Well, another day another tournament wrapped up. We spent our Saturday on the St Joe River in Three Rivers, MI, and what a grind it was.
Our day began with the Humminbird on the bow of the boat having a wiring issue, essentially putting that unit out for the day, not the way you want to start out. We spent the first 15 minutes running down to the dam sticking as close to the channel as we possibly could, afterall it isn’t called Stump Bay for nothing.
Pulling into our first spot another competitor had edged his way to the spot we had planned on hitting first; this resulted in the sound of a splashing largemouth on top and one in his box. Half an hour in and the mental game had begun.
With tension high and no hits on our spinnerbaits and buzz baits I reached for my confidence bait, a firetiger lipless crankbait and what do you know three fish in five casts. The problem was I got a glimpse at each fish and each looked as if they would keep but dropping them halfway back to the boat didn’t help.
This really set the tone for the first half of the day, we ended up running banks with lipless crankbaits which yielded a few fish in the first couple of hours, if we kept going that route the chances of a limit would have been great, but there are always those fish that lie to you.
Upon coming up to a lily pad point I had thrown a spinnerbait across it, the blades jingling as the bait slid an inch under the water when the very obvious tick of a bass took it under. An obvious keeper, exactly what we needed, this was followed up by a swim jig fish and two more dropped spinnerbait fish in the pads.
With newfound confidence and a couple of chuckles our moods were changing and a quick press on the ol’ 788ci on the bow let it power on. Success. Hoping this would set the tone for the rest of the day we pushed forward and ran the rest of the shoreline without much luck.
Running east to a flat we picked apart a pad clump in which we could see fish, and good ones at that, getting them to bite wasn’t likely going to happen with the time we had left so back to chunking and winding.
My father had almost immediately hooked into a solid 3 or 4 pound largemouth that held on just long enough to show the bait was infact in its mouth before proceeding to throw it right back at us. Instant heartbreak is an understatement. Throwing around a stump filled flat with crankbaits yields its own challenges but with smallies that would easily go five pounds jumping all around us it was hard to do almost anything else.
On the way back to the weigh-in we made the decision to throw our chunky squeaker back without first checking it on the official board. This is the mistake that likely costed us a check, a mistake that was made with emotion and pride, a lesson learned.
Next week is Gull Lake, virtually my home lake. Here’s Hoping!
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