There is nothing like the energy when you are fishing the big show, it's electric!! The pre-fish started very slow. Folkstead and I never got on a good bite and never dialed in on a bait or a specific technique. With that in mind, I felt Day 1 that I would still be pre-fishing.
Day 1: I drew the phenomenal, Tim Klinger. We blasted off amongst thunderstorms (an AZ monsoon). When we arrived at spot 1, Klinger started pitching and I started with a drop shot, but knowing what the weather was going to be, I tied on two spinner baits the night before that I received from D&M Custom Baits, having a gut feeling that the weather would turn the fish on and they would be chasing. It didn't take me long to figure out that it was time to throw the blade. I chose the 3/4 oz. Snipper, double nickel, sexy shad skirt. Within minutes I had the first fish on and within seconds I had the first fish off! It didn't take long before I had another taker, but he didn't make it into the boat either! 0-2. Klinger not having any success flipping and pitching, picked up his blade and we both went to work. Finally, bass #3 makes it into the boat! I got my first keeper of the day! We proceeded to throw blades the rest of the day. It got harder for me as Klinger was picking off the active fish. I switched to the other Snipper blade, 1/2 oz., white on white, called the White Knight. That baby did the trick! I ended up catching four keepers with the Snippers. The fifth fish came on the Bayou tackle, 3/4 oz, double nickel, with the special blades. The reason I tied that one on is becuase we got into very stained water. The five keepers brought to the scales a total of 8 lbs. 14 oz. I want to thank Klinger for taking us into the jungle, giving me plenty of water to fish, and keeping the trolling motor at a favorable pace which enabled me to fish successfully. Thank you, Mr. Klinger!
Day 2: I drew the winner of the event, a local pro, Keith Espe. We fished one spot all day! He had a sweet spot within a sweet spot! The action started at the very first cast for Espe and never stopped until 11:30 AM! At 8:30 AM, Keith was already culling and I hadn't had a bite yet! I told myself that I had better get with the program!! I set up my rig to match what Keith was throwing. Keith positioned the boat which enabled me to cast into the sweet spot which is how I caught the 2 fish I took to the scales. A total of 2 lbs. 13 oz.
Day 3: I drew the infamous, Mike Tuck. Tuck and I, over the years, have spent a lot of time fishing together and we have always done well! We were both psyched and couldn't wait until the blast off! Tuck had a good game plan fishing reaction and drop shotting some deep ledges. We started off fishing pockets and coves. Tuck throwing his reaction bait while I alternated throwing the Rico and Rio Rico along with a BuzzBait from D&M Custom Baits, called the Hammer Head, which is designed to be a slow roller. We worked hard all day with Tuck running and gunning from shallow water pockets to deep water ledges. We must have hit 20 to 30 spots. Tuck managed to bring 4 little keepers to the scale while I managed to bring 1 keeper, 1 lb. 3 oz. Just enough to get me a check and make it an enjoyable drive home!
I want to thank Dale from D&M Custom Baits for sending me the care package of tackle. I did something that I have never done before, that is, tie on baits that I had not pre-fished with. These baits were set up with the right colors and you can see and feel the quality of each individual bait. I owe Dale my deepest gratitude for his knowledge of our tournament lakes and for taking the time to send me the perfect baits. Without him, it would have been a long, long, long drive home!