Last week I covered the first half of the season and the lessons I learned from those events. During the last few events of the year, some of those lessons paid off.
The fifth event of the season was in La Crosse, Wis., on the Mississippi River. I knew nothing about it prior to the start of practice. My biggest concern was how big it was, especially with three different pools to fish. Just one pool was big enough for everyone to fish. I decided to focus on that pool, the one we launched out of. I figured out the frog, swim jig and punching bites during the first two days of practice. These were solid patterns, but I just didn’t think they were good enough to win. I was only catching 12 to 14 pounds a day, and I knew that was good enough for a check, but that was about it.
If you read last week’s blog, you’ll know that I learned a few lessons that definitely played into my decision to look for something different on the final day of practice. I spent some time using my graphs in areas I thought other anglers might have overlooked — deep stuff. I was starting to see fish in the deeper water, 12 to 14 feet, and they were pretty easy to catch. I found one spot where I felt I could catch about 14 pounds, which gave me the confidence to keep looking. It didn’t take much longer to find the spot I eventually spent most of the tournament on, and it was incredible.
I was catching them on a drop shot with 8-pound test, a Rebarb hook and a 3/16-ounce tungsten drop shot weight. For a bait, I was using a 6-inch fat Roboworm and mixing it up with a flutter spoon and swimbait. Everything went great for three days, and I had a good shot to win. On Day Four, the mayfly hatch went into full swing and definitely changed the game. The fish spread out and suspended because they were eating both the mayflies and the mayfly larva. The big fish got really hard to catch even though there were still a bunch of them there.