Thursday, June 16, 2011
Sunday, May 29, 2011
As we walked into the Black Bear Dinner in Lake Havasu City, AZ, a few days after the WON Bass Tour, Chris Ricci, the 2010 US Open Co-Angler Champion and staff writer for Western Bass, quickly moved ahead of us.
“I’ll go in first and announce we’re here.” And he did!
I later learned Chris had been pre-fishing Lake Havasu for almost four weeks and the Black Bear Dinner was his favorite restaurant. I also think he was their favorite guest!
Ten minutes later Chris was eating a thick cut ham and pancake breakfast, followed by a vanilla milk shake polished off with a Blackberry pie alamode and it was only 8:30 in the evening.
“Got to get an early start.” He smiled.
And I thought these guys suffered on the road.
My daughter, Tami Curtis, Professional Co-Angler and owner of TCsportsReport.com, had arranged a bass fishing trip with Chris for the following day.
I had met Christ once before when he, Tami and Mike Folkstead, three time winner of the US Open, stopped by for a few days on their way to Falcon Reservoir. We’d discussed a fishing trip at that time, but their schedules and my business made it difficult to get together. With my business now sold, we were finally able to make the connection.
We hit the water early the next morning, (10:15 am) and headed upriver in Chris’s Tracker Jet boat.
We hadn’t been on the water ten minutes when Chris hollered above the whine of the Jet motor,
“Don’t look down.”
I immediately learned the meaning of “thin water”. Is the water thinner or thicker at 54 mph?
We glided into a quite cove with a very thin water entrance. Rudder marks in the sand indicated a few brave bass angles had already tried to fish this spot.
Chris pointed out a dark spot in the water and said it looked like a good bed. By the second cast I had hooked my first bass and he was starting to fight and then he slipped off the hook.
“You didn’t hook him.” Chris remarked.
I was just a little taken back. The bass was on my line and fighting!
“Let’s look at the worm.” Chris was so confident.
I honestly thought that I had hooked the fish, but the hook hadn’t breeched the top of the plastic worm. This is interesting.
Chris spotted another dark spot in the water and I dropped the worm onto the bed.
“Hook’em baby.” Chris hollered.
I looked at him bewildered. I hadn’t even had a strike. I did as he requested and set the hook. This time the fish was hooked.
I was completely bewildered. How do you catch fish that don’t strike your lure, yet take your bait and fight like they are hooked! It didn’t make sense. Good bye forty years of trout fishing experience!
We then had a crash course on bass fishing. Cast, quickly get rid of the slack in your line, constantly weight your line, let your pole do the work and then if your line begins to swim away, set the hook.
As we passed another cove, I observed two guys, with their boat up against the shoreline, fishing off the edge of the boat. We had been very careful to troll about 20 to 30 feet from shore and then cast to the shoreline. I asked Chris for an explanation.
“Sometimes the bass become very protective and won’t leave their beds.” Chris remarked. “They’re probably fishing for a bass that’s guarding his bed.” Now that’s understandable.
And then Chris went on. “Sometimes the bass will take the bait and only move it off the bed and other times, if you get him irritated enough, he’ll strike at the bait.”
Move the bait; get irritated, yea, right. I never know when Chris is pulling my leg!
A few coves later, as our boat was against the shore and I was just about to grab my line, a bass sauntered up to the plastic worm and took a look. I again dangled the worm in the water, not two feet from the boat and the bass did the same thing.
“Hey Chris, look at this.” I hollered as I pointed to the water.
Chris was already on top of the situation.
“The boat is over his bed.” Chris said as he motioned for me to drop the line off the corner of the boat. This is just like we saw those two guys doing. I no sooner dropped the line and Chris hollered, “Hook’em baby!”
By now I’d learned not to question his advice. Even thought I didn’t have a strike, couldn’t see a thing and my six pound test line wasn’t moving that I could feel, I set the hook and landed a 2 ½ lb. smally.
“Okay,” I asked, “what happened?”
Net result, I need to upgrade my $9.95 polarized sunglasses so I can see what’s taking place under the water.
As we neared the end of our fishing, Chris motored over to a nice bed that was only a dark blur in the water.
“I pulled a toad off this bed pre-fishing.” Chris remarked, “See if you can hook him.” About ten or twelve casts later I told Chris what I had heard him say many times that day, “I don’t think he’s home.”
As Chris was pulling up the trolling motor and getting ready for the trip back, I made one final cast onto the bed. Maybe if he is home, I can irritate him, I smiled to myself.
As I pulled up the slack, weighted my line, something didn’t feel right. So I blindly set the hook. A 3 ½ lb largemouth bass is a nice way to end the trip.
We netted just under 15 lbs of fish for the day. Not bad for 1 ½ fishermen.
What did I learn? Chris Ricci can make a very, very technical sport a lot of fun. Hook’em baby!
Monday, April 18, 2011
It felt awesome to be back on the Delta - especially this time of year. The expectations were high and I wasn’t let down. Mike, Tami and I had a real good pre-fish and as the days grew closer to the tournament, the fish seemed to get bigger.
It was a good tournament – we just didn’t get the big bites that I was getting during our pre-fish. I’d like to thank WON Bass for putting on an exceptional tournament. Billy Egan and his staff did a wonderful job as everything ran as smooth as can be.