Saturday, May 23rd was the second stop of the Wisconsin Team Circuit on the Holcombe Flowage. It was hard to not be amped about this tournament after 3 successful pre-fishing days.
I had 2 major concerns going in to this one: 1) This was a 48 boat tournament and there are way too many great fisherman in this circuit, so I knew that more than 1 boat would be on the same fish as we were - being boat # 26 to take off in the morning was going to hurt! 2) The weather the week prior to this tournament was beautiful and hot - very hot, with 2 days over 90 degrees. In these cold water flowages when the water warms drastically, a majority of the fish can finish their spawning business within a couple days.
My tournament partner Steve Crotteau and I put the boat in the water at 5:30 am Saturday morning to get to the East Bay Resort for teh pre-tournament meeting - one of my concerns was answered almost immediately upon looking at the surface temperature on the Humminbird display - 68.5 degrees - a full 10 degrees warmer than a week ago during pre-fishing. This temperature altered our game plan slightly, as we picked an area that should have litlle tournament pressure, and we felt that we could bang out a 5 fish limit within the first hour and then shop around for big fish.
The first stop yielded 3 fish, with the biggest being a 2.81 lb largemouth that fell victim to a wacky rigged Senko on a spinning rod. It took until 10:30 to get our 5th fish, and then we slowed down to thoroughly pick apart cover.
We finished the day with 11.69 lbs after a .25 lb dead fish penalty. This weight was good enough for a finish just outside the top 10 (I think around 13th). We did have a couple of fish that came unbuttoned that would have easily put us in the top 5 as we weighed in one fish that was 2lbs and another that was under 2 lbs.
The biggest disappointment was a 4.5 lb class largemouth that took my bait on a drop next to the dock and was coming to the boat - she rolled and we got a good look at it, then it just wouldn't move and she was still 10 feet from the boat. In a heartbeat, she was gone and I still couldn't bring the jig in. What happened was someone had snagged the dock with a tube with around 50 lb braided line and I had the fish hooked in the upper lip. as I was bringing it in, my hook that was exposed from her lip got hung up on the braided line that was attached to the tube (someone cut the braid off) and that took all the tension off the fish and on the the braid attached to the dock, so the fish was able to come unbuttoned.
That was just a freak thing - as I stated earlier, the fishermen in this circuit are outstanding and you need to not only have a good day, but some luck as well.
Our bait choices today were Super K Jigs, Senkos, and Beavers.
It did take just shy of 20 lbs to win, and I believe 16 lbs or just under for second and 12 lbs to cash a check. Results will be posted soon on www.wtcbass.com - Bill, Karen and Bear Schutts run the Wisconsin Team Circuit, and you can not find a better family run, family and friend oriented bass circuit in Wisconsin.
Special thanks to my sponsors, especially Grafe Auction Company!