Istokpoga Game Plan? Not Until the Trolling Motor Hits the Water

Istokpoga Game Plan? Not Until the Trolling Motor Hits the Water
Istokpoga Game Plan? Not Until the Trolling Motor Hits the Water

2013 GEICO Challenge Cup, Lake Istokpoga, Oct. 22 - 27, 2012

Permitted use provided by: MajorLeagueFishing.com

A crowd was gathering on the docks located at Istokpoga Marina as the first hint of daylight appeared to the east under the Spanish moss hanging from the cypress trees that surround this Florida fishing gem.

There was a buzz in the still humid air as the first eight anglers prepared to head out for Elimination Day One action on the water at the Jack Link's Major League Fishing 2013 GEICO Challenge Cup on Lake Istokpoga.

Typical questions being tossed around were like these: Who would win? How would the lake fish? What kind of lures and seasonal patterns would prevail? And would any of the lake's double-digit giants help some angler's cause?

As I peppered MLF co-founder Boyd Duckett with such questions during our early morning dock-talk session, he smiled and said he really didn't know the answers to those queries.


Yet, that is.


"These questions would be easy to answer in any other format because I would have practiced," said the Alabama pro and 2007 Bassmaster Classic champion.


"What is so unusual about Major League Fishing is we are clueless (coming into this event). I've never (personally) seen this lake. I can't look it up on Google. And what I can see here as it's breaking day, that's the most I've ever seen of this lake.

"I know it's Florida, I know it's an east wind fishing day, but the bottom line is that we're not going to know anything (else) until we put the trolling motor in the water."

So did Duckett have any type of game plan in mind?


Not really he smiled.

"It's just impossible to make a game plan (in this format) until you put the trolling motor in the water," said the four-time winner on the B.A.S.S. tournament circuit.

He did allow that his previous Florida fishing knowledge and his knowledge of late fall fishing patterns in this region shouldn't hurt his cause.


But still, Duckett emphasized that the lack of knowledge and preparation that is designed to level out the MLF playing field left him uncertain about how the day would proceed and play out.

All he could fall back on - until the trolling motor hit the water later that morning - were preconceived notions that might or might not hold any merit.

While there is no real information concerning the Lake Istokpoga largemouth bass until the eight anglers hit the water and make their first casts of the day, there is something that Duckett and his fellow competitors can fall back on.

And that is the knowledge that they have about each other and what each angler may or may not be doing as the leader board begins to move in the first period.

"Knowledge of the other anglers helps," agreed Duckett. "Everything that we didn't use to do you pay more attention to (now).

"Our format is that we're in a small zone (and) we're in that zone so we can see each other. To me, the format lends itself (to the fact that) you had better pay attention to (the other guys)."

Duckett points to another sport as an example.

"If you're in NASCAR and all of the other guys going faster are on the high side of the track, if you stay down on the apron, you're going to lose," he laughed. "It shouldn't take long for the guys (out here) to realize that you had better pay attention to the field in this format."

Even if it goes against the way that they have typically fished elsewhere in their pro angling careers.

"This is completely different than what we've done before," said Duckett. "We've always gone out on our own, found our own fish, and stayed on our own deal for the most part.

"That's not what Major League Fishing is," he added. "It's more hand-to-hand combat (on the water)."

Which makes for some highly entertaining - and educational - fishing action as the Outdoor Channel television cameras get up close and personal with these MLF pros participating in the most exciting tournament format that professional angling has ever seen.

Jack Link's Major League Fishing Show Page

Recommended for You

Chiggers might be tiny little critters that are hard to see but they sure bring big-time misery Other Hunting

Keep Itchy Chigger Bites at Bay This Summer with Chigarid

Lynn Burkhead

Chiggers might be tiny little critters that are hard to see but they sure bring big-time...

Perfect for competition or a day at the range. Other Hunting

New Gear: MidwayUSA Competition Range Bag

G&F Staff

Perfect for competition or a day at the range.

Adam Heggenstaller takes over after 14 years with NRA Publications. News

Game & Fish Magazine Names New Editorial Director

G&F Online Staff - May 23, 2019

Adam Heggenstaller takes over after 14 years with NRA Publications.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

MLF Pro Tips: Go-To Baits for the Spawn

MLF Pro Tips: Go-To Baits for the Spawn

Major League Fishing pros talk about the first lure they choose when targeting spawning bass.

Mustad

Mustad's Saltwater Jig Lineup

Russ Whisler shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead the innovative features and great color schemes in Mustad's voluminous lineup of saltwater jigs introduced at ICAST 2019.

Lure Lock Options Includes LED Light Boxes & More

Lure Lock Options Includes LED Light Boxes & More

Pro angler Jonathan VanDam showcases new offerings at ICAST 2019, including the ultra-thin, big bait boxes, LED-lighted boxes and backpack-able gear lockers. With Game & Fish Editorial Director Adam Heggenstaller at ICAST 2019 in Orlando.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Want to test the outer limits of your shooting skill? There's more to successful long-range Ammo

10 Best Long-Range Cartridges Ever Made

David Hart - January 14, 2015

Want to test the outer limits of your shooting skill? There's more to successful long-range

 A 7 pound giant taken on a jig during the pre-spawn transistion in the Midwest.

Although the art Bass

4 Tips When Jig Fishing For Bass

Chris Schneider - August 25, 2015

A 7 pound giant taken on a jig during the pre-spawn transistion in the Midwest. Although...

Experts agree record channel cat caught in 1949 was actually a blue catfish. Records

Upon Further Review: 70-Year-Old Catfish Record Voided

G&F Online Staff - May 22, 2019

Experts agree record channel cat caught in 1949 was actually a blue catfish.

See More Stories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×