Thinking About the Tournament
Each year the Spalding County Sportsman Club and the Flint River Bass Club hold a joint tournament the first Sunday in December to end our fishing year. It is amazing how different the weather can be from year to year. Some years we fish in short sleeve shirts, some years in snowmobile suits.
This year is will be snowmobile suits. And Jackson looks like a hog wallow mud hole, with water an orange color from the floods last week. We have certainly made up for the drought for the past few years. I guess if you look at averages, we are about average for the past three years for rain, but it all fell this year. And that, too, is how weather works.
My plan for Sunday is to fish a bright chartreuse crankbait with rattles in it and work it very slowly around rock and wood cover, bumping the cover with the bait. I hope if I hit a bass in the nose with the bait it will decide to eat it. I will also try a bright chartreuse spinner bait and a black and blue jig and pig. Both those baits will be worked slowly on cover, too.
Jackson often produces some big bass in the winter, but I am afraid this year won’t be one of them.
The weather guessers did their usual bang-up job last weekend. The icy rain predicted never showed up and it was warmer than expected. Although it was cold Sunday morning when we took off in our tournament, the day warmed up and it turned out to be a pretty nice day.
The water at Jackson was as muddy as expected. While fishing one cove we noticed deer tracks across it. The water seemed that muddy. And the bass cooperated about as well as I thought they would. We had a very poor showing in our Two Club tournament.
There were 16 fishermen in the tournament trying for eight hours to find a bass that would hit. Only seven of us caught a keeper and nine did not have a fish in that time. There were 12 bass weighing about 21 pounds caught our of the muddy water.
Lee Hancock won it all with three keepers weighing 6.99 pounds and his 3.39 pound spotted bass was big fish in the tournament. Tom Tanner placed second with two bass weighing 5.29 pounds and Kwong Yu had two weighing 2.41 pounds for third. Niles Murray and I fished together and he came in fourth with two bass weighing 1.87 pounds and my one bass weighing 1.80 pounds was good for fifth. Bobby Ferris had one weighing 1.35 for sixth and Roger Morrow had one keeper weighing 1.17 pounds for seventh.
Lee said he caught his fish on crankbaits, as did Kwong. Niles got both his keepers on a Carolina rigged worm and mine hit a jig and pig fished in a brush pile. All of us made a lot of casts during the day to get the few bites we had. It seemed to be a matter of being in the right place at the right time, and accidentally hitting a bass in the mouth with your bait.
Of the 12 bass weighed in only three were largemouth. The other nine were spotted bass and that seems to be a pattern on lakes where spots have gotten started. Spots are more aggressive than largemouth so you are more likely to catch them, and they also seem to take the place of largemouth, being more successful spawners so they produce more young.
Spots are fun to catch and taste great, but they can be harmful to a lake in the long run. Spots tend to stay smaller than largemouth, so you may have a lot of small spots rather than a variety of sizes of largemouth in a lake.
If you want some bass filets, go to Jackson, West Point or Bartlett’s Ferry where the populations of them have exploded. Catch a bunch to filet. There is no size limit on them anywhere but Lanier but there is a ten bass per day per person limit.