It was the final tournament of the year and we found ourselves once again in a close race for Team of the Year. This year we were trailing by a small margin going into this final event. We really needed a strong finish to have a chance. We basically needed to win the tournament. So as my wife puts it… “We need to go big or go home” if given the opportunity. Well that’s exactly what happened. You don’t always have these opportunities, but it just played itself out that way.
We made a 40 mile run. We actually started off in our B spot to give time for the sun to come up for our A spot. Within the 1st 45 minutes we had around 14.75lbs with a 7.5lb fish being our best fish. The sun was up so we made a move to our A spot only to find it turned over and dirty. We didn’t see many fish so we didn’t stay very long. We decided to go back to our B spot before making a longer move to our C spot. We continued to see and catch fish throughout the morning but only caught 1 or 2 more fish in the 7.25 range and they did not upgrade us. At around 11am there was a magical moment. We sighted a pod of 6 fish and hooked into the one we wanted. We got him on the boat and there was a little moment of panic. We measured the fish on the board and he barely made it by 1/8th of an inch. We weighed the fish quickly and the boga showed 9.5lbs. We got the fish in the live well and he was a happy camper. We knew we may have just won the tournament, won the big fish prize, and potentially Team of the Year. Good thing there was no video of us because that next 15 minutes was probably pretty comical. We only caught 1 more fish that was 7.25 and then it was time to head home. Our decision was an easy one. Go in with close to 15lbs or over 17lbs. We were nervous because the fish was really close.
When we got back to the marina we measured the fish about 6 times. He made it 3 times and he missed it 3 times on the hands free perfect pincher. Our decision was to take him out and measure him and the very next time he made it, take it straight up to the scales. We did just that. With a crowd around us and being the last ones to weigh in we knew we had the tournament won easy IF he measures. Unfortunately, the fish went just over the line and it was heartbreaking. I would say 1/16 of an inch over if I had to guess. With that fish being DQed we had to use this event as our drop tournament. We were still able to hang on to a top 5 finish in the TOY standings with a 4th place finish. Although it was a bad ending, this will be a day we will remember for ever.
Thanks again to Richard Oil and Fuel for their sponsorship and we look forward to representing them in the LASS Championship in October and the IFA events coming up.
Captain Jack Payne, Sweetwater Marina and staff did an excellent job hosting this event along with the LASS staff. This year we have been finding plenty of fish in plenty of locations, but the quality slot fish have been very few and far between. Joe spent 1 day practicing and Cade and I spent another day practicing the week of the tournament. Our combined 2 scout days were no different than what we have been finding all year long. Joe was able to get on groups of fish in a few areas and Cade and I were able to do the same. We came back to each other to compare notes and they were disappointingly the same. Joe had found fish in 3 or 4 areas and I had found fish in 3 or 4 different areas as well. The problem is that we were maxing out at just over 14lbs in all of our locations. That being said, we had a few spots that we had caught some better fish earlier in the year so we decided to come up with a plan based on this information and also what we predicted the weather conditions to be. (West winds and no water)
We had a plan and it consisted of A B and C. A and B having #’s and C less #’s with potentially a little better quality of fish. We started out in our A spot already realizing that our C spot would likely be too shallow to get into and fish effectively. We instantly started catching fish. We caught a lot of small guys and within a few minutes we had roughly 12.5-13lbs in the well. The fish that were here during practice were a little better. After fishing this hole for about an hour and catching nearly 20 fish we needed to make a decision. Before heading to our B spot, we actually moved down to another spot close by that we thought might be good based on the conditions and wind direction. Not more than a few minutes later Joe was hooked up. It was the best fish we had caught in a while, near 8lbs. We weeded through a few more small fish and a few more 6.5lb fish. There was a lightening storm baring down on us and we knew we didn’t have much more time before making a move. Joe had the hot hand, and hooked into another good fish. It was near 7.5lbs and in the slot. We were on cloud 9 because it was really early in the day and we had 2 nice fish. We felt fortunate to have them early because of the weather that was brewing. We were forced to make a move and potentially come back later if it cleared up. To summarize the rest of the day briefly, we caught plenty of fish and never upgraded. We did not chance our C spot because of the low water and the conditions did not permit us enough time. We ended up with 15.63lbs placing 7th out of I think 73 boats. We were able to cut a check and also take home the big fish pot. (8.17lbs was our big fish) Winning the big fish pot was a surprise and a first for us! Congrats to Tony and Sal and the rest of the winners!
Thanks Richard Oil and Fuel for your support and sponsorship!
It seems that in tournament fishing more times than not something goes wrong or unexpected a lot more often than everything goes just as planned. Well this tournament was no different. Anticipating on making a run either east or west we were planning on using the Shearwater for this event. Due to a motor issue and a very sluggish turnaround the Shearwater would not be available for this event. The closest area we had prefished was around 50 miles away and it was mostly an open water run. We had the action craft ready. We were unable to find any decent fish close by and the weather looked promising so we decided to make a run 50 miles west. It was a little bumpy in the morning but we made across safe. We had fueled up realizing later that we didn’t need to. This cost us roughly 45 min of fish time. We were going to have roughly 3hrs of fish time. After an early double up we had around 11lbs in the live well. It was then that our issues started. One of the hoses broke off the main live well and to say it had a leak was an understatement. Long story short, we had to transfer our fish to the smaller well. Because of the live well configuration that small well drains slowly into the big well and of course the water leaked out of the big well. Good thing the bilge was working. We had to keep a close eye all day long and gradually add water as it got low. We were able to catch a 7.2lb fish with about an hr left to fish. We only needed one more good bite to have a respectable day. After catching a few more 5.5lb fish with about 10 min left we got the bite we wanted. It was what appeared to be an obvious upgrade to our smallest fish of 5.5lb. Yep you guessed it. The line pops and that’s the day. We had a relatively calm ride home. We ended up with 12.81 lbs and a 13th place finish. You won’t see my brother Joe in any of the pics because he had to head home to make his 2 girls dance recital in which he made it with time to spare!!! Congrats to the winners!
Once again we want to thank Richard Oil and Fuel for their sponsorship and support!
After three full years of fishing only the LASS events we felt it was time to go in a different direction and fish the IFA in 2013.
Although our results for this first one were not what we thought they would be (23rd place out of 70ish boats), we would have not done nearly as well had we not had those years of experience behind us Read more
Let me start by saying this is a little different than what you are accustom to seeing by Team Shallow Minded members. This idea came to me as I was preparing for the first tournament of the season, and trying to figure out what would be a potential winning weight for March 2nd. Read more