Flippin All Day…… If only I had the patience.
After our Lake Harris debacle, we knew we were in for a tough couple of tournaments. Between Istokpoga and Okeechobee I have a grand total of 1 day on the water. Not quite the kind of experience you need to do well. Last year we ended up tied for 11th and almost ruined our record of having a limit in every tournament. Those 5 fish were hard to come by. Hopefully this time the fish will cooperate a little more and we can hook into some of those big ones that are supposed to live there. As for Okeechobee, I guess we will have to see.
Kissimmee is a different story. We can catch fish there, but we’ve never caught the type of weight that does well this time of year. Rick and I have never caught 20 lbs in a tournament and in order to do well in these tournaments we knew we’d have to get close to that. Give me a hard tournament any day of the week over a slug fest and we’ll usually do a lot better come the weigh in.
We headed over for one day of practice the day before the tournament. We went to our favorite spot and fished nearby to make sure there were fish in the area. We caught 11 in about 2 hours then went to try the big fish bite. After 3 hours of no bites and no confidence, we finished the final hours of the day fishing back around our area and caught another 12 to 15 fish. I had 14 lbs doing what we like to do and Rick was able to catch this stud trying to do what everyone says to do at Kissimmee.
He did end up catching a bunch when he switched from flipping and punching to a spinner bait. Rick likes tandem Colorado blades this time of year slow rolled around the spawning fish, looking for a reaction bite. I caught a couple nice fish and 1 over 4lbs throwing my top water weedless bait. Rick lost a couple on the spinner bait that looked good and wasn’t sure what was going on. He realized about an hour in that he had left the hook guard on his spinner bait… So I punched him in the gut and we continued to catch some fish.
I feel like I should explain why we were catching so many fish the day before the tournament, considering we would need to fish there the next day. There are 2 reasons behind that. We had just spent the past two months looking at fish and not catching them, and then had a horrible tournament on Harris. We needed to have a little fun. We also weren’t fishing our main spots but were close enough and fishing such similar water that we knew our fish would be there if we could catch them in these other areas. But we did practice a little prudence by only catching 2 or 3 in any one area before leaving it, just in case we needed to come back during the tournament.
We stayed at the Liars Lodge at Camp Mack and had to work around people in our parking spot. Guys, have a little common courtesy and sense when it comes to the basics. The guy who pays for the room gets the parking spot and access to the power, there are guys out there that won’t mind letting you find a couple flat trailer tires in the morning for less than taking their spot. Luckily, we don’t have any guys like that in this club. But we ended up figuring it out with the help of Brian Renshaw and Bobby Squires, thanks for the help and letting us pick your brain a little bit.
The take off was a little crazy but I think we did very well with our set up. Good job to all the guys who made those decisions. Also the Alstroms had the perfect rate for calling each boat for take off, safe and consistent.
We starting catching fish about 30 minutes into the morning. Starting with a couple small ones. I flipped my toad under an over hanging tree and from 10 feet away a big wake came through the pads and followed it out. The big fish hit but must have not got all of it. I set the hook and felt him for a good 3 seconds before it pulled out. I think the hook must have caught on the tip of his lips and pulled through with the force of me pulling on him. Luckily I only had to deal with that for another 5 minutes before a 5 lber crushed my bait. We had about 11 pounds by 9 am and were feeling good that with as much time as we had left, we would be able to upgrade. We caught a bunch of fish and lost another couple of good ones that would have put us up to around 17 – 18 lbs. We caught every fish on the same bait. It was a good day overall.
At the weigh in Richie Anthony showed me the after math of his encounter with a giant. In the first 10 minutes of the morning he got a bite and set the hook hard trying to horse the fish out of the pads. His rod ended up breaking in 3 pieces. It’s funny to think about him trying to pull a big one in free handing the line! It got off but Kara must have had a laugh. They ended up still beating us pretty badly though so we didn’t feel too bad for ’em. The set up on the opposite side of the river from Camp Mack actually worked out great. We had all the room we needed and didn’t have to deal with the other tournaments guys.
Rick and I didn’t break into the top 10 in point standings, but we were close. We are currently sitting in 11th and hope to keep moving forward. Though with all the boats and great teams we have at each tournament, we know it will be difficult.
Next up is Istokpoga which is sure to be interesting. Hey maybe someone will even beat the Alstroms this time around!
Kissimmee Tournament Results – http://www.bayareabassmasters.com/component/content/article/89-main-menu/schedule-and-results/2017/160-march_2017_kissimmee.html