My wife Rhonda and I drove straight north for about 2 hours to get to the St. Lawrence River from Lake Oneida. I really like back-to-back tourneys especially when they tend to fish very similar. I get in tune much quicker in that 2nd event and in the Elite Series we have a limited practice period so that certainly helps.
Aug. 8– Aug. 11 St. Lawrence River - B.A.S.S. Elite Series Event #7
I have a love/hate relationship with this area of the country. It is one of the most beautiful areas of the country and I love to catch smallies. I have had some good events here but I have also fallen on my face or had some terrible heartbreaks.
I came to the St. Lawrence River for a pre-practice trip the first week in July and really got a great feel for the fishing environment here. I was stoked to get this tourney underway. I felt there would be 2 distinct possible ways to catch’em here in the river and that was up shallow in the skinny water around fast current with boulders or out deep on the humps and rocky areas in the middle of the river.
I quickly caught a few fish in the shallow water the first morning of practice but didn’t see the 3.5-4lb fish I knew it would take to do well in this event. I went to look at some deeper water in the mid day and quickly caught some 3lbers and a 4lb 9oz chuck!
I felt I was starting to get on the right quality. I fished deep the rest of the day and caught numerous fish in the 3.5 to 4lb range.
Day 2 I dedicated deep and went on to find several areas in a 5 mile stretch of the river I thought would continue to be productive. After spending the day and catching several fish over 4lbs I thought I had it nailed down and spent Day 3 fine tuning the stretch of the river. Day 3 of practice I caught 2 fish over 5lbs so I was super stoked to get the event underway and continue my success on this stretch of tournaments.
Event Day 1: 5 Bass / 16bs 15oz – 53rd place of 99
For the first time ever I was Flight #1 and Boat #1 to kick of a BASS event. That was pretty cool and I expected to have an awesome day. I drove about 40 miles to the area of the river I located in practice and started the day with a few smaller fish but a couple 3lbers as well. I knew I was going to get some of those critical 4lb bites so I wasn’t concerned.
I continued to catch fish through the mid day and eventually had all 3+lbers with the biggest going 3lbs 11oz. I knew I had 16.5-17 lbs but needed a 4lb bite or two so I would get over the hump.
I fished hard and just never got those key fish to bite. I am not sure really why but looking back I think I was slightly erratic on my bait presentation that day and just needed to relax a little to get those big fish to commit to my offerings.
I was in the middle of the pack after day 1 but felt it’s just a matter of time before day 2 weigh-in and I would come in with a big sack of fish.
Event Day 2: 5 Bass / 17lbs 3oz – 50th place of 99
This day started really slow for me… and that was a huge surprise. I got to one of my good areas and saw a fellow competitor catching one after another… I couldn’t believe I didn’t get a few bites around that area. After an hour or so I moved to a different locale and boated several fish up to 2.5lbs but opted to throw them back immediately because I didn’t want to chance having a small dead fish in the livewell since they were being caught so deep and I knew I needed 3+lbers. I had to change locations again so the quality I was searching for was becoming tough to locate. It was 10:30 and I caught a couple of 2lbers and put them in the livewell…. I told my marshal for the day “well I guess I better keep something to take back to weigh-in”. It wasn’t 30 min. after that I started to get some better 3lb bites. The next 3 hours I boated about 9 fish that were all 3lbs or better and finally culled up to that 16.5-17lb mark again. I needed one 4lb bite... never happened. I ended up in a tie for 50th place (the cut line for a money finish) and lost the tie breaker due to the other angler have a bigger bag on Day 2. Wow what a bummer!
Event Total - 10 Bass / 34lbs 2oz / 51st place of 99.
Looking back I think I need to just settle down and relax more when fishing the Elite Series events. Maybe I am getting too uptight and that is effecting how I present my lures. I really feel my practices are going well but I am not reaching my full potential in the tournaments
2 more events left in the year… can’t wait to end up on top in them both!
Next blog… Bassmaster Elite Series Event #8, Lake St. Clair, Detroit, MI Aug. 22-25
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