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Beaver Lake FLW Tour Re-Cap

Posted by admin on April 19, 2013

What a week....talk about a roller coaster of emotions and playing a game of extreme highs and lows.  Even though last year was my rookie season, there are still so many things I have to learn and experience - there is always something new in this game.

My practice went almost as well as I could expect.  I checked out most of the lake, from the dirty water to the gin-clear water.  I found an area of the lake that I was comfortable with and tried to expand as much as possible.  I went into the event feeling like I had plenty of places to catch limits of spotted bass, which were very heavy and pre-spawn, as well as a few areas holding smallmouth and others with largemouth.  I felt like I had plenty of options and could rotate through them resulting in a solid tournament day.  I even got locked into a couple of patterns...which I'm learning at Beaver Lake are simply a by-product of the current weather conditions - I'm learning that patterns rarely hold up on Beaver for more than a day.  I had a very consistent jerkbait bite coupled with a spotty umbrella rig bite that seemed to be condition-specific.

On Day 1, I started in my largemouth area and caught a quick keeper.  Fishing through a few more areas, I was struggling get the fish to eat my jerkbait.  I switched up strategies and went fishing for spotted bass for a few hours.  With an early boat draw, I had a short day and was due in at 3:15.  At 1:00, I had one fish.  The wheels started to come off, I could feel the heat - as 2012 played out pretty similarly for me at Beaver.  My throat was tightening, and I needed something good to happen.  I rotated back through a few areas catching two keeper largemouth and another spotted bass, only to watch two good largemouth get off of my jerkbait.  The clock moved quickly and it was time to go in - with only four fish that weighed 6-15.  Landing one of the lost fish would have had me in the Top 50 - landing both of them would have me in the Top 20.  I was empty inside, extremely disappointed and frustrated.  Lots of things were going through my mind, and after talking with my brother and hearing about his disappointing day, I felt like I hit rock bottom.  I needed something good to happen and went to bed praying for a comeback.

I started out Day 2 doing more of the same.  After rotating through my first two areas and watching two fish miss my jerkbait, I finally put it down and picked up my umbrella rig.  After seeing the previous day's results, talking with my friend Casey Martin, and reading on BassFan how alot of guys caught them, I refused to be beaten by the umbrella rig.  I hit an amazing 150-200 yard stretch in a creek where I had a dream day - that unfolded in about 45 minutes.  5 pounder, 4 pounder, 5 pounder, 4 pounder.  I went from watching on Day 1 my hopes of making the Cup go down in flames, to being in contention to win the event and still make the Cup....all in about 45 minutes.  It was one of the most amazing hours of my fishing career, certainly one I'll never forget.  I was able to cull a spotted bass later for a 3-pound largemouth and realized I had a very special day.  They hit the scales at 22-15 and alot of attention was focused on me from the media.  I moved up to 3rd place overall, just a pound of the lead.

Day 3 saw very different weather conditions, and I failed to adjust.  And honestly, the pressure from the media affected the way I fished.  I had camera boats with me for the first three hours of the day, and I tried like never before to reproduce the Day 2 catch - but it wasn't happening.  I scraped up 4 fish again for 6-10 on a River Rat Tackle Shaky Head and ended up missing the Top 10 cut by 1-08.  I was disappointed, but thrilled to have made the cut at Beaver - and more importatnly it got my season back on track.  I moved up to 47th in the points and now am back in the race to qualify for the Cup.  We're moving into a time of year and is more of a strength, and I'm looking forward to our next few events. 

Thanks for all of the messages, prayers, and encouragement the past few weeks!  It's an honor to be hauling the Red Gold boat and truck all over the country, talking with fans of fishing and tomatoes everywhere we go.  I'm blessed with time with my brother, friends, and father-in-law on the road, and my wife is amazing at keeping our home going while I'm on the road. 

Below is a quick re-cap of my set-ups at Beaver Lake:

 U-Rig Gear -  7'6" H Bulldawg Musky Rod, Castaic Jerky J School Flash Rig, Castaic Swimbaits, Reaction Strike FLATS LOK Jigheads, 50# braid

Jerkbait Gear - 6'6" M and 6" M Elite jerkbaits rods, Reaction Strike, Luck E Strike, and Spro jerkbaits, 10" Bass Pro Fluorocarbon

Shaky Head Gear - 6'6" MH Bulldawg Shaky Head Rod, 10# Bass Pro Fluorocarbon, 3/16 and 1/4 oz. River Rat Tackle Shaky Head and 6.0 Mousetail Worm (Green Pumpkin, Watermelon)