What a Tournament! The fishing was by far the toughest I have ever been through. That is to catch a 12 incher. Just to make the cut was way more than I really expected, and too have a shot at winning was amazing!
I started out with boat number 59 and had planned on locking up the Allegheny. I really didn't know what to expect due that it had rained the day before and all night making the water muddy. My plan was to lock up three times into the Freeport pool. The first lock opened at 7:15 so I run straight to it.
As soon as I got through I had the opition of waiting until 8:15 for the next lock or heading straight for the next lock and try to go though.
I decided to fish in the second pool until the next scheduled lock time. I had prefished a bank in this pool that seemed like it had a lot of fish on it so I spent about 45 minutes there. I ended up catching about 6 fish with 1 spotted bass going about 13 inches. I had caught all the fish on a 1/8th black buzzbait. Time to lock.
The next pool was only about five miles long and seemed like the bigger fish lived from here and up. I was told that only a couple of years ago this pool(Springdale Pool) had a 15" size limit for tournaments so I really don't think it gets fished that much. I had fished my first three spots with no luck. I moved over to a bank that I had prefished but only caught shorts. The rain had made the water come up about 1 foot and it put some of the prime structure under water. In about 5 minutes I had caught 3 keepers with 1 being about 1 1/2.
1 on the buzzbait and 2 on a yamamoto grub. Time to lock again.
This time I got to the lock and I wasn't open.
The scheduled time was for it to be opened at 9:15 and tournament fishermen had the priority lockage. I waited around for about twenty minutes and finally decied to run back down and fish for a while. I went back to the bank were I had got three to only catch shorts this time. I moved again to a shoal and got number five!!! About a 2 pounder drop-shotting a Jackall Cross tail shad.
I decied to fish my way down and save my water for the next day.
At the end of the day II had 6-3 and was in 10th.
I was boat 19 out today and planned on running the same game plan as the day before. I really wanted to fish a little eddy that I found right by the lock since I had about 7 minutes to fish before I locked. My first five cast I caught 5 fish 2 of them being keepers.
Time to go. I ran the same water this time only shorts.
I finally made it all the way up. Right away I started catching fish. At about 11:00 I had a small limit. I fished up there until 2:00 before I headed back down. As I was waiting for the gates to open I got a giant!! A 2 1/2 smallie swimming a grub. It seemed like the fish changed everyday. I felt good about how the river was fishing because if you didn't keep moving or changing patterns you didn't caught them. Once you found a pattern for that day it seemed like it would hold up for the rest of the day.
At the end of the day I had 7-7 and moved to 4th.
Today the buzzbait and the drop-shot totally died! I fished my way all the way up with no luck. I finally made it up to the third pool and caught some shorts. I had found a bank that seemed like it was by best bet so i fished it for about 2 hours only catching 2 keepers. I ran up river about 3 miles and burned about 1 1/2.
I decided to run back down for one last try on the bank. Within an hour a got 3 more and my co angler caught 2. At this point I was super super happy. I didn't care about the size, but to just have a limit was huge. I ran back into the Pittsburgh pool and culled up about 1 ounce.
I had 5-0 and moved up to third. All you can really ask for in a tournament like this is to be close. So I felt like I had a good shot only being down 1-6.
Blast off today was crazy! I have never seen more fans fired up to see the day get started. I ran straight to the eddy that I caught them in on day 2 and on my first cast I got a keeper.!!
I had the rest of the day to do it.
Once again I fished all the way up with no luck. I stopped at the same bank were I had caught them the day before and got number 2. Swimming the 4' white yamamoto grub again. Today the bank was loaded with fish, just no more keepers. I got number 3 at 12:00 about 1 mile up that was it. I ended up catching 12 fish today that were 11 3/4.
At the end of the day I only had 3.
Like I said before, all you can ask for is to have at shot at winning and I did. I didn't lose any fish just didn't get enough keeper bites on day 4.
Overall I am super happy with 3rd.
To finish behind guys like Hackney and Iaconelli is unreal. It gives my a lot of confidence that I can compete with those guys. Next year I am going to go on Tour. Can't wait.