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Hunter or the Hunted

Posted by admin on August 17, 2017

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(Photo: Seigo Saito)

I’m currently up in Michigan after fishing an MLF event.  It’s pretty convenient as we’ll be finishing up the regular season of the Elites here at St. Clair this coming week.  It’s been as busy as ever this past month.  We got in to Michigan on Sunday night after flying out to California on Friday to fish a celebrity tournament with my buddy Paul George.  Paul played for the Pacers which is how I knew him, but now is with the Thunder.  We’ve fished together for some time now and it’s always a good time when we get to hit the water together.

It was a great event.  I don’t really get to fish in California much so that was also pretty cool.  We ended up finishing third against all the California studs.  There are definitely some really good anglers out there.  Obviously, I want to win, but I can’t complain.  The Thunder’s coach showed up and even Russell Westbrook stopped by for a bit.  We even rolled up to the ramp in Paul’s Ferrari which was pretty awesome.  Overall, it was a fun time and I was glad my fiancé was able to come out and relax for a bit.

It’s been a great month.  We kicked it off at the St. Lawrence where it was an absolute slug fest.  We had a decent tournament there, but ended up losing a few points.  Right afterwards, we headed to Champlain for another epic slugfest.  Champlain was definitely a great event as we stepped it up there.  To be in position to win an Elite Series event anytime is a huge blessing and that’s what happened in Plattsburgh.

We definitely had the opportunities at Champlain.  As is the case in almost any smallmouth tournament, fish coming unbuttoned will play a part.  The second day when we took over the lead, we ended up losing a giant that would’ve helped for sure.  On the final day, a couple more solid fish from three and a half to four and a quarter pounds came unbuttoned.  Those really stung as I had two three pounders in the livewell.  It’s a smallmouth derby and unfortunately that’s just something we all had to deal with.  My hats off to Aaron.  He did a tremendous job and I couldn’t believe how well he whacked them on the final day.

We’re well within striking distance to make a run at Angler of the Year.  St. Clair could throw a monkey wrench into things.  It’ll more than likely be a slugfest and if that’s the case it’s going to be all about a few key decisions.  Brandon is in the place where he will have to catch them and can’t really play it safe.  The chances are one of the other three or so guys behind him will make a top ten next week so that really puts the pressure on him.  With it more than likely being a slugfest, the decision to make the run to Erie or Huron or possibly stay in St. Clair will be huge.  It’s a good position to be in when you are the hunter and not the hunted in this situation.  It allows the hunter to take more of a chance because there’s less to lose in a sense.

I made it up there and to Mille Lacs to get in some prepractice before they went off limits.  I hit up St. Clair around the fourth of July just to get a look at it.  Overall, it’s very featureless and flat.  There is not a whole lot there.  It’s kind of a tough place to practice.  You kind of just have to try and find some of those bigger spawning areas or schools and hope to relocate them when we come back for the actual event.  I did fish Erie and both rivers as well to get a take on those.  I’ve got a good idea of what I’d like to fish so my time there was definitely productive.

Mille Lacs was also a productive trip.  I went up there for about a week and spent most of my time just graphing around and looking.  It seems like the increased fishing pressure is getting to them a bit.  However, there are still a lot of big ones swimming around in there.  That AOY Championship will be an interesting event no matter what. I’ve already mathematically made the Classic so that pressure is gone.  Hopefully, were in a great position after St. Clair to really make a push at the AOY up in Minnesota.  


Mid Season Elite Series Recap

Posted by jacob on June 20, 2017

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(Photo: Steve Bowman)

This past month, like most, has been a busy one.  We finally moved into our new house right near Lake Chickamauga in Harrison, Tennessee.  The Elite season has been in full swing and I just spent the past week prepracticing at the St. Lawrence River in New York for our upcoming event.  There never seems to be a dull moment, but I really can’t complain.  As busy as it’s been, it’s also been a lot of fun.

It’s been a good start to the Elite season as I’m currently only nine points out in the Angler of the Year race.  Really the past couple years have been just as good and I’ve been able to ride that wave of momentum into this one.  In this sport, momentum can be a huge deal.  When you are fishing well, the best thing to do is to never slow down.  Fish as many events as you can because you never know when that momentum train will slow down.

At Ross Barnett, we had a slight stumble.  To be honest, I really felt ok with all of the decisions I made throughout practice and the event.  For some reason, it just never really came together for me in that one.  Unfortunately, that is going to happen, but thankfully we got that momentum train rolling again quickly.

I spent a lot of time at Rayburn before the cut off.  Being that it was a mid-May event, I figured it would mostly be an offshore deal, but that didn’t end up totally being the case.  I messed around deep in practice and never really found anything I felt too excited about.  I found one little spot that I could catch them off, but the size wasn’t what I was looking for.  Actually, my first cast there after coming back, I had two on at a time which was pretty neat.

I ended up deciding to flip around shallow bushes and caught some in the three and half to four pound range.  Going into the event, I expected I could probably catch about seventeen pounds.  Luckily for me, I was wrong in a good way.  Day one I cracked twenty one pounds there and day two had over twenty three!

The third day was a bit more of a grind.  I only had one good bite all day, which ended up being a seven pounder and was able to stay in the top five going into day four.  The fourth day, the big fish bite was back on and we got our weight back into the twenties with over twenty two pounds.  That ultimately helped me finish in 3rd place which definitely helped a lot with the AOY points.

Our last derby was at Dardanelle and it was an absolute grind.  The water was high and muddy after heavy rains in Oklahoma made their way down river to us.  It took a lot of normally fishable water out of the equation.  Because of this, I knew the backwaters were going to be the deal.  I fished some offshore and up shallow as well. 

Day one I milked a shad spawn for a little over thirteen pounds.  The second day, I caught three offshore then picked up a buzzbait to catch another thirteen plus pounds.  Doing that really saved me and I ended up catching a five pounder which was key.  The third day, I stuck with the buzzbait and go a couple more solid bites which helped the cause.  The conditions changed and with that front coming in and with the humidity gone, I knew that was what I needed to do.  Lucky for me, it ended up working out very well.

Right between Rayburn and Dardanelle I flew to Columbus to meet up with my fiancé and we drove our stuff down to Tennessee.  We are really excited about our new house and the fact that it’s so close to Chickamauga is definitely a plus.  We spent a lot of time unpacking and getting all moved in before heading to Rayburn.

After getting back from Dardanelle, we headed up to the St. Lawrence River to do a little scouting before the cut off.  It’s nice to have a little bit of time to relax and spend with my fiancé.  We did a little sampling of both smallmouth and largemouth and had a great time up there.  It’s the only place left on the schedule I had not fished before.  It worked out really well that we got to use it as a little get away and get in some serious prefishing as well. 


Moving Through the Season

Posted by jacob on April 26, 2017

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(PHOTO BY GARRICK DIXON)

Tomorrow we kick off the next Bassmaster Elite Series event of the season at Ross Barnett Reservoir in Jackson, MS.  To sum up this week’s practice would be to say it was a grind.  It’s a transition time here and these fish are definitely in a funk.  Coming into this one, I expected it to be a meat and potatoes kind of event from a techniques standpoint.  I don’t really think that’ll be too far from the mark, but it’ll be all about grinding it out and getting a couple bigger than average bites each day.  We’re just coming off of a cold front and it may have been a factor in practice being so stingy.  We’re going to keep an open mind this week and get ready to grind it out each day.  I managed to stop here to check it out before off limits so I’m hoping some of that extra looking around will help out some in this derby.

Before making my way to Ross Barnett it’s been crazy busy.  My fiancé and I have been packing everything up and are getting ready to move into our new house right near Lake Chickamauga, TN.  Most people make the joke about women having too many shoes or too much stuff, but in our case my fiancé is saying that about all of my fishing stuff!  For the record, I do have a lot of stuff, but I do need almost all of it.  At any rate we got all that figured out and one POD full of fishing stuff later we’re ready to move.

Our event at Toledo Bend was crazy.  We had a really good first day and took the lead, but it was a constant struggle to keep up with them.  My deep fish didn’t seem to replenish so I had to mix it up with some bed fishing and shad spawn as well.  Just like we have this week at Ross Barnett we were in a heavy transition so multiple patterns played.  Overall, it was a cool event.  It’s actually pretty fun getting to fish so many different ways.

We stopped off after Toledo at Rayburn and Dardanelle for a few days to get in a little prepractice in for those events.  I had not been to Dardanelle before so it was good to get a few days on there and to see what was going on at Rayburn too.  We’re in the top ten in points heading into the second half of the season so I’m doing everything I can to keep that momentum train rolling in the right direction.

 


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