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Lake Hamilton Tournament Recap

This year the fishing has started off slow for me. I just got back from traveling to Lake Hamilton in Arkansas for the Mr. Bass of Arkansas tournament. I was able to head down to Arkansas late last Friday night and stay in the little town of Searcy, Arkansas. Saturday morning I met up with a friend that I haven't seen since my college days. He was going to fish the boater side of the tournament and we decided to meet up and go pre-fishing We found the fishing to really tough while checking a lot of spots on the mainlake. We tried a handful of baits and presentations with no luck. Mainly we fished the Alabama rig, shakeyheads, dropshots, crankbaits, and some jerkbaits. It wasn't till about noon that we decided to try something different. We ended up moving to a different part of the lake and ended up finding some fish. It wasn't very long after making a move that we caught a couple of nice keepers and shook off a couple of fish. That's about all that you can ask for while prefishing. You just want to locate as many areas as you can that are holding fish but you don't want to sore mouth them all before the tournament. My buddy was going to head over to the spots we found and just go fishing the next day. After spending the entire day on the lake we noticed the temperature really started to drop. It was a fun day on the lake but we had to head to the pre-tournament meeting.

Mr. Bass has a well run pre-tournament meeting. They make sure to go over all the rules and they do a random drawing for boater and co-anglers. They announce the pairings one at a time and make sure everyone gets situated for the tournament. The pre-tournament meeting was also catered with a full Mexican buffet. Everyone left the meeting with a full belly.

I ended up drawing out one of the local guys that does well on Hamilton. The night before the tournament he told me that they were really on the fish so I decided to string up all my rods because I wanted to make sure that I was ready to go the next day. The last thing that you want to do is break off some fish when you get in a position to have a good tournament. Needless to say when we got to his spots on Sunday we couldn't even get a bite. We fished really hard but for whatever reason the same spots that were fruitful to him and his partner during the team tournament on Saturday did not produce for us on Sunday. I ended up catching the first keeper of the day on an Alabama Rig. It was just a 13 inch keeper. We ran to a couple more spots and I ended up catching one other keeper. He managed to get a keeper spotted bass on a crankbait but that was all that the beautiful waters of Lake Hamilton would give us. I don't know where I placed in the tournament but it ended up not being in the check range. I felt like I learned a lot just paying attention to the areas my boater fished even though we didn't have a very good day on the lake. He usually does well so I got a pretty good idea of what to look for on that lake now when the conditions are normal. My buddy that practiced with me Saturday ended up getting an 8th place finish on the boater side and a nice check.

It was a really tough tournament because we fished in 40 degree rain all day. We were soaked at the end of the day! It was really tough to stay focused because it was really cold. This has been a really cold winter and sooner or later things will start the warm up. We need things to warm up and the fishing will get better.I think the next couple of trips are going to be good so stay tuned! I got a whole lot of fishing to do this year and I'm just getting started!

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