Wednesday, January 31, 2007

January Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Cowboy Division tournament on Lake Sam Rayburn.

I fished the Wal-Mart BFL over the weekend on Saturday January 27, 2007. This is the first of five qualification rounds for the 2007 season. I am competing this season as the "Pro" on the the BFL tour fishing with my boat and drawing a co-angler for each event. There were 165 boaters and non-boaters entered in the event. I placed 113th with two fish 3 lbs 14 oz. It was a tough day to be out fishing, the weather was in the 40's and 50's all cloudy and raining all day. Rayburn is 2 feet above pool with stained water. Water temps were 49 to 57 degrees, main lake vs back of the creeks. The bass are in prespawn staging with big females holding in creek channels and points in 7 to 15 feet of water. There are some buck bass up shallow in five to one foot of water on flooded points with brush and grass.


I arrived on Thursday night in Lufkin Texas to meet up with my friend, Lanton Chumley. Lanton and I are going to prefish for the event as much as possible this season. We got everything ready for two tough days of fishing. Next morning we headed out to the pavilion next to Twin Dikes and launched the boat. Headed out to the dam to check some spots along there for staging fish. Lanton picked up a 2 1/2 lb bass on a red rattle trap on the first pass down the bank. No other takers on the second pass so we ran up the lake to fish a hump and see if any fish were there. I was expecting the hump to have 5 feet of water on top of it, but turns out it had 10 feet of water on it and the lake was much higher than I had planned for when I was thinking about how I was going to fish this weekend. Anyway we marked some fish out from the hump in 40+ feet of water but nothing on top of it. We gave it a shot anyway and after a few lost Carolina rigs it was time to go. We tried some stumps up shallow in 8 feet of water that have been productive, but nobody was home today. Headed up the lake to Veach and fished there for a while when Lanton set the hook on a 4+ lb bass with the same red rattle trap. We fished around there for a while in the crowd of boats at Veach and then decided to hit some less popular places. We found a nice little point later in the day, where we each caught a fish and lost a fish. Finally the kind of water I need for tournament day. We headed out to the pretournament meeting. All of the water we covered prefishing was 4 to 15 feet deep.

The Tournament:

Saturday morning I met up with my coangler at 5:30 AM. We launched the boat and went through boat check. I took the boat over to the shore and we sat in the boat and talked about fishing and stuff waiting for the take off to begin.

Boat 88 was called and we headed out to the point where I stopped fishing the day before. As luck and speed would have it I was the first boat there, passing a Champion boat on the way who followed me into the creek. A few casts after starting I set the hook on a 3 lb fish with a red rattle trap. We pounded the banks for the next few hours and I missed a few strikes. I hadn't fished in any of the shallow brush and was just concentrating on the outside edge. As we worked a point, I could see a boat on the other side flipping to some of the inside brush in 2 feet of water and the Pro stuck a 2 lb fish. I turned the boat around and headed into the brush to try my luck in the shallow water. I flipped a watermelon senko to the base of a floating log and stuck my second keeper. I kept fishing at it and missed a few up in the shallows, one of the missed fish felt very heavy while it was on the line before it broke the line wrapping up in the brush. After lunch time I gave up on the shallow points and headed to Veach Basin to fish the grass 8 feet of water. There were boats in all directions out there, but it didn't matter because the fish are moving around. I watched three or four boats pass by pounding the brush and then the next boat through there managed to catch a keeper out of the same area that had been saturated with lures. I was fishing the deeper creek channel in hopes of catching a larger quality fish like the one Lanton caught the day before. Unfortunately it didn't happen for me and that was it for the tournament.

Tournament in Review:

We caught fish in 2 to 15 feet of water on rattle traps mostly, 2 fish for 3 lb 14 oz to get me 113th place. Everyone has an off day now and then, for example: Kevin VanDam, one of the most successful bass fisherman today, caught zero weighable fish on day 3 of the BASS Legends Tournament last season. The important part of the trip is that I caught fish and earned points toward qualifying for the regionals at the end of the season.

Special Thanks -

Thanks to Kelly, and my kids for supporting me in this event. While they didn't come along for the trip they said prayers for me and were glad to see me home safely after the long trip.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Free FLW Clinic at Wal-Mart

Some of FLW Outdoors’ most successful professional anglers will offer tournament-winning tips and techniques when they host the Wal-Mart Tire & Lube Express Fishing and Automotive Clinic Friday, Feb. 16. For the first stop on the 2007 Wal-Mart FLW Tour, there will be two clinics located in the Tire, Lube and Express department at the Wal-Mart Supercenters located at 201 Walton Way in Cedar Park, Texas and at 13201 Fm 620 Road N. in Austin. Both clinics will be held Feb. 16 from 5:30-7 p.m. The events take place in conjunction with the season-opening FLW Tour event presented by Kellogg’s to take place on Lake Travis Feb. 15-18. The free clinic is designed for people of all ages and skill levels. The first hour focuses on specific techniques the anglers use, including tips on tying knots, casting and selecting tackle. During the last half hour, anglers answer questions, pose for photos and sign autographs. Participants may also enter a drawing for goodie bags filled with sponsor products, shirts and hats. Anglers scheduled to attend are Castrol team members Bobby Curtis of Siloam Springs, Ark.; David Dudley of Lynchburg, Va.; Mike Surman of Boca Raton, Fla.; Carl Svebek III of Siloam Springs, Ark.; and Darrel Robertson of Jay, Okla. Robertson and Dudley are both FLW Tour Championship winners and past winners of the lucrative Ranger M1 tournament, having taken home top prizes of $600,000 and $700,000 cash, respectively. "Our fishing seminars are a great way to give something back to our loyal customers," said Castrol spokesperson Jamia Curtis. "They also give us a chance to introduce younger kids to the lifelong sport of fishing. In fact, we think these clinics can teach anglers of all skill levels new techniques. Here’s a great chance to chat directly with some of the best bass anglers in the world." Additional information will include details about what to check on autos and boats before heading out to the water; instructions about how to catch more fish; what life is like as a pro angler and general auto tips from the pros who put an average of 40,000 miles a year on their vehicles.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

FLW Tour Comes To Lake Travis

Tought I'd post up a little information that I'm really excited about. I'll be competing in the up coming FLW Tournament on Lake Travis as a Co-Angler fishing with one of the Pros for three days. Pray that I do well because I'll need all the help I can get with 400 of the best anglers across the nation competing on the lake. All the details of the event are below...

FLW Tour:

The $9.5 million Wal-Mart FLW Tour will stop in Austin, Texas, Feb. 15-18 for its first regular-season tournament, presented by Kellogg's on Lake Travis. Hosted by the Austin Sports Commission, the tournament features 400 anglers from 37 states, Australia, Japan, Spain and Italy, with 200 of the world's best bass pros fishing for a top award of $125,000 cash. Two hundred co-anglers will compete for a top award of $25,000 cash. Lake Travis' water level is currently 36 feet lower than normal and will make for some tough fishing is the lake level does not rise.

Anglers will take off at 7 a.m. Thursday and Friday, Feb. 15-16, from Highland Lakes Marina located at 16120 Wharf Cove in Volente, Texas. Thursday and Friday's weigh-ins will also be held at Highland Lakes Marina beginning at 3 p.m.

Pros Night:

Capitol Chevrolet located at 6200 I-35 South in Austin will host Chevy Pro Night featuring Jimmy Houston, Larry Nixon, Luke Clausen, Kim Stricker, Dion Hibdon and David Fritts from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday. These anglers, who together account for eight FLW Tour victories and more than $3 million in winnings, will visit with fans, sign autographs and pose for photos. Fans attending Chevy Pro Night at Capitol Chevrolet can also register to win fishing rods, fishing tackle, die cast Ranger boats and a trip for two to the $2 million Forrest Wood Cup championship and outdoor show in Hot Springs, Ark., where they could ultimately win a $47,000 Ranger Z20 powered by Yamaha.

The Tournament:

Anglers will take off at 7 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 17-18, from Travis County Mansfield Dam Park located at 14370 Mansfield Dam Road in Austin. Saturday and Sunday's weigh-ins will be held at the Austin Convention Center located at 500 East Cesar Chavez St. in Austin beginning at 4 p.m.

The Event:

Prior to the weigh-ins Saturday and Sunday, FLW Outdoors will host a free Family Fun Zone and outdoor show at the Austin Convention Center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. The Family Fun Zone is a chance for fishing fans to meet their favorite anglers and review the latest products from Berkley, Lowrance, Ranger, Evinrude, Yamaha and other manufacturers while children are treated to fishing themed games and rides like the Ranger Boat simulator. The first 300 children 14 and under visiting the Family Fun Zone Saturday will also receive a free FLW Outdoors hat from KASE 101 FM. On Sunday, 98.1 KVET FM will give the first 300 children 14 and under visiting the Family Fun Zone a free rod and reel combo.

The Rules of Competition:

In FLW Tour competition, pros and co-anglers are randomly paired each day, with pros supplying the boat, controlling boat movement and competing against other pros. Co-anglers fish from the back deck against other co-anglers. The full field of 400 anglers competes in the two-day opening round for one of 10 slots in Saturday's competition based on their two-day accumulated weight. Weights are cleared for day three, and co-angler competition concludes following Saturday's weigh-in. The top 10 pros continue competition Sunday, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from days three and four.

Payout and Coverage:

The total purse for the Lake Travis tournament is $1 million, including $10,000 through 50th place in the Pro Division. This makes the event the most lucrative tour-level bass tournament hosted in Texas in 2007. Coverage of the tournament will be broadcast to 81 million FSN (Fox Sports Net) subscribers in the United States on March 18 and 25 as part of the "FLW Outdoors" television program. "FLW Outdoors" airs Sunday mornings at 11 Eastern time. "FLW Outdoors" is also broadcast internationally to approximately 350 million households in Europe, Africa and Asia, making it the most widely distributed weekly fishing program in the world. Additionally, FLW Outdoors is proud to provide tournament coverage to more than 800,000 service members stationed around the world in 177 countries and aboard Navy ships through broadcasts on the American Forces Network. With a $9.5 million cash purse, including three $1 million qualifiers and three $1.5 million opens during the regular season, this is the most lucrative FLW Tour season to date. Each event leads up to the $2 million Forrest Wood Cup presented by Castrol, which will be held Aug. 2-5 on Lake Ouachita in Hot Springs, Ark. The prestigious championship and outdoor show hosted by the Hot Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau will feature 81 pros, 81 co-anglers and bass fishing's largest cash award -- a potential $1 million first-place prize for the winning pro.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Texas Classic Bass Club January Tournament on Belton

I fished the Texas Classic Bass Club January Tournament over the weekend Saturday on Lake Belton. It was cold and wet, air temps in the lower 40’s or high 30’s. There was a constant down pour of drizzle or rain all day that only had brief moments where it would let up and give us a break. My partner for the tournament was Jason St Peters and he wasn’t looking forward to the day head of us, because he doesn’t like to be cold. We started fishing at 7:15 AM and hit our first stop. A hump out on the main lake and fished there for a while and got to see a drag race start to some other tournament, those guys all took off at the same time and came flying down the lake like they racing to the finish line. One of the stragglers decided the was plenty of room on the hump we were fishing and pulled up about 10 yards ways and started fishing. I hadn’t graphed any bait and we didn’t get any bites, so I decided to let them have it. We hit a few other places and I finally caught a keeper on a white spinnerbait. I had few short strikes on the spinnerbait and Jason fished a few bites on his Carolina rig, but all in all it was one long, cold, and wet day. We ended the day in 3rd place with 1 keeper weighing 1.69 lbs. Everyone in the tournament struggled as well with finding fish that would bite.

Friday, January 12, 2007

My favorite Moment In A Tournament

This is my favorite time of the tournament. There is something about floating in the still of the morning with all of the boats quitely sputtering in anticipation of the tournament take off. The 2007 season is here and I think it's going to be an awesome season.