Read about all of my Fishing Adventures!
Follow my Fish of 2018
I said it to Brad. I said it to Wyatt. I said it on my 2019 Tournament Season Look Ahead: First Half post last week. There was no way our luck could hold out on Smith Lake. For reference, practice had historically been really, really bad for us leading up to the three tournaments I have fished on Smith. We would get very, very limited information and then BAM! Light's came on and we won two and had a second place finish in the third. You can read about two of those events, which were both in February, by clicking the links below.
Couple of notes, here. I have been out on Smith a little bit for the upcoming Alabama Bass Trail event this Saturday, but Brad and I had decided to stay closer to the Smith Lake Park area, so that's where I prefished. The water is down over ten feet from full pool and the last time I fished Smith, back on January 1st, it was at or near full pool.
Imagine my surprise on Friday when the weekend started out the complete opposite. Wyatt and I struggled most of the morning, but he had been out a week before and told me that we needed to be fishing the middle of slews and pockets. So, I knew of a few that were close to the areas that Brad and I had won those two tournaments on. They definitely weren't on those points we had been fishing in the past, so we backed out and started fishing deep.
The lights turned on and we began boating fish. We didn't catch a ton, but everything we caught was an over. I believe we had one under and one slot and while we did miss a lot of fish, by the end of the day we had around 12-14 pounds and we did it without beating on any of the spots we fished. We had two really, really good spots and we agreed to split the two the next day. It seemed like both would be good enough to win on, if you got the bites in the boat.
I was really excited and didn't sleep Friday night. I was on fish and this would all be a bonus going into the ABT event. It felt like we couldn't miss if we stuck to the pattern the next morning.
I ignored a few really important facts, all of which fall under one factual umbrella: Mother Nature is undefeated.
It rained that night. The temp plummeted and even though Brad and I could easily see that the water temp had fallen over five degrees from the day before, I didn't think it would affect the fish. We run to the spot that I was sure we would spend all day in. We picked up a couple of shorts and slot fish pretty quick. I was getting a ton of bites but I simply could not get them to hook up.
This happened a lot the day before, but I just let them chew on the shakey head thinking they would eventually eat it. Bite after bite after bite, the fish would not swallow this worm. I dyed the tail. I flipped the worm and dyed the head. I went to a stick bait. I went to different colors and shakey head sizes. I tried everything I knew and I could not get them to eat.
The bite shut down at 11AM and I found myself having had 20 or more bites, only boating three fish with none of them overs. Brad boated around the same with no overs.
We started trying to replicate the pattern, thinking maybe we had spooked the fish. It didn't work. Considering that I brought only four rods, something I have never done before, and they were all finesse baits, I didn't have the ability to go to my normal panic mode, which is to get my 6XD out and start running ledges.
I kept throwing that worm and it kept not working. We were incredibly frustrated and decided to go home early before the high school tournament started piling up at the park. Again, that's something that I haven't done before.
The weights to win were right where I expected it. The wildcats took the same weights. Our club took 14 pounds, which was exactly what I thought it would be. But, from third down in every tournament on Saturday, seems like everyone struggled. A lot of that is the pressure on the lake. A lot of it was poor weather and lake levels.
Of course, I don't let that make me feel better. I didn't fish the current conditions and that was stupid. Water was coming up and it was stained. I should have been cranking, something I have done the past two years and it has landed me big fish. I think the thing that bothers me the most is that I dictated the game plan for Brad and it failed miserably and I feel like I owe him for that. If we would have just showed up with no prefishing, we would have done better. It was impossible to do worse.
Anyway, we didn't get the result we wanted, but the real prize is this weekend. Our number one thing we learned from Alabama Bass Trail 2018: Year in Review was that fishing pressure is the number one thing that will affect the lake the most on tournament day. So, right now we are fighting the fish, the lake level, and unprecedented amounts of pressure. One thing I know about myself is that I would rather have the world piled on me than not.
See you this time next week where, hopefully, we have a good showing.