Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Product Review for Fishlife.net First Aid Treament

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In last week's fishing report from Logan-Martin, I had an embarrassing situation which I didn't talk about. But, in the aftermath of it, I had a good laugh and I decided that I needed to share my story because it might point anglers in the direction of a product that everyone needs to have in their boat.

The story went a little like this, and I will make it short. You can read about the rest of the fishing trip and watch the vid by clicking the link below. 

Fishing Report for Logan-Martin 5/20 and 5/21

We caught almost all of our fish early in the day. And, I mean REAL early. We had a limit in five minutes. The day was long and hot. Before a long run, I decided to swap out the water in the livewell. So, I turned on the fill pump as well as the pump-out. Since the two pumps are matched, the amount of water would stay constant, though it would now be fresh.

I didn't consider that my fill inlet is above the pad, which was completely out of water during the run. Almost as soon as I sat the boat down after a five-mile run, I heard what no fisherman ever wants to hear: fish flopping around. 

Yep, this genius had pumped out the entire livewell about a minute into the run and our winning sack was now dying. 

In particular, the three pound spot, which would eventually win us both 1st place and big fish, was belly up. My partner was furious and I was really embarrassed. What was worse was that we had a long time until weigh in and we wouldn't be catching any bigger fish. These fish had to make it or we would be done for. 

I had a product that I hadn't really used, but it was from a company I trusted. I reached for the bottle of Fishlife First Aid.  In addition, I used their fin clips to get the big fish right side up.

Hours later we weighed in five healthy and happy fish, walking away with a first place finish and a big fish. We wouldn't have done that without the help of Fishlife's products. Here is some information on the First Aid, which costs $7.99:

"The First Aid Treatment is the only product on the market that is used to slow or completely stop bleeding and start the healing process on bass or other fish that have been hooked in the gills, gullet, or tongue. Our formula goes farther than anything else imaginable to stop bleeding, and keep your fish alive. In our trial efforts, the bleeding from all wounds was stopped over 90% of the time. When a dead fish penalty can cost you the difference between 1st and 2nd, it is a lifesaver. Literally. "

A little about the fin clips, which cost just $7.99:

"This product is used when fish are caught deep and is an option to fizzing fish. If you bring a fish in and it is full of air, attach the Fin Clips to the anal fin and this will right the fish and pull them down. The goal of this technique is to allow the swim bladder to deflate naturally and not require fizzing. Now don't think this is an end all fix because there will be times when you still have to fizz the fish. The goal of any technique requiring deflation of the swim bladder is to right the fish as soon as possible so it will not kill itself trying to bring itself back to an upright position. Many times people think a fish is dying because it is on it's back however, it is just full of air and needing a little help."

The following Monday, I put in an order for their First Aid Kit, which costs $24.99. Here is some info on it: 

"The Fishlife Fish Aid Kit is everything you need to give your fish the best possible care. The Fishlife Fish Aid Kit consist of:
1) Fishlife Live Well Treatment which is proving itself to be the best live well treatment available today. This product is free of dyes and supported by tournament anglers of many different species.
2) Fishlife First Aid Treatment which is also proving itself to be in a class by itself. Report after report keeps coming in stating how well it is working for tongue and gill hooked fish. It is stopping the bleeding and saving our fish to fight another day.
3) Fishlife Fin Clips for clipping onto fish caught deep and giving their air bladders a chance to deflate naturally.
4) Finally the Fishlife Fizz Needles which has been built according to the guidelines established by the Texas Dept. of Parks and Wildlife and is used to deflate the swim bladders when the Fin Clips do not work." 

Here is the info from the "About Us" portion of their website.

"Sportsman's Media Group, Inc.
P.O.Box 185
Warrior, AL US
We are a group of fishermen and outdoor enthusiasts committed to sharing our dedication to conservation, education and preservation of the outdoors for future generations. What began as an Alabama-focused online fishing forum in November 2009 quickly grew to include a popular tournament series that utilized the latest innovations in fish handling, weighing, and conservation. Today, our Fishlife Water Weigh In System is the finest, most fish-friendly system of its kind, and is used at all of our tournaments. At Fishlife, our mission is now bolstered by unique on-site fishing education events, a comprehensive bass fishing tournament series, partnerships with high school and college fishing groups, young angler programs, and our social network, Fishlife.net. Fishlife. You have to live it to understand it. 
We're not afraid to talk to you. " 

The staff of Fishlife do more than just sell fish care products. They help run events and ensure that weigh-ins are done correctly, and, more importantly, the welfare of the fish is a primary concern. I would recommend them for any event.  

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Fishing Report for Logan-Martin 5/20 and 5/21

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After the previous weekend's debacle on Pickwick, Brad and I were really excited to get to fish Logan-Martin Lake in Pell City. In case you missed last week's report, click the link below.

Fishing Report for Pickwick 5/ 13&14 /2016

It's a Coosa River lake that is loaded with magnum spots. Though I have only fished it a couple of times, it has been very good to me each time. You can read about my last trip to Logan-Martin, which was back in 2015.

Fishing Report for Logan-Martin Lake 4/3/14

Brad and I took Friday off in order to prefish. I had some very good information from Bo, the gentleman from whom I bought my boat. Bo won the ABT event last year on Logan-Martin, as well as many other tournaments. His advice: top water early and skipping docks the rest of the day in Rabbit Branch. 

Even though I wasn't familiar with Rabbit Branch, it turns out that Josh and I have fished it every time we have been to Logan-Martin. Speaking of, Josh and Anthony were down on Friday and we decided to have a little friendly competition. Starting at noon, we would keep our best five and the loser had to buy a Margarita at dinner for the winners. We would call it the First Annual Margarita Cup. 

We began in Rabbit Branch, but the wind was howling west to east, which was at our backs. It made it impossible to fish worms. Instead, we stuck to topwater and crankbaits, specifically a Strike King Series 3. 

After a few hours, we had a very small limit. Josh and Anthony had four fish for around 10 pounds, which they had found way up river on an offshore creek channel. Pretty solid. Doing what we were doing, it would be impossible to catch them. We noticed that some weather was moving in and that overcast skies would dominate the pattern for the rest of the afternoon. 

I had asked Bo about this, specifically, and he had said to target sea walls with buzzbaits. Ironically, I didn't bring a single buzzbait, but Brad did. While he threw it and I threw a sammy, I figured out pretty quickly that I would need to go to Wal-Mart that night and buy one. Brad culled and culled. Each fish had a bloody tail.  Before we knew it, the small five we had caught were all gone and were replaced by better fish. Two of those were really nice spots. These fish were all sitting in creek channels with structure. 

Confident that we had enough to at least compete with Josh and Anthony, we resumed our scouting. I was able to find some terrific looking offshore areas that featured plenty of structure, bait, and what looked like bass. In most all of them, I was able to catch a fish, but none of the fish were the size we were looking for. I also gained a new appreciation for my front boaters who can hold boat position, because, well...I suck at it.

So, at 7PM, we weighed in fish. Josh and Anthony were unable to make their 5th fish count and weighed in a limit just over 10 pounds. Brad's two culls boosted us to just over 12 pounds. Both of the two spots he caught were personal bests. We didn't weigh them individually, but the largest was around 4 pounds. So, we took home the win in the first annual Margarita Cup. 

We shared a meal at the local Mexican joint and hit up Wal-Mart for boat food and a black buzzbait.  Then, we called it a night. On the way to the hotel, we remarked on the full moon and the fact that many of the fish we had caught that day were spawning. We worried that the full moon may finish the spawn and those big fish would move out. 

Around 4AM I got a phone call informing me that Lakeside was covered up with boats and that we should use the little ramp beside Lakeside. Turns out, that was not only covered up as well, but a complete circus. Because it was a much smaller ramp and people generally have no consideration of others, it was simply out of control. As such, we missed out 5:15 blast off time and didn't hit the water until nearly 6AM. 

When we did get out of the harbor, we motored over to our first spot, which we had caught several quality fish on by paralleling a sea wall with top water. Before I could even get the GoPro going, Brad had hauled in a very nice spot. It wasn't as big as his biggest from the previous day, but it was a heck of a start.

We worked a 20 yard sea wall for less than five minutes before we had a limit. It was a small limit, but a limit none the less. Josh and Anthony hadn't even made it to their spot way up river before we were culling.

We hit the spot hard for about 30 minutes, but the bites died as the sun came up. It wouldn't be nearly as overcast as the day before. 

I moved us to our second spot, where we had also caught quality fish the day before. This spot didn't have the numbers of hits, but we had caught two decent fish the day before and had missed at least one other. We pulled up directly on the large rock on which the fish had been camping. Brad fired the bait over and BAM! She hit. It was a decent cull, but not nearly as big as the fish we had caught the day before.  

We began to wonder if our speculation about the end of the spawn had happened. We ran around, checking shallow spots from the previous day. Other than some short fish, we couldn't get a shallow bite. We assumed that the offshore bite would be the ticket and we moved out to check those spots we had marked. Nothing. 

Though the wind didn't help, we couldn't buy a worm or jig bite. That was really strange, considering the lake. 

I called Josh and Anthony. They experienced much of the same thing. But, they had been catching fish REALLY shallow around grass on a combination of chatterbait and a swimjig. 

I took this as a fantastic omen, as most of our club would stick to worming. It just so happened that the offshore spot we were fishing had a good stand of grass. I picked up a swim jig backed with a PTL swinging hammer and Brad threw a chatterbait. Boom and Boom. Two largemouth culls that gave us an instant shot in the arm. That put us around 10 pounds, but we had two squeakers that needed to go, desperately. 

For the next two hours we focused on this pattern. The swimjig didn't produce anymore and a phone call to Josh confirmed that the chatterbait was the real key. I began throwing a Z-man chatterbait with a PTL swinging hammer. Though I didn't catch any culling fish, Brad did...and in some of the strangest ways.

The first came as we rounded a point and noticed one of our club members also fishing. I decided to let him have the spot and fired up the big motor as Brad reeled in his bait. A largemouth crushed the bait! It provided another good cull. 

The last fish came as we were fishing the area between docks. As I maneuvered the boat around a dock, Brad skipped the chatterbait under it where a decent spot crushed it. Sitting around 12 pounds, we tried to find the big bite, but never did. 

Luckily, it didn't matter and we were fortunate to take home a win with a solid 12 pound bag. Josh and Anthony came in second with just over 10 pounds. Though we beat them, it was their pattern that won us the day.   

On the day, we only caught around 15 fish. The water temp was in the high 70s. That being said, the offshore bite hadn't begun quite yet.   

Monday, May 16, 2016

Fishing Report for Pickwick 5/ 13&14 /2016

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Because I love all my readers so much, I am going to save some of you some time. If you are looking for a the secrets to a big bag with a tell-all video, as you can sometimes find on this blog, well, sorry to disappoint you. I won't take it personally if you hit the "X" on this page and go on with your life.

For the rest of you that are looking for some humor about "real life" tournament fishing or maybe just a way to eliminate water and baits for your upcoming trip on Pickwick, well, keep on reading. 

So, the Alabama Bass Tournament released their 2017 tournament locations and dates. My partners and I have done...ok....in tournament fishing this year. Make no mistake, none of us feel we are ready for the big time, by any stretch. But, we stay mid-pack in any tournament we fish, which would be enough to take our chances on a bigger trail. Anyway, just when I was about to put my big-boy pants on and start serious consideration of fishing a trail which included Pickwick, a lake  that hasn't been awesome to me, but has been steady, life threw me another curve. It reminded me that I am an amatuer, may always be an amatuer, and should probably forget every thinking about being a big-time tournament fisherman. 

The weekend started out pretty similar to most of our club tournament weekends. Brad and I dropped our kids off Friday morning and headed to the lake. We knew a couple of things going in: weather would be relatively high pressure and high skies and there would be no current. There would be at least one other bigger tournament out of McFarland, which we figured would mean that the dam would be covered up as well as every junk fishing spot from there to Waterloo. I had some additional info that the fishing had been very tough. A friend had fished a tournament Friday morning and reported that one boat found fish, everyone else did not. 

We decided to fish ledges in Waterloo, as we have had some success in the last year doing thing. Additionally, the FLW tournament had kinda-sorta shown that the ledge bite hadn't developed the week before. Brad and I figured we would gamble on it turning on hard and catching a lot of people by surprise. You can read about last year's win on Pickwick at the link below.

We scanned most of the day from 10 AM until after 5, occasionally making some casts. We graphed around 25 ledge spots that had some critical things: structure, bait, and fish holding to both. But, we couldn't get any of them to bite. That was ok, we would run spots in the morning until we found a hot ledge. I am fortunate enough to have family who live on Wilson in Killen, so we ate at the River Bottom Grill, both eating the River Bottom Burger which I highly recommend, before getting to sleep around 9PM. 

Up and at it at 4AM, having saved at least 2 hours of sleep, and headed to the ramp. Still no current, as TVA reported only around 10K. We blasted off and headed to Waterloo.

We stopped on one of the ledges adjacent to the flat that the FLW boys had wore out the week before. No, we weren't trying to steal those fish. We legitimately found some really nice spots, swings in the channel with rock. We used Brad's Lowerance, but used some of the same tips I use on my Hummibirds.

NOTE: We never found eel grass. We began by fan casting top water on the flat. Nothing. Hit one of the way points which still had bait and fish, nothing.

Getting kind of nervous, we moved just across the river to a pump house which we have consistently caught top water fish early. Not a sniff. After running a few more ledges just above Natchez trace bridge, we decided to see if the fish were still shallow. It did provide Brad his first fish in two days as well as my first bite in two days. But, there were all small and we quickly gave up on that.

We ran below the bridge and fished ledges. Not only did the fish not bite, but the wind came howling up the river, producing some massive swells that simply made life miserable. Eventually they became so bad that we had to give up on the entire game plan.  

At noon, we decided to just try and get a limit. A few phone calls told us that at least three other boats had zero fish. Just get a limit. 

I could do that. I had a spot on the back of Seven Mile Island that I have done just that at least twice, both times on super tough days. 

Fishing Report for Pickwick 3/29/14

MFC Club Tournament on Pickwick 4/27/13  

This spot is a seemingly endless stretch of rip rap right next to the creek channel. It features laydowns and cypress trees in 14 feet of water. We would work shallow cranks in the stretches and worms in the laydowns. It paid off almost immediately as Brad boated a decent (though short) smallie. I backed that up just seconds later with a keeper smallie. 50 yards later in a laydown, a nice spot on a PTL 5 Inch Sick Stick. Brad added a keeper spot of his own. We finished up the stretch, nothing more. We reran the spots. Nothing. We moved across the river to fresh rip rap. Nothing. It was really weird to have a spot turn on, but only for a few bites. 

The story at the ramp was mostly the same. Fish were hard to find. The third place bags was "just a limit" of 9 pounds. First and second were 17 and 13. Unfortunately, we never finished out that limit. Just didn't have enough time, I guess. But, the winning bag was caught by some friends of ours. I won't go into detail, but it was done applying the very opposite logic we tried to use for making a game plan.

I think that's what hurts the pride the most. I wouldn't be mad if I had gone into the weekend without a game plan at all and just lost. Instead, I tried to use my brain and my intuition. We spent a lot of time and money prefishing and it didn't work AT ALL. Not only did it not work, but it was the polar opposite for what it took to win.

There are several ways to look at it, I guess. The optimist out there might just say it was a bad weekend. The gamblers might say that I rolled the dice and came up craps. Maybe I am a pessimist and just too hard on myself, but the week began with me thinking I could hang in bigger tournaments and ended with me getting shut out in convincing fashion. I told Brad that we shouldn't take it for more than it really is, which was a gamble with the best intel we could put together. It didn't work and we might not have won otherwise, but we could have easily cashed a check if we hadn't stuck to our guns. 

The truth is that 5 out of 10 times, sticking to your guns when you have faith in a pattern, based on good intel, equates to wins and junk fishing just gets you beat. It wasn't the case this weekend, but that doesn't make me feel better about losing. I am a competitive person, as you all know. I'd love to put more lipstick on this pig, but I'm all out. Here's the Cliff's: fished two days. Caught two fish. Take that how you would like, but I hope you were all entertained. 

Monday, May 9, 2016

Fishing Report for Wheeler 5/7/16

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Our NASA club had a tournament coming up out of Ingalls. But, I didn't have any desire to fish it. I have a tournament on Pickwick coming up this coming weekend and then one on Logan-Martin the very next. Plus, we didn't have a travel tournament this weekend, which meant I could get a lot of honey-dos done. 

But, as it happened, we had a need for another boater so that all of the non-boaters could fish. As the club president, I felt obligated to make sure that happened, so I volunteered. I drew my partner, got in touch with him, and decided to take off Friday to fish.

Now, as most of you are aware, the Elites were on Wheeler the weekend before. I wanted to see if I could piece together a trip based upon what info I could find from that tournament. 

In truth, I decided to stay around Decatur, not wanting to spend any gas money. I brought along my friend Wyatt, who has been asking me to take him out and show him some stuff.

Well, I showed him how to not catch fish. We spent most of the day fishing shallow, whether it was flipping or top water. Couldn't get anything to sniff at topwater and the grass wasn't grown enough to be a factor. 

By the end of the day I was just happy to show him some techniques for locating ledge fish and fishing for them, which did result in a few fish for me. He didn't get a bite all day and that really bothered me. But like I told him, you can't make them bite. 

That afternoon, I called Josh. He would be fishing against me, but we would try and help each other. After explaining to him how I had fished all of Decatur and how it was now dead to me, we decided it would be better for me to run down river and fish some new water. 

If nothing else, I could run to first creek and fish some areas that I KNEW held fish from the week before. Sure, it was a run, but I could split it with my non-boater. 

Well, funny thing happened. 4AM rolled around, no partner. 415 and I called him. Nothing. So, I called back and left a voicemail telling him I was hitting the road and to meet me at Ingalls. Few minutes later, he called back to let me know that he wasn't coming. 

Awesome.   So, I would be by myself. I'm not exactly a loner and I hate fishing along. I never catch anything by myself. Don't ask me why. Things only got worse when I got to Ingalls and saw the amount of boats in line. Luckily, Josh had my back and dunked me. 

To start the day, I ran a few miles down river and began fishing Mallard creek, which BTW, has a LOT of ducks. There was a ton of bait in the area as well as gar. But, couldn't get any bass to hit. I worked the outside point, the island in the middle of the creek and even moved further back. In the back I did find better grass which was flippable, but between the lack of immediate action and the low expectations of the day, I decided to do what I should have done all along: run further down river and fish bluffs.

Keep in mind that I was now fishing areas that I had never even been to. So, I used the GPS to look for areas that I might find fish in a pattern that I would know. I followed the main river channel but found that short of Elk River, it only swung close to the bank in one small stretch which looked to be about 300 yards long. I sure wasn't running down to the Elk on my own dime. 

Before I left, I called Josh. They had two fish, total, which they had caught around Decatur. So, I knew that I was making the right decisions in terms of eliminating water. 

I found the stretch of bluffs, but sure enough, there were boats all over it. I pulled up on a section between two boats and gave them plenty of room. At this point I had whittled my baits down to two or three: a Strike King 3XD, a PTL 7" Tickler, and a Luhr-Jensen Speedtrap.

I fished every section with the cranks and would flip the worm on the laydowns. The first three laydowns resulted in bites, but only one would hook up. It was a smallmouth that I knew was close to 15" long. Looked around for my Golden Rule. Nowhere to be found. So, I kept it and figured I could meet up with Josh later and measure it. 

Every laydown held a fish, but many times they wouldn't really hit it. Instead, they would thump it and let it fall. I figured many were bedding fish, which would be GREAT if I could get them to hold on. 

Between the laydowns I came to a shallow cove. A fish slammed the 3XD and I boated another smallie that was close to the line. Next cast, boated a really nice largemouth, but he was immediately bleeding profusely and I knew he wouldn't make it. 

I worked that spot pretty hard thinking I could get more bites, but it didn't produce. I continued down the bank where I filled out a limit quickly. From then on, the only thing I could catch were short smallmouth. I probably caught around five or six more short fish that didn't help me.

Around 11AM I had two fish in a row come off a laydown and eat the Tickler. One came out of the brush and spit the worm at me. The other one got to the boat, ran between the bow and the trolling motor, looped around, and popped the worm free. Neither fish were big, but they were bigger than the two smallies. 

Then the wind showed up, which made it impossible to fish the shaky head. The crankbait bite completely died. For a moment I noted how much bait and fish I was marking under the boat which was sitting in 13 feet. I thought about throwing a 6XD but found it hard to chance my pattern, even if it had quit producing. In hindsight, I should have thrown it, based upon the reports I have from other fishermen. 

When I got to the ramp, I measured my two smallmouth. Both were slightly short so I threw them back. The big largemouth died, which would be a deduction. Josh and his partner weighed in over 10 pounds to take the win, including a 4.5 pound largemouth. I took 3rd and I am embarrassed to even mention how much they weighed. I caught around 10 fish with the vast majority of them on the 3XD in powder blue back. 

It was a very tough day and I was very glad it was over. I took the dead fish home and friend it for my middle kid who has been begging for fresh fish. Of course, he didn't eat it. Par for the course. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Fishing Report for Wheeler 4/23/16

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I was off the water for less than 24 hours before Brad and I were right back at it. After Alyse and I placed 3rd in our NASA club tournament on Pickwick, Brad and I were on Wheeler prefishing for our Army club tournament. 

You can read about how my wife won us a check by clicking the following link:

Fishing Report for Pickwick 4/16/16

So, a little back story. Last year before this particular tournament, Brad and I fished the Friday before the tournament. The morning was especially rough on us, but in the waning moments before we called it a day, I boated two slobs. One was a monster largemouth, the other a trophy sized smallie, both of which would end up being two of my three biggest fish of the year. You can check out the fishing report for those days by clicking the link below.

But, during the tournament, we couldn't scare up a fish over three pounds. 

Ok, so, we started fishing the Sunday before the tournament. On the first spot we checked, which had been a mainriver point covered up with smallmouth in 2015, I boated a reall solid smallie who absolutely pounded the Luhr-Jensen speed trap in Texas Red Diamond. But, the spot didn't produce anything else. 

As we moved to the next point, and then every proceeding point, we would catch two, three, or sometimes four TINY smallmouth. 
Brad would add a nice largemouth on the A-rig. For the rest of the day, the only bites we would have would be a few random hits on backwater flats on a PTL 6" Gator. But, to be honest, those bites would be the best we had that day. 

The Friday before the tournament, we headed to First Creek again to see what we could find. We didn't hit the water until 10AM and we only fished until around 2PM. In that time, we would catch another two four pound smallies, a 4 pound largemouth and all the two pound fish we wanted. 

The funniest part of the day came on my first cast using a magnum shakey head, a technique that I have been perfecting for about a year. I was yacking when I noticed the line starting to move sideways. I even looked down at my hands to make sure I wasn't the one cranking it! Eventually we boated a really nice smallmouth.

We caught the bigger fish on the main river points of shallow pockets. The two pounders were absolutely loaded in log jams and laydowns, specifically any submerged timber in the middle of these shallow coves. To catch these, we were flipping PTL 7" Ticklers on 3/8ths or 1/2 ounce shakey heads. By the end of the four hours, we had caught 20 or so fish with the best five going just over 16 pounds. 

More importantly, we had a pattern. 

That is, until I looked outside about 10 PM Friday night and saw full moon on a cloudless night. That got the wheels turning and I knew that all of our prefishing may have been wasted. With a moon like that, staging fish would spawn and any fish holding to their staging points (which we had been targeting) would be eating at night, not during the day.

I knew it would be post frontal with high skies. Not good. At least the water temp was a balmy 73 degrees. 

At blastoff, we shared our gameplan with Josh and Anthony, who are working closely with us. They agreed to stick to the gameplan for the morning.

First cast on the first spot, I caught a short smallmouth on a speed trap, that was it. By 10AM, we didn't have a bite and I was making a phone call.

Josh and Anthony had started on the shallow pockets on the main river as we had said, but had moved to rocks just inside the pocket as well as fishing the flats in the backs of the pockets with lizards. It had produced four fish for about 10 pounds. 

I couldn't give up our pattern and held tightly to it. We would fish the main point and then move to the wood on the sides and back of the pocket. Eventually, the pattern would produce a VERY small limit. I could deal with a small limit. What I couldn't deal with was the fact that we had caught less than 10 fish to get it. 

Again, I made the call. The only thing now working was fishing rock with worms. I had largely missed the best bite of the day, dragging a texas rigged lizard. But, I stuck to the wood, even when Brad pointed out that we hadn't gotten a hit all morning off the wood. 

As the wind continued to build, we found ourselves fishing more and more dirty water, as every boat was now fishing the south side of the lake. We made a run up river a few miles and fished similar coves. 

This produced three culls including our best fish of the day, as three pounder that came off of a dock I had skipped under. The bites began to pick up as I eventually abandoned the wood entirely. While the numbers of fish piled up, the weight did not. 

After a few more small culls, we figured we didn't have much more than 8 pounds. 

We went back to the pockets we had faith in finding bigger fish, just hoping for the big bite. We never found it, mostly because Josh and Anthony found it first. 

We didn't place in what seemed to be a mirror match of last year's tournament. Anthony and Josh did, cashing a second place check with big fish of the tournament. The winning back was only 12 pounds with Josh and Anthony just behind at 11. 

Though I am very happy that they won a check, and they did it on sharing of information just like we hoped, it was very frustrating to me that I couldn't even scratch up 12 pounds on a tough day. I should have been able to do that without ANY prefishing. 

But, hey, that's how it goes. It's a long way from boating 20 pounds on Wilson less than a month ago. I'll take it as a learning experience and go with it!