Sunday, October 9, 2016

The Saga Continues

The saga of my absence from blogging picks up where I left off in "I'm Back - The Saga Begins".  I had just caught a tank bass, putting me in the running to qualify for the Kayak Bass Fishing National Championship.  Getting the privilege to fish south of the Mason-Dixon, via kayak, with the best kayak anglers in the country has been a pipe dream since I got into the tournament fishing this year.  Never did I think I had a chance.  Sure, I put in a lot of time on the water but never considered myself a tournament angler.  I decided this was a great opportunity to make a push to make "the cut".  The spinner bait seems to be the magic lure, so I make a restock trip to my local Mills Fleet Farm and stock up on Northland Tackle spinners.  My spinner box now full, I'm ready to hit it hard.

My kayak stays permanently at the ready on my trailer.  Tackle, PFD, net, hawg trough, and my Kayak Bass Fishing identifier nestled in my TourneyTag are in the vehicle ready for action.  I had also anticipated the fall rains and need for some kind of rain protection.  With my fishing budget drained from a restock of lures, I opted for the affordable Frog Togs.  Leveraging my Amazon Prime membership, they were to arrive in 2 days.

The first day I hook up the trailer and head to the lake immediately after my day job.  It was reasonable weather, so no rain gear needed.  I start working my spinnerbait along the rock banks, through grass, around submerged wood.  I'm landing several bass, but they are either dinks or smaller than my smallest in my online bag.  This pattern continues until dark when I load up and head home.  I hit the lake the next night after work with the same results.  My body is feeling the hurt of paddling in the fall windy conditions every day.  I decide to take two days of rest to allow the lake and my body to rest.  I took Friday off of work to fish, I will pick things back up then.

By Friday, my rain gear has arrived.  I load it in my kayak as showers are expected and hit the water.  I use my spinner baits, as per usual, to locate where the bass are holding in the lake.  Having landed only dinks, I decide to try a lipless crank on my backup baitcaster.  I manage to pull in a few bass on the crank, but nothing large enough to up my bag.  I've spent a significant amount of time on the water recently, and my grip isn't what it used to be.  This baitcaster is my backup because it was wearing out on me and took a lot of effort to keep it from backlashing.  Growing weary, I cast hard into deep water, targeting the bass holding a bit deeper.  The buzz of my braid leaving the spool abruptly stops.  Between my exhaustion, heavy weight of the old baitcaster, and force of the sudden stop, the baitcaster leaves my hands and lands in the water.  I yell a few choice words, panic, and make an attempt to rescue it.  The old friend slowly sinks into the murky water like Jack at the end of the movie Titanic.  Instead of whispering, "Never let go", I yell a few more choice words.

At this point, the day is a wash.  I'm tired and beyond upset.  I've donated two poles, a phone, and countless lures to Donny Jones (he is Davy Jones's cousin who watches fresh water).  Knowing I have a long push the last two weeks of the tournament, I decide to call it a day, lick my wounds, and drown my sorrows.

The next day I hit the water early, eager to make my latest equipment loss worth it.  After working different areas for several hours, I decide to tie on a new color spinner bait.  It is black and white with silver flakes in the skirt.  Though smaller than I prefer, I figure the color will work in the bright sun and murky water.  A few short casts and my suspicion is confirmed.

I'm allowing the wind to carry me along a shoreline of cattails and grass.  This area always has baitfish hiding the shallow grass near a deep part of the lake, a spot sure to be holding bass if timed properly.  I slowly drift past the grass near a down tree trunk in the water.  As I'm about to pull the spinner out of the water, I see a huge flash of silver and my pole doubles over.  It took me by surprise, but was able to get a proper hookset and land the 18.75" bass.  Beyond happy to add inches to my total, I continue working the spinner bait.  A few casts later, it produces again the same way.  As I'm about to pull it from the water, a another large flash makes my pole double over and I land a respectable 17.5" largemouth.  After that, the bite abruptly stopped and I decided to spend the afternoon with my family, allowing my body to recover.

The following morning, I hit the water bright and early.  At this point, the water is clearing up a bit from several days of no rain.  This made me nervous as the bite in this water is better after a rain.  The murky water is perfect for the spinnerbait and the fish are more active.  Either way, I need to spend time on the water if I want a chance at the national qualifying spot.

To make a long story short, my efforts are relatively fruitless.  Though I landed many fish, none were larger than my smallest in my TourneyX online bag.  Even a "karma stop" to collect more than a shopping bag's worth of garbage didn't help.  But I left the lake cleaner than it was before I arrived.  At this point, my body and mind are feeling the affects of 13 hour weekend days and 4-5 hours after work on the water.  I have Thursday and Friday the following week off for a final push, and they are calling for rain, which should turn the bite back on.  I decide to take a few days to rest in preparation for the long final two days of the tournament.

Stay tuned for the final chapter in my final push.








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