TOP 5 FINISH FLW BFL LBL KENTUCKY/BARKLEY LAKE

One of the craziest things about fishing is that it always seems like mother nature just knows when you are going to be fishing a tournament. This past weekend we knew that we would be getting some nasty weather at Kentucky Lake and there was a concern that there would be some really high winds along with snow and hail. All these make for a really rough time on the water as Kentucky lake is one of those lakes that goes north and south. When you get some strong winds out of the north they start to stack with the current out of the south and before too long you have some really nice rollers out on the lake.

During the pre-tournament meeting it was decided that they were going to move take-off time back to 8 am. After driving in from St. Louis all afternoon I was cool with that. One of the things I've dreamed about is having a tournament organization that takes off around 9 or 8 in the morning and just goes later. Getting up early is probably my least favorite thing about being a tournament angler. I'm surprised nobody has catered to the late risers.

After the meeting we decided to check out the Kentucky Dam Village dinner buffet and it was pretty good. They had everything from fried chicken and pork chops to mash potatoes and gravy. Since you will not be eating as much the next day on the water one of the keys to a successful day on the water is making sure you get some good food the night before. Back at the hotel room I got all my rods rigged up and re spooled with fresh line. I sharpened my hooks and made sure that I had a good idea of where to find all my baits in my tackle bag. Reports said that there was a good jig bite going on and a lot of people were still catching fish on jerkbaits and Alabama rigs. I had talked to a couple of buddies that frequently fish the lake and they told me to throw the jig. So I made sure I had a couple of football jigs tied on.

The morning of the tournament came and we were greeted with about an inch of snow on our trucks in the morning. The temperature had dropped about 30 degrees it seemed. I knew we were going to be in for a tough day of fishing. My boater admitted that he wasn't on jack and I knew I'd be fishing for just a couple of bites. We got to the ramp and our take-off was going to be pushed back to 9 am because it was too foggy and snowing too much to safely blast everyone off.

Finally the weather decided to cooperate and about 9am we blasted off. My boater decided to head down towards the Dam area. My boater said he was going to concentrate on throwing a shakeyhead on a spinning rod. He said that he had a terrible practice and his goal was to just put one keeper in the boat for some points. I always hate it when my boaters lack confidence. That's the majority of them. When it comes to fishing you have to be confident in your day ahead of you even if you totally sucked in practice. Any good tournament finish I've ever had has come down to on the water decision making in the heat of the moment. Every boater I have fished with this year except for one I felt like didn't want to make a decision. Failure to fail is the worst thing you can have as a bass fishermen. You have to learn to accept failure if you want to ever win. My boater headed up to a cove up by the dam and started to shakeyhead fish the bank.

We fished our way back into the mouth of a pocket and while my boater was throwing a shakeyhead at some docks I launched a football jig out into the center of the cove. I was working the jig over some nice rock that I could feel on the bottom when I felt slight pressure on the end of my line. I quickly reeled down to give it a jerk and to my surprise there was a 6 and a half pound bass on the end of my line. I got the fish quickly to the boat and my boater did a great job in helping me with the net. The jig of choice was a green pmpkin and purple 1/2 oz football jig with a green pumpkin chigger craw. I love to catch fish on a jig when I get the chance. It's one of the best feelings in the world when you can slam a hook home with a jig rod.

The rest of the morning was really slow. We caught a couple of shorts but one thing we noticed was that all the fish we were catching were white as snow. The fish are just starting to move up. You can tell that by how dark the fish look. Little did I know that it wouldn't be till the afternoon that I'd hook up with my second keeper. At about 1:30 in the afternoon I threw my same football jig right up to the bank and my line started swimming off. I set the hook and managed to boat my second and final keeper on the day. My boater stayed in one area the whole day and I really wish after I had caught this fish that we would have spent the rest of the day just running some banks. One of the biggest mistakes I see a lot of boaters make is they are afraid to take the chances and gamble by expanding upon the area that they are fishing. If you are knocking them out then you shouldn't leave but if the fish are not biting a lot of times it doesn't hurt to venture down a cove and try some new stuff. I will say that in my experience as long as you have caught some nice fish it pays once you got a bait that they like to cover water. The key to fishing is finding the dumb hungry fish. People can sometimes over complicate things but the fish that you have to really sit down and work for probably are too smart to be caught anyways.

When we got back to the ramp there were a lot of sad faces. That is always a great thing to see because you know it was a tough day. I knew that the fishing had been a lot tougher from listening to my boater all day and that I would have enough weight for a great finish. I ended up taking 5th place out of 120 and now I'm ranked 17 in points for the Regional Championship. The top 40 co anglers will qualify for the Regional Championship.

I really needed to have a good tournament because the last tournament I got a guy that wasn't on any fish and we both blanked. I've got this bitter sweet relationship with Kentucky Lake. I've had some good days and some really crappy days fishing there. This was one of those good days. I was happy to get a nice check and a cool trophy. I was trying to get out of Kentucky as quickly as possible. I didn't get out of Kentucky till about 6 pm and had to get back on the road to head back to St. Louis to get my boat because on Sunday I was going to fish another tournament on Lake of the Ozarks as a a boater. I got home at about 11:30 at night and I was really tired but decided to hook up my boat and head to the Ozarks.


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