Sunday, September 23, 2007

Texas Classic Bass Club September Tournament

I fished the Texas Classic Bass Club September Tournament over the weekend Saturday on Lake Austin. There was perfect fishing weather, a little cloud cover and 80 degree water temps with water clarity about 3 feet on the upper end. The lake is fishing very well lately. This tournament was a draw and I drew Rick Webster from the club for this event as my non-boater.

The Tournament:

I woke up before the sound of the alarm at 3:00 AM and never really fell a sleep from the night before. I was so excited it was impossible to sleep, all I could think about was the big fish we were going to catch in the tournament. I took four hours out of my Friday to prefish on Lake Austin and saw a school of large bass I can only describe as a wolf pack of big bass. They were schooling on a main lake point. Most looked to be about 3+ lbs with some being lunker size. I caught two bass from the school on back to back casts and guess the weight of each fish being 4+ lbs. That was enough to get me all fired up for the tournament the next day. I called Rick at work to tell him the good news and give advice on what tackle to bring. Then I called a few friends to tell them what I'd found, I was so excited.

I met Rick at Quinlan park to launch the boat and start our trip. We loaded up the boat and set out into the dark. I said prayers there would be no other boats in the area I found the fish in because there were four tournament being held on Lake Austin Saturday. Those prayers were answered when no boats were seen as far as the eye could see, we had the point all to ourselves. For the moment anyway, we started fishing at 4:00 AM and made a few passes through the area with Rick and I each catching some 13 inch bass. An hour later and I caught our first keeper on a toad lure fishing it just under the surface, "waking" it. The bass was way off the end of the point, so I wouldn't say it was part of the school I was looking for on the point. Getting closer to daylight more boats were starting to show up and a few even moved in to fish the point with us. None of the boats that moved in on us caught fish, but as soon as they left I made a cast on the money spot or "the sweet spot" as it's known on ESPN BASS. If you know Zona, tell him I found the "sweet spot" on Lake Austin. :-P I set the hook only to have a large fish pull off.

It about 7:00 AM now and a few casts later I set the hook and Rick netted our first 4+ lb fish. I looked at Rick and said it's just getting started, there moving up to feed now. I almost left the area to, because we'd fished for hours with little more than a few short strikes and two or three short fish. Thankfully I listed to Rick and ignored those voices in my head telling me to move to another spot. 15 minutes later Rick sets the hook and proclaims, "Fish on." I said, "How big?" Rick's rod had a good bend in it, but it was only a medium heavy action, so a small fish feels big on that rod. A minute goes bye and I say, "Rick it sure is taking you a long time to get that fish up." About that time we get our first look at what turned out to be a 6.7 lb bass stripping drag off Rick's reel. As the fish nears the boat and I'm about to net the fish I see more big bass just out from the big one. They were part of the school and followed the fish to the boat. The same thing had happened the day before when I'd caught the two 4 lb fish. At this point Rick and I are both shaking all over we're so excited. 15 to 30 minutes later Rick sets the hook and says, "Get the net!" I reply. "Oh yeah! Way to go Rick!" I net another 6 lb bass and it's high fives all around, but we basically sneak the bass into the livewell as not to alert any of the boats in the area how well we're doing. Another 10 to 20 minutes passes and Rick says, "Get the net as he's slamming it to another big fish." As I'm standing up looking in the direction of the "spot" I see a huge bass jump and go completely air born trying to shake free of Rick's line. Another jump and a last minute surge at the boat and the fish breaks Rick's line. I'd just said, "Easy, don't horse it." but I was about 30 seconds to late for adjusting the drag. :-( There went a bass that would have gone 7 lbs most likely. An hour passes without any action and I decide to switch from a brush hog to a swim bait after seeing a large bass follow two 12 inch bull shad across the point. First cast and I set the hook to fill our limit with a 2 1/2 lb bass. At this point it's 10ish and the ski boats are starting to run us over, we can see large bass on the point in the clear water, but can't get them to bite anymore. I decide we shoulde to go flip the thick grass hoping to cull out the smallest bass we had since the school had broken up and the fish were not as active on the point. We caught a few short fish and called it a day.

Tournament in Review:

We think we caught about 15 bass or more over the day. All of the fish were caught on watermelon plastic worms, but we threw a lot of different kinds to keep showing them different stuff. Rick and I caught five keepers going 20.98 lbs putting us in 1st place. Rick also took big bass honors with a 6.7 lb bass to anchor our win. After checking the results of the other tournaments, Rick and I had the best catch out of all four events.

Rick and I with 4 of the big fish in our winning stringer.

Special Note:

The "wolf pack" produced two 4's and another 6 lb bass along with numbers of smaller bass a few days after the tournament.