The time has come.... when the weather takes a turn for the worst, and the air gets that nice chill that lets you know that the ice is coming...for some of us! Some of the few lucky ones get to fish most of the winter on open water and reap the benifits of year round fishing.
I wanted to tell you about one of the best tourneys I have fished... Lake Powell TOC...
I just finished the UBTT Bass Season with a pretty good overall finish, and qualified for the Team Championships at Lake Powell. This is basiclly the best 50 teams from the 4 states(Utah,Arizona,New Mexico and Colorado) who converge on Lake Powell for the two day fish off for the BIG BUCKS. This year the first place team took home OVER 11,000 dollars in cash and prizes. My partner and i had spent the better part of a month looking at everything we could find on Powell, bait size, colors and spots. We also looked at Google Earth probably more then is safe, and learned that.... Lake Powell IS BIG! We were slated to launch from Wahweap Marina that is at the bottom of the lake. Most people are familiar with Bullfrog or Halls Crossing, which just happens to be about 100 miles from Wahweap!
Our goal was to find a few good..looking spots from the internet and then find them in pre-fish. Problem is... they are all far away from our launch area. We knew that if anything... we were gonna burn a ton of gas, and have sore backs after three pre-fish days, and two tourney days. Sure enough... EVERYTHING is a long ride from the lower end of the lake!!! We arrived on Tuesday morning to perfect conditions. 80 degrees and sunny, light wind and a nice forecast till "Black Friday".... more on that later!!!
We drove all the way up to Halls, which is about 100 miles 1 way..... yes... one way. We found that the reports we heard were true. Bass and stripers had pushed HUGE shad balls to the backs of some of the coves and were keeping them pinned in the back.. like a buffet!! Some coves had all bass, some were mixed with stripers and some were all stripers. That soon became our goal. Find the coves with bass, and as few stripers as possible. By Wednesday, we had found a few good spots, but knew there were more to find. We ran all the way back up North to look around some more. By the end of the day.. we felt great about our 9 spots we found and marked on GPS. Thursday was a short day, as we had to be off the water by 2 pm. We used this day to fish stuff that was close knowing that Friday was gonna we windy, raining and cold. Thursdays fishing went good, and by now, we know that topwater and buzz baits are the ticket for where we are fishing.
I had a bit of time after coming in on Thursday to retie, put new line on, and get the best baits ready to fish. I also took some time to replace the hooks on the topwater baits i planned on throwing. We found out that the better fish were eating big baits that either "walked" or 'popped", so we used Megabass giant dog x's and Pop Max's in shad colors. We also had a couple walking baits tied on including the Rico Sauve, and the Reaction Vixen. These baits all use treble hooks, and as most bass fisherman know, trebles are famous for letting fish off. When you qualify for a Championship you MUST eliminate as many variables as possible. I started fishing the Trokar line of hooks this year, and had ordered two sizes of their new trebles for just this situation. After a few minutes of bleeding fingers and a fresh set of Trokar trebles on all my top waters, i was feeling good about eliminating any missed fish. Just so happens that the buzzbaits we were throwing were the new Pepper Jig buzzbaits that come with a Trokar swimbait hook and we never missed a fish on those in pre-fish either.
First day of the tourney brought the super storm... wind, rain, and gnarly lightning!!! We launched just before daylight, and sat in rain until they called our number. We knew we wanted to run way up North, but we also knew that the weather would dictate that. We made it about 30 miles up the lake and all heck broke lose. Driving rain, and lightning over our heads. We made the safe choice to turn around and go back to Last Chance to catch a few we found in pre fish. Our first spot yeilded a nice 3 pound plus smallie. The full force of the storm was over head and showing us who the boss was. Thousand foot water falls and some of the craziest waves i have ever seen. My partner got soaked in the morning run so we needed to warm up a bit before we could make the run North to the better spots. I had just bought some of that Simms Rain gear... yea... the really expensive stuff, but i can say it saved my bacon! I was wet only where the life jacket folded my rain gear up and pooled water. We dried up and ran the last 2o miles to Slickrock and Iceburg canyons. We caught 5 fish in 6 casts up there to get about an 11 pound sack. We knew we were doing good, so we headed back to make sure we could weigh the sack in and not get cught in the storm. We stopped at another spot just before the no wake area and I caught a 3.81 largemouth on a Megabass giant dog x. We weighed 12.21 for 14th place on day 1, but only 2 pounds out of the lead.
Day two brought much nicer weather, and calm skies. We made the long run to Halls and caught a 3 1/2 pound largie on the first cast. This was a fish we had roll on a buzz bait in pre fish. We netted it and went to run to the next cove and my partners brand new Mercury started running bad. Sounded as if it had a bad plug. We limped over to Bullfrog and got a few plugs to change out. After a 2 1/2 hour delay, we were back on the water. ONLY ISSUE IS WE WERE a 2 hour ride away from the launch. The plugs didn't help the boats perfomance and we were back at square 1. This delay left us with about 1 1/2 hours left to fish. We slowly made our way back and fished a few spots to get a small limit and the headed in. We weighed 10.58 for a 11th place finish and 1 out of the money!!!!
Over all the trip was sick.... Powell is fishing super, and the tourney was fun considering the last days problems. I never lost a fish on topwater...thanks to the Trokars, stayed...pretty warm and dry in the Simms raingear, and had a blast!
Oh... and did I say.... pike fishing is around the corner... Iwill do another blog about our tourney season for pike this year at Navajo.... enjoy the last few days of warm weather... and pray for the folks on the East Coast!!!!