I prefished on Monday, 4 days before the start of the event. Monday was a so-so day – hunting and pecking. Tuesday, I went with a fellow pro staffer from Canyon Plastics, Jeff Klicka, and we had wind and nice chop, which made for a nice reaction bite.
I chucked my snipper spinner bait from D and M Custom Baits and Bayou Tackles Thin Shad with special blades. Klicka was dialing in his Gitzit bite with a 3/8” tube head and a 00B Gitzit, both by Canyon Plastics. It was a good day. Wednesday and Thursday were calm and slick water and the bite was hard to come by.
Day 1 –
I drew the veteran pro, Todd Woods.
The night before, at partner pairing, he told me we would be on a reaction bite and I looked at him in dismay and said “You’re kidding me – I haven’t caught any reaction fish in 2 days.”
He said "The water I’m fishing, the bass are on a reaction bite." As I loaded my gear into his boat, I ran back into the houseboat to grab my chatter bait box.
We blasted off and proceeded to his 1st stop. Todd told me to be ready with a back up bait for any followers. While he was throwing his reaction bait – a wake bait – I followed behind him throwing the 00B Gitzit, waiting to see who got the first bite.
We were in a large cove as we worked our way around, neither of us enticing any strikes. We came upon some shallow cuts in the back of the cove, which was very similar to what I had fished on Day 3 of the US Open. I set the tube down and picked up my Brush Buster, the same one I used at the US Open, and BAM!
Our 1st keeper was in the live well. We moved to Todd’s 2nd location, targeting the back of the coves. Todd had a nice large mouth following his wake bait,
and he yelled “Chris - back up bait”! I set down the chatter bait, picked up the Gitzit, threw it in where he last saw the fish, waited, nothing happened.
Todd picked up his Gitzit, tossed it in, sets the hook and reels in a nice small mouth for keeper #2.
We don’t know what happened to the largemouth.
We proceeded to fish throughout the day with a similar pattern, targeting back pockets and coves and Todd’s wake bait connected with another nice small mouth for fish #3.
We pulled into what was spot 5 or 6 by now, and in quick succession; the Brush Buster put 2 more keepers in the boat.
We had our limit somewhere between 12 and 1:00 in the afternoon. We fished for the next couple of hours to no avail. We proceeded to head back to Calville. Todd pulled up on a spot with another 20 minutes to go, and the Brush Buster put another nice keeper in the boat, which culled.
After our high fives, we headed to the scales with a 5 bass limit – weighing 8.44 pounds, which put us both in 11th place after Day 1.
Todd did a superb job of boat control and covering water – that was the key -covering a lot of water - to bring our 8 pounds and change to the scales.
Day 2 –
I drew Tim Blanchard, an accomplished professional and one who I consider a local, since he’s based out of Havasu and is very familiar with the lakes on the Colorado River.
We went to his 1st location, and I started the day off with the Brush Buster and the first stretch produced 3 shorts. We worked our way to the back of the bay, Tim was drop shotting. I noticed a couple of big boulders with a space between the 2, and put the Brush Buster down and picked up the 00B, dropped it into the crack, and hoisted out a nice 2 pounder.
I kept the Gitzit in hand, picked up another short. Tim worked hard with the dropshot, but to no avail.
We proceeded to make a long run. When we got to location #2, we fished hard without even a bite.
We moved again with another long run, and nothing. We proceeded to run and gun as the hours ticked by. I finally made a cast into a shallow grass pocket with the Brush Buster and put keeper #2 in the boat.
By now, it’s well after 1:00 and all we have to show is 2 keepers so far.
We continued to run and gun, with him throwing his dropshot relentlessly as I alternated between the Brush Buster and the Gitzit and my spinner baits. Time ran out and all we could muster to the scales were 2 bass for 2.98 pounds.
I ended the tournament in 24th place – and managed to take home 2 plaques – 1 was for 3rd place Angler of the Year, Southern Division. The other plaque was for 3rd place Angler of the Year, Northern Division.
It was an awesome season and I’m already “jonesing” . Can’t wait to get back on the water in January. I want to give a special thanks to WON Bass and Billy Egan for putting on the best TOC Awards Ceremony that I’ve ever attended!