Kenora Bass International 2015
This year’s bass tournament consisted a series of circumstances that taught us some unforgettable lessons. While our initial intent was to simple report on the outcome of our 3 days of tournament bass fishing, we think there’s a lot we learned that we can share.
Lesson 1: Pre-fish
With so much on the go this summer, we simply didn’t have time we needed to dedicate to pre-fishing. So on day one when we b-lined for our killer largemouth hole (where we landed a 5 pounder last year), we were met with disappointement when we arrived to find the lake bottom barren and void of any weeds where we expected an abundance of cabbage housing a winning bag of large mouth bass.
This disregard for the ever important pre-fish (combined with poor weather that we didn’t account for in our approach to the day) led to a very disappointing 11.22 lb day that dropped us from 25th to 116th after day one, placing us in the bottom 50 boats. It was clear we were going to have our work cut out for us the next 2 days.
Lesson 2: Adapt…QUICKLY
Day 2 had us throwing caution to the wind and heading in the opposite direction to a less known part of the lake which would turn out to be the right decision. While we didn’t smash any records, we managed a 14.19 lb finish by taking the time to pattern the fish in the high winds and targeting the spots we knew they’d be. We caught an abundance of fish on day 2 (landing in the vicinity of 40 fish, more than the other 2 days combined) but we still weren’t on the big bites we needed. At the end of day 2 we found ourselves up a few spots in 98th place, still among the bottom 50, which would actually turn into a positive for day 3.
Lesson 3: Figure out what what works and stick with it!
Day 3 in the boat was like a perfectly choreographed dance routine as we turned our game on and got serious about catching fish. We headed even further down the lake and managed to pattern the fish onto a finely pinpointed type of structure and on top of that, figured out what they were biting. While many boats buzzed in, hit the points around us and buzzed out, we were able to land a big bag of small mouth bass that none of those other boats seemed to find, as evidenced by the fact that we had the 4th highest weight for the day, with those other boats coming nowhere close.
Where other boats were hitting the points, we were finding the big dogs trolling the edges of the weed beds where pencils, lilies and rocks met on the shoreline. Once we had figured this out it was all a matter of hitting as many of those structures as possible.
We had also discovered that, while on day 2 all they were hitting were hard baits, jerk baits in particular, day 3 was all about top waters and soft baits. Early in the morning, within the first half hour of fishing, the Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits, 5″ California Roll found our first big dog (3.75-4 lbs) under a downed tree along a sheer rocky shoreline. We also hit some big fish on a top water, but we had some short strikes that were quickly picked up with a well targeted California Roll or Senko Worm.
Had we pre-fished, we would have known the other end of the lake was cold, pre-fished the area where we caught the big dogs and likely had a top 10 finish.
Lesson 4: Don’t Lose Hope
After an 11.22 lb first day, I found myself disheartened and wondering what the point was of continuing (besides trying to improve our start position for next year). But a 14.19 lb day 2 and whopping 17.61 lbs on day 3, spring boarded us to 38th place. Day 3 we had one of top five weights, landing us an $850 cheque and since we started the day in the bottom 50 boats, we also landed an $800 cheque for having the highest weight in the B pool. This was testament that it’s never too late to cut a cheque.
Lesson 5: Keep it Fun
Even with things looking grim after the first two days, we both commented that 3 days spent fishing with a good bud is never a loss. We had a ton of fun, lots of laughs and learned some important lessons. Keeping a positive attitude even when things go south is important or it won’t be long before you lose your taste for tournament fishing.