Thursday, November 12, 2009

Patterns and Baits used in the Stren Series Championship

Well, I finally got the pictures taken of the baits I used during the Stren Series Championship. I don't know if you ever get the "what if's" out of your head, but leaving that tournament one fish short of a limit on day 2 and only one good bite out of the cut, left me with a serious case of the what if's, and they have haunted me a little this week.

I had a great practice, as far as numbers go, big fish were few and far between, so few, that I was concerned about even doing well, most predictions were saying that 13lbs a day would make the top ten cut, After practice was over, I felt that everything would have to go right for me to get 11 lbs a day, well short of the thirteen pounds predicted to be needed to make the cut.
One of my primary bait in practice was a Heddon Super Spook jr, if you've read my past posts, it's the same bait that I have thrown for four straight tournaments, you just can't put a spook up when you're fishing in the fall. I fished this bait on a G Loomis rod model number CBR 847, this rod was designed for crankbaiting, but has the perfect action for fishing a spook. I paired this bait and rod with a Shimano Chronarch spooled with 10lb Maxima Ultragreen monofilament line.

The second bait that played a major role in locating fish was a Hawg Caller 3/8ths oz spinnerbait in Sexy Shad color. The fish were relating to submerged Hydrilla, they would push huge schools of shad up on top of the submerged hydrilla and then corner them against the edge of the hydrilla that had grown all the way to the surface. I could run the spinner bait above the submergent grass, and they would blast it. I was able to duplicate this scenario in many areas of the lake. I fished this bait on a G Loomis Rod model# MBR853, on 12lb Maxima Ultragreen monofilament spooled on a Shimano Citica Reel.

The next two baits really came into play after two things happened. On the third day of practice, a major cold front pushed through the are, resulting in a high blue sky and some seriously high barometric pressure. That is a recipe for shutting down almost any bite, but usually in the fall when the fish are really feeding hard, they will continue to feed aggresively or at least stay in the areas where you found them. Most often they will stay in the general area where you found them, but they will seek out the heaviest cover available and bury themselves in it.

In this case, the most abundant cover was hydrilla, and thats exactly where they went. I used a 7'5" Gloomis rod model # BCFR894, 65lb Power Pro braided line and a 1 ounce Penetrater tungsten weight paired with a 3" Dunn's Premium Lures Big Bite Honey Bug in Hematoma color to punch the areas of matted vegetation.

The last bait that I used was a little sneaky, in areas where the bass had not buried up, or had relocated to the outside or the deep edge of the grassline, I used a texas rigged Zoom Trick worm in Watermelon Candy, I spiked the tail chartreuse on this bait. I threw the Trick worm on a G Loomis Rod model #MBR 843 with 12lb Maxima fluorocarbon line, a 2/0 off set round bend Gamakatsu worm hook and 1/8th ounce tungsten weight.
The tournament started last Thursday morning, with high blue skies and only a slilght breeze. I was able to start in the areas I had wanted to, but could not keep the fish hooked up. I managed to lose 4 of the five keepers I had hooked in the first hour. That was frustrating. Around 10:30 a.m., I was able to get into an area where I had caught some better quality fish, only to see a boat going down the very grassline I wanted to fish, as I fished my way down the other side of the cove, the boat left the area allowing me to fish exactly where I had wanted to. Here is where having found a way to catch fish under high pressure situations cam in handy. You see, quite often fish respond to heavy fishing pressure just as they do to high barometric pressure. They just bury up in or around the heaviest cover available and "ride out" the storm. After watching one boat pass down the very grass line I wanted to fish, I was able to get out my flippping stick with the 1 ounce weight and proceed to catch 5 keepers in about 50 yards. The fish had repositioned themselves under the matted vegetation to avoid heavy fishing pressure. I was able to access those fish with my heavy weight and braided line. I was able to cull out one fish with the trick worm around noon, and then culled out two more times flipping mats around 1:30 p.m.
On Day two, I went immediately to where I had culled out my last two fish and couldn't get bit, I tried several other areas, including the grassline where I had caught a limit worth of keepers on day 1, and I had not got a bite. At 12:30 p.m. I retunred to where I had started on day two and was fortunate enough to put together a four fish bag that weighed just shy of 11 and a half pounds. All on the flipping stick and big weight.
In hindsight, I should have stayed and just ground it out in that one area on day two, but hindsight is always 20/20. I'm very blessed to have caught what I did. I finished in 28th place and cashed a decent check, a great way to end the year.
Until next year, May the Lord bless you in all that you do,

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