BASS Elite Series #1 - Lake Seminole, Bainbridge GA
The second tournament of my season, but first Elite Event, has a lot of meaning for me as this is the lake I fished my first ‘big’ event on, a BFL Regional back in 1999. It had been since then that I had visited Lake Seminole, but honestly not a whole lot had changed. I feel at home fishing grass lakes since I grew up fishing grass on the Potomac River and grass is typically present at Lake Amistad where I guide. I was pumped to get the Elite season underway!
March 13-16, Lake Seminole, Bainbridge, GA – BASS Elite Series #1
I started out looking for any grass out off the bank in mid-depth locations. I figured the spawn was mostly behind due to the very cold winter we had all been experiencing. Grass, cold water and pre-spawn bass go together like peanut butter and jelly, it just works. I fished my lipless crankbait, an iMA Rock’in-Vibe, and caught several fish but the vibrating jig, such as a chatterbait, was catching the giants! That first day I had well over 26 lbs of fish for my best 5 and that included 2 monsters of 7 lbs, 9 oz and 8 lbs, 6oz. I didn’t get many bites but I felt I was starting to build on something. I had changed things up quite a bit that first practice day just assessing the conditions. I decided to spend day 2 fishing off shore grass attempting to locate more giants! On Day 2 of practice after fishing 6 hours off-shore and 1 2-lber to show for it I decided to move up to the bank and I found several bedding fish. The warm front that we were experiencing seemed as if it would push up enough fish on beds to make at least the first day or two of the tournament a good sight fishing pattern. I really enjoy that style of fishing and would plan on taking advantage of those shallow and visible fish. My 3rd day of practice I located some additional areas of bedding fish and worked to locate some potentially isolated areas that I thought less competitors would seek out. I did find some more fish and looked forward to fishing bedding bass on Day 1 of the event. But only after I worked over the off-shore area I located on Day 1, especially while the sun was still low in the morning sky.
Event Day 1: 5 Bass / 17 lbs 0 oz – 32nd place of 108
I headed straight to the off-shore grass and worked it over for about 1 hour and never had a strike! I knew immediately I needed to get up on the bank and work the sight fish I had located. Quickly I began catching bass and looking for the bigger ones. I had 13-14 lbs in the boat pretty fast. I didn’t have much company in the areas I wanted to fish so that was a bonus! One odd thing that did occur… as I was working my way into an isolated pond I saw a fellow competitor Bernie Shultz… he was locked in on a fish and I chatted with him briefly and moved to another area. He boated that fish and it was 10 lb, 10oz… of course congrats to Bernie, but I just think if I has showed up an hour early in that little pond I might have been hauling that fish back to the scales. I culled a few more times in that small pond and ended the day with 17 lbs even.
Event Day 2: 5 Bass / 10 lbs 4 oz – 50th place of 108
A fog delay for about 2 hours greeted us on Day 2. The anticipation was high but I knew I just had to buckle down and do my thing. I started my day picking off a few sight fish I left after Day 1 and had decent start early.
I then began to catch any fish I saw and after 2 more hours I boated my fifth keeper, but I knew I was on the bubble of the needed weight to make the cut. I fished and fished and made a few small culls - a very important one in the last 10 minutes of the day.
I ended Day 2 in 50th place! The final spot to make the cut and move on to day 3!
Event Day 3: 3 Bass / 9 lbs 9 oz – 49th place of 108
It was apparent that my bed fishing pattern was coming to an end so I decided to switch areas and stay closer to the launch ramp for Day 3. I fished a small backwater pond and managed to catch a 3-lber in the first hour or so and then decided to flip the cover entering some of these spawning areas. I had one bite quickly although I set the hook and missed the fish. But it was a clue of where to spend some time. After flipping for another hour or so I boated a solid 5-lber. I decided to stay with the flipping technique for the rest of the day and ended up only catching one more fish. Although disappointed with the results that day, I felt good with the decisions and path I had choose.
Event Total - 13 Bass / 36 lbs 13 oz / 49th place of 108.
Getting a check and starting off the season on a positive note is important. Of course I would have liked to have had a better Day 3, but no regrets! Back-to-back events, I was ready to go directly to the St. Johns River for Event #2.
Next blog… Bassmaster Elite Series Event #2, St. Johns River, Palatka FL – March 20-23
Back to Blog
| Back to Pro Staff