of us in contention of winning 20% of the fish off money for being weekend angler series points leader. I was 1 point back from the leader and had to take a top 3 in order to tie and a top 2 to move ahead if none of the others got a higher place than me or a top 3.

The morning started out great. It was overcast and cool with a little rain coming down. Giant smallmouth were slamming shad on the surface all around us. The forecast said overcast all day. How could it get any better.

Twenty minutes later the fish stopped hitting the surface and we had not figured out how to catch a single one. One of those behemoth smallmouth would have been a tournament breaker and there were tons of them. It was frustrating but we couldn't get them to hit topwater, crankbaits, worms, spoons or anything we threw.

We moved a little and I caught a barely keeper smallmouth next to a grass bed on a twister tail and jig head. I caught another short smallmouth the next cast and thought we were onto something. We worked for another half hour without a bite, then decided to move.

We went to the shallow end of the lake and I caught a largemouth pretty quickly off a rocky shoreline. A little ways down from there I caught another largemouth. Then the sun burned through our overcast day. The bite turned off again.

I missed quite a few other bites throughout the day on a 10" power worm. I would switch to something smaller and not get bit and switch back and get bit again. I would set the hook and my worm would come back all balled up on the hook without a fish. It was very frustrating. We were still having a lot of fun.

I ended up catching another short smallmouth off a point in the deeper part of the lake while Mike was taking a just barely short largemouth off his hook. Again we thought we were onto something but cast away at that point without any success. It became overcast again and a breeze picked up. Conditions seemed favorable for an afternoon bite.

We decided to try our original spot again for 30 minutes then burned the last hour in the shallow end of the lake. Mike had a huge blowup on a buzzbait coming over a log. It sounded like a toilet flushing. I missed a few more solid bites.

It just wasn't my day. I weighed in 3 fish for 3.38 pounds good enough for 4th in the club. Andy took a third with 4 fish and won the WAS points lead and 20% of the fish off money. It was awesome that the last tournament was so close that 6 of us had a shot at it. Andy has been with the club for 20 years and I can't think of anybody more deserving.

We vote on the fish off lakes Sept 30th. I'm torn on the lake I will vote for. We have fished some lakes that would be great that time of the year. The only lake I really don't have a chance at is Lake Erie. You need a lot of experience there to do good, I think. On top of that, I'm scared of the lake in my boat. The waves from the other boats alone are enough to scare me. If it gets windy I think I would stay ashore and concede my season. If it's an inland lake I think we all have an equal opportunity.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Rocky Fork Hog

Monday, September 13, 2010

Griggs photo

Here is a photo from my 2nd place finish at Griggs 2 weeks ago.

Rocky Fork Gargantuan Bass!

Mapquest showed a 1 1/2 hour drive to the ramp the next morning. That's how I decided when to wake up. It takes 15 minutes for me to get ready, 15 minutes to get the boat out of the garage and hooked up and 10 minutes to fill up with gas on the way out of town.

We didn't make it out to prefish or camp as it was supposed to rain Saturday and had been a little chilly at night. If the boys were just a little older we'd have went anyway.

I didn't sleep much the night before and still I had a hard time falling asleep.

Two nights before I had a dream that I was fishing this tournament and had a chance to win it but needed to catch one more bass. In the dream the fishing was tough and the guys in the club were on the bank talking. I needed to keep fishing to have a chance to win and I felt that if I kept putting my lures in the right areas I would eventually pull out the fish I needed to win.

I woke up to my 2nd alarm. The one that lets me know if I sleep any longer I will be pushing it too close.

A couple hours later I was at the ramp. There were a lot of boats and it was apparent there was another big tournament going on at the same time out of the same ramp. I walked through the parking lot looking for another club member but didn't see anybody. Did I have the wrong date. Maybe they put in early since the other tournament was there. I decided to wait until the other tournament got their boats put in before I put my boat in since I was putting the boat in by myself. It doesn't take me long anymore, but they were just about finished.

I got the boat in the water and made it to the other tournaments check in boat as they finished calling boat numbers. I asked if another tournament had left from there. He said they had went to another ramp right before I got to the ramp.

I boated towards the other dock and saw the clubs boats just taking off. I spotted the tournament director and went to talk to him. He asked if I could trailer the fish over to the other ramp. I said I could boat to their ramp and weigh the fish then head back to the other ramp.

I caught 2 fish pretty quickly in the back of a cove. They were just barely short. It hurt throwing them back. I moved out a little deeper and caught my first keeper in the middle of the cove. That felt a little odd. I caught him on the retrieve from a dock and figured maybe he followed it. The last 2 years all of my bass here have been caught off the shoreline or around structure.

I left the area to check out some more of the lake. The other end of the lake had a lot more boats working the shoreline. I stopped and tried 2 areas. The first looked good but had no grass. The fish I had caught before were close to grass. I moved across the lake and tried a second area. There was sparse grass and I had a couple fish hit then had a good one on that came unbuttoned about half way in. He would have been a keeper.

The wind was coming up and making it hard to keep boat position so I decided to go back to my original cove and work it again. I started out near a large grass bed and cast out into it. I got bit and set the hook. The fish felt decent and I ran to the back of the boat to get the net. I got her up close to the boat and got the net ready. Then she dove down. I was pretty sure it was a bass but started thinking it might be a catfish the way it kept diving. My drag was a little tight. She wouldn't have broken my line, but the hook could pull free, so I was adjusting it while I was holding the net and stripping line out of the spool with my hand with the net.

Finally, I got the fish to the surface and I went into shock upon seeing the size. It seemed like 3 minutes getting the net out to her. In reality it was probably the quickest I've ever moved but it seemed like forever.

It was definitely the biggest fish I've caught in Ohio. I worked down the bank a few casts and had another hit. I got the fish to the side of the boat and it dove down. I lifted the rod tip and had the net ready to go in the water as soon as the bass showed himself. Instead the hook came flying up out of the water. Upon inspection the hook was straightened. It was another big bass. Definitely would have been a keeper. That's 2 keepers missed for the day. I felt I was doing the big bass injustice by not getting the other 2 fish in.

I tied on a different hook and went to work down the bank. The sun came out from behind the clouds that had been there all morning and the bite shut down.

I worked the whole huge grass bed with no success then decided to work the other shorelines around there. Shad were surfacing and I saw fish below them but could not get bit. I finally sat in the middle of a cove and tried everything I had that mimicked a shad. I wish I would have had a silver spoon with me. I think that would have been the ticket. I finally got my 3rd fish in the boat with a twister tail fishing like I would for white bass. I kept changing up the bait. There were so many fish chasing the shad that if I could just get the right bait I would make a killing.

I tied on a shad blue worm wacky style and pulled it slowly through the middle of the cove and had a hit. I got him in the boat and it was just over 12 inches so he went into the live well. That would be my last fish of the day. I got back to the ramp just on time. I saw Jason from the club was there and knew with seeing the shad being busted that he had figured it out. He's good like that. I just hoped my big bass would save the day and hold my 4 fish over a 5 fish limit.

At weigh in I had 8 pounds even. Jason had 7.85 pounds and Tim, Jason's partner for the day had 7.9 pounds. I held and have my first win! I also got big bass for the day with 4.7 pounds.

We have one more club tournament before the fish off at Pleasant Hill. There is a lot on the line if I can win it and take over on Weekend Angler Series Points. I will just go fishing and try to figure the fish out like I did the last 2 tournaments. It feels good to be doing as good as I am against this caliber of fishermen.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Upcoming Rocky Fork Tournament and my New Blog

This weekend we have another club tournament at Rocky Fork lake. Earlier in the week, Leo mentioned that he wants to go camping again. We will go down on Saturday to prefish for a bit and do some camping Saturday night as long as they have camping around there.

I've got to say that I am ready to sit around a campfire again myself. There's something about a fire that relaxes and mesmerizes me. With it getting closer to fall, the nights will be getting cooler, and we won't get many more opportunities this season.

I hear Rocky Fork has some big bass. I hope to catch one or more of those big bass this weekend.

With all the other things I have going on in my life on top of fishing and travel I considered adding more about my personal life in this blog. I had started this blog about fishing though, and decided to keep it that way. I started another blog about everything else. If you're interested in checking it out here is the link.