Saturday I fished the Pan-O-Prog bass tournament, hosted by Gopher Bassmasters, with my good buddy Ryan Brant. I’ve fished this tournament every year since I moved to Lakeville in 2003, all but first with Ryan, and we cashed checks every single time, but could never get the W. We came close on many occasions and in fact had the fished hooked to win a couple times. Case in point last year, we had three 4lb class fish hooked only to see them jump and spit our baits, sickening!
I only spent a few hours looking at the lake on two different mornings the week of the tournament for practice. Lake Marion is not a big lake, so I feel like I just need to locate a few fish to start on and get a feel for what the fish are doing each year. The Saturday before the event, the first spot I checked, I caught a 3.5lbr and my buddy Bill got 2 keepers on our first 3 casts. As tough as Marion has been lately, I knew this would be our starting deal if we could get a good draw & be first boat there.
I was fortunate enough to draw boat #7 and we were able to get to our desired area first. It was not lights out when we got there, it took awhile to get bit and a few casts more before Ryan got our first keeper in the boat on a flick shake. Ryan was able to get another keeper before we doubled up and that gave us 4 fish, with three of them being pretty small. Finally Ryan got a 3lb fish hooked up and in to the net, things were looking up.
It slowed up a little, so we made a little larger loop in the area, often resting a spot makes it better, I got a 12″ squeaker on a BassTEK Tungsten Jig and then Ryan had a nice bass nip his swim jig, I followed up in that spot with a Baby Brush Hog and put a nice 2lb fish in the boat. We then shifted back to the primary area and I quickly stuck a big fish on the hog, it jumped several times but we got her in the nest, she ended up being 4.62lbs. I then followed that fish up with 2 more 3lb class fish. Our bag was really taking shape as of about 8:30am.
The primary area slowed for larger fish, so we made another wider loop and I got one more 3lb fish, leaving us with a single 2lb fish as the small fish in our bag. We tried to get one more from this spot, so from there we ran knew water and Ryan tagged another fish close to 4lbs around 11am. We worked hard to try to upgrade from there, but only small fish from that point on.
We ended up winning with 6 fish for just under 20.9lbs and my 4.62lb fish missed big fish honors by .06. We fished a really clean tournament and often that is the key to winning a tournament, you need to be clean have a few things go your way. Full results should be posted here soon.
Sunday I practiced for the Alma BFL, as I hope to keep this momentum rolling!