Before I even arrived I planned on fishing the calville area and temple bar area. So I concentrated on those two spots in practice, just trying to get as many bites as possible. The key is not to set on the fish on the desert lakes because they will absolutely not bite again if you do. During practice I got 20 bites a day set on only two and then went looking for beds. The practice went really well.
I decided to stay really local and fish the water I knew was going to get beat up the hardest. My first spot I went to I shook off a fish in practice and my first cast was a 2.5lb smallie. After that I ran around and every spot I went to I had someone on my water. I had to search for some new stuff and only had 3 at noon. I finally caught a 2lb bed fish. At 1:30 I had my limit and never culled all day. I had 6 keepers and ended up with 10.15. I threw a small swimbait and a Jackall Super Pintail dropshot, in the clear water they both were catching fish.
Started on an island top where I had seen some good fish. It was extremely important to make casts at the shady side of boulders. I really have learned the importance of good sunglasses. There are so many brands out there and a lot of good ones but for me the best for the money is Eye Surrender, for 40 bucks you get a lifetime warranty and a really good lense. I was in 25 feet of water and my first cast I hooked the biggest one I saw in practice. It was about 3lbs. I got it all the way to the boat and then it came off before my co-angler couldn't get a net on it. Smallmouth are always tough because they go absolutely crazy once they are hooked. I was frustrated because at Mead a 3 pounder is a giant. I had no fish but decided to make a 60 mile roundtrip run to Temple Bar across the basin where I encountered 5-6 foot waves. Once at Temple Bar I started really catching them with a limit at noon all on the small Berkley hollow belly and the 4" Super Pintail by Jackall. I had a limit at noon but didn't cull until 2:30 when I caught a bed fish on the dropshot.
I decided to make a run to the island top where I lost the good fish the day before. I couldn't see any fish but I threw my swimbait over the island top and caught a 2.5. I was stoked. I ran to Temple Bar and caught my limit within 30 minutes on both the swimbait and dropshot. I finally figured out the fish were on my sloping banks than the steeper stuff I usually fish at Mead. I kept catching fish but couldn't cull over 10lbs. Finally, at about 3:30 as I was heading into weigh in I caught a 4lber right outside the off-limits on the swimbait again. The final day I caught about 20 keepers on that bait and figured out a lot about Mead and how the fish position themselves that time of year.
I ended up in 7th and was stoked. I only lost one fish, but it cost me a top 5.
I felt good about the tournament, but the last day I really did figure the fish out. I wish I had done that the first day, but because I always fish plastics I didn't let myself listen to the fish. That's huge especially at a place like Mead. Another thing about Mead is that pressure is awful there. The fish react terribly to pressure so another key is to figure out what they will eat and then keep adjusting to the fish and keep "pre-fishing" during the first day or two to find new water because the fish will change a lot after a few days of getting beat up.
This year Mead fished so much better than I've ever seen it. The emergence of grass and brush has allowed the fish to really get healthy.
I'd like to thank my sponsors Jackall, Powell, Eye Surrender, Berkeley, Abu Garcia, and Monster Fishing Tackle.