Sunday, October 14, 2012

PAA Finale...Arkansas River-Muskogee, OK

The Arkansas River PAA event looked to be pretty interesting to me.  I enjoy fishing river systems, I've had some of my better successes on rivers.  This one had the make up of the type of tournament I like. for starters, in the summer/early fall weights are not usually real high, secondly, the AR river is not known for producing giant weights when its good.  Couple these two things together, and if you happen to figure anything out you can put yourself in a good position to do well.
As you read in my last post I finished 3rd at Illini Division BFL on Lake Shelbyville, I left there immediately after weigh-in and headed for Oklahoma.  I was on the water and practicing by 11:00 am Monday morning!  Not too bad for a cross-country commute.

Having never been to this river, and not knowing much about it. I chose to focus my first day of practice on the pool we were launching from.  I spent one more full day in this pool before driving up and looking around in the next pool up. Based on the practice I had, I felt like it was definitely going to be a low weight event, or at least I hoped so, because I wasn't catching them very well.  I had put together a little pattern running the mouths of creeks and sloughs, fishing any available wood cover located in these areas.  I had my best success throwing a SPRO Fat John Square-bill crankbait (Citrus Shad color) on the wood cover.  I had also caught several on a Lunker Lure buzzbait. It was apparent that the shad had begun to congregate at the creek mouths to begin their fall migration, which in turn had the largemouth grouped up pretty well in these areas.
The first day of the tournament was pretty below average.  I caught a small limit, managed to lose the best fish of the day, right at the net.  My limit weighed 8.61 lbs which had me in 29th place.  Not really how you want to start off the derby.  Day 2 was much better, between my co-angler and I, we boated 23 keepers for the day, my limit weighed 10.59.  I moved up to 20th place for the event, missed the top ten by a pound and a half.  That lost fish still haunts me a little bit but I can't change anything about it now.  I will say this, if ever you doubt the readiness of a lure, by that I mean sharp hooks, good not, split rings in good shape, stop right then and address the situation, bar none! That's advice I need to remember.
All in all minus the one lost fish, I had a decent tournament as far as execution goes. Without a doubt I had a good pattern identified, I believe had I adjusted to flipping a bait with a swimming tail on day one instead of a jig, I would have cracked the top ten.  The reason is this, my co-angler was getting 4 bites to my one flipping a Zoom Baby Brush Hog, when I switched, it was just about a complete reversal of those stats.  Which brings up another key bit of information, when the fish are feeding heavily on shad, it has been my experience that a "swimming tail" bait will generate more bites than a jig or other soft plastic baits.  Again, more information I need to remember.
The PAA season is over for me, I missed qualifying for the 2012 Toyota Texas Bass Classic.  Lord willing I'll have the opportunity to compete at the national level again next year.  Only time will tell.  Until then, keep your hooks sharp and your line tight!
God Bless,