Once the tournament started, the time for practice and looking around was over. I had my spots and I knew what I wanted to do. It was just a matter of executing.
My approach was to fish near the bottom (almost never more than halfway up) of the rockpiles that I had located and decided to fish. That’s where the feeding smallies were. The idea was to catch a limit of quality smallies and then target the giants that I had found on top of the rocks.
As I said last week, the ordinary size smallies were biting a Havoc bait pretty good on a drop shot rig. I really didn’t do anything special, except for one thing. I used Gulp concentrate on my baits. (They call it Recharge Liquid.)
Normally, I wouldn’t do that. I think that scents work but the Havoc baits are pretty good without adding anything to them. But that concentrate is something really special. I put a drop or two into the bags and let the plastic soak it up. I have to say that I think it made a really big difference.
After I caught my keepers from the bottom and along the column, I turned my attention to the giants on top of the rocks. I used a variety of baits. Mostly, they all worked at one time or another. Besides, I don’t think the lesson for us all is what bait to use. It’s about finding them in the first place.
You see, everything is relative. The feeding fish I have been talking about are quality fish, no doubt about it. But, and here’s the thing, they are not the ones that’ll put you in the winner’s circle. They might get you past the cut but that’s about all. You need a few serious giants to win on Lake Erie, the ones that’ll give you a couple of extra pounds every afternoon at the weigh-in.
One thing I do want to mention is the second day being cancelled. On Lake Erie, that’s no big deal. Heck, it’s almost to be expected. The wind can be nasty and dangerous. It’s also something to keep in mind.
Unlike on some waters, Lake Erie is not a place where you have to worry much about saving your fish for another day. The lake is full of bass and, in my case, I was fishing for feeding bass. As a practical matter, it would have been almost impossible for me to deplete my fish in three days. So, I didn’t really worry about catching too many fish on any one day.
That’s enough about Lake Erie and my plan. I spent so much time going over it because it was something that worked. It’s a lesson learned for all of us who chase black bass.
That doesn’t mean, though, that plans like that will always work. You can lay something out perfectly and have it go down the drain in the first hour. Nevertheless, it’s a good blueprint for fishing a tournament.
Next week we’ll turn our attention to something else.