Monday, May 21, 2012

MFC Tournament at Pickwick

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Why is it that I seem to fish the lakes where I am the least successful? Either I am a glutton for punishment or I am the definition of insane.

But, this weekends tournament was on Pickwick...and by my calculations, since I fish the lake the least, then I should have great success. Right? Well, I guess that depends on your definition of success. These days, that would be weighing a limit of measuring fish.

I entered as a non-boater for this event...for multiple reasons. Foremost, that I SUCK at running the trolling motor and finding fish. Put me on the back of a boat and  I will do great. Swap me to the front and I won't catch anything.

I drew Buzz, my President predecessor. I was really excited about fishing with Buzz....since I hear he makes the BEST sandwiches! So, everything else aside, I knew I would be eating good!

We left the house at 3:45am and made the trip to McFarland Park in Florence. Blast off was at 5:30. We started off the day fishing a small island just downriver from the point of 7 Mile Island. It's hard to miss. Beautiful little spot with 4 trees standing on it. It has a series of humps in front of it and behind it. Having had so much luck on crank baits in the past, I started out throwing a trio of different depth cranks and topwater.

Pretty quickly, Buzz caught a short large mouth and a measuring small mouth. That was a great sign. I was tossing a Zell Pop around the trees on the island and bagged a short fish. On the next cast, had another fish hit it. I could tell it was small because I got a great view of it.

"You need me to get the net?" Buzz asked.
"No. It's a short fish." The fish stayed down in the water, which was surprising. About halfway to the boat, the fish talk walked in front of us. It wasn't a short fish. It was a 4+ largemouth. He scrambled for the net and we boated it. I was fairly certain that would be a "money fish." there was a length pause between bites, so we moved on to the humps behind the island, as there was a lot of top water action, although we could tell it was probably gar. I was throwing a Strike King Series 3 Silent
I had a few violent hits, but no hook ups. That changed when one loaded up on me. It was either a massive smallie or a drum. I had a good idea which. I wrestled with it a long time since I didn't want to loose the crank. Big. Nasty. Drum. A few casts later and I had another hit...this one was a massive fish. Up to the surface swam a 4 foot long gar. I was willing to let him keep the bait. Luckily, he threw it out. Whew! It slowed down a lot and I went to throwing a shakey head, hoping to fill out a limit. No luck. We ran upriver to the point of 7 Mile, drifted over the submerged rock piles. I started crashing my crank baits, this time a 6XD Silent in the same color. But, those rocks are sticky. I got hung out. I started complaining about loosing the bait, but Buzz produced a Bill Dance plug knocker. At first I scoffed at it...but a few seconds later, I knocked it loose! In fact, I did this 5-6 times over the course of the day and NEVER LOST A CRANK! I am hitting up eBay for one now! A big thanks to Buzz for being patient with me. Josh isn't so kind, most of the time. But, I believe in throwing baits to where the fish are. If you ain't snagging cover, you ain't snagging fish.

I just made that up. Book it.

 A few short fish aside, we didn't really do any good. So, we idled just across the river to a spot that I had found last year. It's a little cut in the shore, surrounded by rip-rap banks and laydowns. The fish weren't exactly where I thought they would be, but they were close. I was still throwing the shakey head and Buzz was throwing a lizard. I had a peck and launched a short fish back at me.
Seriously the shortest bass I have ever caught. The finnese worm was longer than he was! Few minutes later, caught another one!
Few minutes after that, Buzz made a comment that a nice fish followed his bait all the way to the boat. I thought about it and suggested that he swim it instead of dragging it. It paid off. He slammed a keeper while another keeper was on it's heels! Next cast, another keeper. Then another. I got in on the action and caught a few on the shakey head, but not nearly the number he put up! They really wanted that swimming lizard! I tied one on and caught another nice fish myself. From 11-1230 we probably caught 10 keepers and other assorted fish. Maybe even more than that. All from a spot between two lay down trees. We were swimming it over submerged branches and the fish were sitting in those branches. Lots of them. It was a spot about 5 yards long. Having a short time until weigh in, we decided to leave those fish, as we wanted bigger fish. I figured that everyone else was having it rough as well. In the even that someone else found a flurry, I wanted to go for the throat and find some big smallies. After all, it's Pickwick! Tried some places up by the dam, but never found any smallies. In fact, we had the only smallie weighed in! I caught several more on the shake head. I am a firm believer in the Spot Remover Pro Series backed by a Zoom finesse worm.

So, we weighed in. First team weighed in and had 14+ pounds! HOLY COW! I had already done the math and knew we had between 10.25 and 11 pounds. Talking to them, they did indeed find a flurry of fish at the exact same time we did. The good news was, we DID have the big fish, 4lbs 4oz
We weighed in 11.10 pounds. Not a bad haul! Everyone else had it pretty tough. It was a great time! The sandwiches were AWESOME! Thanks to Buzz for a great time.