WHAT A DAY! (Report 4/29-30/16)
Wow! What a day I’ve had!
The short version:
I had 15lbs and finished 1st place. We caught between 40-50 bass and 3-4 limits of keepers. Incredible.
Here’s how it happened:
I actually wasn’t planning on fishing originally because this tournament was supposed to be on May 7th when I will be at Kentucky Lake for my “main” fishing trail. However, the tournament got moved to 4/30 and my wife had a girls outing planned. Perfect timing! So, Thursday I decided I was going to fish. However, I had been on Tim’s Ford the week before fishing a tournament so I hadn’t actually been on Priest in about 12 days. A lot can change in 12 days. I had found them moving up two weeks ago on one bank when I went from 0 to 2nd place back on 4/16 in the last Heartland with an hour to go in the tournament. Friday morning before work (I can fish from 545-8 if I need/want to on weekdays SOMETIMES), I grabbed a fishing buddy and headed out. I went back to the last spot I’d been nearly two weeks ago and THEY WERE STILL THERE! Unbelievable. In an hour we caught a limit and about 15 more short bass. We moved around some and upgraded a few times and ended up with a limit of about 12lbs in just 2 hours. (Some pics below of the better fish).
The morning of the tournament I was fishing with a different guy because my friend ended up having to work. I told him about where and what we had done so naturally we started in the same area. I was worried I had perhaps “sore-jawed” too many on Friday. Not the case! We took off up the river to the new “honey hole” (after a VERY quick first-stop at a topwater bank just around from the launch ramp). First cast on a topwater, BOOM! Short but close. Ended up having a small limit (involving a 12.5″ & 13″ spotted bass) in about an hour. I would add what would be our big fish of 3.58 next. Then, I culled a 13″ spotted bass with a 14″ spotted bass (a GIANT on Priest for me anyways). The bite started to slow down and we would finally get rid of that last spotted bass at about 9 o’clock.
This is when our luck changed. After this point I would proceed to lose a approx. 3lbs largemouth, 2.5lbs largemouth, and my partner lost another 15.5″-16″ largemouth in the 9-12 timeframe. We ran up and down the river and caught short fish but everytime we stuck something that would upgrade we seemingly had no luck landing the fish. Days like this happen. I just knew I had cost us money losing that 3lbs+ fish. At 12:30 we decided to make a decent run and fish one more spot mid-lake before the tournament ended at 2:00. What a move this would be!
We pulled in and immediately I hooked a short fish. Then I proceeded to lose another upgrade fish of about 2.5lbs. UGH! Then, my heart would break. Casting in about 1ft of water I hooked into what would look to be a 5lbs largemouth. She jumped and jumped and on the third jump, there went the bait flying through the air. NOOOOO!!!! I was so mad at myself. I don’t think I was doing anything wrong but I could not keep the fish on the line today for whatever reason. I knew I had blown the tournament. That’s when my partner, who had been quiet most of the day, decided to pick up my slack. In the next 30 minutes, maybe not even that long, he would proceed to catch three 3lbs largemouth, three 15″ largemouth, and a short fish. We had managed to cull everything but our big fish in less than 30 minutes with about 10 minutes of fishing time left. I said we had time for one more run down this 50-yard stretch of bank before heading back. At this time our shortest fish was 16″. On the famous “last cast” he managed to stick another one on the shaky head, a 16.25″ largemouth which upgraded the 16″ just slightly. Unbelievable!
We headed back to weigh-in shocked that this day had happened. We knew we had a decent bag and I was only imaging what could’ve happened had I not lost all those fish. I just knew it was gonna cost us. Turns out, I was wrong. We had 15lbs and 2nd place was 10.5lbs. In fact, our culled limit would’ve gotten 3rd place. Honestly, I think the limit of fish we lost would’ve gotten 2nd place.
I’ve been blessed in the month of April. I’ve fished 5 tournaments (each Saturday this month) on 2 different lakes and managed to win money in all 5 events. Today, the 5th event was the Heartland Anglers tournament out of Stewart’s Creek. I honestly think if we would’ve landed everything we had on today that our total would’ve been something close to 19lbs. That would be my personal best for Percy Priest. It’s not often you can say you lost an entire limit of keepers and still win the tournament. We had bad luck but still overcome it to take home the win. I’m still shocked.
Basically I found two productive banks in the river that have had fish on them. We worked these stretches back and forth flipping, pitching, and casting. We caught them on a variety of lures and retrieve patterns. When something slows down, switch to something else.
WHAT A DAY! (first two pics from Friday morning | last 3 from tournament today)
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