Read about all of my Fishing Adventures!
Fresh off another frustrating Ditto Wildcat, I picked up Brad on Friday morning to prefish for our upcoming club tournament on Wilson. Wilson, as many of you know, has been very, very good to me over the years. A lot of that is pure luck. Much of it is that I fish it was much as any lake because we have family that live on the lake. But, for whatever reason, Wilson has kicked out some awesome fish and has really been our bread and butter lake for tournaments. You can read about some of those by clicking the links below.
20 Pound Bag on Wilson
We didn't get on the lake until 10, missing the best part of the day. Based upon my experiences and the expectations for the club, I began working some duck weed lines with a Spro poppin' frog. I did this for several reasons, namely that there wouldn't be any current and therefore ledge bites would be difficult. Additionally, while many people might fish the grass, no one would frog it.
While I hadn't caught many frog fish on Wilson, I had caught enough to know that it MIGHT be a viable option.
We wanted to make sure that this prefishing didn't follow the usual. That is, me and Brad are really bad about catching big fish the day before and not having enough to catch on tournament day.
My first hit of the day came on a grass point as I gingerly worked the frog from deep grass onto the fringe. The fish missed it, though I saw it quite clear. It was a decent fish. I threw back in and the frog was swirled and swallowed. This was not the fish that had hit earlier. The "bad luck" continued as I hoisted a very nice fish into the boat. In a three fish tournament, a five pounder is a game changer.
A few casts and a other 10 yards down the grass line and another fish blew up on the frog. This one was around three pounds. I managed to shake it off and we moved. It seemed this bank was hot and we didn't want to burn it.
Though I managed to catch a fish here and there, it seemed that not all grass was created equal. No other bank would surrender more than one blow up on the the frog.
Brad and I put the boat on the trailer and went to Stanfield's Steakhouse for dinner before putting back in at Safety Harbor. We attempted to fish the dam but didn't get a bite.
We moved to Bluewater and attempted to see if the pattern would hold. It was the only other similar area to the first spot. Sure enough, Brad was tossing a topwater plug along the grass line and popped this toad. I followed it minutes later with another three pounder. In all, our three fish would have gone around 13 pounds, which we would be ecstatic about on Saturday.
We stayed at my aunts that night in her lake house, which saved us at least two hours of sleep. Unfortunately, both of us had drank a Redbull around 7PM and neither could sleep. 4AM came and we headed to Lock 6, paid our dues and sent everyone off, as we drew last in the tournament. So, the other 14 boats headed out and we were surprised to see about half of them in front of us, headed into Shoals creek.
The sun and sky wasn't the same as it had been the day before and I had worried about the full moon that night. IT was supposed to be cloudy Friday night, which would hide the moon. Yet, the clouds didn't materialize and I worried that the fish might have fed all night. Additionally, the scattered clouds might be good for everyone else, but I was worried it would throw off our pattern.
Going down our grassline, I did pop a keeper on a chatterbait with a PTL Swinging Hammer. That was the only bite we had all morning. Again, that wasn't a big deal to us, as we didn't start fishing the day before until around 11, anyway. I hoped the sun would come out and the fish would get back in the grass.
It never happened, for whatever reason. The only other bite we had all day came when Brad was clearing a backlash while flipping and a nice fish bit as he speed reeled it in. We even left the pattern for about two hours and looked for ledges, specifically some areas that I had graphed earlier that week. Again, no bites, even though the fish were there.
A storm rolled in on us and we decided not to risk the weather. Though weigh in was at 2PM, we were on the trailer around 1:15.
Turns out, that was a mistake. While I can't vouch for the other two boats the placed, Josh and Anthony hadn't had a hit all day until 1:15 when the weather turned nasty. They found a group of fish on docks and caught five fish in the last 45 minutes. The 9 pounds in three fish was good enough for third place. At least one other boat proclaimed to have done the same thing.
I tell ya, getting stiffed by the fish stinks. Getting beat stinks. But there is nothing that hurts worse than having been on the winning fish and having a killer and unique pattern and seeing it utterly disappear. It pains me. But, at least we had one good day of fishing!