Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Texas Classic Bass Club October Tournament on Choke Canyon.

I fished Choke Canyon in the Texas Classic Bass Club October two day tournament over the weekend, Oct 20th & 21st, with John Hackney. We got second place, and had one of those fishing tournaments that neither of us will ever forget.

Day One: Weather - Clear with 10 mph winds from the SE.

John and I woke up at 5:00 AM, loaded the boat and launch at Callihan park at 5:45 AM while counting shooting stars. The night sky is really clear out there and there must have been 5 or 6 six shooting stars before sun rise. We fished there with a few missed bites until safe running light and then made a run across the lake to four fingers only to find it covered up with boat traffic. We found a spot that suited us and went to work on a small stretch of grass between two other boats as the spot is pretty well known on the lake for holding fish. I decided to go with my confidence bait for fall fishing which is a 10 inch plum worm rigged Texas style with a 1/4 oz weight. I told John, "I'm going big or going home." as I was putting the worm on the line. As usual I also applied Fool-A-Fish and SpikeIT to the lure as well. John took a different approach and went with a 4 inch Robo Worm in purple with a yellow tip rigged on a shaky head. John went to work with his fairy wand of a fishing rod and the magic began. He quickly pulled out our first 1.6 lb keeper and a short fish on back to back casts seemingly. A short while later he set the hook and put another 1.8 lb bass in the boat. John commented, "I'm gonna get a limit and you get the big one." A short time later I set the hook on our big fish of the day, 6.16 lbs. She didn't put up to big a fight, just made a few hard surges for deep water and then just gave up. At that point the two boats that were near us had left out of frustration of watching John work magic on the back of the boat. Nobody was getting bit, but John seemed to be sticking fish on every other cast. Not all of them keepers but he was catching fish. Nobody saw us catch the big one. After we settled down from the big fish, we were on our 4th or 5th trip down the same grass line, John's line jumped and this time when he went to lift the rod to set the hook it didn't move. Lucky for us the fish ran for deeper open water rather than dive into the grass edge it had been hiding in before biting Johns bait. After a minute of prayers and John fighting the fish, we got it in the net and it turned out to be a solid 4+ lb fish. On the next cast I set the hook with the big worm and put a 1.8 lb fish in the livewell. It's about 9:00 AM at this point in the morning and the wind goes from dead to a slight breeze about 5 mph steady. The rest of the day is a little fuzzy from there as we wind kicked up to 10 mph and we continue to work that grass line catching bass. Around lunch time we decided we shouldn't over fish our spot and left one of our club members was fishing in the area and saw us catching bass, but didn't move in behind us when we left. We ended up catching a few more keepers making the two smallest bass in the live well weighing 1.8 lbs when we were able to cull out. At that point we loaded the boat, went and grabbed some drinks and snacks at the store on the way to Southshore Park for the weigh-in. We still had two hours to fish, so we launched to fish the area at the boat ramp and on the last cast in full view of the rest of the club I caught another 1.8 lb fish. We ended the day with a 5 fish limit for 15+ lbs and the tournament lead. We caught 11 keepers and John caught caught almost as many short fish as well. I'd say we had a heck of day on the lake.

Day Two: Weather - Cloudy with 10 mph winds from the SE.

We work up early, I'm not sure what John set the clock for, but we broke camp and headed for the lake. I remember seeing the clock show 6:00 AM when we were launching the boat and we had another shooting star show for the morning but I think there were more the second day. This time I had a trail on the GPS to follow to our spot, so I waisted no time in running the lake to our spot. We made our first pass down the grass line when one of the first boats launching out of Southshore crossed the lake and ran straight to the same grass line we were fishing. Turns out it was Bryan Cotter and his sister. John worked some magic with his spinning rod and brought a 2 lb fish to the boat and I quickly followed up with a 2 lb fish of my own. Bryan's sister boated a small keeper and then both boats hit an hour long dry spell. Team Cotter decided to leave and find their own spot finally leaving the area to us to fish. We made a few passes down the grass line while playing boat chess with other people outside of the club wanting to fish the grassline with us and I felt my line make a jump thump. I set the hook and said, "Fish on and it's a big one." The fish dove for deeper water and stripped drag off the reel. I fought back and a few seconds later the fish surged for the sky and jumped completely out of the water while trying to throw the hook. At that point John and I were in full on get the net and bring this monster to the boat mode. I think I stopped breathing and my heart skipped a few beats at the sight of this huge fish. If you've ever caught a big fish and got the shakes you know exactly what I'm trying to say. It stripped more drag and this time tried to head back into the grass, but I kept it out by adjusting the drag while reeling. A minute or two later and we had it in the boat. John walked to the back of the boat picked up his rod and set the hook. Another keeper about 15 inches long and John said he was glad it was just a little one, because he probably would have passed out from all the excitement. One of the other guys in the club was fishing in the area and said he saw the whole show from hook set to landing and said it looked like a lot of fun. The bass weighed 7.42 lbs and was the day two big bass. A while later the wind kicked up to 12 mph and blew steady, so we decided to hit some other spots. In the last 15 minutes of the tournament John set the hook on a fish in the grass only to have the knot in his line slip after a brief fight. We ended the second day of the tournament with 13+ lbs and had the day two big bass of 7.42 lbs, but only four keepers to weigh-in.

Tournament in Review:
The wind was dead in the mornings and blew 10 mph in the afternoons on both days. It made for extremely tough fishing, because the boat was never sitting still. We caught our fish on purple worms 10, 6, and 4 inches long. Most of the fish we caught were in three to ten feet of water on the edge of grass next to deep water. We got second place with 28+ lbs and just missed 1st by less than a pound. We had the bite to win it, but couldn't make it happen. Congratulations to Team Cotter on the come from behind win even if it was by crowding the guys in the lead. Official Results posted on