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Mid Season Elite Series Recap

Posted by jacob on June 20, 2017

Rayburn 2017.jpg

(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.