This was going to be the toughest event of the year without question. Everyone knows that this part of the river isn’t very good. I had just finished the Open on Douglas and welcomed the birth of our twins. This meant that I would miss one day of practice here which was fine by me! I also had my Tracker Grizzly wrapped for this tournament. The folks at Onyx stepped up and it showed with the way this boat turned out. I thought that there was a chance that it could help me gain an advantage over the rest of the field.
Practice: I spent all of my time in the pool above Little Rock. I found one backwater area that was good and I needed the Onyx boat to get in. Other than this most of my bites came on the main river. I never did find anything that seemed to have the potential as the one backwater area so it made the first day decision fairly easy.
Day 1: Launching at an Elite Series tournament in an aluminum boat is a little intimidating! This is what I felt like I needed to do though. It was one lock and about a 35 mile run in the Onyx Tracker. This took an hour and a half with the lock. I finally got to my area and started fishing. This best thing about this is that I was the only one in there. It was a little slower than I expected but I started catching a few. The first keeper was a solid largemouth. The next couple was spots that I was glad to have. I caught a few that were just short of being keeper largemouth. I did catch one more largemouth that was over 15”. I had a few more keeper bites that I missed before I had to go in. I ended with just 4 fish that weighed almost 6 pounds and in the upper 50’s.
Day 2: Since I didn’t catch a limit the first day, I took the Nitro the second day. This would maximize my fishing time but I wouldn’t be able to get into the area I fished the first day. I caught a keeper flipping right off of the bat. I started cranking some of the rip rap jetties after this. I hit a couple that was good. I finished my limit before noon, but they were all spots. This was also all of the keepers I caught this day. Now the exciting part comes in. We had a “designated” lock time to go back down; but when we got to the lock, there was a barge in it. It was a double and was not near being done. It was a very never racking 30 or so minutes, but we finally got in. Thankfully I was in the second flight and made it in with seconds to spare. Everyone in the first flight was late and lost their catch. This was a very aggravating situation that should not happen in this kind of event. We all know the risks of locking and knew what we were getting ourselves into though. I ended with a limit for about 5 ½ pounds. This ended my tournament in 58th place. This was the first B.A.S.S. event I had not gotten a check in.
Added edge: Easily the Onyx Tracker was a big help in this tournament. Had I not been able to access the backwater area that produced all of my catch the first day it could have been a real bad event. This boat is so much fun to fish out of and the water that you can run through is amazing. Thanks Onyx for making this boat available for me to fish out of!