Read about all of my Fishing Adventures!
Kids ball is starting to slow down. And, for once, I had a reasonable amount of honey-dos taken care of, which meant that I was free to fish a Thursday Night Wildcat. Whoot! Also, it helps that your partner has a boat that is running right, which has been the real issue the last few months. Well, the boat was running and his wife hadn't popped out their first baby yet. That being said, she is due..like....yesterday. So, we already had a game plan for what would happen if we got "the call." Go us.
I made some inquires about what it had been taking to get a check. 16 pounds last week, with no current. 16 POUNDS?
But I digress. Now, they did say that it was a big bag from the dam then everyone else trying to scratch out a limit. Of the 10 boats what would go to the dam, only 1 would find a group of fish, and that's who would win.
Now, I don't go into anything thinking that I won't win. But I am a realist. the dam is a long way and a lot of gas money. The chance of success in being one of the ten boats to find the fish at the dam is slim. Now, get a limit and cash a check? Yeah. I can do that.
When he was out testing his boat last week, Josh was able to get on a solid pattern that would produce bites. Would it produce quality? Maybe. He had caught some decent fish, but it was just a numbers game. I hadn't fished Ditto since the Classic last September, so I didn't have much of a game plan. My only thought was to fish ledges upriver from Ditto, just as Brad and I had done down the lake at First Creek, which had produced some nice fish. You can read and what the vid about that trip below:
But, some of the features we needed for that smalmouth bite didn't really exist in the upper end. What were those? Ask me later on this year. I'm not quite ready to divulge that....yet. Just suffice it to say that you can see the features in the vid.
Anyway, so....we would give Josh's pattern a try. We figured with the lack of current (10,000 CFS, which ain't much...heck, the water might as well flow backwards), our plan was as good as any. He would be throwing a creature bait while I would flip and skip a wacky rigged PTL 5" Sick Stick on their Jacked Wackers, which is a magnum wacky hook. Here is everything I had rigged up:
2 boats headed down river. 10 headed to the dam. And our boat, and one other (a friend of mine, Jeremy) started fishing within sight of marina.
I quickly had 1 bite from a fish who surged at the boat and I discovered that my drag was a TAD loose. Like, so loose I could set the hook. We will pretend that it was a small fish, k? I knew you would understand.
And, a few casts later, I bagged a tiny bass as I skipped the Sick Stick under an overhanging tree. No help. Meanwhile, Josh was getting some hits on his creature bait, but wasn't getting any solid hook sets. Surprisingly, his larger bait was getting more consistent hits than I. I wanted to throw something different than he was throwing, but still wanted it to be similar enough of a presentation to get hits. He was getting the bait further and more precisely into spots than I, and it was because my accuracy with the sissy stick wasn't so good. While I could skip it under things, I couldn't pinpoint it into holes in laydowns. So, I picked up a 6'6" medium heavy rod with a 7" PTL Finicky Tickler on a magnum 3/8ths ounce shakey head.
I had one solid hit as the shakey head slip down a branch, but the fish ran right at me and though I saw the line coming at me, I was unable to take in enough line to set the hook. However, I was certain I could get the same fish to bite, so I flipped right back in there. This time the fish danced around with the bait and I set the hook into a small smallmouth. Ain't this the year of the smallmouth!
Naturally, I didn't get that one on video....go figure.
Anyway, the highlight of the whole trip came when Josh set the hook into a fish. You might say he was a little to judicious with the hook set because he nearly took his own head off with the fish as it came screaming out of the water, over our heads, and over the boat. Poor guy. At least he was right back in the drink.
We had a limit fairly quickly, although you could say that EVERYTHING happens fairly quickly during these 3 hour tournaments.
Well, around 7 the bite all but died. We tried a few community holes and they did provide a few small fish. We did cull twice, but that wasn't saying much.
Weigh in went quick. There was one really nice bag that went 16 pounds. It was from the dam and featured a 6 pound kicker.
We weren't going to get out fish out of the boat, but there had been only 1 other limit weighed in. So....we went to get our squeakers.
No, it didn't cash a check. It was good enough for 4th. 3rd ended up going to my friend, whom I mentioned earlier. They had found a quality smallmouth over 4 pounds that anchored another 2 keepers. So, 15 boats and 3 limits, and we were one. It doesn't make me feel much better. Ok, yeah it does. The money isn't that important to me. The competition is. And, we caught a fair amount of fish AND a limit, which is more than I can say about pretty much all of last year.
Even if those 5 keepers went a whopping 4.50 pounds.....