1st Place, Big Bass, and Heavy Boat STL Bassbusters Tournament Lake of the Ozarks
I was really tired after fishing all day in the cold on Kentucky Lake in the LBL BFL on Saturday. While a top 5 finish always makes the drive easier to handle I wasn't able to start my drive back to St. Louis to pick up my boat till about 7pm. I got back to Saint Louis at about 10:30 pm and had to hook up my boat and throw all my rods and tackle in my boat. I also had to rewire some lights on my boat trailer because I just didn't get to it the week before. That's the beauty of working a full time job and fishing is that there are never enough hours in the day. It was about 11:30 pm that I got on the road and headed towards my buddies house in Eldon just outside of the lake. I got into Eldon at about 2 am and my buddy was up studying for his MBA. I'm really proud of my buddy Russ and how he has kept up with getting his college education and pushing forward with higher education. We shot the shit till about 2:40 am to catch up on things and then I ended up passing out on his couch.
I had my alarm set for 5 am and that came pretty damn quick. I got up and headed towards PB2 to meet up with my co angler for the day. He was supposed to meet me at 5:45 am at PB2 but it was getting to be about 6:15 and there was no sign of him. I was like you got to be shitting me I drive all the way from Kentucky the night before and then drive down till 2 am with my boat and you're the one that's running late to the ramp? It was about 6:30am that he got his stuff in the boat and we idled out of PB2 and met up with the rest of the club. Lucky they were still waiting on us.
I decided going into the tournament that I was going to stick to covering a lot of water and throwing a crankbait. It's what I'm good at and I like to fish fast. I had about 5 different crankbaits tied on with a couple of jigs and a big spinnerbait because all the locals have been saying the blade bite has been working. First of all whenever a local tells you what to throw make sure to always take that with a grain of salt. Most of the time they are not going to tell you anything but what you don't need to hear if you want to have a good day.
We blasted off and headed on up the lake a couple of miles to our first spot. It was just a small point. I was throwing a crankbait and immediately I hooked up with about a 4 pound largemouth. The fish got about halfway to the boat and it jumped a couple of times. I could see that the crank wasn't really in his mouth and sure enough he got off. Just the way you want to start the day!
I kept my cool and continued to fish the spot and quickly put a nice 16 inch keeper in the boat on the same bait. I then cut across the lake to another point and lost two more nice fish on the crank. It was shaping up to be a really crappy morning of fishing. How do you lose three keepers right off the bat.
I made a couple of moves to some sweet spots and it was about 10:30 I finally connected with my biggest bass off a big rock on the bank in about a foot of water. The fish was barely hooked again. The big bass jumped all the way out of the water even though I was trying to keep him down with the rod. Two times the fish jumped and did a belly flop. Lucky my co angler was able to get the net on him because as soon as he lifted the fish out of the water the hooks fell out. Even though he was late to the ramp in the morning he'd redeemed himself with that net job. If I would have lost that fish it would have been really hard to keep it together. Who knows there might have been a couple of extra rods and reels at the bottom of Lake of the Ozarks and it wouldn't have been the first time.
It seemed to me like the fish did not want to eat my bait and the weather was starting to turn for the worse. It started to sleet and some rain was moving into the area. The wind started to blow and I thought to myself if I was a bass what the heck would I be doing. I made a trip on up the lake to a cove that was really protected from the wind and started to fish the bank. I figured if I was a fish I would want to be somewhere out of the wind just relaxing and waiting for the storm to pass. I moved to a new area and tied on a different bait. I quickly put two more keepers in the boat and could hardly believe my move payed off. It was now about 1:30 in the afternoon. We were due to weigh in at 3pm so I decided to move closer to the weigh in. I had about two more spots to hit. I ended up pulling in on a bank that I've caught so many fish on in the past that it's just sickening. I picked up a spinnerbait but that didn't produce on this spot so I decided to make another move.
I headed across the lake and my first cast with a crank on this spot produced a nice 3 pound largemouth. I was sitting pretty at this point and happy as hell as I was able to finish out a limit on what was otherwise a horrible start to the day. After about three more casts I caught a real solid 3 pounder and culled up to 18lbs.
I had about an hour left in the day so I decided to go run some of Marcus and Bill's brush-piles to see if I could catch a big kicker on the jig to end the day. I hit about 4 of their spots that I've caught some real studs on in the past but it didn't seem like anybody was home. We decided to get back to the ramp a couple of minutes early because I had a pretty good bag and felt like I had a good shot at winning. I'm pretty sure I could have had about 20lbs if I would have gotten in the fish that I lost right off the bat in the boat. It's too bad that I couldn't capitalize. That's fishing though and it happens to the best of us. Unfortunately my co angler didn't catch a fish all day. I guess I was just really on my game or the fish were not biting very good. We still managed to hang onto the heavy boat money prize and I was able to get 1st place and Big Bass and a nice check.
It was the first time that I had my old boat out for the year and everything ran well. That's enough to be happy about. When it comes to boats I've had my fair share of experiences as I've always ran older boats. Getting to the lake from St.Louis is always an adventure. It was a great weekend anytime you can pull off a top 5 in a BFL and win a club tournament in the same weekend it makes fishing fun again. Lately I'd had some really rough tournaments but you learn as you continue to fish that those tournaments that suck are the ones that make you appreciate when everything comes together. I really needed some good finishes this weekend to get me back up. If you have a bad day on the lake just forget about it and go get them next time. Fishing is all about experiencing the highs and forgetting about the lows. You can't win it if you're not in it.
This upcoming weekend I'm headed to Greer's Ferry for the Arkie Division BFL. I've got some ground to make up after my last tournament. I'm sitting in 43 in the Arkie points standings and need to get inside that top 40 cut so I can fish the Regional on Lake of the Ozarks. Stay turned for more reports as I continue to fish this season! I'll be sure to continue to blog if the fishing is good or bad.