Sunday, October 21, 2012

Day 2 Red River BFL Regional

I woke up for day 2 around 4:00.  The bed was extremely comfortable and I did not want to get out of up.  It was chilly outside, around 42 degrees.

I loaded up everything out of the room and took off for the launch ramp to meet up with my partner.  We were both there really early, considering we were in the last flight.  It was nice to get out on the water before the rest of the competition arrived.  I would much rather sit out on the water and have the truck parked, than wait forever in a line then fight for a parking spot.

My partner for day 2 was a ways back after day 1 too, so he said we were going to swing for the fences and fish all day for bigger bass.  We punched mats of hyacinths and flipped reeds.  It was a slow tedious process and by noon I still had not had a bite, besides a few short fish I caught doing something else every once in a while.

My partner had 3 decent sized bass so I knew we were in the right area.  He even set the hook one time and had hooked an alligator.  The gator was covered with grass so my boater didn't see what he had.  He still thought he had the tournament winning bass.  I said, "Don't reach your hand down there, that's a gator."  He saw his tail then.  My partner then said, "I'm getting my hook back."  He got it back.  I'm just glad he did with the gator outside the boat.

With no previous experience punching, I wasn't having any luck.  I decided to try something a little different than my partner was doing.  I grabbed a heavy shaky head and flipped it into the reeds.  Quite a few flips later I saw my line move a little and I set the hook.  I had my first keeper around 12:30. 

Over the next couple hours I ended up catching 3 more keepers this way.  My partner hadn't caught any during this time.   He did hook into big snakehead and thought he had the tournament winning fish again, but was disappointed as he swung the fish towards the boat.  All of my fish were a little smaller around 13 to 14 inches.  We were starting to put a good pattern together but were running out of time.

My partner got his final 2 fish, then I saw my line move.  I set the hook.  Snap.  The fish didn't move towards me much like the others had when I set the hook.  That was with 30 minutes left in the tournament.  We had to make a run back towards the ramp then.

I had timed the ride out, so I knew we would have a few minutes to fish a little closer to the ramp.  He pulled off to some rocks that he said he knew some keepers were at.  He caught one and was able to cull a little.  Then I felt the tap tap and set the hook.  Snap.  I was really snapping the rod back but my line should not be breaking from that. 

We pulled into weigh in with 1 minute remaining.  We were the last boat to arrive.  My partner really wanted me to get that last bass.  I weighed in my 4 fish for 4 pounds 15 oz. to finish 77th place overall.  There were 143 boats so I finished smack in the middle of the pack.

I drew 2 of the best partners for fishing this trip.  I had a lot of fun fishing with them.  They showed me some new ways to fish, made sure I was able to cast to some good spots, and were super nice guys.  I hope I run into them again some day.

I took off for home after the tournament and drove a different route so I could bypass Dallas.  That evening I left Louisiana, drove through Arkansas, Texas and got half way through Oklahoma.  I almost hit a deer at 80 mph on turnpike.  That scared the  heeby jeebies out of me so I stopped a the first hotel I saw and got a room for the night after being up for 20 hours and driving for 7.

The next day I had 4 hours drive to get the rest of the way home.  That section is a drive I make often so it seemed like another 7 hours.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

First Day of Red River Regional

It was a long drive down to Louisiana but it I have been having a fun trip.  I drove close to Dallas after leaving Oklahoma city.  It is one of my top 3 worst cities I have ever driven in, New York being first, and Chicago second. 

I didn't even make it into Dallas so it could move up the list. 

Besides Dallas the rest of the ride went pretty smooth.  Once I got into Louisiana I realized I was about out of gas.  That headwind was draining the gas.  I drove for about an hour before I found a gas station.  It was a really neat General Store that had an amazing food section.  There was so much food piled up in the glass case.  I filled up and realized I had really pushed it to the limit this time.

Once I got to Nachitoches, I located the Events Center and Registered for the tournament.  Then I came back to check into the hotel before going back to the meeting.

This morning I got up and the wind had died.  It was dead calm and warmer than I thought it would be. 

We fished hard all day and I caught a lot of bass.  Too bad most of them were slightly short.  I ended up with 3 12" keepers that weighed a whopping 3 pounds even.  One of them coughed up a couple oz. shad in the livewell. 

Most of the competition caught 4 or 5 keepers, big fish were hard to come by today so I am not too far back even though I am in 106th place.  I will still need a big stringer tomorrow to get in the money cut.

I think we figured some things out at the end of the day that should help me tomorrow.  I have a little reorganizing to do then I'm going to bed. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

On my way to Louisiana

I'm on my way down to Louisiana to fish the Red River BFL Regional tournament.  I'm really excited to be fishing the Red River after so many big tournaments have went on there the last few years. 

It's exciting to have a chance to fish for a boat and a chance at making the All American.  They say you can't win it on the first day but you can lose it.  I'm going to try to get a limit of fish so I am in contention on the second day. 

I can feel the bass on the end of my line now.  I love bass fishing this time of year.  It seems like I have always been better in the fall. 

After the Super tournament I talked to a guy that gave me some pointers on the Red River on what to have tackle wise.  That will give me a starting point. 

I have traveled 3 hours so far and stayed with a buddy in Oklahoma City.  Tomorrow I will make the remaining 8 hour drive and go to the pre-tournament meeting. 

My wife and kids were going to come with me but she has been out of town a lot with work lately and had to catch up at the office.  I was really looking forward to having them along.  It would be nice to have someone to go the restaurants with me.  Maybe I can get some of the tournament guys to go out.  I guess now I can concentrate on the fishing.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Camping Trip - High Temp 36 Degrees

Gavin's keeper.  The last one of the day.  He wasn't letting this one go.
I called Dad last week to see what they were doing for the weekend.  The boys have been amped to fish since we got back from Grand Lake, so I thought I would drive up to my parents and hit some ponds and small lakes with them and Dad.  Dad had other plans.  He was wanting to camp. 

We watched the weather and the forecast became more bleak as the week went on.  On Friday it was snowing up there.  It's not winter and there isn't ice on the lakes yet so we went camping.

It was cold.  Two layers of coats cold.  I bundled up in my coveralls, coat and multiple shirts and was ok.  I couldn't move my limbs due to such bundling but I wasn't frozen cold.

It was after dark on Friday by the time I reached the lake.  Mom and Dad had a fire going so we sat around that and talked for a while before we were all too cold to stand outside any longer.  We went into the heated 5th wheel and got some sleep.

The next morning we were not in too big of a rush to get out onto the lake.  It didn't look like anybody was.  There were about 4 boats on the water through the whole day.  We started out over a fish attractor and tried to catch some crappie.  We saw 1 caught in a boat next to us and that got us all jacked.  I slowly lifted my rod tip to raise the jig off the bottom then let it sink back down, repeating the motion over and over.  I had a few light taps but never had one take it.  Then I get a tap.  I lift the rod tip and the battle is on.  I feel the fishes head jerk from side to side.  I realize it's not a crappie.  That feeling is all to familiar.  Then I see the shiny sides and the ugly mouth and my thoughts are confirmed.  It's a drum.

We trolled some after that and Dad caught a white bass.  Nothing was biting in the deep water.  Everybody was starting to get chilled and hungry so we went in for lunch.  With no vehicles at the launch ramp we just tied up to the boat dock and walked to the camper. 

Again, nobody was in a hurry to go back out.  Dad snuck down to try fishing off the rocks for a shallow crappie.  I saw him catching fish after fish so I went down.  He was catching a white bass on every cast.  We both started catching them.  Then just like that they were done.  We decided to go out in the boat and try slabbing them in the cove.  No luck.  Dad's trolling motor broke earlier this year so we couldn't work the shorelines.  We tried drifting down a shoreline but the wind wasn't letting us.

We were getting ready to try another cove when we noticed a rain cloud approaching.  Dad didn't want to get wet so we jetted back to the ramp and loaded the boat. 

Leo had been keeping a fire going all afternoon so we stoked it up a little to get ready to roast hot dogs and brats.  We sat around the fire most of the evening and the night until we couldn't take the one sided heat any longer.  Back to the camper to shed the layers.

Sunday was nicer.  We realized the best fishing was going to be from the shore so we walked to the back of the cove.  We were catching a lot of fish but they were small.  The wind was blowing to the other corner of the cove so Dad walked over there.  He caught several keepers so I walked over there.  We were catching keepers on about every cast so the boys decided they were coming over too.  They got into the action.  We only fished for about an hour before heading back to pack up camp and clean fish.  In that time we had kept 19 fish and had thrown back close to 100.  That's fun fishing.

I had scheduled an appointment to look at a pop up camper that afternoon so we left the lake to go look at it.  It was reasonably priced and came with everything you needed to start camping as well as tons of extras.  The camper was in great shape so I made an offer.  He counter offered and I counter offered again until we came to an agreement of $3450.00 for the 2003 Starcraft pop up along with a 32" flat screen t.v., a fold down grill, all of the new bedding, pots, pans, silverware, microwave, coffee pot, DVD player, video game system, and everything else that was in there.  The great thing will be the air conditioner and the heater.  Now I can camp anytime.  It has 2 queen size pop outs.  The sofa and the table also turns into 2 more twin size beds.  It will sleep 6 pretty comfortably.  It will be nice next year at my tournaments to not have to get hotels all the time.  Maybe I can find a boater that will want to camp and would be willing to take me out prefishing in exchange for a place to stay.

On my way home I averaged 14 mpg with the explorer.  That's only 5 mpg less than not hauling anything.

Next week I leave for Louisiana for the BFL Regional on the Red River.  My wife isn't going with me.  She has been on too many trips the last few weeks to take any more time off from work.  Even though it has been trips for work.  She went out to Colorado Springs for a week and now she is out at Seattle Washington for the week. 

I was planning on making a longer trip out of this and spending some time in Louisiana, but now it's all about fishing and getting back.  I'm not fun enough to spend that much time with myself.

Last night I cleaned out the garage so I can park the camper in there.  They are calling for tornadoes, high winds and hail tomorrow.  Is it spring already?  No need to risk it, I'll have my boat and camper in the garage. 

Gavin Hooked one and was struggling getting it in so Leo came to help.

Getting the fish lined up ready for the big picture.

The big picture