Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Second to Last

No, that wasn't my recent performance in a bass tournament!  However, this past weekend was my second to last bass tournament of the year.  The Tri-County Bass Club had the event at Lake Belva Deer.  This is a lake that is up and coming for bass anglers here in Iowa.  It is full of bass and in the past couple years the bigger fish have started to appear.  The one down-side to the lake, other than being a little over a 90-minute drive, is that it is relatively small.  It is only 264 acres, and seems much smaller than that in the middle August.  With 15 boats in the event, fishing areas were at a premium.
I had a chance to scout out the lake the weekend before, and I had a good game-plan ready.  The fish were holding in their typical summer places, deeper water, off channels, and suspended in the flooded timber.  That day was sunny, with little forward to this past Saturday, storms, several directional changes in wind and clouds most of the day.  My game-plan was no good, however I hunkered down in the most productive area I found the week before and made the adjustments for the current weather.
Clouds, several storm fronts and wind had the fish scattered, but still feeding in the area.  I quickly got two keepers in the livewell flipping a Hot Rod Baits River Minnow Tube along the weed edges.  Then the lightning and storms really hit the area.  At about 6:45am I decided to sit in the bottom of my boat for the next 1.5 hours.  I have never done that in my 20 years of fishing bass tournaments.  However, with so much lightning in the area, I just couldn't keep fishing.  I tied to a log and sat/laid in the bottom of the boat playing on phone.  I was content, and more importantly, I was safe.
After the lightning had passed, I was back at work.  It was still cloudy, so I just kept fishing how I caught my first two keepers.  It wasn't too long, and keeper #3 made its way into the livewell.  I was feeling pretty good, knowing that on a strange weather day that several anglers probably wouldn't catch a limit.  I kept at work, knowing that I just need one big fish.  After going through a lot of shorter bass, the big one made an appearance.  I set the hook, and up it came.  It boiled on the surface, and I said out loud, "that's the one".  I played it out a little bit and flipped it into the boat.  It was a long fish, but skinny, it weighed exactly 4.00pounds.  I was stoked!
I kept working the area over, going through some keepers, and I made one more upgrade before the end of the tournament.  All that was left is bringing them to the scales.  My buddy Doug Chaloupek weighed in quickly and had just over nine pounds, I knew I didn't have that much, but was scared that others had big limits too.  Turns out, I came in second place and that 4-pounder was the big bass of the event.  It was an awesome day, and most importantly I picked up another Top 3 finish and some very valuable Angler of the Year points.  With only one event left, there is no room for a slip up.
 Needless to say, I am looking very forward to getting up to Pool #9 for the finale of the season!

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