This was to be another annual Derby weekend on the water with Darren & my wife Christiane. We were fishing together to try & win a local event for smallmouth bass. We knew that it would take a fish of over 5 pounds to even place in the money this year and were hoping for one apiece! The first day began with sunshine and cool morning air temps in the low 60’s but eventually rising into the low 70’s. Water temps were just below 70 degrees with all the cool nights we had been having. Our biggest challenge was going to be the 15 to 20 knot winds from the N/NE that were causing a 2 to 3 foot chop on the areas we wanted to fish. It didn’t take too long before we got into fish as all three of us were hooking into smallies up to and even over 4 pounds on a regular basis slinging jerk-baits. It was great to be catching so many quality bass, but we were in need of something a little larger if we wanted to succeed in winning this thing. At one point, I had a fish closer to 6 pounds that ripped line from my reel on the initial hit and just let go. That was definitely a winning fish that was not soon to be forgotten! We caught probably 30 or more bass through the day on tubes & jerk-baits, but could only weigh up to 4.25 pounds as the largest. Most of these fish were between 3.75 pounds & 4.25 pounds as we weighed our three at the end of the day. Day two proved to somewhat different as we bettered our three best in the first hour or so of the morning. The largest was a fish of 5 pounds on the nose and the other two were between 4.5 & 4.75 pounds. The weather was slightly different than the day before with dark, eerie skies and little to no wind at all. Storms were present all around us, but the rain only fell towards the end of the day as we managed to dodge it by hopping all over the lake. The air temps were in the low 70’s but quite humid and the water temps remained the same as yesterday too. We didn’t catch as many fish as the day before, but we were looking for only bigger bass to weigh in on this final day of the derby. By targeting only areas that produced smallies over 5 pounds in previous weeks, we definitely eliminated plenty of water. This stormy, overcast weather definitely had the fish in a negative mood as we just picked a fish here and there. Once all was said and done, we managed to take 5th place with the 5 pound smallie only to have 5.01 & 5.1 as the 4th & 3rd place winners. The first place finisher had a bass of 5.4 pounds and a check of $2000.00 for his efforts. So close and yet so far this year. Oh well, there’s always next year!