May 2-5, BASS Elite Series #4
Concluding the Bull Shoals tournament… that 51st place finish still stings a little… I was off to Table Rock Lake for an off week prior to the next Elite Series event at West Point. I was able to tape the Bass Edge iTunes podcast with my friend Aaron Martin at his house on Table Rock. We have been working on the Bass Edge podcast together for about a year. Probably the finest bass fishing podcast… of course I am a little biased. Heading into West Point Lake I was not able to pre-practice earlier this year and it had been 8 years since I fished the lake. I felt good about it though, as my confidence was in the right place.
May 2-5, 2013 - West Point Lake - B.A.S.S. Elite Series #4
As we arrived in La Grange, GA for the West Point event we were greeted with a ton of rain! The lake came up a couple feet in just a few days… this was sure to change how the event would unfold. It was going to get a lot tougher than typical West Point bass fishing, but I was looking forward to the challenge!
I figured some fish would still be on their spawning beds since we had such a late, and longer than normal spring. The high water was going to make the spawn bite pretty tough though. As I launched the boat that first morning of practice I noticed that water temps were also high enough to get some shad spawn started so I decided to use those morning hours in search of that pattern as well. Almost immediately I found several flat rocky points that had shad spawning all over the place but could not entice many bites at all around this activity. That led me to believe that my initial thought of fish spawning and still relating to the creeks was probably a good one.
I threw a popping topwater bait as I looked in the back of pockets for spawners. I caught a few fish on the popper but couldn’t locate many bedding bass in the process. I started to catch a few good spotted bass on El Grande Lures soft stick baits and the ima flit 120 jerkbait as I rounded points heading from creek to creek. I thought surely you would need some good largemouth so I kept those spots in the back of my mind while continuing to search for largemouth. On day 2 I finally found a creek that had just the right combination of cover and water quality and I could see lots of good quality fish as well! I was excited to try and exploit this creek during the event and then potentially clean up a limit with the spots on the points as well.
Event Day 1: 5 Bass / 7bs 12oz - 40th place of 100
Eagerly ready to run to the creek I found that was loaded with bass first thing on day 1, I was greeted with many other competitors that wanted to fish the same area. Since I knew it was far better than anything else I had located in practice I hunkered down and went to work. In the first ½ hour I had a huge 4lb-er roll on my popping topwater, but it just didn’t get the bait. That hurt but gave me the confidence that the fish were still there and I could figure out how to catch them. I ended up catching fish on quite a few different baits, but the most effective was the ima flit 120 jerkbait in Ghost TN Shad. I didn’t get a lot of bites but managed to get my limit around noon. I then decided to leave the area hoping to find some new water in the back of some close by creeks but to no avail. I ended the day with what I caught in the creek. Not a great day but I was in the race!
Event Day 2: 5 Bass / 8lbs 2oz – 38th place of 100
Day 2 started off fantastic! I caught a limit in the first 3 hours in that same creek I started in on day 1 and several lures helped the cause. The topwater popper caught a few, the ima jerkbait caught some as well and I used a wacky rigged soft stick bait skipped under docks and over hanging trees to land my biggest fish. I tried to upgrade in the area but the bite slowed and I bailed at about noon deciding to run down lake and fish the points were I had located those spotted bass in practice.
I began to catch several spots but none that would cull what I already had in the livewell. I decided to hit one more small main lake pocket where I had seen some fish in practice before heading back to check-in. All of the sudden I see the surface of the water boil with activity and there were some really nice spots starting to school! I caught one good 2lb-er and culled a smaller fish to bump my creel up to just over 8lbs! Immediately I had to run back to weigh-in. That was a bonus!
Event Day 3: 3 Bass / 3lbs 4oz – 49thplace of 100
I once again started off in the same creek as Day 1 and 2. I knew it was going to be tough and tried to fish slow and pick apart everything in there to get a few bites. It was brutal that morning and I had 1 fish in about 3 hours so I started moving around trying to locate something else in the area. I fished and fished and found nothing! So about 11am I decided to run down to catch some keeper spots and fill my limit. After catching 7 or 8 spots over the next 3 hours and not one being a keeper I was getting concerned. I moved around and tried some different areas and techniques finally catching a keeper on a small windy point on a spinnerbait. I managed 1 small keeper bass the rest of the day and weighed in 3 bass falling in the standing from 37th place to 49th. I was pretty bummed but wasn't sure what I could have done differently. It just didn't come together that day. Those 12 points in the AOY standing were costly though. These AOY races are so tight - you just can't give away points and expect to stay in the hunt.
A 49th place finish paid $10,000 which was nice but ultimately I felt I didn't capitalize on the fish I had located in that special little creek. Off to the next one!
Event Total - 13 Bass / 19lbs 2oz / 49th place of 100.
Next blog - Basssmaster Elite Series Event #5, Alabama River, May 9-12
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