Here We Go! The 2014 Tourney Season is underway and my blogs begin. I hope you enjoy reading them throughout the season and I thank you all for your support
I will be fishing 13 major events in 2014 - (9) BASS Elite Series, (3) BASS Northern Opens, and (1) BASS Central Open. I am also fishing 2 Major League Fishing Television events that will air on the Outdoor Channel in Q1 and Q2 of 2015.
Feb. 6 - Feb. 8, Lake Amistad - B.A.S.S. Central Open #1
These last several years I have avoided fishing bigger tournaments on my home water of Lake Amistad due to the demand of my guide service amistadbasguide.com. This time around I decided to participate... mostly due to the Bassmaster Classic berth that is now received by a BASS Open winner. I thought I would have a good shot and looked forward to my first big tourney on my home like since 2008.
The fishing on Lake Amistad the months leading up the event had been pretty difficult. There has been some major water fluctuation at Lake Amistad over the last few years and those conditions have had an adverse impact on the quality of fishing. I was having a tough time finding any consistent bite during my 5 day practice period leading up to the tourney. Although a few days prior to the first tournament day I was able to put together a good pattern finesse fishing with a 4 inch worm and a drop-shot rig.
I concentrated on deeper flats in the 25-35 foot range. I could catch some shallow water fish here and there on an iMA Flit 120 jerkbait, my typical go to this time of year at Amistad, but the inconsistency left me concerned to do well in the event if I committed to it. The umbrella rig had played a factor in some local events leading up to the Open and I threw it occasionally in practice to no avail. (The tourney was basically won fishing the umbrella rig.) With the fish still in winter mode as water temps were in the high 40’s to 50 degrees and very cold temps predicted for the tournament… I felt 10-12lbs a day was going to be a decent bag and a few big bites could bring you the ‘W’!
Event Day 1: 5 Bass / 10lbs 13oz – 13th place of 166
I had 2 primary locations going into the tournament where I felt I could catch fish on those deep flats. I decided to start on the one closest to the tournament launch site. Weather temps the first day were below freezing and there was ice cluttering up my fishing guides until noon.
This was the absolute coldest day I had ever fished on the lake! I knew my presentation had to be slow and precise. I was working the areas close to deep water and managed 2 fish in the morning’s brutal conditions. I felt it was time to move and dissect my other location to find better results.
Once making the move I quickly boated several keepers over the next hour and managed to dial in the same area I caught the big fish pictured in the blog during my practice period. I felt pretty confident after day one knowing these fish were still in the same location and I had some possibilities for a big bite.
Event Day 2: 5 Bass / 11lbs 6oz – 6th place of 166
I immediately ran to the 30-35 foot grass flat that produced well for me the afternoon of Day 1. My co-angler quickly caught a few fish and I loaded a nice one into the boat. I was off to a decent start. My instincts told me I would stay there all day working the area and looking for a big fish to climb up the standings. My good friend Dave Mansue was working the area with me and his co-angler boated a few over 4lbs so that validated my instincts were correct.
Fishing slowly through the area… at about 1pm I boated my fifth fish and had enough weight to make the 12 cut. I worked hard to get that kicker but it just wasn’t meant to be. I thought the fishing was getting a little tough toward the end of the day and tried a few other areas with no success. I had hoped we didn’t fish it out and there were still enough left to catch a good bag on day 3.
Event Day 3: 2 Bass / 3lbs 13oz – 11th place of 166
Still committed to the area that brought me to the top 12, I started right where I left off Day 2. I boated a nice fish in the first hour of the day and felt confident. Then an hour went by and no action. The water was becoming slick with a lack of wind and that always makes conditions tough on Amistad. I knew I needed bites early when the sun was low on the horizon.
My co-angler caught a few nice ones and I caught a non-keeper and my gut was telling me the area didn’t have much fish left to catch. At 10am with 2 bites and 1 keeper fish in the livewell, I headed to other areas to locate some bass. Over the next hour I caught a non-keeper and ultimately decided to return to the flat. I quickly boated another keeper fish and determined I would not leave until it was time for weigh-in. Well, I never had another bite!
It was great to make a Top 12 in the first event of the year and on my home water. Sometimes your home lake can be tough to succeed on. I was certainly disappointed in the final day although I fished to the best of my ability. If I keep putting myself in position to do well in these events I feel that one day my time will come. Again, Thanks for following along and supporting me in 2014!
Event Total - 12 Bass / 26lbs / 11th place of 166.
Next blog… Bassmaster Elite Series Event #1, Lake Seminole, Bainbridge GA March 13-16