13th out of 110 Pros on Truman Lake in the FLW BFL
Due to Covid some of our tournaments this season were postponed. This weekend fishing was particularly interesting because we were going to fish two different tournaments on two different lakes in the same weekend. It's unusual for me when it comes to tournament prep to have to prepare for a tournament on two different bodies of water with such short notice but I was going to get a day and a half to practice on Truman Lake and just an afternoon to practice on Lake of the Ozarks out of Drake Harbor on Sunday. I was able to come down a couple of weeks prior to the tournament on Truman Lake to learn how to navigate the lake. Truman Lake is loaded with standing timber in a lot of the creeks and it's very easy if you don't know where your going to tear a lower unit off your boat. I spent a weekend learning how to navigate some of the creeks that I had in mind for the tournament that way I would have the trails I needed to be able to get around quicker in practice as well as during the tournament.
During my initial practice on Truman I wanted to cover as much water as I could looking for activity as well as catch a couple of fish to get confidence. When I'm practicing for my tournaments I will try to figure out a couple of key baits that the fish like and also what cover they are using and what part of the lake seems to have the best bite. Often times I'll end up fine tuning what I'm doing on the last day of practice and even in the tournament based on the conditions.
Practice was pretty tough on Thursday before the tournament but I was able to figure out a couple of crankbaits and topwaters that the fish liked and also figured out a good depth range for the fish. I ended up finding one really good stretch for topwater as well as two other areas where I caught some quality fish.
I got really lucky in that for the tournament I was boat number three and I ended up running to my first spot where I was able to capitalize on an early morning topwater bite. I caught two high three pounders in my first five casts on the day throwing a Giant Slayer buzzbait with a Black Zoom Horny toad trailer on my 7 foot 3 KastKing Spirale rod loaded with 20lb mono.
I tried to keep the topwater bite going but ultimately knew from practice that it was over after the first hour. After running a couple more topwater banks I decided to do a 180 and make a big run with just two keepers in the livewell to one of the spots I'd found in practice. When I finally got to the spot which was about an hour away sure enough there was a boat sitting on the spot. I waited for this boat to leave and pulled in after they left and we ended up catching about 12 short fish off the spot. I went to another one of my spots and sure enough there was a boat on it too. Unfortunately this boat stayed put as they were probably catching fish.
It was getting to be about 10 in the morning and I was in full search mode. I had spent a good amount of time on Google Earth before the tournament and knew of a couple of spots that had the cover as well as the contours I was looking for and I decided to take a chance and give some new areas a try even though I hadn't fished them before. That's one of the biggest things that has helped me this year is just understanding my surroundings from using Google Earth even though I haven't had the time to go to different places in practice before the tournament.
The first spot I pulled up on I ended up catching a nice 2lber right away. I then made my way down the bank and caught another 2lber. Things were starting to look up. Since I made a good adjustment and it was working I went back through the area and then ended up catching another solid fish.
Feeling really confident in the pattern I was fishing I moved to another spot that I hadn't fished before and I quickly caught a 4lber which culled out my smallest fish and another fish that also culled. The 4lber unfortunately swallowed the hook so bad that it ended up dying which cost me a half a pound.
When I weighed in I was sitting in the top 5 till the last flight came in and then my hopes of a top 10 finish vanished before my eyes as a couple of guys brought in some good bags and I ended up dropping all the way down to 13th place. I was a little worried about catching fish at Truman just because I'd only been to the lake two times before in my life but this tournament bumped me up to 2nd place in the Angler of the Year Standings for the Ozark Division.