Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Illini Division BFL at Rend Lake

August 4th marked the fourth event of the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League (BFL) Illini Division.  A considerable amount of my fishing history, both early and recent has been centered around this lake.  I can't begin to tell you the countless hours I've spent on this body of water, and I wouldn't trade them for anything.  It's a neat deal to compete on your home water, to re-think all of the successes, areas where you've caught em, areas where you haven't.  It can be a double edged sword, those memories can be the first step in derailing a good tournament plan.  They will distract you from paying attention to what is happening in the here and now, and have you thinking about the great catches of yesteryear. I was fortunate during this tournament to avoid those pitfalls, concentrate on the present and turn in another top ten finish.  Here's how it all took place:

I practiced about 6 hours for this event, which is way less than I normally would have, but as I mentioned earlier I have a lot of history and knowledge of this lake.  In the early hours of my only practice day, I was able to identify not only what type of cover and locations the fish were positioned in, but also a couple of baits that were very productive.  I spent the remainder of my short practice riding around looking for similar areas.  One huge key was the presence of bait fish.

Tournament Day
Weather conditions had changed significantly for me during the tournament in comparison the the weather I experienced during practice. We went from slick sunny and calm in practice to windy cloudy and occasional rain showers. I had developed an early morning topwater pattern during practice.  It would last until the sun got up good, then it would fade away.  My initial thoughts on the clouds and rain had me pretty excited as I thought I would be able to run my topwater pattern all day, this turned out not to be the case.  Although I probably spent too much time chasing this pattern, when I reverted back to the methods I used to catch them in practice, I began to catch the quality sized fish I was looking for.  Overall I caught 9 keepers, carried a five-fish limit to the scales that weighed 10lbs 6oz and finished 9th.  I only had one fish get away from me all day, and of course it was a decent one, not a giant, but one I could've culled out a smaller fish with.  Regardless, I was blessed with another great finish, which in turn moved me up another 11 places in the standings to 36th, safely inside the top 40 cut for this fall's regional event on Lake Cherokee. 

Baits & Equipment
Here are a few of the baits I used and the equipment I used them with for this event:

3/8ths oz Lunker Lure Buzzbait - White on White.
Thrown on 20lb Maxima Ultragreen monofilament line with a Powell 705 CEF Max series rod

Hawg Caller 1/2 oz  Spinner bait in Sexy Shad
Thrown on 15lb Maxima Ultragreen monofilament with a Powell 714 C H Ex-fast Endurance Series rod

Gambler Tube in Black neon, 3/8ths Strike king Tungsten Weight and a Gamakatsu 4/0 hook
Thrown on 20lb Seaguar fluorocarbon with a Powell 775 CEF Endurance Series rod.

With only one event left in the regular season (September 8-9 at Lake Shelbyville) I feel like I'm in a decent position to qualify for yet another BFL regional and give myself a shot at returning to the 2013 BFL All-American.  But first, we gotta geet by Lake Shelbyville, Lord willing we will!

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