Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Fishing Report for Wheeler: Ditto Wildcat Classic

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Back at the Bassmaster Classic, Josh and I decided that we would make more of an attempt to start fishing the Thursday night Wildcat tournament out of Ditto Landing on Wheeler. We made that happen, but we really struggled. We only fished it full time one other year, and that year it felt like we couldn't miss. We fished a handful of spots and always managed to catch a limit. We cashed checks at 75% of the tournaments we fished that year. Though we never really caught any monsters, we always had decent limits that kept us in the running. We figured we would eventually find the big fish, which would make us dangerous.

Ironically, we were able to consistently find big fish for most of the year. But, we couldn't find a supporting cast for the river monsters we were catching.

We did manage to get 2nd place with big fish one night. But that was the limit of our success.

The Classic rolled around and we were excited about the prospect of having 2 days to figure the fish out. In our opinion, a 2 day tournament took a lot of the luck out of it. The game plan was to scratch out a limit on day one, then take the knowledge from day 1 into day 2 and try to find a big one.

Well, you can make all the plans you want. It won't make them bite.

We started off on a rock pile upriver from Ditto where we had found fish schooled up in past weeks. We had caught several small mouth this year. When the current is up, this spot always seemed to have fish on it, although they never seemed to be very big. Well, the current was good, so we got on it. With a mix of crankbaits and topwater, we started out catching fish, though only one measured. The Strike King Series 3, in particular, worked well.




 We quickly decided to move, making a short run to fish some bluffs. Same story there, except no keepers.

I decided to make a move downriver to a spot I had fished only a handful of times, but had produced big fish each and every time I had fished it. We pulled up on it to find fish schooling. We caught a few short fish on a mixture of crankbaits and topwater. Josh skipped a sammy under some cover to have a big fish explode on the bait. The fish completely missed it. He tossed it back under and the fish hit again. This time, he was able to get hooks into it. The fish made a run, but then the line went slack.

Under further review, we found that the fish had broken off a treble hook. Man! And it was a nice fish.

No more luck there, and the sun began to set. We ran to some of our old holes, namely Butler Basin, and managed to pull another couple of fish out....none of which that measured. At 9PM, we headed into Ditto and fished around the marina, where I managed to boat 2 more fish...one which measured....on a PowerTeam Lures Sick Stick, my go to bait.

And that was it. 2 fish for 1.95 pounds. Although most everyone struggled, some didn't. We saw a nice 4.90 pounder come in. There were 3 bags right at 9 pounds, plus a nice 12 pound bag.

We knew we were out of the running to win the whole thing, but we figured we could still catch a big fish and/or make the top 3.

That next day, we hit it hard, trying to learn from what we had done wrong the night before. But, again, the big fish didn't show their heads. I did manage to boat 3 keepers....so we managed one limit over 2 days....

It was a very frustrating year on the river. We have been fishing the same spots for the last few years, but they have dried up. Meanwhile, people continue to run to the dam and catch good stringers. Well, next year....that will happen for us.

It isn't all frowns. Check out this video: