Last month I wrote about getting skunked at my first tournament of the year. And not just skunked... killed. We didn't even get a sniff in eight hours of fishing. It shook me up a bit, although I admit that writing about it here helped me find some absolution and to put things in perspective.
This past weekend was our second and third tournaments of the year (The American Bass Association offers 2 one-day tournaments in the same weekend to cut down on travel expenses) and our shot a getting back in the saddle after last month's beat-down.
The prospects didn't look good going in, as a week-long cold front had moved in, forcing the water temperatures to drop 10 degrees Farenheit in that time (5.5 degrees Celsius). A week ago the fish were preparing to spawn, and now they were hunkered down. I remember checking the weather all week and seeing temperatures in the 30s thinking "this is not good."
Saturday was the first tournament, and with a daytime high of only 47 degrees F (8 degrees C), it looked to be a tough fish. We bounced around the lake until we found a spot where green weeds were starting to come up. "This looks good" I thought and we decided to stick it out for awhile. Not a half-hour later, my fishing partner (and dad) hooked into a keeper bass and our suspicions were confirmed.
We spent the rest of the day on that spot and scraped together a limit, including a 4+ pounder at the end of the day. At the weigh-in we put up 11.18 (losing .25 due to a dead fish penalty which cost us 3rd) good enough for 4th place. The 4.27 pound largie we hooked at the end of the day netted us the second big fish pot and $110. Saturday's leaderboard. Man it feels good to weigh in a limit.
Sunday brought more of the same as far the weather went. The rain fell too causing a cold dampness we could feel in our bones. I shivered for most of the day, at least, that's what I thought it was but it could have been shaking from the excitement of catching fish.
We toughed it out in the same spot we fished the day before and managed to land 10 bass, culling 3 times. We couldn't produce a big bite though, and went to the scales with a similar weight to Saturday. We weighed 11.54 with a big fish of only 3.01. Fortunately this was good enough for 2nd place and $400, almost covering our travel expenses. It was a tough day for most, as third place only managed 7.4. However, the winners put up over 14 pounds with the same strategy we had, toughing it out in a single spot. A pair of hard-earned 3 pounders from Sunday.
It felt good driving home with my dad, knowing that we had comeback strong from our opening day disaster. I couldn't help but remark to him on the way home, "Dad, that was fun. We should probably try placing in the money more often." We both laughed because we know that we win about as often as we lose.
It's a rollercoaster ride in the world of the weekend tournament angler, but if you don't let the lows get to you, the highs can really pay off. Here's hoping the highs keep coming as we head back to the same lake in a month. Team Canada with our second place plaques.