The 31st annual US OPEN was a fantastic event. For those of you that were not able to fish it I hope you tuned in to the live webcast that was presented by Costa Del Mar. Billy Egan and his staff pulled off one heck of a show!
PRE PRACTICE: I spent 3 days of pre practice two weeks before the official practice period started. I fished mostly reaction style baits to strictly locate fish. I used a s waver style bait from savage gear lures that produced a ton of followers. My go to bait was a Rio Rico (any color was getting great blowups) The Suave caught a few as well. My game plan was to basically have a fun fishing trip and catch a few just to see what size of fish different areas of the lake were holding. I was on a solid pattern of about 9-12 lbs a day and was comfortable with what I found. The lake was down about 11.5 feet from last year so my areas in 2012 were all basically out of the water. The water level wasn't too much of a big deal as the fish were holding the same way as last year.
PRACTICE: Major fronts and monsoon type conditions really changed the fishing for me and the top water bite was basically gone. I had to rely on fishing soft plastic stick baits, and wacky rigged finesse worms on a drop shot to get the quality bites. The jig was good but never got the big bites to go along with it. My favorite colors when drop shotting were the folkestad special and MMIII for the robo worm. I was wacky rigging a fish arrow bait called the fall shaker which seemed to account for 80% of my fish in practice. I also used a 3d crawdad bait from Savage Gear which the smallies just ate em up. I ran out of those crawdads on my practice so I switched to the jig and used a 1/2 living rubber jig with a twin tail hula grub for a trailer. On both the senko and the wacky rigged drop shot I was using never slip bait tape which saved me about 70 bucks worth of money in soft plastics. I was able to catch 8-10 fish before having to replace each bait. This stuff is well worth the money. I don't have them pictured below because I ran out and gave some out to other fisherman as samples.. My rico box was basically picked through by everyone and their brother as well. But hey that's how it goes, if someone needs a bait on my team or vice versa we all try and help each other out.. Most of the bait fish seemed to move down from practice going into the tournament so I would throw the top water and crank on the long tapering points and walls pretty fast and then would slow down in every pocket where the grass and trees were at and then pick it apart with the Fish Arrow fall shaker worm and nail rigged senko.
TOURNAMENT: Junk fishing at its finest was the name of the game! I had 8 rods on the deck and basically used 3 rods for 90% off the day. The other 5 rods where for specific areas and were only given 4 to 5 casts to see if I could get a big bite. I relied on two rods for days two and three. A nail rigged senko and a wacky rigged drop shot.. See pics below.. The senko was a 330 yamamoto 5 inch, and the wacky rigged worm was a green pumkin fall shaker from Fish Arrow. Both produced big numbers both days.. On days two and three I had my limits by 9 am each morning and then went searching for a big one the rest of the day with a Damiki DC 400 crank bait. DAy 1 weight was 5.62, Day 2 weight was 8.39 and day 3 was 8.67. One good bite was all I needed to cash a check. In retrospect, I learned a lot from my fishing and the decisions I made each day. I will take all the info and put it to work for next year to help me get on them much quicker in practice and have a successful tournament.
SPONSORS: A very special thanks goes to Lobina Lures, Fish Arrow, YGK, Damiki Baits, Savage Gear, Never Slip Bait Tape, Mattress Depot, A and M Graphics, without these wonderful companies I would not have the ability to compete against the best in the west! Thank you All. Stay tuned for my next blog where I will be giving detailed information on the new Savage Gear 3d line through trout baits. And big pics from Canyon Lake this fall. The swimbait bite is coming!!!!!!!!