First off, let me congratulate Micah Frazier on his first Bassmaster Elite Series win at the 2019 Berkley Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence River presented by Black Velvet. Well done, Micah! You were consistent the first three days and upped your weight on the last day. That’s not easy.
Beyond that, I have to say that this was an awesome tournament for me and for the fans. We caught huge numbers of huge smallmouth every single day. It doesn’t get any better than that. Unless, of course, you catch enough to make the Saturday night cut and get to fish on Sunday. I didn’t.
It seems like I always have trouble putting together three good days in a row. Somewhere along the line I have one day that doesn’t quite measure up, and that hurts me. That’s exactly what happened yesterday (Saturday), and it put me just a few ounces outside the cut.
I was catching 30 or 40 fish a day. Most of them were small but every so often I’d catch one that had some weight to it. I was doing pretty good going into Saturday and thought I had a shot at moving up on the leaderboard and making some progress towards the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year title.
So anyway, I have this spot on the St. Lawrence River that I’ve fished before. It holds darn good fish. The last time we were there I waited too long to fish it on my last day. With only about 30 minutes before I had to head in I caught them but didn’t have enough time to fill out my bag the way I wanted.
I vowed not to let that happen this year, and it didn’t — sort of, anyway. I got there a little bit late, but I had enough time to do what needed to be done. Enough time, that is, if I hadn’t started losing fish.
What happened is beyond me. I hooked at least two 4-pounders that came lose. It was frustrating but things like that happen. It was time to adapt. I switched rods in case my lure or some other part of my tackle was causing the problem. I promptly lost three more quality smallmouth. I saw all of them except one. They were what I needed.
The one I didn’t see was so big that I couldn’t move it off the bottom. I could feel its head shake but that was all. It just came off. No broken line, no mistake on my part.
When the day was over I had a couple more 2-pounders, but they weren’t enough to put me where I needed to be at the weigh-in.
On the first day I weighed in 21 pounds. On the second day I weighed in 23 pounds. On the third day I weighed in 16 pounds. I’m a big boy. I know fish come off. It’s a part of our sport. Still, sometimes you can’t help but wonder why…