Bay Area Bassmasters – Lake Istokpoga – October 8, 2016
Rick and I joined Bay Area Bassmasters midway through the 2016 year. We somehow managed to be in the top 5 in each of the first four tournaments. Most of the guys will be fishing the classic in November but because we haven’t fished the mandatory 7 tournaments, we don’t qualify. So for us this was the final tournament of the year and we thought it’d be so cool to go finish in the top 5 again. That being said, neither of us had ever been to Iskokpoga and we didn’t get away for much prefishing. Rick had one previous day of fishing and I didn’t even have that by the day of the tournament.
Rick had a decent day of practice and found bass relating to cypress trees in the south canal. There were numbers but no size. Later in the day he was able to hone in on a certain type of lilypad that the bass seemed to be hanging out in. They were the pads that stick up out of the water a bit and don’t float right on the water. His best 5 were around 11 lbs but at least we had something to make a plan around.
We headed down, like everyone else, in the middle of Hurricane Matthew. We found a cheap shady hotel in Sebring and got our tackle ready to go. Fishing after a big storm is usually pretty tough, but we were hoping the weather hadn’t changed everything. Turns out, Mathew had hovered over the area for hours the day before slowly moving north and turning the lake into a muddy mess, essentially changing everything.
We started fishing the lilypads on the north east side of the lake but no bites. From there we moved into the south canal and managed to pull 2 dinks out on back to back casts, one on a frog and one on a senko. It was pretty cool not to have a bite all morning then bring 2 in at the same time. We tried to expand on that area but we didn’t have any more luck. At that point we moved out and fished what seemed like the entire lake without a bite. We had 2 tiny fish at noon and were struggling. Finally we found some moving water. Finally some water that was clearing up and there was bait popping. We stayed in that area the rest of the day and Rick was able to catch 3 more keepers to fill out our limit. I had a solid bite but ended up breaking him off on the hookset.
We ended up tieing for 11th place with 8.44 lbs. Catching a limit on a day like that was a huge deal to us. We stuck to it when nothing was working and ended up finding a few biters. Our goal of weighing in a limit in every tournament is still intact and we’re looking forward to getting some hunting in before next year.