Tuesday, August 23, 2011

NATA Night Tournament on Pickwick, August 19th 2011

I was asked to fish with the vice president of NATA (North Alabama Tournament Anglers) http://natabass.com/?from=bassdozer.com

The two of use have been communicating alot over the last few months. Scott is several years younger than I, but he has as much love (prob more) for fishing than I do. He went to Sparkman High School, as did I , and is friends with my sister in law.

After months of simply sharing ideas and stories, the two of us partnered up in this tournament. I admit that, had I not been roped into being the president of MFC, I would have joined NATA...and I still may. It's a big club and they are very competitive. Anyway, on to the fishing!

The water was 83 degrees and at 6pm they were pulling 56,000 cubic feet a second. That's a good amount of current. The visibility was low at about 1-2 feet.

The two of us arrived early, launched the Triton, and started doing a little practicing before the 6pm blast off. We didn't get into many fish, although we did catch SOME. What I did learn was that the spots I had found a few weeks before still had fish on them...at least the one or two I had caught. Now, aside from one short fish, I caught some good chunk fish.

Since Scott is the tourny director and VP, we had to blast off last. Which meant, naturally, we didn't get to go to the places we wanted to get to. Namely, down river at 7 Mile Island. Instead, we went back upriver towards the dam. Naturally, the dam was covered up, and why not? The last couple of tournaments held out of McFarland had been won at the dam. And not just 1st place...but all the paying places. Not wanted sloppy seconds, we hit some other spots that we thought might be worth fishing. Namely, some rocky shoal type areas, which were adjacent to 18 feet of water with big boulders coming up a few feet under the surface. I had a couple of hits on a Strike King 6XD

But, as they hit from behind those rocks, they would get in the current and pull loose. Aggravating. But not uncommon. In the more shallow areas, I would swap the the XCalibur square bill

The 9 dollar crank bait met it's untimely end, however, when I smacked it off the cowl of the motor, shattering the bill. Ugg.

After a few hours of futility, the sun went down on us. If you have read any of my other posts regarding night tournys, you know that I have yet to stumble upon this magic night fishing magic. Quite the opposite, really, as I have only caught 2 fish after dark, in both tournaments. Well, not to spoil it for you, but that's the same result. At least I had 3 other fish before dark.

So, we went back down river, trying to get on the spot that I had found weeks before.

Once again, someone was on it. So, we trolled across the channel to this little cove that I spotted.

I casted the first time to the upriver point, and as I cranked the 6XD down, it hung up! But, it hung up about 20 yards off the bank. As we retrieved it, the depth finder showed the depth shoot up from 18 feet to two feet. The point was very narrow too. I couldn't get to the bait and I broke it off. Instead of tying a new one on, I picked up the shaky head (GASP!) and cast it on the point. It hit bottom and I bounced it a few times. A fish picked it up and I hammered it. I was rewarded with a nice 3 pounder.

We fished that point pretty hard, then drifted down river a good bit, with no luck, despite some nasty looking lay down trees.

Finally, the last boat left the spot we wanted, so we trolled over. I picked up the C-rig with a big work tied on. I noticed that the lower was a lot lower than the few weeks ago. So low, that those rock piles which had been 2 feet below the surface were now breaking the surface.

I walked the C-rig down the rock pile. Felt a fish pick it up and surge to deep water. I set the hook Initially, I thought it was just a small fish. But it made a second surge that pulled drag. We netted a nice 3 pound small mouth!

We fished the rocks hard, and I had bite after bite, but the fish were picking it up and spitting it out. Aggravating!

At the weigh in, I didn't even bother weighing the fish..embarrassed at the lack of ability that I showed. Luckily, I wasn't alone. I only saw 3-4 full sacks weighed in out of the 17 boats. However, there was a good 12 pound sack in the mix as well as a 5.5 pound smallie. What a beast!

It was another good experience and I didn't get skunked. I was able to fish with someone new and I can't wait to do it again.