The American Bass Anglers, American Fishing Tour, held two bass tournaments in the month of November on the Red River, in Shreveport Bossier City, Louisiana. The Tournament Director, Chris Wayand, developed the schedule this way, so we could take the month of January off as it’s our coldest month in the North West Louisiana area. Normally we fish Cross Lake on the first event and then the Red River for the second; however the region is still suffering the ill effects of a major drought and Cross Lake is very dangerous to navigate. While I really enjoy the Red River, I also enjoy Cross Lake. Last season I was able to win the Cross lake event and then turned around also winning the Red River event. I was bested on the first tournament of the season this year; however, I can’t complain about achieving a second place finish. We have a fantastic caliber of anglers fishing ABA District 48. It did put me into over drive so to speak to win the second event.
I pre-fished this event with Duck Season in mind. A lot of our back waters that produce this time of the year are also covered up with duck hunters. It’s only right to share the water, and my way of doing this is staying clear of their shooting lanes until they leave or about 10:30 AM. So I needed to find water capable of producing quality bass before this time line. Bouncing what I know about the Red River off of the maps, I located some areas that should have excellent bait holding opportunities and I worked my way up the river either eliminating or ensuring each spot. After a day of doing this, I had about 6 areas that were holding both bait and bass. Which is more than enough for the 4 hours I needed to fill. Once duck hunting is done for the day, I could move into my back water areas with confidence of two things, one I would catch quality bass and two I wouldn’t get shot.
The morning of the event was warmer than the previous few days. I had found bass and caught them slow rolling a spinnerbait and slow swimming a brush hog in 7-8 feet of water. The key was slow. We had warmer weather, cloud cover, and a strong south wind tournament morning. It was obvious things were changing. My first thoughts were a faster moving spinnerbait, and if the sun would come out just a little bit the punch-bite would be phenomenal. Most anglers don’t realize that a punching bite can be a reaction bite, and this is what led to the new pattern and win.
After a few casts, along the front of some hyacinths that were blown up against the bank, with a spinnerbait failed to produce a bass; I picked up my punch rod. With my second punch through the matted hyacinths, I felt that tick I love so much. I had up sized my Elite Tungsten weight to a 1 ounce; I normally can get by with a three quarter ounce, but I wanted and extra fast fall today with the present conditions. This turned out to be a very productive pattern for the rest of the day. While I did catch bass on the spinnerbait like most of the field, the punch bite produced larger bass.
Another factor in the punch bite was its the end of the fall season, and bass are bunching up. That said I could catch up to 4 fish from one spot the size of a picnic table. So repeated punches to the same area were very productive. The larger fish were always first though. If you caught a 2 to 3 pounder first, that was going to be the best fish the spot had to offer. After figuring this out I was able to cover a lot of water quickly looking for larger fish.
I used a one two punch if you will. First was a brush hog on with a straight shank hook and a 1 ounce Elite Tungsten weight. My second set up was exactly the same; however, I had a S.W.A.G. Custom Baits punch skirt between the weight and hook. This slowed the baits fall just a tad, and on occasion, allowed me to get an extra bite or two after a group of fish had been pressured.
Both Rods were Dobyns Champion Extreme DX795’s. This rod is very lite, and sensitivity is amazing. Each bite felt like a base ball bat. The strength of this rod is phenomenal; I was able to pull 4 to 5 and a half pound fish from hyacinths so thick that you could barely get a 1 ounce weight through them at times. Sometimes I brought twice as much weight to the boat in vegetation as there was in bass.
All in all I caught over 25 bass with the best five going 20.94 pounds. It was one of those days that we all look forward too on the water, and I was fortunate enough to have it happen during a tournament!
So with a Second place finish two weeks ago, and a first place finish this week, I’m going to have to do my homework and put the rest of the season together. I sure would like a second chance at the American Bass Anglers Nationals again.
I must thank my sponsors for this win. Honestly, because of the wind, if not for Power Pole keeping my boat in a position to make precision casts, this could not have been possible. Dobyns rods strength and sensitivity allowed me not only to feel bites in the wind, but gave me the strength to get fish out of deep, thick cover. Elite Tungsten, very durable compact weights that pass through vegetation like a hot knife in butter. And of course I wouldn’t have made it to the fish if Legend and Mercury didn’t get me there flawlessly.