Hey all! I would like to apologize for my absence lately! I recently just returned from the great state of Texas. It's actually what this article is about...just to clarify I didn't catch a PB, I didn't see an armadillo, and I didn't have the best steak of my life...so don't expect any of that!
|Biggest fish I caught at Lake Fork|
|So many trees!|
Picture by: popeslanding.com
The reason for my visit to Texas was for the Yak4It Tournament of Champions, which I qualified for through the Kayak Bass League Championship. It was an honor to attend this elite event, and I was very excited to visit Texas for the first time. More importantly I was going to have the honor to fish one of the best bass lakes in the nation, Lake Fork. No matter where you live in the nation, I guarantee you have heard of Lake Fork. It has been at the top bass lakes for years. It has produced multiple bass over 15lbs and continually produces double digits on a weekly basis. While continually reading all of these stats about how great Lake Fork is, one can only start thinking of all the possibilities of 20+inch fish! Needless to say, I was super excited and could not wait to get down there! The plan was to leave Wednesday afternoon, get there by midnight, and have 4 whole days to fish. Plenty of time time to find the big ones one would think right?...well not so easy...
|Finally found some grass!|
The first day of prefishing was like trying to find a needle in a haystack. The lake consists of almost 28,000 acres of water with over 315 miles of shoreline, no small task for a kayak. Additionally Lake Fork is FILLED with timber, since this lake was not cleared of standing timber before it was filled. This creates a large lake with an obscene amount of structure, making it very difficult. The first day I covered several miles of water only managing 3 bass. The biggest of which was right around 17.25 inches and the other two around 12 inches. This is not what I expected from the magnificent Lake Fork! I needed to make a change and quick! I decided to break it down into two elements, water depth and cover. Since the lake was covered in standing timber and not enough time to find key areas I decided to find some form of vegetation. This would more than likely give isolated targets for fish to hold to...at least so I thought. Next is water depth, if I haven't mentioned Lake Fork is massive! Massive lake means massive waves. Even though I had heard rumors of fish being caught deep, I knew i would not be able to hold position over there fish plus the several mile paddle one way was daunting to say the least. I decided I would be able to break down and fish more shallow water areas to a much greater extent than deep water, also I am much more comfortable and have a lot more confidence in shallow water. Additionally, I knew if I could just get a limit both days I would be in good shape. This helped me narrow down my fishing to shallow, weedy creek arms. Another tricky factor is finding a certified boat that is accredited by Yak4It to launch that was close enough to allow efficient time management throughout the tournament.
Day two, I started prefishing my new area to see its potential. After catching a few fish over 14 inches (limit size for this tournament) I continued my exploration for more areas, to no success. after two days of prefishing I had built up two solid areas that was gonna have to supply me with 10 fish over 14 inches for the next two days.
|There are plenty of dinks in Texas|
As the next two days began to unfold, I did not catch a limit either day. Although I did manage to catch 3 keepers each day, including two 18s and a 16.5 inch fish. I was very thankful for these fish as it was a grind out there with many anglers unable to bring Amy fish inl. I ended up with 95.25 inches for the two tournament days. This tied me for 19th place out of 125 anglers. I was very excited for this tournament and absolutely stunned by my finish. All of this was made possible due to breaking down the water. If I hadn't broke the water down into depth and structure type, I might have never been able to find fish. Once I was able to target these specific areas it allowed me narrow down water and begin to get the full picture of the bass's patterning. I did this by fishing to my strengths. I made the crucial decision to fish what I knew how to fish, rather than chasing dock talk. This is a must in a lot of tournaments, epescially on unfamiliar water. Dont't just do what others are doing. Blaze your own trail to find the bite that a lot of other anglers are overlooking. A lot of times tournaments are won like this and you end up having the area all to yourself, allowing you to pick apart areas and manage fish to your pleasing.
|This thing raced past hobies!|
While Lake Fork was not what I had envisioned I still had a magnificent time. It was also great to see and fish a new state for the first time, working in fishing in ever state in the U.S. Also minor achievement of the weekend...I did out-paddle a hobie PA12 to a spot...now that's some serious speed! Next time you are out try holding 4.5-5 mph for over a mile...the Jackson Kilroy LT does it like a dream!
I also would like to congratulate all the anglers who qualified and participated in the Tournament of Champions, regardless of how they did. It was awesome to meet a ton of great people who all love to fish just as much as I do! If you wanna see the full results click here
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