Lakecaster Online

Tournament Pathfinder
by John Presley

On March 25the BassMaster Missouri Central Invitational was held at Table Rock Lake in Missouri. The first day of practice I started off using a suspending rogue off the bluff banks, throwing around the submerged cedar trees but I was unable to make it work for me. I caught only one good smallmouth about 4 pounds .The second day of practice the sky began to clear and I decided to swim a hula grub in the submerged cedar trees. The trees were holding a lot of suspending fish in about twenty foot of water.

The area I was fishing was a bluff bank were I put my boat in 60 to 80 ft of water casting into the cedar trees that sat in 25 to 35 foot of water. The trees not only had suspending bass holding but also large amounts of shad around. I used a jig head with a 3/0 hook rigged with a Chomper' s watermelon hula grub. The water was very clear so I spooled up with 6# test Pee Line. The fish were very spooky in the trees, if you got to close you couldn't get bit. Instead of using spinning tackle I used my Erhardt Paragon Series bait casting rod. This rod would allow me to back off and throw the light grub without spooking the fish. The design is a round rap design that will let you cast about 10 % farther than other rods, It is super sensitive and that was really important because the bite was really light swimming the grub in 25 foot of water. This technique worked very well for me that day. I boated a couple of three pound fish. And had a lot of bites in one area .

On the last practice day, I started looking for other areas like I found the day before. I only found two and one of which seemed better than what I had found the first day. In one area about 40 yards apart I caught a 7 pounder and one around 6 pounds. It seemed I had a good pattern so I decided to go in and get things ready for the first day. On the first day of the tournament, I went to my best spot and had a limit of about 13 pounds at 11.00am. By 1:00pm I had culled up to what I felt was around 16 pounds. I weighed in 16-11 and my biggest fish that day was a 4 - 12 Kentucky bass. At the end of the first day I was in 10th place. The first days leaders were: 1st Wayne Crumpton of Arkansas with 5 fish weighing 22-8, 2nd John Sappington of Oklahoma with 5 fish weighing 20-7, and 3 rd Jay Yelas of Texas with 5 fish weighing 18-9. The first day I was in the first part of the second flight out but on the second day I was in the last flight. When I got to my spot there was another tournament boat from Kentucky sitting on it, right were I caught my good limit the day before. This tournament angler had only caught one keeper on the first day. He didn't fish there on the first day but was within sight of me. We had a few words but he would not move. He start ed doing and using what I did to catch my fish. He and his partner between them boated 7 keepers on my prime spot during its peek time. I tried to move him off my spot but he would not give an inch. I was able to catch 4 keepers and lost another one in the trees .My four fish weighed 9-14 and after two days I had a total of 26-9 and was in 21 st place. The top three leaders stayed in their same place after two days. Wayne Crumpton 1 st place 10 fish weighing 43-10, 2}nd} place John Sappington 10 fish weighing 35-8 and 3rd was Jay Yelas with 10 fish weighing 33-4.. When I got to my spot on the third day, the same tournament angler was already there and had caught four good keepers. Other anglers were fishing my area but where respectful of my water. Another part of fishing bass tournaments, should be to find your own fish. My partner and I boated one keeper each, his was about 3 lbs and mine was 2-11. Later I found that the guy that moved in on my fish weighed in 14 pounds the last day and ended up getting a check. I finished the tournament with 29-04 and finished in 34 th place good for $1700. The winner of the tournament was Wayne Crumpton of Royal Arkansas with 15 fish weighing 58-13 winning $ 42,000, 2nd place John Sappington of Wyandotte Oklahoma with 15 fish weighing 50-00 winning $27,000, 3rd place Brent Chapman of Lake Quivira Kansas with 15 fish weighing 46-00 winning $25,000, 4th place Mark Pack of Mineola Texas with 12 fish weighing 45-08 winning $10,000,and 5th place Jimmy Davis of Willard Missouri with 15 fish weighing 45 -00 winning $7,000. Crumpton won the tournament were two creeks came together. His fish were holding in 6 to 8 ft of water .He used a 4 -inch Roage on 8 pound Silver Thread Line for his big catches .He also used a green crawfish Storm Lures Wiggle Wart on 10 pound line to fill his limit each day . This was the 47 year old anglers first BassMaster Title and also the first time he had fished Table Rock congratulations to him on his first win . Two other anglers who finished in the money from our area were Todd Faircloth of Jasper with 27-14 finishing in 40th place worth $1600 and Bud Pruitt of Sam Rayburn with 27-02 finishing in 43 rd place worth $1400. The final BassMaster Central Invitational event this season will be April 29-May 1, in Oklahoma at Lake Eufaula. In my next article I will bring you the results of that tournament.

By the way , when I am not fishing tournaments I am a full-time fishing guide on Lake Sam Rayburn. If you would like to book a trip please call me at 409-698-9713 or Ann' s Tackle Shop at 409-384-7685.
Good Luck and Good Fishing.

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