It’s been a long hard year that started right here in March on Lake Oroville. Last weekend marked the ending of the 2016 FPT season in beautiful Oroville California.
I set aside Thursday and Friday to get some pre fishing in because I have not had a chance to get back to the lake sent the Classic.
Both Thursday and Friday fishing was pretty good you could catch them on top water all the way down to 50 feet of water.
Thursday I went south in the hopes of find some lagermouth, I never did. I ended up catching about 7 to 8 pounds of spotted bass in 20 to 25 feet on a drop shot, I was using a bait by Savage Gear that I’m pretty sure the fish are not seeing everyday, the bait is called Sandeels Slugs, this is a floating bait that is 4 inches long and when nose hooked it has incredible action. I used Okuma TCS 7′ drop shot rod paired with Okuma Helios Hx 25 high speed spinning reel, this is a super light and sensitive rod. I use Fins 40G 45lb test Composite Superline, I know why such a heavy Pound test for dropshotting, well friends let me tell you this line only has a 6lb Mono Diameter and I like to use a 6lb test fluorocarbon tag so with the line size being the same the double uni knot I use is extremely strong.
Friday I started on the main lake and the fish were just going crazy for the River2Sea Rover in Ghost Minnow color. I throw the Rover with Okuma TCS 7′ 3″ casting rod paired with the TCS Helios and Fins 40lb test Wind tamer braided line. As long as the wind was blowing the fish would eat the Rover but if it stopped so did the bite. I found that a deep diving crank bait would catch fish for about a half hour after the wind died down, but after that I was not very happy with what I was seeing, I spent the rest of the day running around the lake check here and there but was still a little worried about the afternoon bite, now what I’m about to say is a very important lesson to pay attention to, the sun was bright and the wind was dead calm it was hot and getting late in the day so I was headed to the ramp, I noticed a cove that had some trees in the water and turn to go look and see if I could get a fish or two. I know everyone was throwing a Senko so to give the fish are different look I chose to fish the Savage Gear Watermelon Red 3D Armor Crawler. This bait is great when using a nail weight because of the armor mesh that is infused throughout the head of the worm there is no need to glue the weigh so it doesn’t get thrown out every time you catch a fish. The first pitch into the tree I was rewarded with a 2lb spot, the biggest fish of my pre fish. I got a couple more bites that I shook off and pulled up to go look for more trees, I pulling into the next cove and pitch the Armor Crawler into the tree and my line jumped I set the hook on a big fish that did not like it and took off, I never got to see it because it broke my 10lb test fluorocarbon line. The good news is I was pretty happy with what I had found for my afternoon pattern when the wind died down and the hot sun came up, there are those two key words again. I had my game plan for the tournament now I need to get some heavier line because I was not going to have a fish break me off on tournament day, so off I go to North Valley Tackle in Oroville, which by the way I would like to say thanks to, they kept the store open until 8pm on Friday for us guys fishing the Future Pro Tour and opened up at 4am Saturday morning even had coffee and donuts for the fisherman, that my friends is pretty cool, so make sure to stop in on your way to the lake.
Finally tournament day is here and I am feeling pretty good with what I found in pre fish. Now that lesson I told you to pay a attention to, I am starting to notice as we blast off the wind is blowing a little bit more and the sky’s a bit darker at first I thought it was going to really help the top water bite, as I pull up to the first main lake point and make a cast with the Rover I noticed something right away, the wind was blowing from a different direction, I fished for about 20 minutes without a bite and told my team partner we are in trouble, today is completely different from my two pre fishing days and the top water fish are gone! Now I just couldn’t except that a little cloud cover would hurt a top water bite right, so I made a couple of judgments and went to the windblown side of Lake and got a couple to eat a Rico Popper but it was still no where near as good as it was yesterday. I pulled out my Okuma drop shot rod and put 3 keeper’s in the boat to feel our limit, but all the fish are barely 13″ fish, I told my partner with this cloudy conditions to keep with the top water bait and I will try to get a bigger fish deep while we wait for the sun to come out. Here it is 12 noon and we have 5.5 to 6 pounds and the sun is no where in sight, I still have to go check out the trees so we make the run from the main body to the middle river and pull into the cover with the trees, not one boat is in there and I tell Chase this might be ok. As I idle up to the trees I noticed on my Humminbird the bait is gone, I new then in my heart that we would get no fish in the trees but I still had to check after about a hour without a bite we gave up and headed back to the main lake to throw top water the rest of the day, with a hour left to fish the wind gods looked down on us and we culled two fish with 1.75lbs spots that smashed the Rover with less then a hour to fish. We now had a 7.00lb limit. I new it was a tough day and the weights would be low and I was right. Little less then 10lbs won the event and we missed a check by less then half
I want to thank RBBASS for giving me the opportunity to share my fishing adventures with you all a I look forward to writing more about the equipment and techniques I use in my Tournament Fishing.
So if you enjoyed reading my story please let me know, Thanks and God Bless.
Savage Gear USA Okuma Johnson Outdoors Humminbird/MinnKota River2Sea PlanoSynergy Cal Coast Fishing TNT Reelspeed THCG Dan’s Delta Outdoors and RBBASS