Last year Josh (Chopper) and I qualified for the Anglers Choice Classic by winning the Cedar Lake Division. We were both very excited because the lake we were going to compete on is very near to my heart.
Finally the day arrived and we headed south to Lake Guntersville. Our first two days of practice we spent combing the shallows in search of spawning bass. We did find two fish locked on beds but I questioned myself whether more would come or if we should look at more pre spawn areas..
The last three days of practice were a bit of a struggle for us. We were catching one here and one there with no consistency. We did however find a small grass hump where we caught two big fish in two casts. We were just praying that they didn’t move before the tournament started.
Day One- We made it to our first spot and fished it hard without a bite. We decided to make a move to a spawning flat. Chopper was first to connect with our first keeper. We were dragging a Rage DB craw with a 3/16 ounce weight in four to six feet of water. It was painfully slow but we managed getting on more keeper. Around 10:30 we decided to head out to the hump. The current wasn’t running but we had good wind current. Within five minutes I boated a 4 ½. Several casts later I caught another keeper. Then the wind died and so did the bite. In practice several of our friends were catching fish on Pure Poisons but we couldn’t seem to get the bites so I switched to a one ounce Hack Attack Heavy Cover spinnerbait and ripped it through the grass. The two hump fish came off that bate. We ran back to our flat for the last hour and Chopper filled out our limit with a 3 ½ off the DB Craw. Our 14 ½ pounds put us in 70th place. Not the way we wanted to start.
Day Two- We switched our rotation and went to our shallow fish first. We caught three keepers real quick and then the bite died. I knew the current wasn’t running yet so we went looking for two more quality keepers. It didn’t happen. We ran back to the hump and decided to camp on it until the end. Around 2:00 I had one of the fiercest strikes I have ever had in my life. The fish hit so hard I never had to set the hook. After a few second battle Chopper netted the 6 ½ pound giant. We had probably taken 500 casts to that exact spot. It is funny how much current plays a role in river impoundments. My arm was starting to get tired from ripping the one ounce so I decided to tie on a 5 ½ Shadilicious. I threw it for a couple of minutes then handed it to Chopper. Finally he got bit and boat flipped the 3 pounder which gave us our limit.
We ended up with 15 ½ pounds which was good enough for 37th place and a nice check. I was pleased with our performance because we never lost a fish and we never gave up. Out of 275 boats, I couldn’t complain.
Our gear consisted of Ardent Denny Brauer Swimbait rods, Ardent Apex reels, spooled with 17 pound Vicious Fluorocarbon. We caught all of our keepers on three baits. Strike King DB craws with a 4/0 Mustad Grip Pin hook, a 5 ½ inch Shadilicious with a ½ ounce Squadron Head, and a Hack Attack Heavy Cover one ounce Spinnerbait.
I also want to congratulate my good friend Mark Obrien and his partner Ryne Sanders for finishing 2nd place and winning a Legend Boat. They found the right fish and got the job done. I couldn’t be happier for them.