The BFL Super Tournament at Grand Lake was on September 15th and 16th. I had convinced my wife that her and the kids needed to come to this tournament since Grand Lake is such a nice place to visit. She agreed to travel with me and camp at the lake.
The weather was setting up to be great. Early in the week I checked the weather and it was supposed to finish up raining early Friday afternoon and be calm and cool Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Thursday night I looked again and it forcasted rain all weekend. I knew my wife would not want to tent camp in rain all weekend. I didn't want to either. I quickly looked up motel rooms in the area. Holy Cow! There were only 2 rooms left at a hotel with 2 out of 5 stars and the room cost 110.00 a night. I looked at the reviews and there was nothing good to say about the place. The next closest motel was 30 miles away. I was preparing for the family to stay at home and me to sleep in the back of the truck. At least it would be dry there.
Then I looked at vacation rentals by owner thinking that everything there would be booked way ahead of time. I saw a nice looking cabin on the waterfront for 125.00 a night. I e-mailed them and they called back early Friday morning saying that the cabin was open and was indeed 125.00 a night even on the weekends.
The cabin was newly built and had king size beds, granite countertops, a dishwasher, washer, dryer, and every cable channel. It was awesome.
We got to Grand Lake Friday afternoon and had some time to relax in the cabin prior to the pairing meeting. At the meeting I met my partner and got a plan for the next day, cranking.
It seems that at each tournament this year I have fished a different technique.
The next day I was up early after not sleeping the night before. I met my partner and we headed to the ramp. It was drizzling and kind of ugly out in the dark. I was glad I didn't have to get up out of the back of my truck into the drizzle to get ready that morning.
At take off the rain was coming down harder. It stung my face and hands as we headed to our first spot. The area we fished looked great. Lots of rocks, steep banks, boat docks. I could spend 2 weeks on that bank.
I hooked into a fish right away. It felt good. When I got it up to the boat we saw that it was a catfish. It had ate the crankbait and had all 6 hooks clamping the fishes mouth closed. It took 10 minutes to pry the fishes mouth open and get all those hooks out. Right after that my partner caught a sandbass. He shook it and it came off the hook. He said, "See, that's how you do it."
We caught tons of sand bass and lots of short bass but were yet to get a keeper. Then one of the sandbass my partner caught flipped at the wrong time and drove the hook into my partners finger past the barb. I cut off some of my braided line while he cut the hook away from the crankbait. Then I wrapped the line around the curve of the hook, the other ends around my finger. This was only going to happen once. Either I was getting the hook or ripping off his finger. I jerked and the hook popped right out. I asked how it felt when I jerked and he said it was like a bee sting. He felt it but it wasn't bad.
He bandaged himself up the best he could do in the rain with duck tape and we were fishing again. I had seen a video of how to remove a hook with string online before but had never seen it in person. It worked pretty slick. My boater mentioned that with the hook in his hand he would not have been able to do it himself. He needed to hold his hand steady while I jerked.
Once we were fishing again we continued to catch all kinds of fish but keeper bass. My boater slowly filled his limit and I caught 1 keeper. I had a giant hit a rattletrap off of a roadbed. I was reeling him in and he splashed the surface and was gone. I had another 3-4 pounder come out from under a boat dock and suck in my bait. I tried to get it to the surface and it came off. I also had another keeper at the end of the day come off my crankbait as I pulled it up to the surface.
My boater pulled in a hog out of a bunch of brush. I swept the net under the fish and lifted. It was as if I were powerless. I couldn't lift the fish out of the water. It felt like a ton of bricks in the net. I lifted harder and the cable to the boat ramp lifted out of the water above the net. I had gotten the net under the cable and was trying to lift the whole boat house. I pulled the net back towards the boat and got the beast in the boat. It was a nice bass. The kind you use your whole hand to lip the fish.
I don't know why my keeper bass all came off the hook, when every other fish that hit never came off. Most were even tough to get off the hook.
At the end of the day, I had caught around 100 fish. My thumbs were bleeding from lipping them all. It was a great day for fishing but not for a tournament. I had caught the 1 bass I needed to advance to Regionals and actually moved up from 23rd in the standings to 21st.
My wife and kids were at the ramp when I walked up to weigh in. I tried to look happy as I took my single bass across the stage. He was long and skinny at 1 pound 14 oz.
We spent the rest of the evening at the cabin. I took a nap and woke up to hungry kids telling me I needed to cook supper. I had gotten steaks for us and sausage for the kids. I fired up the grill on a stunning evening and grilled up the meat while looking out over the lake. We ate good and watched some t.v. before turning in to bed.
Sunday morning the kids were wanting to go fishing. We drove around the Grove area but couldn't find any easy access to the water to fish from bank. I mentioned that we should stop by bass pro to replace some of the crankbaits I had lost and the kids were ready to go.
We stopped at bass pro and made it home with a couple hours left before bedtime.
Regionals will be in Louisiana on the Red River. My wife's mother and possibly one of her sister's may be going down with us. It will be like a little vacation. We are planning to spend most of the week down there.
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