Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Clint Bridges vs Jim Blair in I-Match Elimination

I-Match Well, it is that time again and I'm facing my next challenger in I-Match sometime between now and April 20th. I didn't even realize the new brackets had been posted and the pairs matched up when I got a call from Jim about our tournament. This time the lake selection was pretty spread out, Lake Limestone, Fayette County and Stillhouse Hollow. Eventhough I would have liked to fish Stillhouse, Jim didn't want to fish it. We agreed on Lake Austin instead of one of the predetermined lakes that I-Match had picked for us. As usual, I wanted to get an idea of the guy I'm up against, so I did some surfing and found the following information about Jim. He says he's only been on lake Austin three times before. I've been out on Austin more than three times so we'll see how this turns out. Jim is self employed, so I'm sure he will be taking some time off to prefish Austin as much as possible before our match. Here are some tournaments that Jim has fished in lately in the area.

BassChamps on Buchanan BassChamps on Belton

Fishers Of Men on Buchanan

ProTeam on Travis Another ProTeam on Travis

As for me, here is my lake Austin record:

TCBC on Austin in June01 TCBC on Austin Feb04

TCBC on Austin in July04 Big Sandy Creek Big Bass

Again no predictions on the results, we'll just have to wait and see what happens.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Bridges vs Fisher in I-Match Competition

I fished my first I-Match competition yesterday, and had a great time. I caught 32 bass between 6:30AM and 3:00PM on Lake Belton. We arrived to find that the wind was blowing at 10+ mph and it was cloudy in the mid 50's. The wind would play a huge factor in the tournament because it would shift directions and blow up to 20 mph at times and be totally still at others. It was almost as if it was confused about which way it was supposed to be blowing. :-)

I started the morning off with a 3/8 oz white/blue Strike King spinner bait and started catching fish right from the start, first fish of the day came on the second cast and it was just over 14 inches long. I was pretty pumped at that moment, knowing that Danny had headed up the lake and was probably still running the lake and I already had my first keeper. At 10:30 AM, I got a little concerned that I'd caught a number of short fish and 1 keeper, so I switched to a Carolina rigged watermelon lizard made by Zoom hoping to get some bigger fish. I put my next two keepers in the boat with the C-rig between 10:30 and 12:30 fishing the cliffs across from Temple Lake Park. Unfortunately the area I caught them out of wasn't producing the numbers of fish I knew I need to win, so I started running and gunning to locate more fish and better quality fish, I switched between a 3/4 oz Chrome blue back rattle trap and a watermelon fluke. The wind was blowing pretty hard now, so spotting a bedded fish was impossible at this point. Both of the lures I was using caught fish near 14 inches, but no keepers. I had a nice small mouth pull off on the rattle trap unfortunately. I stayed on the lower end of the lake and never went up past Temple lake park. That proved to be a fatal mistake as Danny was able to run up the lake past Temple Lake park and locate males still guarding beds on the upper end. I saw beds on the lower end, but only small males or the bed was already empty. Danny caught 5 bass to give him a total weight of 13.6 lbs, while site fishing. He didn't want to say what lures he used to catch them on. I ended the day with 3 bass for 4.3 lbs. Congratulations to Danny on a great day of fishing.

Monday, March 21, 2005

March Texas Classic Bass Club 2005 Classic Results on Lake Falcon


I fished the Lake Falcon Texas Classic Bass Club 2005 Classic Tournament over the weekend, March 19th & 20th, with Bryan Cotter. We only got third place, but had one of the greatest bass fishing trips of our lives most likely.

Day One:

This is how the weekend went, Saturday morning we got on the lake at 5:30 AM and motored around to a rocky point in the darkness at Falcon State Park where we launched. Bryan was very excited about the possibilities of catching a double digit bass because his BassChamps partner had caught a 10+ lb bass the day before on a junebug brushhog. Pics are posted here. He got all excited at 6:00 when we started fishing because we started hearing loud splashing near the shore. I ruled out bass quickly telling him carp do that on Sam Rayburn this time of year. I haven't seen that on any of the Central Texas lakes that I can remember. We fished in the dark with no success until daylight and confirmed all the loud splashing in the darkness was large carp fighting for spawning grounds in shallow water. They looked like giant gold fish, each being over 5 lbs chasing each other in three inches of water. So about 7:30 Bryan hooked up with a nice 1.5 lb fish on a spinner bait in about 10 feet of water on a flooded tree. Guess I should mention here that the lake is something like 40 feet higher than it's been in years, so a lot of freshly flooded trees and brush to say the least. Not just any trees, these are Retama trees. They are dark green trees with nasty thorns all over that eat up tackle like a depressed fat lady with a box of chocolate. Even with braided line your still going to go through a lot of lures, pack extra if you're making a trip down there. About 10 minutes later Bryan hooked a near 14 inch bass in the gill plate on the outside of the face in about six feet of water. We got on the big motor later and headed up lake to an island just outside an area known as Big Tigers. We threw spinner baits around it and swam some senkos and just before leaving Bryan decided to flip a pumpkin seed brushhog into a bush in 8 feet of water and put our second keeper in the live well. About 12:00 PM, we then headed to the back of Big Tigers where we would spend the rest of the tournament having one of the best fishing trips either of us have ever known, thanks to a tip&directions on the location from a buddy of mine Dave Chambers. We pulled up on the spot that I'll describe as half the size of a soccer field and ranged from nine and a half to twelve feet with all the surrounding area being shallower by one to two feet. The bass were just stacked in there we'd come to find out as the day progressed. Short end of a long story is that Bryan ended up catching our next keeper on a spinner bait and several dinks. I finished out the limit swimming a watermelon/red senko rigged Texas style with no weight. At 4:00PM the end of day one, we had 5 bass for 11.67 lbs. Net..Net, we caught only 5 keepers, I broke off a keeper on a spinner bait, and we had another 10 fish that were short, but near 14 inches. That put us in 7th place I think.

Ok so I have to tell the story of the broken off spinner bait fish because it's a good one. So there is a very distinct location where I lost the fish and about three minutes after I lost it, the bass began jumping out of the water trying to throw the spinner bait. It jumped in the exact same spot about seven different times over the last three hours of the first day. We joked about trying to net it the next time it jumped everytime it jumped again. The next day the first chance I got I threw a spinner bait on the bush and caught a fourteen and quarter inch bass in that exact spot, our second keeper of the day that's why I remember the length. Later on Bryan using a brushhog rig flipped on the spot where the fish had jumped, hooked the fish 3 different times over several hours before finally landing the bass that broke my line the day before. The fish weighed a little over two and a half pounds, ended up being one of the fish we weighed at the end of the day. I was using 12 lb line on that rod and tried to horse it instead of wearing the fish down slowly before boating it. We're pretty sure it was the same fish because it has a large hole on the side of it's mouth where it had worked the spinner bait loose the day before. To bad I didn't get that $5 spinner bait back. :-( Who says you can't catch the same bass the next day? Or hook one and fight it multiple times in one day? It may not happen all the time, but it can be done.

Day Two:

Day two details, this time we launched at Oso Blanco lodge where the weigh-in was helded and most of the other teams were launching there as well. We ran in the darkness playing leap frog with the day one leaders all the way back to Big Tigers and realized they were fishing the same area just opposite side of the cove. We could see each other catch bass all day, but were far enough apart that we couldn't tell how big or what lures were being used. After the tournament we found out they were fishing the banks of a small creek channel on their side. 6:20AM and we started catching bass right off the start on spinner baits and had our limit by 8:00 AM. The wind picked up and the spinner bait bite died, so I decided to match the hatch and use a chrome little george and started catching bass again. Downside to that story is that I actually hooked and lost 3 fish on consecutive casts that were fish well over two lbs and one that we think may have been near three pounds. They jumped and used the leverage of a long cast to shake it free, but I did get a few fish on it to the boat and culled out that fourteen inch fish I caught on the spinner bait early. We stayed on our fish and once the wind calmed back down and the sun came out I switched to the watermelon/red senko and continued catching fish. I hooked into a bass I believe would have been pushing 4 lbs from the looks of it when it came to the surface, that was just before it dove down into one of those thorny trees and came off after wrapping up the line. Bryan was catching fish on a carolina rigged watermelon lizard and his brushhog rig. We'd caught about 15 keepers off our honey hole and a number of short fish when it happened. 10:30AM and we started noticing large top water hits in a group of trees about a 100 yards away and decided to investigate. The trees were sitting in thirteen feet of water and little did we know at the time, holding 60+ bass ranging from 1.5 to 3 lbs… we saw but never boated larger bass in the school in the trees. They were schooled up busting shad that were about 4 inches long, cause they coughed up a few in the live well. The fish were worked into a feeding frenzy when we arrived throwing spinner baits. We caught 60+ bass out of the trees before the bite died. We caught them on everything we threw, and got to the point that we tried lures just to see what they wouldn't hit, we didn't find one by the way. We caught fish on as many as six consecutive casts, doubled up, it was simply amazing. I think I netted the first two then we just started swinging the over one side of the boat and releasing them on the other side. Also when we first started catching them, when we would reel in a fish, 4 or 5 other bass would follow it to the boat trying to take the bait from it. Missing a strike wasn't a problem, just stop the bait and set the hook. We culled fish I don't know how many times in all the excitement. What a way to end a trip, our arms and thumbs were simply worn out by the time it was all over and we ended up with 12.54 lbs for the day moving us into 3rd place over all. None of the other teams reported seeing any of the schooling action we found out there in Tigers. We had more than 12.54 lbs, but accidently released a larger fish in a rushed culling exercise with only seconds left in tournament time. Lesson learned the hard way there.

We didn't get pictures of any of the fish unfortunately, Bryan's live wells were having technical difficulties and getting the fish back to the lake quickly was necessary for their survival. We wanted to keep them as stress free and lively as possible. This was something that was even praised by a local reporter/proshop owner. His report is located here.

TCBC Official results posted here.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Clint Bridges vs. Danny Ray Fisher

First round of the I-Match is set to be completed by March 28th. My first challenger is Danny Ray Fisher. I did some research on Danny and found out that he's fished in the Texas Tournament Trail, and did well point wise, but never placed in the money. Normally Danny fishes BassChamps with his dad in team events and they did quite well last season.

I talked to Danny yesterday about the lake options we drew for our match - Whitney, Belton, & Decker. We settled on Belton, Thursday March 24th, 6:30 to 3:30 at Arrowhead Park.

Here is a look at Danny's history on Belton -

Lake Belton - 2/12/05 Danny Ray Fisher & Lance Fisher 1 fish for 2.56 lbs

Lake Belton - 2/7/04 Danny Ray Fisher & Flint Fisher 5 fish for 9.80 lbs

Lake Belton - 6/12/04 Danny Ray Fisher & Flint Fisher 5 fish for 6.62 lbs

Lake Belton - 5/18/02 Flint Fisher & Danny Ray Fisher 2 fish for 2.96 lbs

Here is a look at My history on Belton -

Lake Belton - 01/22/05 Clint Bridges & Chris Smith 5 fish for 9.66 lbs

Lake Belton - 01/24/04 Clint Bridges & David Flynn 3 fish for 6.75 lbs

Lake Belton - 11/10/01 Kelly & Clint Bridges 5 fish for 10.03 lbs

Not going make any predictions on the out come. Just wanted to look at my chances of a win from a numbers perspective. We'll know the outcome in about 3 weeks. :-)

I-Match pairs can be viewed at :

Friday, March 04, 2005

I-Match Dead Line has passed

I-MatchWell March 1st came and went as just another calendar day for most people, but for me and 42 other guys in Central Texas the I-Match 2005 season officially began. I feel a little numb at the moment thinking about it. It's the same feeling I get at daylight when there are 100+ boats idling anxiously at the take off of a major bass tournament about to begin. March 7th I'll find out who my first challenger will be for our first head to head tournament. This is gonna be fun.

That divides the field into 21.5 pairs. Not sure how they handle the odd man out, but we'll see. Let me see if I can break this down...

Round 1: In three weeks time the field will divide into 21 people with wins and 21 with losses from.
Round 2: You'll have 10 or 11 with wins, 10 or 11 with moving to the loss side, and for 10 or 11 the end of the road after double elimination.
Round 3: 5 winners, 5 more to join the 1 loss side and 5 or 6 will be eliminated.
Round 4: 3 winners, 3 with their first loss, and 3 more down.
Round 5: 2 winners, 2 with losses and now we're down to the wire.

After Round 6: The Central Texas division, one person will advance to the State Champs of I-Match... to the guy in 2nd who fished his tale off and sweated bullets... $2000.00 isn't a bad return for a $300 investment.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Mill Pond today

Stopped by Mill Pond for an hour of fishing and caught 4 bass about 14 inches long on the Baby N -1 that I still had tied on from previous trip. The pond is about 2 feet above flood stage from recent rains and the water is now stained and no longer muddy as it was before the rains. The bass I caught were caught on the less pressured areas of the pond. The two peers and the spillway are fished by everyone and their dog. I usually catch a bass or two there also, but not even a hit today.

Fishing in Round Rock Ponds

I have been fishing at a few of the local ponds in Round Rock over the last week, Meadow Lake, Mill Pond and a tiny community pond that's unnamed. Thought I'd share some info about these trips. We've had a rather wet and warm winter season due to an El Nino weather pattern. All the great bed fishing that would normally be going on this time of the year has been spoiled by constant run off causing muddy/cloudy water that would normally be clear. Don't let that get you down the fish are still there, you just can't see them.

Ok so the scoop on Meadow lake : I fished it with a white senko rigged weightless Texas style and went down the spillway that has produced numbers of large fish this time of the year in the past. Proof to this can be seen here. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get a single bite on the white senko that produced a 7 lb fish two years ago. Clint 2003

I didn't get out and fish Meadow lake last year. I did however catch fish on a Baby N -1 crank bait in brown back/chartreuse belly. Nothing of size to brag about though, but they were hitting it. I didn't see any signs of bedding fish while walking the banks of the pond. While I was fishing from the bank there was a boat on the pond and the guys had put out about 30 jug lines all over the pond, I'm not sure what they were baited with, but I did see them catch several nice 4+ lb catfish on the various jugs.
As for Mill Pond and the tiny community pond near where I live, those are both producing fish in numbers in the 1 to 2 lb range. Some are on beds and fat with eggs, but the water in both of the ponds is muddy so I haven't actually seen a bed yet. I'm guessing they're on beds because the fish are biting right next to the bank in 1 to 2 feet of water. I plan on making a few trips this week to see if the water conditions improve and the fish move up closer to the banks with warmer weather.