Last weekend I went to the FLW BFL tournament at the Arkansas River out of Muskogee. I went down early to pre-fish Friday before the tournament. It was cold that morning and I could not warm up even though I had layers of cloths on.
I didn't catch anything pre-fishing, but the guy I was with caught 2 barely keepers. Everybody we talked to said they did not catch them. It was looking like it was going to be a rough tournament.
That evening at the pretournament meeting I was talking with a guy, we introduced ourselves, talked a little more, then I went on about my business. Crazy thing is I drew him as my boater.
On tournament day we went to an area that looked completely awesome. The whole river looked awesome, but this place really stuck out as a bass hole. We didn't catch any fish, but saw a couple caught out of there. We made a move to another area and started to fish it. It looked great too, a lot like a spot I used to fish back home in similar weather conditions.
My boater caught his first fish and I missed one. I got my worm back to the boat and the tail had been curled around and re-hooked on the point of the hook. Nothing I could have done about that missed fish other than possibly to set the hook harder.
We fished that area some more and my boater picked up one more fish. Then we made a move a little further. This would be our final move as my boater got on a pattern here. I tried to mimic what he was doing, and even tied on the exact same lure. I tried everything else I could think of. He was getting his bites on the first pass over small grassy patches in shallow water. After he tried them they didn't want my stuff.
I did have 2 bites in a laydown where my boater pulled 2 good fish out of. I missed the hook set on both of them. They weren't hanging on to the bait at all.
On the way back to weigh in my boater spoted a boat in need of help and turned around to see what he could do to help. They were in the same flight as us and had boat problems and needed to get back to weigh in. The co-angler had a good bag and a shot at a decent check. My boater told them to hurry and we would take them to the weigh in.
We checked in with only a few minutes left. The co-angler that we picked up won the tournament and had big bass. My boater continued to help out the other boater well after the weigh in.
This was the first tournament where my boater did really good and I skunked. It was pretty disappointing. I would still go out to fish with my boater any day of the week. He was a super guy. He tried to get me some fish, he was just too thorough at picking apart pockets. It was kind of awesome to see somebody fish the way he did and grind out a limit when lots of others struggled to even catch one bass.
I probably learned more this tournament, than I have in any one tournament the last 3 years.
When I got home I got all of my tackle out and started reorganizing for the new boat. I will be going from one little tournament bag to a whole boat full of tackle. Most of the time I will use the same things I always use, but I will have more choices of colors or variations. It will be nice to have a few more options if I need them.
I was looking for tournaments to do with a buddy of mine from Oklahoma City. As I was looking I found a series that I can fish with my 9 year old son. This weekend will be our first tournament. All of the tournaments are on Eufaula lake. I looked at the weights from last year and there are some major sticks fishing this trail. We will need around 19 to 20 pounds or more to win one of these. My biggest sack ever is not even close to that. Oh well, we are going to get out there and try anyway.
I tried hitting the walleye spawn a couple of times the week before. I went to Canton lake and the walleye spawn was almost over. Then that weekend we were 4 hours north at my wife's Mom's and the walleye were just getting started. I saw them swimming around the rocks at both locations but did not come across an aggressive one that would bite my lure.
I have been fishing a lot the last month, but I have been doing very little catching. I'm coming off a cold streak and now I've got to run the boat and try to find the bass. I'm looking forward to the challenge.