Monday, June 13, 2011

MFC Tournament ##5, Ditto Landing

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If I were to say that I wasn't looking forward to this tournament, I'd be a liar. As many of you know, I fish Ditto Landing almost weekly. That isn't to say that I had an advantage, as I have YET to finish in the money out at the Thursday night Wildcat. I could, however, say it might be an advantage that I know where NOT to fish! HA!

Because I wasn't sold that the boat was fixed, I entered the draw as a non-boater and drew Don, who is one of the officers in the club. It was a good draw, for sure..although there are no bad draws in this club. So, we chatted over the game plan on Thursday and decided that we would rather stick to local places, try and get a quick limit and then cover a lot of water in order to look for a larger one. All well and good, if the fish are biting!

At the blast off, we noticed that not only was there no current, but the river was as flat as I have seen on any deep water lake! No current. No wind. No clouds.

We ran up to Butler Basin:
I fished with a Zell Pop:
On the first cast, I had a hit from a small fish. That was bad news, as any angler knows. We didn't have another hit in Butler. It's the strangest thing. You know fish are there, and they are packed deep! You can see the pods of bait, you can see the fish on the depth finder. They just didn't bite.

I did catch my first flipping fish! It was a bream, though :-(

We ran from there to the upper point of Hobb's Island, but there was a boat on it already...and it was exactly where we wanted to be. So, we ran back down river to an area across from Ditto Landing which has a pump house and rip-rap. Again, no takers.

We fished the lower point of Hobb's, and saw some great sign. Big pods of bait fish flipping on the surface...one pod after another. Something was obviously chasing them, but we couldn't entice them to bite.

We ran up to the upper point of Hobb's again, and this time found room where we wanted to be.

Because the sun was high, the water still and clear, I elected to swap from a powder blue citrus shad to a more natural colored crankbait, the Rapala DT-7 in Olive Green

And I swapped from the zell pop to a faster moving top water, hoping to keep the fish from getting a good eye full. I went to my Sammy.

Now, as I tied the lure on the 50 pound braid, using a Palomar knot, in the back of my mind, I didn't think I tied it right. however, first cast, caught a short fish. Second cast, caught a keeper. Third cast, BOOM! Big fish!
"GET THE NET!" I yelled. It was a money fish. One of those rare fish on the river...a 5lb+++ fish. One that you know will get you check, even if you don't catch another fish. He jumped and flailed at the boat and I walked him so that Don could get him in the net. The fish acted pretty docile until he saw that net in the water. He made a turn away from the boat and charged, and like a bow on Christmas, it untied with ease and the fish took off with my hopes of a check and my 18 dollar lure. I can't tell you how angry I was. There was NO DOUBT that fish would have won us the tournament, with both a sack weight and big fish, giving me some much needed points in the Angler of the Year. Cussing, I tied on another Sammy and went to work, catching another 2 GOOD spots. The top water died very quickly and I went to work with the crank bait, catching another 2. But then the bite died all together.

We fished another couple of hours on that spot without luck. Don did come through for us and caught another 3 that filled out our limit.

I did catch another 40 pounds of fish though.....

So, we headed back to the ramp with our small limit, though I had hope. If I had such a time catching fish, hopefully so did everyone else. I was right...for the most part. It took 8.11 to win it, with a 2.12 for big fish. We weighed in at 6.67 with 1.94 big fish. My spotted bass I caught missed big fish by 0.2 pounds! Meaning that fish I lost would have easily have won us a bigger check and another 2 points.

I do get the satisfaction of getting the largest spotted bass thus far! So, there is that. I did get to fish with a new partner, so that is always awesome. There is always something to learn when fishing with new partners. And, of course, the good camaraderie with my club members!