The tournament that I’ve had my eye on all season long finally arrived! I headed down to La Crosse, WI to begin prefishing on the Mississippi River for the Everstart Central Division event on Saturday the weekend before the tournament.
The open pools for this event were pools 7 through 9, but because of the short fishing days and only being a 3-fish limit per the WI DNR rules, I decided I was going to focus on the Lake Onalaska portion of pool 7 and the south end of pool 8.
My first two days of prefishing were very beneficial to me, for several reasons. One, I was able to find areas on both pools that were holding fish. Two, I did catch some fish that were in that much need 3 lb. range and lastly, I was also eliminating much dead water.
Going into the first day of competition on Thursday, I knew that for me to stay competitive I would need to weigh in at least 8 lb’s and that ideally I would need to be shooting for that 8.5 to 9 lb. mark and I felt with the practice I had I could hit this range and with one kicker bite, I could easily be pushing for a top ten spot.
On day one, I locked up to the Lake and started throwing a swim jig and Carolina-rig on a weed line, but that yielded one small keeper for my co. My second spot did hold fish, but not the size I had caught in practice. I was fishing a grass/lily pad bed that had current running alongside of it and throwing a Snag Proof Bobby’s Perfect Frog, which put together a quick limit for me.
Shortly before midday I decided to lock back down to pool 8 in hopes to upgrade my catch. I fished several main channel spots, but had no success, so I ran to a backwater area that had current and wood and picked up my tube rigged on a Trokar Tube hook and began flipping every possible inch of cover.
Not too long after arriving in this spot, I stuck a nice 3 lb. fish and instantly the wheels started turning and was on the lookout for another key fish. Another strike, this time a 2.5 lb. fish! As the time ran out for the day, I finished with a 3-fish limit for 7 lb. 15 oz. and was in 52nd spot, not what I had hoped, but I didn’t shoot myself in the foot and was primed for day number two on Friday!
Since I had burned my water on day one up on the Lake, I decided to run south on pool 8 on Friday. Armed again with my Snag Proof Frogs, Wright & McGill frog rod and Seaguar Kanzen Braid, I casted to and worked my frog around miles upon miles of vegetation.
The number of fish I caught was more than on day one, as I slowly began upgrading my limit. With every cull I made, I knew I was inching closer and closer to hopefully cashing a check in my first ever Everstart event. I also knew that anytime I could get a 4 lb. plus fish to bite and I could catapult close to the top ten cut.
As I crossed the stage I was hoping that my limit would be enough for cashing a check, as the scale settled, I again weighed 7 lb. 15 oz. and I knew that it was going to be close to the check line. After the weigh in had been complete, my two day total of 15 lb. 14 oz., put me in 50th place and just 8 oz. from cashing a check.
This was a disappointing result, but I stayed competitive, learned a lot and had fun fishing this triple a level event, against some stiff local sticks and national touring pros.
On to the next tournament and hope that big bite comes, right?!
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