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Follow my Fish of 2014
Well, the end of the year for the fishing club finally rolled around, which meant it was time for the Classic. Only members who qualify by fishing 4 or more tournaments are able to fish the Classic. What we do is, we put all the Tennessee River lakes which we fished in 2014 into a hat and draw out a lake. That means either Guntersville, Wheeler, Wilson, or Pickwick. I have fished the last 2 Classics and both have been on Guntersville. In 2012, I was a backboater and paired with Mark, one of fishermen, and we won it, but it meant that we tied for angler of the year. In 2013, I fished it alone and road 2 fish to a 2nd place with Big Fish finish, which you can read about here. 2013 Club Classic
The 2013 Classic was brutal and everyone struggled to catch fish. Since the Classic is kind of my last hurrah fishing trip of the year, plus the fact that I sold my boat, I really wanted to go out there and smoke the fish, where ever it may be. I had set a lot of New Years Resolutions on fishing and while I do think I have experienced the most growth this year than ever, the Fish of 2014 Page says that this has been my least productive year on record.
So, at the pretournament meeting, only one member showed up. Which is really all I need. I just imagined me pulling Wilson out of the hat and also drawing out, allowing me to fish by myself. Just imagine the fuss that I would hear. But, the club member did all of that on his own, and I had to warn him that everyone would question if the draw was on the up and up, since that has been a lake that I have been fairly dominant on. Of course, I just point to the last trip to Wilson where Josh and I struggled to catch anything, nearly sank the boat, and got soaked to the bone. All they remember is the good times, but that's ok. I'd rather they think I was better than I really am, than to know the truth, which is I just get lucky sometimes. If you are interested, you can check both of those tournaments out here
MFC Tournament on Wilson August 2011
MFC Tournament on Wilson July 2012
Those were certainly some magical trips, but the last few have been less than stellar. I have a few places that I always catch fish, even when things are tough. But, it always seems to be tough.
We started out really early and I idled under the 72 bridge and decided to fish there until the sun came up, which is where Josh and I caught most of the fish on our last trip. No takers, so I quickly moved further back into Shoals Creek.
I stopped at one of the points I always use and went to casting with a combination of a Lucky Craft Sammy and a Strike King Series 3. I like the ghost color for the Sammy and the chartreuse blue back. That color works very well with stained water, which I found.
There was a ton of fish busting around me and they didn't seem to be constrained to any specific depth. I started out in deeper water throwing the Sammy. I quickly found out that I was on top of a lot of white bass. And while I LOVE catching white bass, that wasn't what I came for. I left the deeper water and headed to the flat of one of the points which features some scattered grass and rock in about 5 feet of water. Within the first few casts, I bagged a solid keeper largemouth on the Strike King. I then realized that I hadn't started the GoPro, so I got it running. I cast the crank around, catching a few of the whites and opted to go to the Sammy up against a concrete retaining wall. On one of my first casts, I had a solid hit. I snagged the fish hard and worked it to the boat, but as it got within about 15 feet, I realized that I might need the net. After a few tailwalks, I decided not to give the fish the opportunity to throw the Sammy and I boat swang the fish. Soon as it hit the carpet, I knew that I had probably scored big fish of the tournament. The fish was a solid 4. In the tank it went.
I think I have said it before, this year has been different than previous years in tournament fishing for me because I spent the last 3 years catching dinks and always looking for the kicker. This year has been the opposite literally from the first tournament of the year. Catching big fish hasn't been a problem. It's finishing out the sack.
So while it was a great relief to have that lunker in the livewell, the pressure just to catch 3 more was heavy on my shoulders.
For the next 30 minutes, catching fish was easy. But, none of them measured. The only one that might have been close shook off right at the boat, drawing a groan and a few smacks on the water.
As soon as the sun came up, the bite completely died. There wasn't any activity anywhere.
And while the bite did die, the most aggravating part is losing two Spro Little John DDs. The first was lost when I hit a soft spot in the bottom in 18 feet, thought it was a fish, sank the hook, and the 10 pound Seguar InvizX popped on me about 10 feet from the rod tip. I lost the second because my lure retriever couldn't find the lure, but managed to rub the line over some rock, popping it. Soooo...I just put in an order with Amazon.
With a 12pm weigh in, I didn't have time to go hunting, so I stuck to places I knew, including the 72 bridge. Sure enough, there was a plethora of activity under the bridge against the rip rap. I caught a few whites and was almost ready to move on when some action caught my eye. Up right against the rip rap, a larger fish was chasing bait. Maneuvering closer, I paralleled the Sammy against the bank and the fish destroyed it. I quickly figured out that while the fish was green, it had way to long of a nose. I swung the gar over board as soon as I got the hooks out.
So I headed to weigh in pretty much knowing what to expect. I would get big fish of the Classic, which paid well, but would ultimately lose. While I had my doubts that anyone else would find a limit, surely someone would find 3 fish. The question was, would it outweigh my 2.
Believe it or not, the day was rougher on everyone else than on me and the two fish went 6 pounds, winning me the Classic, Big Fish, and enough points to take home Angler of the Year. It wasn't how I wanted to do it, but HOW you do it doesn't really matter.