Arkansas River 18th place out of 177 FLW BFL
Just got back from another successful trip down to the Arkansas River for the FLW BFL. I grew up fishing the Mississippi river on and off for fun in my college days so I am experienced with fishing river systems but I had never been to the Arkansas River before. Prior to this fishing trip the only tournament that I had fished on a true river was an FLW College Fishing tournament where Mike McCarthy Jr. and I were able to win 4,000 dollars by placing 3rd up at Fort Madison, Iowa back in 2009. I was really looking forward to getting out on the river because the weather was supposed to be nice and I heard that the fish were really biting.
I rolled into Muskogee, OK at about 11:30 at night and checked into the Motel 6. I immediately got to rigging my rods for the next day. I had a couple of rods with some 25lb fluorocarbon and spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, and everything down to even a couple of spinning rods with some small plastics and topwaters. I was going to be prepared for whatever kind of fishing we were going to be doing. I got to bed at 1:00 am and then woke up at 5 am to meet my boater at the ramp. We got the boat wet and then realized that a lot of fog had set in that was so thick that our takeoff was going to be delayed. We were boat number 69 and it wasn't till 8 am that we got to take off. My boater knew that we were going to have a shortened day of fishing since we were supposed to take off at 6:30 am and the fog delay was going to cost us a couple hours of fishing. We headed out down the river and we ran through the fog trying to make sure that we could see what was up ahead. A bunch of boats were blasting through the fog and we were really lucky that nobody died since a lot of the boaters were being extremely careless in running down the river.
We were running down the river and all of a sudden there was a guy in front of us in a kayak out in the middle of the river. The dumb ass didn't have any lights on his kayak and he was out in the main channel with his arms up as we blew right past him. We came so close to hitting him that I could have slapped high fives with him. We dodged a lot of floating debris that was coming down the river and we finally made it up to the lock. When we got to the lock a lot of my boaters buddies were already tied up waiting to lock on up. We sat in the lock and chilled till they closed the gates and lowered us down to the pool. We locked through and ran another 10 miles or so up and finally about about 9:30 am we made our first casts. On my 4th pitch of the day I caught a nice 3lber and boat flipped it. It was a good start to the day. We fished on down the bank and I made a flip to a little root wad and I was able to catch another keeper. At this point I had two keepers and my boater had not gotten a bite yet. He was throwing a spinnerbait while I was picking stuff apart in the back with my flipping stick. Those would be the only two bites I would have and my boater put on a clinic with the spinnerbait. He caught 5 keepers in a row off one stretch of bank and we stayed there the whole day. We had to finally leave at about 12:30 to make it back down the river so that we could lock through. I knew that I needed to have one more keeper to have a chance at a high finish. Unfortunately we were out of fishing time.
We made it back to the lock at 1 and we got tied up and ready to lock back through. The doors on the lock closed at 1:30 and we didn't get locked back down till 2. We were going to be cutting it close to get back to the ramp by 2:45 for check in. My boater also was a little unsure if we would have enough gas to make it back to the ramp. He had arranged with a couple of buddies that if we were to run out of gas on the way back that I would run back with them with our fish. We were cutting it close but made it back to the marina and as we were idling into the marina you could hear my boaters motor puttering as it was about out of gas. We ended up both cashing a check and I felt like I got to see some new things and learn a lot about the Arkansas river so for future aspirations if I'm ever back down to fish a Bassmaster Open or an FLW tournament of higher magnitude at least I'll have some knowledge to get started. It was also nice to have a boater that could catch some fish. I'm fishing Co in a lot of these tournaments to try and gain some new insights and perspectives on a wide variety of waters. I know a lot of my buddies want to know why I'm not fishing boater right away and it's just that I still want to learn and I promise you that I rarely learn anything in my own boat. I have my own style of fishing and if I'm fishing out of my own boat I'm going to do what I like to do so it's always a great experience to see different ways of catching bass.
After the tournament I was starving since I had been up since 5 am I made a trip over to Mahylon's BBQ in Muskogee and I made sure to get a whole slab of ribs. They didn't last long and then I embarked on my 7 hour drive back to St.Louis. I was pretty tired and I got back at 1:30 in the morning and just passed out. Next weekend I'll be headed up to my old stomping grounds at Truman State to watch my wife's sister graduate from college at Truman State. I might hop in a fishing tournament on Sunday since we don't have anything going on. I might try to find a local tournament somewhere. In two weeks I'll be at Kentucky Lake for a couple of days for a bass club tournament. I'll be looking forward to getting back on Kentucky since I should be able to catch a couple of fish. Stay tuned for more action and I'll continue to blog about my fishing experiences. Also please feel free to comment if there are any co angling questions or tips or tricks you want me to shed my experience.