Sunday, October 30, 2011

Barren River Lake BFL Regional...Patterns and baits

Here is a quick recap of the baits and pattern I used for the Barren River Lake BFL regional last week.  I started the week of practice fishing shallow in the backs of the creeks, and had a pretty decent day doing that, a rough estimate on weight would have been around 12 lbs. 
I started day two of practice looking for some deeper fish, as they were dropping the lake approx 6-8 inches per day (the winter drawdown had begun).  I spent 6 or 7 hours fishing deep and managed only a few bites, no decent keepers, so with a few hours of daylight left I went shallow and caught 3 nice keepers on a trap. 
Day 3 began still trying to force the deep bite, after a few hours of fishing and only two bites, I began to fish shallow again and immediately caught two keepers.  It was at this point I ran into my travel partner and we discussed the shallow bite and agreed that everytime we went up shallow we caught better fish.  We then decided to work together and we ran the upper half of the lake looking for specific areas that matched the type of areas we were catching them in shallow.  In the next few hours we had approximately ten keeper bites between us, which only solidified our decision to stay shallow during the tournament.
I fished the entire tournament running flat shallow pockets on the main lake, upriver and in Skaggs creek.  I abandoned fishing in the backs of the pockets, there was too much fishing pressure in these areas.  You could run the lake and identify the areas by sight that matched the pattern I was running, which in turn allowed me to run and gun all day, never fishing anything twice, trying to cover as much water as possible each day.  My day one weight was four fish for 8lbs 5oz, I lost a three pounder on a buzzbait that would've given me my limit.  My co-angler had a limit weighing 13lbs 2 oz.  I was in 30th, he was in 2nd. 
Day two of the tournament switched from cloudy skies and wind to high blue skies, little to no wind.  I believe that fishing pressure and weather conditions combined to change the fish I was catching.  It seemed that the fish pulled up tighter to cover on day 2.  I switched from topwater baits to a squarebill crankbait, a lipless crankbait and a tube to catch a limit weighing 9lbs 8oz, which moved me up eighteen places into 12th, the last man in the cut.
Day three started with a two hour fog delay, I was about two pounds out of 6th place (the top 6 anglers qualify for the All-American), so I knew I needed to have a decent day.  I again caught my fish early on a squarebill and a tube, but late in the day I began to run shady pockets throwing my spook, with 25 minutes to go I caught a 2.75lb fish on my spook.  I ended the day with 5lbs 13oz and moved up 7 spots to 5th place, qualifying for the BFL All-American next May on the Potomac River. 
Despite the falling water levels this week, I caught all of my fish this week in water that was less than 3 feet deep, and often in less than a foot of water.  I found the majority of my good fish, and I identified the pattern I ran by throwing a Zara Super Spook jr and a Lunker Lure buzzbait.  When weather conditions changed I had to adjust, the topwater baits found them, on day two the squarebill caught them, but ultimately it was one last bight on the Spook that put me in the All-American.  Below are some pictures of the rod/bait combos I threw this week.
I'd like to take the opportunity to praise my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for providing exactly what it took to to qualify, despite what seemed like not enough weight to make the All-American.

God Bless,

Powell 704CB rod - Super Spook jr  on 30lb Power Pro Braid

Powell 705cex rod - 1/2 oz Lunker Lure Original Buzzbait on 20lb Fluorocarbon

Powell 703CB glass rod - 1/4oz Lucky Craft LVR mini on 10lb Maxima Monofilament

Powell 766 Flipping Stick - 3/16oz weight, Gamakatsu Heavy cover Flipping hook - 20lb Fluorocarbon

Powell 703CB Glass - Lucky Craft 1.5 - Maxima 15lb monofilament

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