Saturday, July 29, 2017

WVKA Tygart River/Lake Tournament - July 29th, 2017

   Leading up to the second WVKA tournament it had not rained for 2 months. 24 hour prior to the tournament start the Tygart river looked perfect. Then it started raining hard and would not stop. Grafton received almost 4 inches of rain in less than 24 hours after getting very little in previous 60 days. 50 anglers braved the high waters and driving rain to compete in this event. It rained hard on us right up until the tournament end then ironically it cleared off. The rain brought with it a cold front. Summer time cold fronts can be tricky to figure out. The only two places that had clean water were Tygart lake and the first 1000 or so yards below the dam. If you went down river much farther than that all the creeks and run off ditches muddied up the river beyond fishable conditions. About half the field fished below the dam and the other half went to the lake. The lake is like a mini Summersville clear and extremely deep. It is a drop shotters lake, not my kind of fishing. The dam hand opened half their gates at daylight then all of them at 10am. This made things tough on lake anglers because they were fighting falling waters and river anglers where fighting rolling current that they had to stay in because downstream was unfishable.
    I started off like all the on other tournament anglers beating the banks and rip rap below the dam thinking that rising waters would pull the bass up the banks, but they were not there. I started fishing out deep in middle of the river with a hula grub and bang there they were. It turned out while the water had came up a bunch the cold front had pulled them out to deeper water. I was quick to figure this out and get on some good early fish. Everyone around me initially was fishing 3 foot of water or less and I was 50 yards from the bank catching fish in 8 plus feet of water. Other anglers figured it out as the day went on. I had a big lead all day long on tourney X leaderboard at 65.5". Late in day Jerry Spralding a lake angler from that area found a pod of good fish and passed me by having 74" with less an hour to go. Going to the lake in the face of falling water was a big risk/reward type of play. It is harder to catch fish there but the potential for bigger fish is there.
  I end up grinding out a 2nd place finish with 65.5" in the individual tournament and Greg Nahodil and I finished 1st place on the team two man event. Winning a team two man was our purpose for fishing this event, and we won by a log we had 99.5" as a team and the next closest was 78". It was a great time, with great prizes. Greg won a Manley fishing rod, I won a pass for four to ACE Adventure Park and we won $225.  I don't think I could have ever gotten to 74" in the river to pull out a win as an individual. I fished clean and smart where I was. I also do not think I could have figured out the lake having never seen it before. This was my first day on the Tygart and beating the local guys on it is hard.  I still feel like I have never seen the Tygart because we just fished the section right below the dam and it was 6 feet higher than normal.

Total Fish Caught = 15
Biggest fish = 16.0"
Biggest Five fish = 65.5"
Finish = 2nd place out of 50 in individual and 1st place in team two man event.
Miles Floated = < 1,000 yards
Minutes per fish = 30.0

*Since my return from the KBF National Championship in March I have been on a bit of hot streak. I have finished 2nd in SCKBA event, 6th in SCKBA, 8th in WVKA, 1st in SCKBA event, 2nd in WVKA, with a 1st and 3rd place finish in WVKA Team 2 man events. I have finished top 10 and contended to win in every event I have fished in WV this year. I have enjoyed being consistent in my starts over the last 3 months. My head to head record since April is (199-13), putting me finishing ahead of 93% of the field in may last 6 starts. I also have a streak going that I have yet to not catch a limit of fish in a tournament(knock on wood), another streak I am working to keep going. The WVKA comes to Hinton this Saturday and I am looking forward to trying to keep this streak up.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

July Heat - July 22nd, 2017

The smallmouth favorite of the day for me. A 5" Lip Action Lures Jerk

Greg, Brad, Jared, Michael Gill, Alex Worley and I floated from the dam to the first takeout. It was hot early even before the sun got ripe. The water was probably 82 degrees and air temp of the same by 9am. I threw a fluke all day. Jared alternated fluke and plopper. I am not sure about everyone else. We did good as group but the biggest fish was Michaels 15.25".
Miles Floated = 3.5
Fish Caught = 32
Fish Caught as a group = ?? but > 100
My biggest fish = 15.0"
My biggest five fish limit = 67.25"
Minutes per fish = 9.18

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Mist - July 16th, 2017

Greg, Brad and I floated from Shanklins to Cedar in the mist today. Early fishing was dynamite. I again caught a big limit early and as typical for Shanklins things got tough after Sun got high. With water this clear high skies makes for difficult fishing. Greg and a great day to day as well catching and 18 and a couple 16" fish. I think had we been in the WVKA 2 man event we would have been really hard to guard today.

Miles floated = 6.5
Fish Caught = 21
Fish Caught as Group = 55
Biggest Fish = 19.0"
Biggest 5 Fish = 70.5"
Minutes per Fish = 14.28

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Virginia Smallies - July 15th, 2017

Jared, Greg, and I headed south of the WV border to float a section of the new at daybreak. The first 2 hours were awesome. I had > 70inches in the first 45 minutes. As the day wore on the sun poked out more and the wind picked up slowing the bite. For the third straight day I threw nothing but nose hooked flukes. June was all hula grub month and July has been all fluke month, but you can't argue with how well it is producing. Would not be surprised if August is all plopper month. But today was just another day to be Thankful to the Good Lord for another day on the river.

Miles Floated = 5.5
Fish Caught = 31
Fish Caught as Group = 63
Biggest Fish = 18.75"
My biggest 5 fish = 72.25"
Minutes per fish = 9.19

Friday, July 14, 2017

Hot and Humid July Afternoon - July 13, 2017

On a firecracker hot and humid July afternoon Nathan, Greg and I floated from the dam to the the dog 1 takeout. Despite the heat I found the smallmouth to be quite co-operative. I continued on with my fluke bite. In fact this makes two trips in a row I have thrown only one type of lure for the entire trip. I caught fish off every type of ledge you could find. I worked with Nathan on how to rig it and throw it and as the evening progressed he got better and better at it. Greg threw a jig and plopper most of the evening. I ended up with 39 fish, Greg 15 and Nathan had 10 or so. Nathan landed a 15.75" which was close to his personal best. I struggled to catch anything over 12 inches for the longest time but finally landed a 15 and 13" smallmouth.
Miles floated = 3.5
Fish Caught = 39
Fish Caught as group = 64
My biggest fish = 15.0"
My biggest five fish limit = 64.25"
Biggest fish of group = 16.0" by Greg
Minutes per fish = 5.7

Saturday, July 8, 2017

My Day - July 8th, 2017

So far in fishing various kayak bass tournaments I have finished 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 8th, and 9th but never 1st, until today. Today was the Greenbrier River Shootout. We had 34 anglers compete in this event. I used the fluke pattern over deeper ledges that I had found yesterday and it did not disaappoint. I start catching fish as fast as I could reel them in. Nose hooking flukes gave me a much higher hookup percentage than texas rigging them like I had previously done. I had one nice bass in 17" range bite the fluke off without getting the hook, had another nice bass spook by seeing me before he hit my fluke. I also had a one of the biggest smallmouths I have seen in year follow the fluke back to the kayak and look at me then dissapear. Even with all that I managed to do enough. I landed 65.5" in my best five fish. The next closest angler was 59.5". I honestly did not think I had done enough to win it but it was just my day. As an added extra special bonus my cousin Jack who was fishing his first every kayak tournament won the top junior angler award with 23.5".  We were joined by some anglers from WVKA and SWVKA today which was nice. I enjoyed getting to talk to those guys and gals from differnt parts of the state. Other anglers love to come to Summers County I thnk in large part becaue because we have the best venue in the state. It was a one of those days where you have the hot hand the fish want exactly what your throwing. Those kinds of days are always special. Considering I have lived on the banks of the Greenbrier for 30 of my 38 years it feels good to get a tournament win on that same river.
Miles Floated = 6.5
Fish Caught = 52
Minutes per Fish = 6.3
Total fish caught by all 32 anglers = 476
Biggest fish in tournament = 18.0" by Greg Davis my co worker at the VA in his first every yak tournament.
My Best Fish of the day  = 15.25"
My Best Five Fish = 65.5"

A Pattern Emerges -July 7th, 2017

My cousin Jack, Greg and I floated from the dam to the first takeout on this overcast Friday morning. The bite was real slow at first. We were picking up a fish here or there on a plopper but very sparse. The fish seemed to be spread out all over the entire river. At the first bridge we swtched over to the Greenbrier side. From there down I started throwing nose hooked flukes out in the middle of the deeper water twitching them over top of ledges.  FIshing really pickup up after that. Every ledge set you came to and every deeper hole had willing small mouth bass in them. Honestly they did not seem to want much of anything else. I had found the pattern that I would use for tomorrows SCKBA tournament.
Miles floated = 3.5
Total fish caught = 19
Minutes per fish = 11.0
Total fish caught as a group = 41
Biggest fish = 12.75"
Best five fish = 56.75"