What a hot tournament! The weather was very hot the entire week. My dad went with me on this trip, Abbie and Jennie stayed home. I had been to Ouachita once before for the FWC. That event was in August and it was even hotter then. The fishing was very tough that time so I was looking forward to it maybe being a little better this time.
Practice: The first day we put in at the closest ramp to where we were staying. We started out real close by and about my third cast I catch a 2 pounder. Very shortly later I get another bite. Then another. In about the first two hours we probably caught 20. There were very good ones mixed in, including a 5 pounder that dad caught on a spinnerbait. We fished shallow mostly but also found two schools of fish about 12′-15′ on crankbaits. After having that good of a day in this area I committed myself to this part of the lake. The next morning was good again but the afternoon was a lot tougher. No big bites either. The last day of practice, again we started pretty close and found some shad spawning. I caught one my first cast then caught a double a few casts later. Again the afternoon bite was tough but we started looking for cruising fish and found a lot of them. They were following bluegill and hanging around bluegill beds. They were not very interested in eating though.
Day 1: FOG! We have a fog delay for an hour and a half. I’m already a little shortened by my first flight check-in. I decided to start where I had caught the double. Right off the bat I catch a two pounder and it has several following it in. I never get any more of these fish to bite. I go to the place that was so good on the first day of practice and do not have any bites. It is about 9:30 so I decide to go to the best deep place that I had. In about 15 minutes I finish my limit. I decide to go fish for the cruising fish because they are pretty good ones. I probably fished for 20-30 bass and only catch one that doesn’t help and one that helps a little bit. I end with about 10 keepers for 8-4 and I’m in 79th.
Day 2: I started on the same point as day 1 and one bite again but I miss it. There are some cruisers close by but they don’t bite either. Then I go to my cranking hole and it’s not as good either. I do catch a couple of small keepers. I move over to another point and finish out my limit with a decent keeper. I cull one time to improve my weight on a pop-r. The afternoon was extremely tough on me. I end with 7 keepers and 9-10 and only move up to 71st.
Day 3: Back to the same point but for just a few minutes, then off to a cranking hole. I catch a limit cranking. It does take about 2 hours but it finally happens. Two of these are decent keepers so I’m liking my chances at moving up enough to get a check. After another hour and a half of no improvement, I decide to make a change. I go to a different arm of the lake for a change of scenery. The water has real good color for all kinds of fishing. I fish some deep stuff but no good. Then I flip some bushes and right away catch a decent keeper. Fish some more deep and no good. Go back to the bank and I miss a couple of decent bites. I end up with 7 keepers for 9-12 and end in 64th. No check and I actually move down in points to 54th. Praise God I’m already in the FWC!
Added edge: The Citrus Stick 7′ Cranking rod with a Revo Winch is hands down the best cranking set up that I have ever used. It is very light and takes the work out of these baits.