NABC Lake Winnebago Recap

Fishing the North American Bass Circuit with good buddy Josh Douglas came with much excitement and mutual high expectations for results.  We were able to put some practice time in on the lake the previous weekend and the Friday before the tournament.

We found some things we really liked in our practice, but the main issue was how obvious these spots were and we had high certainty of plenty of company come tournament day.  The primary pattern we found fish in was shallow largemouth that trying to spawn or just barely on the front or backside of their annual ritual.  Our practice was pretty consistent, finding a few good fish here and there until late on Friday afternoon before tournament registration.  We found a small little boat canal all by itself that was stuffed with bass.  Josh and I both agreed it was one of the craziest things either of us had seen.  This small shallow canal, was just loaded with bass, big bass, bluegills, slab crappies, gar, in fact it looked better then most Bass Pro or Cabela’s aquariums.

After a long debate, we both agreed to roll the dice and put are eggs in the basket where we saw the huge load of fish.  We drew boat #23 out of 42, we came around the corner and thought we were first boat into this small area.  Although, there was a fishing boat catching bluegils just inside the front entrance, it also seemed water had gotten a little dirtier in this area.  We kindly asked to pass them and we got in position to start fishing slowly into this area.  As we started making our firsts casts we saw a tournament boat towards the back, obviously they ran past the front entrance and started in the back.  Fairly quickly, both Josh & I got a short and then Josh put a nice 2.7lb largemouth in the box on a Havoc Pit Boss.  Starting to feel good, another local bass boat emerged from way back fishing towards us.

Long story short, we tried to make this area work and blind fish it slowly, but dirty water, boat traffic and home owners fishing from their docks got the best of us; three hours into the tournament we still had just the one keeper.  We bailed from the area and went to fish similar structure that was also sure to be community stuff.  I quickly put a small keeper in the boat on a wacky rig (sign that things are not going well, when I am throwing a wacky rig).  We were about to get to a back area to try to catch some bedders only to find another boat leaving from there.  We continued to work these areas and tried to catch two bedders of our own, only to still have two fish with about 2 hours to go.

When things were looking super grim, I caught two decent keepers on a baby brush hog on an inside weedline.  We tried to work that area and another area like it for that fifth fish, but were stuck on four with about 90 minutes left.  We decided to live or die in our starting area, hoping some of the afternoon sun pulled more fish back into the canal that was so loaded just 24 hours earlier.  We did manage one small male sight fishing to fill our limit and setup on a couple females that just would not commit before we had to weigh-in.

Still have to wear the Happy Face on a tough tournament day!

We weighed out disappointing limit for 11.88lbs, which out us in 32nd place.  Not the what we had envisioned for this tournament, but felt pretty good about avoiding a near disaster and preserving some decent points toward the championship.  On the long way home we mulled over our decisions and strategy, and formulated some plans for the Madison Chain.  We both agreed, you learn the most from events that  you struggle in.

Don’t forget to enter the May contest for a free $50 gift card to Sportsman’s Warehouse.