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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.