Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Rain, Yaks, and Bass I didn't catch

Saturday Shannon and I fished the World Championship of Bass on the fly tournament at lake fork. Well, it sounds really prestigious but it's actually a pretty small event. We fished in the Non-boaters division, consisting of bank fisherman, Kayakers, and float tubers. The boaters division consisted of boats of course. The main difference between why we chose the man powered division is because of the slot differences. With the non boaters division it was a catch and release tournament, and we didn't have to follow the slot, meaning we could submit all the bass we caught. With the boaters, they had to follow Lake Fork's strict 16-24"slot, meaning they could only weigh in fish that were over or under the slot length. This would give us an advantage maybe? Not so much...

Shannon and I checked in at the tent on Friday after a several hour drive in a blinding rainstorm that contained hail and brought several inches of rain to the parched landscape of East Texas. Sure, we needed the rain, but the rain and the front that came with it did some damage on the fish. Pushed them back to deeper water, which we of course didn't know until we got out there.

I met Shannon at the ramp at 5:30 AM and we loaded up the kayaks and got down to buisness. We paddled out to the spot. After about 10 seconds my first thought was "Crap, the GPS/fishfinder isn't working!" it was flashing 0.6 feet and the screen was not changing. Back to Humminbird with this thing again! We kept paddling into the cove and finally got to fishing. Paddling around the cove, we decided to work our way in. We finally started to see some fish real real shallow, in range of a topwater bite. Yes!

No! The fish seemed lethargic. We ended up in the back of the cove, seeing a lot of bass and gar everywhere. Shannon made an exit but I chose to work the cove for a while. Finally after 10 casts I got a solid hookup and I set it with a strip set. My first thought was "It's not a bass". I was right, I hauled in this 13 inch channel cat minutes later.

The bass didn't cooperate here, so I headed into another cove. I ended up in the back of the cove and it was shallow. I was about to turn around when a brown shape in the water caught my eye. That's not a log, I thought. It was a bowfin, and it only took a few casts for me to have a fish on! It fought really really hard before the hook pulled. I needed that but I guess i'll be back after them again soon. Those fish fascinate me.

I'll skip to some fish action-
I moved to the mouth of the cove and started dredging a craw pattern deep after some bass that may be holding at the bases of trees. The first cast seconds after the fly hit the water I had another hard hit identical to the one before. It was another catfish! Why do I catch so many catfish on the fly?

It was 14 inches and 2lbs according to the boga. Now that the boga's certified, this is the soon to be junior fly record channel cat for Lake Fork. Easy to break record, but it'll get my name in the books again

So Agressive!
The rest of our fishing time was pretty uneventful, methodical cast-retrieve-cast again kind of stuff. It was pretty hopeless for the rest of the fishing time. Shannon lost a small bass, I hooked and lost a gar, and Shannon got a catfish. We decided to go ahead and weigh in empty handed.

At the weigh in we had a pretty good time messing around with the casting contests thinking we could win. I played with several rods and worked on my cast. I almost walked off with no injuries too, but I just had to stick a 3/0 bass bug into my hand before the official results came. That hurt, but it didn't get too deep.

The weigh in was fun, seeing everyone had a pretty slow day like we did with the exception of a few guys who actually limited and a few that had some stories to tell. There was also a great raffle at the end, and a lot of the prizes were really nice. Shannon ended up with a nice kayak vest and I got a little cheap lip gripper that would be great for sandbass and catfish.
We came in 3rd in our division. Not the kind of 3rd you want though, 1st, 2nd, or last in this case.

We will definitely be back next year, and next year we'll be competing as boaters. I hope we do a little better!

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