Couples Series Horsetooth Results
by: James Strawbridge 5/25/2012
Hey folks...Our second event of the year is now in the books as well. This one was held at Horsetooth Reservoir last week. I wanted to blog earlier, but have been a tad busy. As you may know I like to talk about my strategies for prefish, tournament day and my ups and downs of the days event.....so here we go!
As some of us know Horsetooth is a great fishery with an abundance of smallmouth bass. It's no secret and it's not a huge lake, so narrowing down a seasonal pattern is pretty easy. So going into the event I kind of knew the bass would be looking to spawn or might even be on beds. So Sharon and I headed up on the Friday before our event to see what we could see!
I started out on the main lake points using baits that would produce reaction strikes like crankbaits and jerkbaits, after all, I just had a tournament there May 15th with Centennial Bass Club, so the bass can't be doing things much different. The only thing I thought is that they might push up further into the coves and creek channels. Sure enough....didn't get one bite off the crank or the jerkbait on the points. So I trolled my way deeper into the coves. When I got there I decided to try a slow falling bait that would stay in their face longer so I tied on a wacky rigged senko. So armed with my Wiley X glasses and a fairy wand (spinning rod...lol) in hand I decided to look around. As I approach the shore I spot something take off...sure enough a small bass leaving a bed. Ok I said...good sign. I keep trolling along and see more fish shooting off the beds. At this point I decide to put down the rod and not even toss my lure. It's bad enough I'm spooking them off the beds. the last thing I need to do is sore lip them. So I fire up the big motor and head off to the next cove.
When I get to the next cove I notice the same thing. Small bass scattering off beds. I looked at Sharon and said "these fish aren't going to cut it, we need bigger fish to win this"! So Sharon suggested to move out to the secondary points again and look deeper for bigger fish. She brings up a good point. Bigger bass are smarter and they wont push back as deep into the coves and go as shallow as the the smaller ones. So for the rest of the day we spent our time looking for bigger fish.
As we gazed down along these points we could see down about 10'-15' and make out beds. Because the fish remove the top layer of silt with their tails to make beds they were very distinct and could spot them easy. The hard part was telling if there was a fish on them. They sure blend in well that deep. At this point I was still reluctant to toss a lure to them. I knew where they were and what I had to do....now it's time to execute on game day. So Sharon and I load up the boat and go home.
Now to tournament day......we launch our boats and get everyone out and on their way. As the tournament directors we are always the last to go and the first to show. So we have limited time to fish. but that's OK, we know what we are doing and where we are going. Sharon and I head to our first spot and start the pattern that I described above. Everything was going great until our 6th fish. Upon catching our 6th fish we must release one in the live well and replace it with a heavier one. This is called "Culling". Our rules state that you can only weigh in 5 fish. This sound easy, but when all the fish in the live well are an ounce apart it's hard to tell the heaviest fish. At this point we have to use a tool called a culling beam. It basically looks like a balance beam and you hook one fish on one end, and one fish at the other and the heavier fish will pull down the beam. Once you see the heavier fish you release the lightest. This process goes on for 6 more hours. Every time We catch a fish we have to record the weight and compare it to the lightest one in the live well. At some points the culling beam wouldn't even tip, making it impossible to decide witch fish to release. Believe me, we tried to upgrade to bigger fish to make this whole process easier, but Horsetooth has lots of cookie cutter fish...lol!
So the tournament has come to an end and it's time to weigh in. All but one couple bring in their limit of 5 fish. This is good for excitement, but bad when your fishing for hundreds of dollars, because I know this is going to be close. So we weigh in all the couples and then put our 5 on the scales. At this point my fingers are crossed and can only hope for the best. As the scale settles down she stops at 8.25lbs. I look over to Sharon who is in charge of the records and she announces..." We have a new leader". Jim and Sharon just took first place by 3/4 of an ounce. I could not believe it...we won! I would like to think it was due to proper culling. We interviewed all the participants at the end for our national report and found out that not one other couple used (or owned) a culling beam. I asked them "how did you know what fish to put back"? Their response was..."we didn't, we just eyeballed them"!
So what have I learned from this tournament? I've learned that a $13.00 culling beam won us our first tournament of 2012, and being prepared with tools and gadgets sometimes seems like overkill, but always pays off in the end.
Our next event will be at Lonetree Reservoir on June 10, 2012. Come on out and watch the weigh in. It will start around 2:00 pm, hope to see some of you there, and thanks for reading!
Blog content © James Strawbridge
pridetattoo, CO 5/26/2012 9:09:51 AM
is the next event another couples tourney, or something different? Also, how do you register for this tourney, or are we allowed to register for it? Oh, by the way loved the blog! Prep makes all the difference, and sometimes those tools really do help.
James Strawbridge (Team Galaxy), CO 5/26/2012 2:39:30 PM
pridetattoo......the next event is a couples tourney. You can register for the event the morning of the tourney or sign up on line. You can find more information at abacouples.com.
LunkerPunker, CO 5/27/2012 6:59:33 PM
Good blog Jim, We did have a cull beam in the boat and used it A LOT. The fish were just that close in size it was hard to tell. Another great tournament run by you and Sharon! Ca't wait for the next and anyone who isinterested in the Couple Series should realy check it out! Its a lot of fun and low pressure.
Vanish, CO 5/29/2012 10:10:16 AM
If only I liked bass fishing and had a boat that could compete. :D
Coyute, CO 5/31/2012 7:56:01 AM
Grats Jim and Sharon!