Coming off a really good finish at the Southern Open on Douglas Lake I was fishing with a lot of confidence. We’ve been to Beaver Lake a number of times on the FLW Tour, including when it was low, as it is now. I figured I’d spend most of my practice time up the river, where the bigger sacks are usually caught, but after 13 hours of driving I decided to stay close to the campground on the lower end of the lake the first day. That proved to be useful, because I easily could’ve had a 12 pound limit, and probably could have had some more.
The second day I went up the river to the War Eagle area. That’s where a lot of the bigger catches occurred last year. This time around most of the fish I caught up there were shorts. I never really got in a groove or developed any confidence in that part of the lake, so on the final day of practice I elected to look for more stuff in the lower end. I would have had 12 or 13 pounds again, and historically that’s been pretty strong there, so I decided to stay down lake for the tournament. I figured that if I had a good limit in the boat early, I could run up lake for a couple of hours looking for one or two big bites.
As I’d hoped, I caught a limit pretty quick on the first day of competition. Those first five fish included two keeper smallmouths, one decent largemouth and two spots. I was catching them in 20 feet of water on a ¼ ounce Lunker Lure shakey head with a green pumpkin Missile Baits Fuse on the back, fished on 6 lb. fluorocarbon.
The shakey head bite got slow in the afternoon, so at about 1:30 I ran up to a creek where I knew some big largemouth lived. I started pitching a 3/8 ounce Lunker Lure Limit Series jig (Missouri craw with a green pumpkin Twin Turbo on the back) around the pole timber. That was obviously the ticket because I caught 25 more fish in the last two hours, including a 4 pound largemouth and another good largemouth to cull again. That gave me 13-01 for the day, and I was pretty happy.
Unfortunately, it was clear that the afternoon bite was much better than the morning up there, and I had a short day on Friday. Still, I had some areas on the lower end that I hadn’t been able to fish the first day due to the wind, so I hit them early and had a limit of spots in 90 minutes. By 11:30 I hadn’t improved my weight so I had to push the issue on the shallow bite and go hunting for those bigger largemouths, but I didn’t have enough time. It was just starting to turn on when I had to leave and I ended up with a limit that weighed 7-09.
Despite falling quite a few spots on the leaderboard, I still got a check. I would have had some valuable points, too, except for the fact that I’m going to have to miss the FLW on Eufaula, which all but eliminates my chances of making the Forrest Wood Cup. That’s bittersweet – I’m glad to be fishing well, and with strong momentum, but there were scheduling conflicts and I had to make a choice.
The next tournament on the schedule is at the Red River and it promises to be a shallow, dirty water slugfest. That’s right up my alley. I love how that river fishes. The only thing I don’t like is that it’s tough to get around. You have to idle a lot and always run the risk of damaging your equipment. I’ve already taken off my sidescan and downscan transducers – they’d just be in the way. I’m going to focus on trying to find a hidden spot that I can have to myself. I’m not fishing for points, just for money, so if I can find an area that seems promising I can afford to put all of my eggs in that one basket.
10 fish, 20-10