A Tourney Day
September 26, 2009
My brother Mike had always wanted to fish a tournament with me, so we entered an event today and went in hard. Although it wasn’t anything major, there were still 21 boats registered and that was almost as many as the “Quebec Tournament Circuit “had all season. I had been out of this scene for a couple of years now and my bro even longer, so it was great to see some of the old faces at morning registration. What wasn’t too good though were the 34 degree air temps we were faced with when we arrived at the lake. Along with the cold air there was of course a heavy fog and this looked like a possible delay, or so I thought. Departure time was 8:00 and we actually left a bit earlier when everyone was in the water and ready. This never happens in the tournament world and it was real treat getting in an extra 15 minutes of fishing time. Running in the fog has never been a thrill of mine and I took it slow until we hit the open water where it was more broken up and safer to run. I knew by the 59 degree water temps in our first location that it was going to be a slow bite and started just that way. The first five fish came aboard by yours truly and if this had of been the old tournament days, it would have cost my bro a case of two four. To make matters worse, I even culled the first couple of fish as well before Mike actually woke up and got in the game. I knew by the size of these fish that every one of them would be culled throughout the day and wasn’t too excited about putting them in the livewell. Oh well, at least it’s a limit I thought! Once the sun rose and the air temps began to rise as well, I knew we would start to have better fishing with the bass. They would become active and the culling would begin! In the next few hours we were able to cull up to over 25 pounds with Mike putting three in the boat that all went over 5 pounds. We were switching up between deeper water and following the movement into the shallows as well. Some of the fish were being caught deep and some of them weren’t but we had the best of both worlds. By resting areas we were able to go back to them repeatedly and monopolize on some of the better biters. Eventually we were able to cull up to around 26 pounds or so and now we really needed a kicker to add to the bag in order to have a chance at the win. I was pretty sure it would take at least 28 pounds and never gave up the battle. I did have one come unpinned that would have definitely helped the cause late in the afternoon. We hit the deeper water again and when I hooked her, it really wasn’t any different that all the other high four pound fish we were screening through. Unfortunately when she took to the air near the boat, I realized that this fish was well over 6 pounds. One more leap and the hook and fish parted ways leaving me that empty gut feeling I had forgotten from years past. We had a bad run in this area late in the afternoon that saw about 6 or 7 lost bites and break offs. Who’s to say just how big some of them were, but it still sucked! We kept fishing, culling ounces until the bitter end when we stopped within minutes of the weigh in area and still managed to catch a couple more 4 pounders. These ones wouldn’t be helping us today and I packed it in to head to the ramp. We had caught plenty of fish but was it enough to take the win? We were soon to find out that it wasn’t as we weighed in after a bag that went 26.35 pounds. We had a solid 26.00 pounds for our 5 largest and probably could have improved it by a couple of pounds with some of the lost fish, but that’s fishing. There was another bag after us that went 27.65 pounds and that I thought was fantastic until the last team weighed in. The team of Charles & Nigel would be breaking the Canadian record for five bass with an unbelievable weight of 30.35 pounds. It was anchored with a 7.15 pound lunker that was also phenomenal. Hats off to them for doing what we all wanted to accomplish, weigh a 30 pound bag! By the time all the dust had settled, there were 5 teams with 25 pounds or better in this event. This is Lake Eerie fishing and we don’t have to drive 6 hours to get to it. We also don’t have to endure the ferocious winds and waves to catch bags like these and that’s the best part. This event will surely start people talking about just how good the Canadian smallmouth fishing actually is and create more than just a ripple. I’m thinking more like a Tsunami in the fishing world! Although we didn’t even cash a check for an average 5.20 fish in this event, it was great to be able to spend quality time with my bro and meet the old gang once again. Hopefully the next time one of these tournaments gets organized, we can do better. Better than 26 pounds isn’t something I’m use to saying and I can’t believe I’m disappointed with a weight like that. Man, are we spoiled!!!