Well guys, yesterday ended up being a brutal first day back on the tourney trail for me. No fish to weigh in...caught 2 cats on a crankbait and that was it for me yesterday. My boater caught 3 bass but only 1 was a keeper. I can't say why or how I ended up with no fish, but that is the breaks with fishing sometimes...but I did have a lot of fun with the guys out there today and I know that I will be doing my homework next time around for the tournmaent in April.
I can't say that I didn't try to mix up the lure choices that I had because I threw everything that I had confidence in...flukes, cranks, spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, shakey head, jigs, swimjigs, creature baits...you name it I probably had it tied on for a few casts. My partner was at the lake on Saturday and said that he did really well but unfortunately his go to spots just ended up not producing. That happens more often than not....maybe the slight change in pressure from the storm the night before moved them off the area...or maybe the average 83 degree water temps drove them to cooler water areas. Who knows really, but if I had to put a blame on anything it would have been my inexperience with fishing the lake and limited time fishing from a boat. I have been to Braidwood maybe twice in my lifetime fishing from the shore...it is a whole different ball game being on a boat and not knowing the lay of the land. I have to say though I did have a few follows from bass and a couple bass that I could see making their rounds to shadey areas...but I couldn't get any of them to commit.
After the totals were calculated at the weigh in I was impressed with the amount of fish caught. Out of 20 anglers I believe more than half came in with a limit. First place came in with about 14.5 lbs of bass and the second place finisher had a little more than 9 lbs. So there was a good gap between first and second...and the winner, Mr. Dave Schultz, is one hell of a fisherman....he knows Braidwood like the back of his hand. All of his fish came on a white/chartreuse chatterbait...and if you want to learn how to use that lure he is the one to talk to about it hands down. Dave also came in with the biggest bass of the tournament at 4.90 lbs. Because of Braidwood's strict rules you are only allowed to hold bass in your livewell over 18" so the other bass that were caught were rounded to the nearest 1/2" and marked down on a sheet of paper. Those fish that were less than 18" were put into an fish weight equation and the total weight was calculated from that. It was kind of unfortunate that was the way we had to do it because I gaurantee those fish caught were heavier than the equation calculated....all of the fish were full of shad! That's why I was so surprised I couldn't get a crank bite going...I though for sure those fish would have been keying in on shad to stock up on food. The other 18+ fish came from Mr. Mike Pena with his fish weighing a little under 4 pounds. Here are the two biggest fish caught....first was Dave's fish and the second was Mike's fish!
It was tough getting skunked out there, but I was happy with how my equipment performed and all of my prep work was well worth it! That new FSA flipping/pitching rod is A-MAZING! Subtle bumps from rocks felt like an earthquake in my hands! Only lost a couple hooks and one rat-l-trap all day to rocks so overall it was a good day. Weather was great and the camaraderie between the group after the fact was second to none! Special thanks go out to my boater Chaz for trying his hardest to get me on fish and having free reign on his 2005 20 foot Ranger bass boat...that thing was a sweet ride!
Until next time guys, I will continue to do some write ups on different techniques and outings, and how my prep work will change for the next tournament at Lake Shelbyville on April 29th. Thanks for reading and supporting me in these competitions...I really appreciate it!