Due to the fact that I missed some time with a motor issue, I have made every effort to fish as much as possible this fall. This past Sunday, my buddy and I ventured up to South Bay to take on the Adirondack Bass Club's Open Team Tournament. We were on the lake two weeks ago and we had some decent success and were one decent fish away from winning the tournament. We thought the bite would improve with the falling temperatures. We were wrong (at least as far as our bite goes).
We started the day where we started the tournament two weeks ago. The first thing I noticed was that the water levels had come down a bit further and the water was definitely more stained than it had been. Regardless, I immediately had a 2 pound class fish on a crankbait but it came unbuttoned. We worked our way back into a pocket. I pitched a jig to a shallow stick up and immediately had a hit but the zebra muscles on the stick sliced right through my line on the hookset. I took a deep breath, re-tied, and refocused.
We worked our way back out of the pocket with no luck. We ran to a point and on my first cast with a crankbait I hooked into a fish just under 2 pounds. I took the trebles out and threw it back thinking this fish would be no good if we wanted to cash a check. I took another cast and was hooked up again. This fish was around 2.5 and I figured why not and threw it in the well. After that my teammate was hooked up but the fish got him in the rocks and we had yet another break off. The only fortunate part of that is that the fish wasn't that big.
We made a move to another point and began cranking. The water here was really dingy and I didn't have much hope for it. I did boat one just under 2 lbs but again tossed it back thinking we would improve our bag as the day went on. We cycled through a few more points hitting them with a crankbait, then a jerkbait, then a jig or something slow. Nothing.
We decided to hit one more point and this time it produced. Sort of. We boated two fish around the 2 lb mark and threw them in the well considering things weren't going as planned. We decided to give the points a rest and explore some grass thinking that the grass might fitler out some of the dingy water. We found absolutely zero grass bite. I know the fish are there. It was just one of those days in which they weren't cooperating. I had two hits and they were both very subtle.
We decided to run points again but they were void of fish and one of our points now had a boat on it. We decided to make an adjustment and try and find some clear water. I almost got stuck in one area that I normally have no trouble getting into with a normal pool and we wasted a bit of time there. We started heading back towards South Bay trying to hit some pockets with clear water which was tough to come by. This didn't pan out. We still only had three fish in the well with 3 hours to go. I am just not used to that on Champlain.
We worked some main lake rip rap for a bit and I finally hooked into a decent fish off a weed edge. This fish was well over 4 pounds and finally we had some wind in our sails. Two casts later I am hooked up again on a crankbait and this one feels similar to the one we just boated. Inexplicably, she comes unbuttoned. I have been struggling getting crankbait fish to the boat as of late and I am just in one of those slumps and can't seem to get out of it.
We decided to try some completely fresh areas. I was able to boat a small keeper off of some wood on a Texas Rig and we threw it in the well for the heck of it. I continued working a similar pattern that caught our good fish: outside edge of grass with rock. I hooked up again with a 3 lb class fish and as it neared the boat it comes unbuttoned. While these fish we lost may not have helped us cash a check, it was still frustrating and I blurted out an obscenity (sorry Mom) and continued casting. On my next cast I hook into another dink and of course this one stays on and comes right into the boat.
With 15 minutes left we decided to call it quits. I almost never call it quits early because anything can happen at any time but it just felt right. We were exhausted. I had my worst year ever fishing tournaments, and I just wanted to make one more bad decision (eat McDonald's) and go home.
For the rest of the season I hope to just fish locally whenever the weather and my schedule dictates I can get out. I was able to get out on Saturday locally before the tournament with a buddy of mine and we beat the snot out of them. We caught close to 50 fish, the majority of which were smallies with some really healthy largemouth mixed in.
As always, thanks for reading and at the very least, giving me an opportunity to vent about my slump.