Triton Owners Tournament Recap, Part 2
“You got to know when to hold ‘em,
Know when to fold ‘em,
Know when to walk away,
And know when to run.”
-The Gambler, Kenny Rogers
As morning dawned on day two of the Triton Owners Tournament, Jason and I sat in a tie for sixth place, about three pounds out of first place. Given the number of 3.5-4 pound bass we caught on day 1, I was pretty confident that if we could just bear down and not make mistakes, we had a shot at a good, maybe even a winning, limit. The sky north of Paris Landing was black- an ominous wall of rain. The wind was blowing out of the south at about 20 mph. We bounced our way south back to our area from day 1. We had left them biting here around mid-day.
To my surprise, we fished about 45 minutes without a bite. Where did they go? Surely we didn’t catch them all! We moved to a secondary spot and as I was about to drag my worm in for another cast I felt a “tick” I set the hook and after a short battle, a 4.5 pound bass was safely in the livewell. OK, if we have to catch one an hour, as long as they are the right size, we would do it. About a half hour later, Jason caught that fish’s twin sister. We had a limit by 8:30- two four pounders and three babies, but we both had confidence that if we just milked this area, we could get three more quality bites. The clock kept ticking. The wind switch around from south to north and was blowing about 20-25. I was taking waves in the knees about every third swell as I tried to hold the boat out in the middle of Kentucky Lake. By 11:30, we were soaked with pouring rain, the boat was full of water from taking the waves head on, and we had not had a bite in a couple of hours. Jason and I had agreed that we should lay with this spot, but we both had our doubts now. We couldn’t just sit here and die with a 15 pound limit. It was decision time! It was time to fold ‘em. It was time to run.
Our first stop was on a place where I had found a school of smaller fish in practice. Right on cue, they started biting, every cast. Although it was a lot of fun, none of these helped. I was just hoping for a random five pounder living in the middle of all of the babies. We left that spot and headed toward Paris, as I was driving in the pouring rain, I glanced back south and saw a place we hadn’t checked yet. I wheeled around mid-channel and stopped about a half mile south. When I idled over them with the Humminbird, there were a bunch of them, sitting right where they needed to be. I told Jason that I hoped that they would be big. They were. We caught and culled, and it happened just the way it was supposed to. We were both hooked up almost every cast for about 20 minutes. Jason caught a five pounder and several pushing four. I caught a four too with another fish on the other hook of the crankbait. By the time the school scattered, we had about 21 pounds swimming the livewells. That was a big relief. I knew, if nothing else, we would hold our position from yesterday and hopefully move up a little bit. We had about an hour and half left to fish, so I just kept idling spots with the Humminbird looking for schools. We found another school around 2:00PM, but they were small and didn’t help the cause.
With thirty minutes left, I told Jason that I had one more school about five miles north that we hadn’t messed with. Our smallest fish was just under four pounds, so we needed a good one to boost our weight. As I pointed the Triton north and put her on pad, I wheeled around and headed a different direction. “Where are you going?” Jason asked. I pointed to a place on the map about a half mile away. “We haven’t caught a good one there in three years,” he said. “I know, but we need a big bite to have a shot, and that is a big fish hole,” I replied.
I sat the boat down with about 20 minutes to fish. I got a bite on the first cast: 12 incher. I got a bite on the second cast: 14 incher. I got a bite on the third cast, another little one. I was beginning to question my move when the “little one” started pulling, really pulling. The fish jumped and it was over five pounds. Jason grabbed the net and hauled her over the side. We culled our smallest bass and gained about a pound and half in total weight. That was it. It was time to go. We had done what we could. I figured we’d end up in the top three, but didn’t have enough to win.
As I waited in the bag line, the faces of the fishermen were almost as long as the line. “They didn’t bite today.” “Most of the leaders struggled.” The more griping I heard, the more my attitude improved. Maybe…… I heard from the distance, the cheer of the crowd as they announced 43 pounds, new leaders. I knew we were really close to having that if not a little more. After getting a bag, we loaded the girls in the bag. I figured we had 22.5. We had 21.27 yesterday, so we were going to be close to what we needed. When our time to weigh-in came, we climbed on stage with Byron Velvick, Casey Ashley, and Evan Boutwell, the tournament director. They announced that we were going to make a run at the lead. The bag went in the tub and the scales locked at 22.83 for a two-day total of 44.10. We took the lead!
As the weigh-in line grew shorter, my smile grew bigger. We had done it. Horrible weather, thunderstorms, 25 mph south winds, 25 mph north winds, everything I owned was soaked, but we had done it. We collected a healthy paycheck from Mr. Bentz and a set of tires courtesy of Carlise. The prize money and the trophies were great, but the feeling of having survived and beaten 330 other boats, many of whom are Kentucky Lake gurus, was priceless.
Stay tuned… the next blog is going to have way more drama…..
Until next time,
Keep chunkin’ and windin’
BoatUS ANGLER Pro-Staff
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