Fish for Sight Ė Joe Bass Journal
Last weekend my son Mark and I fished a West Central Bass Club tournament on Truman Lake and were thoroughly whooped as Gary Waisner and Bob Grimes dropped 19.26 pounds on the scales to win, with Tom Bayless and Mark Reynolds taking second with 18.73. My Bass World Sports partner, Al Cox, fished with Whiteman pilot Alex Jernigan to take third with 16.93, anchored by Alexís six pounder. In all, 11 of the 18 boats weighed a limit, of which our 12.43 landed us in 10th. Dave Gaulden, my Joe Bass partner, fished with his son Sam to best us with a 12.96 bag to finish 7th. Given the number of limits, coupled with a week of warmer weather, I expected big weights to be necessary for a good finish in the Fish for Sight and Joe Bass events. As we struggled to catch our fish in the club tourney, I burnt two vacation days to prefish for the weekendís events. As you will see below, I either wasted two days, or didnít take enough off! However, West Central anglers fared exceptionally well, proving the level of competition in the club is as gritty as one can find.
I would love to detail two days of successful practice, but Iíll summarize my time on the water in one word: tough! I fished from daylight to 7:30 pm Thursday and from barely light to 7:00 pm Friday. I put in at Bucksaw, Windsor Crossing, Osage Bluff, and Fairfield to fish the Grand, Tebo, Little Pomme, Big Pomme, Hogles Creek, and the Osage. Each day resulted in a few heavy fish, topped by a 6+ that ate a swimbait in the upper Grand on Thursday. With the big fish in inches of water, I assumed the fish were on the banks, but I couldnít duplicate the effort. Other fish were on steep banks, but inconsistent. Yet others were on secondary points and pockets, but I still struggled to put together a pattern. Finally, late Friday evening, I got three good bites in an Osage pocket, so I headed in to Sterrett Creek where I was staying for the weekend.
Fish for Sight
Since Mark had to work until 11:00 Friday night, I headed to Bucksaw a little early so I could launch before the crowd showed up. Mark showed up around 5:30, so we hit the marina restaurant for breakfast where I told him of my struggles in practice. I told him the only semi-consistent bites I got were on a spinnerbait, jig, and tube, and I thought we needed to pocket-hop and hope to scratch out five bites. We headed down lake when they called our boat number and proceeded to our first spot in the Osage. Unfortuantely, it appeared that an event out of Osage Bluff landed six boats in the pocket we wanted to start in. What is less understanding is there were no boats in the pockets on either side. I hadnít fished but the one the night before, but saw no reason to get in line with the other anglers, so we headed to an adjacent cut. However, the fish were not cooperating, so we fished a bare bank towards where we had wanted to start. We had only two bites, with one a short, but the other was a 5.45 that hit Markís spinnerbait. We were on the board and had a kicker within the first hour. We doubled back through the stretch without a bite, so we moved to a couple of areas before finally heading to the spot I had fished in practice. I had only a small keeper on Friday, but several shorts. As we were struggling for bites, I thought it was worth a stop. After a handful of small fish got our momentum started again, I had a 16Ē keeper eat a jig, giving us two in the box.
We relocated to the mouth of the Pomme and worked a spot I had skipped in practice. Another 16Ē creamed my Chomperís spinnerbait, but that was the only keeper a couple of hours produced. We made a quick run back to where I fished the morning before while waiting for safe running light. It produced only one fish, but it was a nice 3.5 pounder that whacked Markís spinner. We were one short of a limit, but had a solid start. With a couple of hours to fish, we felt we could cash a check with another keeper. However, it wasnít to be. Our four weighed 14.55 pounds, good enough for 18th in the 202 boat field and a check that covered the entry fee with $15 left to cover a big gas bill! On one hand, we felt blessed to get a check on a day where we fell short of a limit, but also knew we missed a chance at a top ten had we boated the fifth fish.
At the close of the weigh-in, West Central Bass Club members Jay Roe and John Bollinger took first place with a 20.84 pound limit! They caught their fish fairly early then had boat troubles, but Brad Coats of Bucksaw worked with the Fish for Sight team to get Jay and John to weigh-in. Fellow club members Donnie Reynolds and Bill Brasel caught five fish for just short of 15 pounds to cash a check, adding to the success of West Central.
Fellow 724Outdoors.com pro-staffer Mike Evanoff penned an excellent report on the event. The following will link you to Mikeís article: http://www.724outdoors.com/Fishing/tournament_results.asp?TournID=4115
Weather forced the cancellation of the first Truman Joe Bass event, so 67 teams were chomping at the bit to kick off the Anglerís Port Marine Ė sponsored Truman Division. After struggling to bring four fish to the scales in the prior dayís Fish for Sight event, I was happy to hear Daveís report that he had caught a couple of nice fish not far from where I had fished the day before. We agreed we would start on his spot and work the areas close by in anticipation of a big stringer.
Great plan, but not well executed! Within a few minutes of our arrival at the first spot, Dave laid into a nice five-pounder that hit a jig. I joked that I would catch her two-pound boyfriend while Dave was putting the fish in the livewell. On the first pitch of my tube, the line jumped and I set the hook on her boyfriend, only instead of a keeper, he turned out to be a runt! We continued to work the area thoroughly without any other hits, so we moved a little ways to where Mark and I had boated a solid keeper. This proved to be a good choice, as I boated a decent keeper on a Chompers spinnerbait. We thought we were on the way to grinding out a limit, but as the day would prove, we hit a brick wall as far as getting bit. We tried several other areas, including a mix of spawning pockets, mainlake channel swings, and bluff banks, but only managed one more small keeper that picked up Daveís lizard. Dejected, we headed back to weigh-in with three fish that weighed 9.54#, anchored by Daveís 5.08 that hit first thing in the morning. Although that managed to get us the Charger incentive money for being the highest finishing team fishing from a Charger boat, we landed in 30th place for the event. The bite was definitely on, as the amicable team of Darrell Reach and John Bennett dropped 27.35 pounds on the scales to best the field, followed by David Ryan and Justin Miller with 21.69. In all, 25 limits were brought to the weigh-in, quite a feat given the high winds. West Central Bass Club members continued their strong showing from the previous dayís Fish for Sight tourney, as Mark Reynolds and Rich Campbell took fifth place with a solid 19+ pound sack and Jim and Travis Williams finished in the money with nearly 16.5 pounds.
With heavy rains forecasted for this week, who knows how high the lake will be by this weekendís Shrinerís event. No matter what, it appears the bite is on and may only get stronger for those who can adjust to changing conditions. With four days of fishing behind me, itís a chance to recall the blessings we have in this great country where we can focus so much of our attention on chasing fish, where others across the world face day-to-day struggles for food, protection, and freedom. Letís not take what we have for granted!
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I Thessalonians 5:16-18