Local tournaments and night fishing

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Courtesy of Jordan Lee

It’s been miserably hot here in Alabama. The humidity is high and there isn’t enough wind to blow out a match. You can fish, though, if you fight through the heat. They’re still biting on Lake Guntersville. My best friend and I fished a local tournament last Saturday and caught quite a few, and some good ones.  

I’ve been doing some of my fishing after dark. The heat breaks when the sun goes down, and it’s reasonably quiet at night.

The quiet thing is especially true if you fish some of our smaller lakes. I’ve been doing mine on Lake Catoma. It’s a 536 acre lake here in Cullman, Ala., that supplies our water. It has a 10 HP limit and swimming and water skiing are prohibited. It’s perfect for night fishing.

They have small — 10-20 boats — Monday and Friday night tournaments that are a lot of fun. I fished them regularly back when I was in high school. It’s where I got a lot of my early tournament experience. Heck, some of the guys I used to fish with back then are still fishing them.

I know professional anglers who show up and fish local tournaments aren’t always welcome. We’re banned at least half the time. I’m not sure why. There are some really good local anglers out there, and they usually have a lot of experience on the lakes they’re fishing. They are competitive, and I know some could even hold their own on the Elite Series. The reality is that we don’t win every tournament or even place in every one.

Anyway, I’m not real hardcore about my night fishing. Some of the guys use black lights and fluorescent line. I don’t. I just leave my Seaguar InvisX on and fish off feel. It’s a ball, and the fish bite better sometimes at night when it’s hot like this. I’m always game for that.

A few weeks ago I took my girlfriend, Kristen, to one of the Lake Catoma tournaments. It was our first tournament together. Do I need to tell you the rest of the story?

We won the tournament but in reality she won it for us. She had three big bass, two of them weighed over 5 pounds with the biggest one tipping the scales at 6 1/2. She put it on all of us. From now on I suppose I’ll be known as Kristen’s net boy to some of my buddies. It was one of the most memorable nights I’ve had fishing, her reeling in those big ones was a lot of fun for me to watch.

My nighttime baits are simple. I mostly fish with a Strike King Shaky Head paired with a Strike King Finesse Worm in plum or black. Occasionally, I’ll toss around a small finesse jig and, before it gets totally dark, I’ll crank a Strike King 6XD on some points and around brush.

If you don’t like the heat, I recommend giving the night bite a try. It’s definitely an adrenaline rush hooking a big one at night. You can’t see much of anything. When you catch one it’s just a lot of noise and thrashing around. You never know for sure what you have or how big it really is until you get it in the boat — never a guarantee after dark.

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