BASS Elite Series #6

St. Lawrence River, Jul 30-Aug 2, 2015

By Kurt Dove
October 2015

Concluding the debacle at Kentucky Lake, I moved from 72nd in the AOY to 90th, brutal fall. The bombs (poor finishes) I was looking to avoid caught up with me at Kentucky Lake. The positive aspect is the tour is moving up north for the summer where I have generally had better than average success. The St. Lawrence River has a special place in my fishing adventures. It's one of the first places I ever took my wife when we started dating and she loved it there. It's still her favorite place to visit on tour. I have done 'OK' here in the past but the ole' river has bitten me several times as well. Never the less I love smallie fishing in Up-State New York and look forward to doing well in this event!

Practice:

A long extended cold spell has the fish in basically a late spring pattern. Really crazy when you think about it ... it's nearly Aug. the water temps are only in the high 60's as we begin launching our boats that first practice morning. My thought process is that with the warm weather forecast for the week of the event, more fish will be moving out to those deeper water areas. Fishing a drop-shot in deep water is how I begin my search. I am believing more fish are coming to where I will be fishing and some of the biggest fish will be already there or getting there very soon. I enjoy catching small mouth drop-shotting and know several locales that are productive on the river. After 6 hours or so I am finding that the smallmouth are not schooled up any where on the deep structure, but I am catching some quality 3.5 - 4 lb fish by sticking to it over time. Its strange, like something was trying to keep me out there. Every time I would think about needing to change up due to lack of bites out deep I'd catch another quality fish. On day 2 of practice I am feeling a bit restless on the deep bite, but I believe the quality is there and I don't need to catch 10 or 15 fish a day, 8-10 will do just fine. I felt finding one or two little pods was doable and then I would be good to go. I stuck with it all day and caught another 10 or so fish with best five over 18lbs. I am comfortable but not really excited just because of the number of bites and basically how random they are. Some fish coming out in the depths but some are also after wandering around a bit and coming from the tops of shallow humps in the 10-15 foot range. The final day of practice I decide to look shallow. I threw mostly jerk-bait and drop shot in 10 foot or less. I came up with some bites but not enough quality (none over 2.5 lbs) to decide I should be trying it in the event. I am committing deep and looking forward to it!

Event Day 1: 2 Bass/7 lbs 2 oz – 106th place of 107

Photo of Kurt Dove and his catch on the St. Lawrence River

I begin about 45 min up river from our take off point of Waddington, NY. I decided to focus on a 5-mile stretch of water that had a lot of diversity. I am fishing confident but again it's tough. Nothing was coming easy, but that was to be expected. I catch a 4 lber at about 0830 in the morning ... off to a good start. A longer than anticipated dry spell but I catch a 3+ lber around 10am. No problem ... they will come as I keep working my off shore depths. I keep dropping and no bites ... I move around and change some locales ... no bites. I look at my watch and its 1230 and I have two fish! Rough! I must get something going here! I work several areas that produced in practice and even some high spots I didn't check ... no more bites. I can't believe it ... the St. Lawrence has bitten me again ... UGH!

Event Day 2: 5 Bass/10 lbs 2 oz – 102nd place of 107

Photo of Kurt Dove holding up a 2 bass fish

At the start of Day 2 all I can think of is to save face and put some decent fish in the boat. I started off deep with an open mind to go look for new water if things don't happen quickly. I catch a 3 lber early ... then by 830 I catch another one about 3 lbs. I go a few hours with no fish then a 4 lber latched on my drop shot and I scoop her in. OK ... we are moving but the bite continues to be very slow. I decide at about 1230 to go fill out my limit in a creek with some largemouth and quickly I caught two 1.5-2 lbers. I have about 13 lbs and I keep chunking for largemouth hoping to get a quality one to cull with. Throwing a frog over some matted grass I manage to catch another and cull for a few ounces ... the wind is picking up and I decide to give myself 45 min (ample time) to return to Waddington. As I begin running back and riding the waves I notice a slight water pressure issue in my outboard ... then the real problem occurs. An overheat alarm ... I had to set down 4-5 times on the initial 5 miles of the ride back to Waddington due to some dirt that got into my engine impeller. I ended up being 3 min. late for check-in (a first time ever for me) which costs me 3 lbs of my days weight and ended the event in 102nd instead of 91st. Doesn't seem like much but 9 points can cost you in many ways. Not much I could do about it, so I rolled with it and hope it doesn't come back to bite me.

Event Total – 7 Bass/17 lbs 4 oz/102nd place of 107

Honestly I begin to wonder ... what do I have to do to keep consistent out here on tour. How can I turn my career around from being here (this is my 6th year fishing the Elites and 2nd time around ... 2006-2008 and 2012-2015) to being heard from here and making a splash?!? This sport is very mentally challenging. I can't begin to describe the up and downs from minute to minute in competition and then from event to event. I really need make something happen in these last couple events of the year. If I can't turn it around before the end of the season ... I need to look in the mirror and ask myself ... do I belong?

 

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