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Posts Tagged ‘fishing tournaments’

I had the pleasure to fish the annual Lazy Acres Fishing Tournament on Bull Shoals Lake over the weekend. There were 18 boats entered into the tournament and more than half brought in limits of largemouth, smallmouth and Kentucky bass.

Lazy Acres is located on the south side of Buck Creek near mid lake. I fished with Tom Visconti and we caught more than 40 bass during the eight-hour event.

Lazy Acres Annual Bass Tournament

Boats Getting Ready for the 6:45 a.m. Take Off from the south point of Buck Creek.

The top-water bite was on as was the lizard bite. We spent most of our time in Big Creek (Big Cedar Creek) and East Sugar Camp.

The fish were sitting on the outside of the buck brush and were holding tight to it. If the fish did not hit within the first 10 feet past the brush, then we picked up and started over.

Top-Water Baits:

  • Zara Spook Jr. (Color: white pearl)
  • Chug Bug (Color: black back with silver sides)

Lizards

  • Zoom 8” (Color: Green Pumpkin) Texas rigged

There were also reports of a lot of fish being caught on Zoom Flukes (White Pearl) on #3 Gamagatsu hooks thrown just in front of the buck brush.

It was an exciting day with one of the best weigh-ins the tournament has ever seen. Everyone caught fish. The team that won the tournament fished in the Big Buck Creek and Trimble Creek areas…as did the second- and third-place teams.

The top three places all had between 14 and 15.75 lbs…which is a decent weigh-in total.

Did anyone else duplicate this pattern? Did you find a different pattern? If so, let me know because I’m heading back down in two weeks.

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One of my greatest pleasures in life is to be standing on the front of my Champion bass boat while heading down a bank in search of lunker largemouth bass. Unfortunately, many of us are not lucky enough to have their own bass boat and have to fish with someone else who DOES own their own boat. When this happens, you are stuck fishing from the back deck of their boat.

There are many advantages to fishing from the front of the boat. For example, you get to run the trolling motor…which means YOU get to make the decisions of where exactly to fish (depth, structure, location, etc.). You also get to decide on the speed of the boat as it heads down a bank which means you get to decide if it’s going to be a Wiggle Wart day or a Chomper’s day. To put it bluntly…you are in control.

For those of us who get to fish from the back deck of the bass boat, don’t despair! Even though I own my own boat, I often fish with my father-in-law in his boat since his boat is already in the water on a lift in his stall. This means that I don’t have to haul my boat five hours and spend a bunch of money on gas just getting to the lake. He always runs the trolling motor which leaves me on the back deck…and there have been many times where I have caught more fish than him!

There are ways you can improve your odds fishing from the back deck and catch more fish. Following these suggestions will allow you to keep some control over your fishing experience.

First, if your partner is catching fish, you get the advantage of watching exactly what he is doing with his lure. You get to analyze his cast (is he flipping, pitching…is the lure hitting the water softly…landing on the shady side of a stump, etc.). By identifying what he is doing, you can mimic his approach which will help you land more fish.

Second, don’t fall into the repetitive cast-and-retrieve without thinking about lure placement. Break the water up into small sections. Watch where your partner casts, then cast to an adjacent section. Dividing the water up will allow you to fish “new” water even though it might only be four to five feet away from where your partner placed his lure. Sometimes, a few feet will be the answer to a fish deciding to strike a lure.

Third, change the cadence of your lure. If you are both fishing a grub, and he’s hopping it on the bottom like a jig-n-pig, then you can try swimming it or dragging it like a Carolina rig. By switching up the cadence, you have better odds of finding out how the fish want the bait presented. This technique is especially helpful in tournament situations.

Lastly, when the driver of the boat shuts off the big motor and climbs up to the front deck, reach over and turn the steering wheel so that the back end of the boat is turning toward the bank. This technique is extremely effective when you are paralleling a bank with a spinnerbait or crankbait. Having the back end swing in allows you to increase your casting area and gives you better access to the bank. It also allows your bait to be retrieved at a slightly different angle than that of the person on the front deck.

Don’t let the fact that you are fishing from the back deck of a bass boat discourage you. The secret is to use it to your advantage and follow the tips mentioned in this blog. Keep in mind that on windy days and when the lake is busy with a lot of boats that NOT running the trolling motor has its advantages and your back will thank you…

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It’s been a long winter and the days are now getting longer, a sure sign that the granddaddy of all fishing tournaments is about to take place.

Starting Friday, February 19, the Bassmaster Classic begins on Alabama’s Lay Lake and runs through Sunday, February 21. ESPN takes the enjoyment to a higher level by beginning their Fantasy Fishing League on the same day.

My coworkers all get a chuckle when I tell them that my fantasy fishing league is starting this weekend. They always respond with comments like, “I WOULD play, but it might interfere with my fantasy tetherball league!” I always respond with the fact that fishing is a billion (with a “B”) dollar industry and is growing annually.

ESPN’s fantasy league is a great way to not only take a chance on some great prizes, but also to learn about the people on the circuit, how they fish, how they read the lake, how they adjust to weather conditions and how they choose the lures to match those conditions.

ESPN does a decent job of providing info and stats for helping with your picks, but there is room for improvement in my opinion. Currently, it is up each player to research the lake, learn each fisherman’s strengths and weaknesses as well as mixing in a bit of luck with their picks. What I HAVE learned though is that no matter how much time and effort I put into researching a tournament, there always seems to be someone who is not in the top 15 that has an awesome day on the water.

Click HERE to register for the Fantasy Fishing Game.

You will have to sign up and then make your picks before Friday afternoon. Once the deadline passes, your picks cannot be changed. After the tournament, your standings will be posted on the website.

Side Note: Congratulations to Pam Martin-Wells of Bainbridge, Ga., who scored the second berth ever for a female angler on the strength of her 2009 Toyota Tundra Women’s Bassmaster Angler of the Year title!

Watch the Bassmaster Classic on ESPN360.com

Check out ESPN Outdoor’s coverage of the Bassmaster Classic this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday on ESPN360.com.

WATCH: Friday ( 5:30pm-8:30pm ET) | Saturday (5:30pm-8:30pm ET) | Sunday (5:30pm-8:30pm ET)

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