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.