The Toyota Texas Bass Classic is always an exciting event because it brings the best of the best from all of the major circuits to one lake for a true championship event. I was especially excited this year because the water level was back up after a few years of drought. When I’ve done well at Conroe in the past my success has usually involved the lake’s many docks.
The lake wasn’t yet at full pool (it was still 3 feet low), so only half of the docks were back in play. Since it’s hardly a secret pattern, I knew they’d be hit hard. The tournament was earlier than usually and I knew that the water was still pretty warm and the bass would just be starting their transition to true fall patterns. Therefore, I vowed to concentrate on offshore patterns. They weren’t necessarily deep fish in the true sense of the word, but rather mid-range bass in the 6 to 12 foot zone that should have been on the feed. Find all the equipment and gear you need to go camping by clicking on https://www.altitude-sports.com/collections/gear-sleeping-bags this link.
My practice was relatively successful. I located bass on brush piles, rock piles and drop offs. While I wasn’t getting a huge number of bites, the ones that I did get were quality fish, they type you need to win in Texas. My one mistake may have been that I split my time between the main lake and the upper river. If I’d known then what I know now, I might have spent a lot more time up the river.
The expected weather – sunny skies and hot temperatures on Day One and wind and rain on Day Two – dictated a dual-pronged strategy. I’d go deep the first day and then move shallow when the nasty stuff blew in. Unfortunately, no one told the fish about that plan. I knew that the deep fish would be stingy. I was just hoping for 3 to 5 bites, but it never happened. I got only two. One was short and the other came unhooked on the way to the boat.
The goose egg on Day One left me in position to go for broke on Day Two. I knew that I could bust a big bag shallow, in 2 to 6 feet of water, so I vowed to just cover as much territory as I could. Once again, luck was not on my side. I jumped a few good fish off and landed only a few sub-legal bass. When the wind laid down later in the day, I eased out into deeper water. Specifically, I went to a patch of standing timber up the river, tied on a ¾ ounce Lunker Lure jig and went to work. Within the first 20 minutes I caught three good fish, one of which weighed 4 pounds. That led me to believe I could make a surge toward the top, that I was on a big school of fish, so I decided to camp in that area. Unfortunately, I never got another bite.
Maybe I should have stayed shallow that day and tried to make something work there, but I don’t feel like I’d located the right shallow areas to go for the win. I needed a bit of luck, or a bit more experience on the lake, to know where those locations might be. There was no reason to aim for 3rd or 4th place again – this was all about winning, and to have that approach you have to be willing to throw the occasional zero on the board.
After a busy tournament year and a ton of travel, I’m ready to pursue some much-needed rest and relaxation. I’ll make a few appearances to keep my mind in the fishing game, and I’ll also try to finalize my 2013 tournament schedule, but I’ll also do a little deer hunting to clear my head a bit and keep me hungry.
47th Place, 8 pounds 12 ounces