Let me start off by saying it was an adventurous 2 weeks in Tonto Basin fishing Lake Roosevelt. We experienced every type of bite and weather. Leading up to the Won Bass our pre-fish was spotty at the beginning with temperatures hovering around 20-23 degrees in the morning to a high of 38-45 degrees in the afternoon.
But, as the cold front passed thru and the weather warmed up, the bite improved.
WON BASS TOURNAMENT
As the tournament drew closer, the baits were dialed in as well as the structure.
My Day One draw was Sean Coffey – a young 19 year old from the ASU College Fishing Team, fishing his first big time Pro-Am.
Sean took us to a stretch of bank that was maybe 400 yards long with 3 or 4 pockets in it that gave us nice rocky points as well as rocky banks. I got bit the first cast, and as we proceeded, Sean managed to put 3 keepers in the boat on his Spider Jig and I managed to put a 4th keeper in the boat on the drop shot and the 5th fish came in the boat on a nail rig. And, we had our limit by 10:15 am.
We decided to not leave the fish, move the boat out deeper and fish off the break. That was where Folkestad concentrated during our pre-fish. There we continued to fish the break, down to 35 feet.
Throughout the rest of the day, my baits started whacking them. The nail rig put my 3.60 in the boat.
And, the creature baits were catching them and Sean was whacking them on a Carolina Rig lizard. We ended up bringing 11.57 pounds to the scale and put us in 5th place after Day One.
Day Two I drew Paul Bailey and thought I was in for a day of swim baits, but lo and behold, Lil’ Bailey was on a dropshot pattern, and of all things, he was throwing a worm and a Carolina Rig.
I was ecstatic, needless to say, because we fished slow and methodical and I was able to use my confidence baits!
Bailey had a nice milk run set up. We rotated among his 3 areas throughout the day, catching fish the whole time. We both lost our big bite in the trees – but, that’s fishing!
When we left the scales we totaled 7 and some change. This put me in 10th place overall and allowed me to finish in the money.
The baits of choice were 5” Yamamoto Senko with the nail weight, a D&M Custom Baits Baby Brush Hog , the Kreit Creature by Big Bite and a 6” Hand Poured Pro Worm in Purple Ghost color for the drop shot. The Creature Baits were Texas Rigged on a 3/8 oz. tungsten slide sinker. The dropshot was on a ¼ oz. dropshot weight with a 6” leader.
FLW EVERSTART SERIES TOURNAMENT
I was so looking forward to the FLW after the big finish at WON Bass!
Day One, I drew Greg Gutierrez – he said he was going to fish slow and with plastics. The 1st stop in the morning was a small island with a nice point and drop-offs. We watched people catch fish all around us, but nothing was happening for us.
We stayed there for about 2 hours. Greg managed to dropshot 2 fish and I managed to put 1 in the boat on the Creature Bait. We proceeded to make a run to fish Greg’s true pattern, which was flipping trees with the dropshot in 5-10 ft. of water. I wasn’t quite equipped for this type of fishing, all of my rods were filled with light line.
I had my 5 bites and out of the 5 only managed to put 2 in the boat.
The other 3 were lost in the trees – pretty much where I found them!
I weighed in 2 pounds 9 ounces.
Day 2, I drew a rookie Pro, fishing his first FLW tournament. His name was David Kelley.
He was a fine gentleman, great sportsman, and a STICK to boot!
We pulled up at his first spot – he went shallow – casting crankbaits and spinnerbaits, but went slow enough so I could toss my plastics.
As he moved and worked his way through the trees and got out to about 15 feet, we got our 1st bite, then I saw my line swimming away and when I set the hook, I came up empty, my bait was in a ball.
I casted back in the 2nd time, got bit, set the hook and it broke off. I quickly re-tied, casted back in, got bit, set the hook, and it broke off – again! I quickly checked the line and it broke with ease. I set that rod down, picked up my other one, got bit and put the 1st fish in the boat.
In the meantime, my Pro picked up his dropshot rod and put 3 fish in the boat. It didn’t take long before my Pro had his limit and I was struggling waiting for my 2nd fish. By day’s end I only got 2 other bites, put them both in the livewell and put 3 fish to the scales, weighing 4 pounds 7 ounces for a total of 7 pounds. It was a heartbreak to say the least!!
Keep a tight line,