The 2012 tournament season has drawn to a close for me. Although I am passionate about tournament fishing, the fall is a welcome break from the tournament grind. I know my schedule doesn’t compare to guys that do this for a living, but I spent 80 days on the water, and 20 nights on the road, fishing 24 tournaments in 2012. That’s quite a few hours in the Triton for a guy with a full-time job and family. I like to spend some time in the fall realistically assessing my tournament performances and doing some hunting and fun fishing.
As I look back on 2012 there are positives and negatives. On the positive side, in 24 events this year, I finished in the top ten 13 times. I weighed in a limit 24 of 27 days. I won two events. I finished 2nd in Angler of the Year points two separate divisions of the Bassmaster Weekend Series. On the negative side, I only cashed a check in 12 of 24 tournaments. I bombed the last weekend series in the TN Central division and gave up a healthy lead in the points standings to finish 2nd. The two wins I had were in smaller tournaments with no incentive/bonus monies. So, to sum it up, I’d call this a good, but not great year of competitive fishing.
As I pound away on the keyboard, the leaves are falling from the huge oaks behind my office and there is a chill in the air. Fall is a time for me to back off from tournament fishing and have some fun. I’ve spent some time deer hunting, but haven’t bagged that big one yet. I’ll give that a few more weeks then its back to fishing.
I have friends that fish tournaments all winter. I’ll probably drop my money in the jar a time or two, but mostly I’ll just fish for fun. I used to think that winter fishing was tough because the fish were so lethargic. Winter fishing was about spending the whole day freezing for a few bites. Man was I wrong. I’ve had some of my best days both for numbers and size in December and January.
I live in smallmouth country. Dale Hollow is a two hour drive. Center Hill Lake is less than an hour. Percy Priest is in my backyard. I’ve learned that the smallmouth are viscous in the wintertime. I’ll spend a day or two this fall and winter chasing the brown fish and we usually have a ball catching them. But what I really look forward to this fall and winter is the Alabama Rig bite.
Last year the fishing was off-the-charts on the A-rig on my favorite lake, Kentucky Lake. We had to fish on the Kentucky end of the lake to throw the five bait rig, but the numbers of bass we boated were insane. Just to give a quick example, myself and three friends decided we would have a two boat tournament last December. We started at 9:30 and met to weigh-in at 2:30. My friend JD and I caught about 20 bass and culled up to an 18 pound limit. Not bad for 5 hours right? We lost by 10 pounds! My friends Scott and Branden had five that went 28 pounds. If you haven’t tried this tactic, November through January is the best time.
Get some warm clothes, some braided line and a stout fishing rod and head to your favorite lake with a couple of Alabama Rigs. Don’t hang up the fishing rods just because the temperatures are cooling down, you might miss some of the hottest fishing of the year!
Until next time, keep chunkin’ and windin’.
Boat US ANGLER Pro Staff
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