Welcome to the first blog installment of my experience fishing the PAA Tournament Trail. Preparation for this first event has been more laborious than usual as I've been setting up the new boat. Last weekend I took the Stratos VLO out to a local lake to break-in the motor, it was fun to actually be just a "pleasure boater" as I rode up and down the lake for a few hours. For a smaller boat it was an impressive ride, cutting through boat wakes with ease. With the new Yamaha VMAX HDPI, I had to run the motor for an hour and vary the speeds while not exceeding 3,000 RPMs, and then not exceeding 4,000 RPMs for the second hour. For the next 3 hours I can run normally but not wide open for more than a few minutes. I'll be finishing up the break-in period on Saturday, as well as actually fishing from the boat for the first time. It's imperative during this upcoming to trip to make sure I have everything thing I need in the boat from a fishing standpoint. Once I leave for Old Hickory on Sunday morning, if something is not in the boat or the truck, there is no turning back.
When I launch on Monday for the first day of official practice it will be the first time I will be seeing Old Hickory Lake. Old Hickory is part of the Cumberland River system near Nashville. Everything I've read and heard about the lake seems to suit my style of fishing€¦.shallow power fishing. With the full moon approaching there may be a last wave of spawning bass, but certainly should be some males up shallow guarding fry from the spawn two weeks ago during the new moon. As with any river reservoir, if they start pulling water the deeper ledge bite will turn on as well. I suspect the larger post-spawn females have already made their way out deep. However, with only three days of practice on an unfamiliar lake, finding those deep honey holes can be a real challenge.
Planning really pays off with events like these. After intensive map study and Google Earth, I've found a few areas that are worth exploring during practice. All the areas offer spawning coves, overhead structure such as docks and laydowns (which are great places for post-spawn females to rest up), and creek channels near deep water. With a variety of cover and structure I can quickly figure out a pattern or two on the first practice day€¦hopefully. My goal is to concentrate and learn a small section of the lake very well as this will allow me to change my presentation based on the conditions as the week progresses. I've found this approach to be better than running all over a strange lake trying to learn it from one end to the other.
And last but not least, as a bachelor homeowner, I have to make sure things at home are in order before my trip. Make sure the garbage is out, bills are paid, and dishes are done. The last thing I'll do before I leave is mow the lawn and the first thing I'll do when I return is mow it again. Such is life!
In the next blog I'll be talking about some fishing!