Points Tournament # 3. Patience can mean success!
Well another tournament gone and one left in the Colorado Walleye Association season before the big regional tournament held at Lake McConaughy on July 16th and 17 where 130 boats from four states will compete for over $10,000 in cash and numerous prizes.
Big Mac is known for big walleye and big winds, and neither let us down on this trip. The pre-fish proved to be fairly productive. We got various reports from across the lake that the bite was on fire. Although both my partner and I tried many techniques and areas, what proved to be the best was what we found on our own. Saturday opened up at 6:30 am to 33 boats and fairly mild winds in the 10 MPH range. As we were the first boat out we immediately headed to our ?honey hole? only to find many local anglers in the same area. As we tried to get out drift and pattern working just right by bottom bouncing slow-death hooks behind the new Fin-Tech Tech Bouncers, and also pulling crawler harnesses, the wind continued to pick up the pace. It made it almost impossible to hold on our spot. We had found an area no more than 50 yards long that ran from a depth of 11 feet to a hump at 7 feet, then down to 15 feet on the back side. Much of the morning we continued to work this small area with no luck, and only small walleye below the 15? minimum length required at Mac. With no legal walleye in the boat by noon, high winds, and a non-existent bite, we decided to make the move to a sand flat less than 2 miles away. We ran the flat in the same fashion, but concentrated more on the crawler harness in 11-15 feet. Blue and silver is the norm as a magical color on this lake, so we stuck with the Northland holographic blades in silver, and stacked the line with blue beads. After pulling and drifting over the flats for two hours, we head back in to a strong wind at 30 MPH with our heads hung low after getting the big goose-egg on day one. There were decent weights put on the board for the day, but we were not the only zeros that afternoon. Over half the field, 18 anglers to be specific did the same as we did?nothing. Just over 14 pounds had the lead on day one with about a 7 ½ pounds walleye taking big fish.
Day two started bright, sunny, and thankfully calm. First boat out on day one meant a reverse filed and last out for day two. We scooted across an almost glass lake at 45 mph in my 1860 Ranger powered by a 150 hp Evinrude E-Tec. We made the decision to settle back in to our original spot. There was enough confidence in that area to give it another try. Within the first half hour we had our first big bite, and lost a LARGE walleye just shy of the boat, possibly 8-9 pounds. After many small fish and a bite that was slow we made the decision to go back to the flats. As we were getting gear stowed and we running our MinnKota Terrova at about .8 mph, my partner?s rod sank. 18 inch fish on! The line on his rod snapped for some reason, but gave us thought as we had run out to 18 feet of water. I told my partner that we will give this area another hour but we will work the deeper water. We continued in the 17-20 foot range and two passes in there is our first in the boat for the day, a 24 ½? walleye on the line. Can you say pattern here? The fish were possibly as tired of getting beat around in the shallows as we were and had moved deeper! After netting the first large fish, three passes later and BAM!, a 23 ½? walleye. Big Mac has a maximum of two fish over 22?, so we were done with the larger fish for the day in this no-cull tournament. Within the next half hour we had an 18? and 16 ½? in the boat. Then here comes the wind again! 9:30am on the nose and the wind started to howl. Boat control was again a huge issue, but we managed to weave through the other boats, and pick up our 5th and final fish for our limit at 10:30. With the wind blowing and a rough ride back we decided to head in and weigh. Our 14.52 pounds was enough to give us second place forth day and 7th overall. Not a bad trip!
Keys to the trip;
Stick with your spots. If the fish are there and no major weather events have occurred, they will likely be back. Be confident!
Let the fish decide what they want. Don?t be afraid to move in or move out of a small area to see if things have slightly changed. Speed up or slow down a bit to find if they want a faster or slower presentation.