AiA Solo Pro
This was my first tournament since last December. I hadnít been to LOZ since, well, I donít remember the last trip up there to be honest. I know it hasnít been since Iíve returned from
I just went blind, I fished up at
I was boat #43 out of 88 boats and I was happy to be in the second flight. With that many boats, it took a little longer to get everyone in the water in the morning. Randy Conlon and the rest of the Anglers in Action staff did a great job helping the single anglers get in the water but I still had to wait 40 minutes to get in the water. Randy held the launch until 7:15 am so I had to be back at the ramp by 3:30 pm. Going out first isnít always the best idea in early spring, the fish usually bite better later in the day and as it turned out, I needed all the time I could get at the end of the day.
I donít have a big shiny fiberglass boat anymore, I ďeconomizedĒ with a 17 foot Monarch aluminum with a 60 hp 4-stroke Mercury. Iíve stripped the boat out completely and upgraded everything. I even have carpet padding on the front deck and a HumminBird side imaging unit. She isnít very fast (37 mph max downhill in a
hurricane!) but sheís paid for. A MinnKota 80 lb trolling motor keeps the wind at bay. The fish canít tell what you are fishing out of so what the heck. I donít have a payment and thatís the best part. With the cost of gas going higher, Iím very pleased to only burn 5 or 6 gallons in a day of fishing.
So I decided to stay in the Grand Glaize arm all day. The arm has everything you could want, deep clear water on the lower end and stained shallow water at the upper end. It isnít really big and I can run the entire thing in 20 minutes. I started Ĺ way up
the arm in a little pocket. I fished a drop-off with a wiggle wart,
rig and a jig. I had one short and missed another fish in an hour worth of fishing. Not good. It was calm and the sun was shining.
I decided to run up to the back of the arm and see if there was some stained water. I found the stained water and got a little past it. I caught a few shorts on a small jerkbait from the cleaner water but they were little also. Hmmm, now what? I just wasnít finding what I wanted so far. I spent the rest of the morning bouncing around, trying to figure out what was going on and ended up back near the PB-II ramp. I had hit about every spot that I could think of in the cleaner water and didnít have anything to show for it.
At noon, I went back to the stained water and finally caught one keeper that just barely touched the 15Ē line on a sweet beaver. I still didnít have anything figured out and I kept junk fishing. At that time, the wind finally started to blow and without anything else to go on, I decided it was time to just throw the
I had a lot of good information about the A-rig from my tournament partner Jason Baxter. Jason is also the owner of Pig Sticker Bait Co and they make a great A-rig. Jason has several guides on
I went down to the clearer water near the PB-II ramp and ran into a good friend of mine, Mike Eutsler. I asked Mike how he was doing and he had a limit but lost a pig early in the morning. He was throwing an A-rig and he said he was doing a little better on steeper banks. I told Mike I was doing terrible and thanked him for the info. I fished out of the creek and then decided to go to a bluff wall that the wind was blowing into pretty hard. This was at 1:30 pm.
I was chunking my A-rig and as soon at I reached the transition area where the channel hit the bank, I had my first A-rig fish. This was a nice fish a little under 4
lbs. Cool! I kept chunking down the bank and in the middle of the bluff bank I caught another keeper. As I hit the far end of the bluff, I had a fish hit my bait three times before hooking up and another small keeper was added to the livewell. I missed a couple other bites as well, all in 15 minutes. That made a believer out of me about this new contraption.
Ok, just one more fish and Iíll be able to hold my head up at the ramp. I turned around for another pass on this 100 yard bank but only had a couple more missed strikes. There was a bank not far from there that I moved to but the wind wasnít hitting it the same and I didnít get a bite. Another move to a third location didnít produce either. I had about 45 minutes left so back to the only spot Iíve caught numbers of fish all day. Like clockwork, the upper end kicked out my limit fish. So maybe I had 12 lbs in the livewell at 2:50 pm. Weigh-in was at 3:30 pm for me and boats were starting to come back to the ramp area to finish out the day.
I fought a fish half way to the boat in the middle of the bluff but it came off just before I could see it. It wasnít a giant but I think it would have helped a little. The end of the bluff transitioned into a little pocket and I threw across the point/transition and
started to slow roll the bait back. My rod loaded up and I knew immediately I needed to net this one. I fumbled around and finally scooped a 5 lb fish into boat. That helped a bunch! I was finally able to cull out a squeaker at 3 pm.
Well, nothing else to do but turn around and make another pass. A few casts later my rod loaded up again and the fight was on again! Get the net! My best fish of the day hit the deck at 3:10 pm. She weighed 5.30 lbs and although I fished for a few more minutes, I was done and headed in to the weigh-in.
The amount of fish brought to the scales was unreal! Everyone had a solid bag of fish and the winner had over 24 lbs. I weighed in at 18.10 lbs and felt pretty good about a solid finish but I just barely had enough to draw a check with 14th place. All I can say is WOW! LOZ is really producing numbers of big fish right now.
I caught all of my fish on a Pig Sticker A-Rig with a 3/16 oz head. I used two sizes of hooks on the A-rig, a 3/0 1/8 oz weighted hook for my two smaller baits on the bottom two wires and a 5/0 1/8 oz hook on the long center wire. The two top wires were rigged with a screw lock to hold the two dummy baits. For baits I used Zoom swimming Super Fluke Jrs in Bait Fish color on the four shorter wires. The dummy flukes were just attached to the screw locks. I also removed the top two swivels so I could just attach the screw locks directly to the wire loop. This keeps the dummy
lures from spinning in the water.
Dummy Screw Lock On Arm
Rigged Dummy Lure
On the 5/0 hook, I rigged a full sized Blue Pearl swimming fluke. Each weighted hook has a screw lock and I never tore up a single bait all day except for one that a fish ripped the tail off of. To throw the A-rig, I used a 7 Ĺ foot flippin stick rigged with 50 lb braided line. You have to have a big rod to chunk that much of a ďchandelierĒ all day long. The retrieve was pretty straight forward, slow roll it but getting parallel to the bank and making long casts was what worked. If you need A-rigs or weighted screw lock hooks, go to my website at www.eironjig.com
to place an order. Iíll gladly get you set up and in business. I can rig you up with a
Zoom swimming fluke jr. on 3/0 hook and full size fluke on a 5/0 hook
I was more than pleased with the results at the end of the day and wished I had thrown the A-rig all day. But I also learned a lot about it in the process. Hopefully I can put what Iíve learned into practice next weekend at