Monday, September 13, 2010

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.

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