Not sure how many years I have fished the Pan-O-Prog bass tournament, but I started fishing it every year when I moved to Lakeville, so it must be 8 or 9 years now. In the early years, I spent quite a bit of time practicing out on Lake Marion, but in recent years, I am lucky if I have 4-5 hours on the lake from one year to the next between tournaments.
This year was no different, I spent a little time scouting the Sunday before the event, bouncing around from shallow to deep looking for weed growth and potential schools of fish, I found little of either. My partner Ryan Brant drew boat 16 out of 39 for us on tournament morning, so with little to go on, we started where most of the magic happened where we won last year.
We caught 4 or 5 fish pretty quick on soft plastics, but only two of them were decent fish, the rest were just keepers. We then hit quite a dry spell and it wasn’t until about 9am that I caught #6 on a swim jig with Evolve Swimmer as a trailer. After checking a few more spots we returned to our starting area and Ryan and I each got an upgrade on soft plastics, at least those fish got rid of our 12″ class fish.
From there we ran a long stretch of docks, not a single bite until the last one, where I was able to make back to back culls skipping a 3/8oz BassTEK Tungsten Jig with craw trailer. We noticed this dock had more weeds around it then the rest, so we took that as a clue to find areas with shallow grass. We went into one of the little pad corners on the bigger part of the lake and I caught 3.7lb fish out of a pad clump which ended up being our biggest fish and last upgrade of the day. We fished hard to the wire, hitting a couple new things and returning to our starting area, in the end our 6 fish weighed a modest 16.01lbs, but it was good enough for 4th place and a decent check for a tournament that is super close to home and I only had about $20 in gas money tied up in the event. Also, we fished clean, no lost fish for us, we’ve finished 2-5th in the past and it was because of poor execution, this year, we just didn’t get around the right fish, we made the most of what we were on, you have to feel decent about that.
Ryan & I after the check.
As I write this, I am litterally packing to head down to La Crosse, WI to fish next Great Lakes Division event on the Mississippi River, got my Evolve Nervous Walker and Mad Mouse baits all packed and ready to do some serious Froggin’ this weekend!
Evolve Mad Mouse & Nervous Walker Frogs