Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Texas Classic Bass Club February Tournament

I fished the Texas Classic Bass Club February Tournament over the weekend on Saturday at Lake LBJ. The tournament didn't go as we had hoped, but we had a great time. I watched the wind reports all week and was ready for the worst.

Here's how it went down.

At 5:45 AM I met up with my partner for the tournament Jason St. Peter on the way to the lake. Weather was very cloudy, temps in the upper 40's, and wind blowing 30+ mph over the day. We launched and headed out to Thunder Birds or Morgans creek to start our trip. We started fishing and within about five casts I hooked into what would have been our first keeper, after a short fight the fish jumped completely out of the water and shook free of my spinner bait. We moved back into the creek where I flipped a jig to a lay down and was trying to pop the lure free of a limb when a nice bass exploded on the lure ripping the jig trailer off, but missing the hook. We spent a while there trying different lures on the tree hoping the fish would return and bite again, no such luck. I saw a splash in the middle of the creek and threw a senko to the area, let it flutter down a bit and the line stopped moving, so I set the hook on a 10 inch bass. We started fishing our way out and Jason set the hook on our first keeper of the day, a nice 15 inch bass. About this time the front hit and the wind jumped from a slight breeze to 30 mph with dust and drizzle mixed in. It was nasty!!!

We went back out and tried fishing a big point that someone had marked. That didn't work out so we move back out where I lost the fish early and tucked the boat behind a fish house out of the wind to rest a bit. While tucked up behind the fish house Jason caught our second keeper of the morning on a crank bait, a good 16 to 17 inch bass. We moved out onto a point and fish along the protected shore for a few hours with Jason catching a short fish and nothing else biting. We went back to the point with the marker and Jason caught our third keeper, a Guadalupe bass on the same crank bait he'd caught the other fish on. We then proceeded to kill a lot of time fishing windy banks, protected banks, bluffs, flats, and nothing seemed to work. We even tried jigging in deep water over schools of bait. I decided at that point it was time to fish in Silver creek, even though I knew the boat ride was not going to be fun.

We hit the main lake going about 45 mph, bashing two and three ft rollers white capping, and I had the boat running dead into the north wind. Instead of getting beat to death, I decide the waves were close enough together that we could just skip over them going faster, which worked really well at 60 mph. The down side to that was, it pretty much scared the life out of Jason who didn't appreciate my tactic for handling the rough water. I fished a lot of tournaments and ran in much worse conditions, but forgot to take into account Jason's perspective when I made the run. Looking back I know exactly how Jason felt, because I've been there many times fishing tournaments as the co-angler in BFL, TTT, and FLW tournaments. From his perspective and my previous experiences, we were flying across the lake with very little of the boat actually touching the water, which seems to be on the very edge of out of control and all you can do that point is hang on for fear of fly out out. Most men in these conditions find religion if they didn't already have it. "Lord, please get us there safely..." or something along those lines ends up running through our minds. At any rate, Jason let me know he would like to take the ride back and brave the pounding vs skipping the waves. :-P Lucky for us, the winds died down to about 15 mph and the waves were not as bad on the way back.

Back to the fishing, once inside Silver creek we set to work fishing down the bank. I decided to switch up and tie on the kicker fish bait, a 3/4 oz red craw rat-l-trap. We fished the marina, rocky banks, log jams, and some points with no luck. In the last hour of the tournament, we fished along a stump covered point, where I hooked our fourth keeper, on the trap a nice 17 to 18 inch bass. We decided to work the point a few more times and Jason put our final keeper in the boat a 14 inch bass that filled our limit. He caught another little 10 inch bass and in the final minutes, I lost a good fish. That's part of rat-l-trap fishing, you can't get every fish you hook with those things in the boat.

Tournament in Review:

Frontal conditions with high winds all day made for a long fishing trip, but we managed to put good sack of keepers in the boat. We took 4th place with 9+ lbs. First place had a successful trip in all the wind and were able to catch 14 lb of bass, with a 5lb kicker.


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