Day 1: The drive to Lake Eufuala is a short one, only about 9 hours. Seems like I just drove there, turned around and went back. This is re-scheduled event after Hurricane Ivan, having postponed it two weeks ago. The lake is up some, with alot of color to the water. Predictions are that the lake will fish better since it will be cooler weather. I think that will be wishful thinking. When I left my house, it was cool, with temps in the low 40's. Here, the temps are in the mid 60's, with a forecasted high in the high 80's. Above normal temps with above normal water levels. Today will be slow for me, having only managed several short fish, with a couple keepers. Things have not improved to me.
Day 2: This morning, there is a thick blanket of fog. I decide to go put in, idle around the ramp. It will be past 10 am before the fog will lift. Makes for a short day as far as covering water. Good news is that I think I found a little topwater bite that can produce a few keepers. Bad news is that if we get a fog delay during the tournament, I will be short on time to make that work. The flipping bite seems off to me, with only managing a good fish every 1000 flips. Not sure why this is, since the water is up, flooding the shoreline grass.
Day 3: Today the weather will be h-o-t! Man, its more like summer than fall. Temps are at record highs, near 90. I came prepared for cooler weather. The fishing isn't hot for me though, having struggled to catch only a few fish today. I still believe I can catch a couple early on topwater, then hit the mats with my flipping stick. Its a short day, the pairings meeting is tonite. Word at the meeting is that some are catching them good, most are struggling like me. My first day partner is from Florida, but was originally from Alabama. He said he has fished Eufuala some in the past. I tell him its tough on me, be prepared to fish hard. Good news is that we are in the first flight, so I will be able to fish my topwater bite early.
Tournament Day 1: It will be crowded at the State Park this morning, so I plan on meeting my co-angler at a ramp down lake to put in. Everything goes off without a hitch until we get to the mouth of Cowickie Creek. The fog there is thick. So thick I have to turn on my GPS just to run the last mile into the marina. This is not good, I need all the time I can get to fish and I do not need to have a fog delay with my main pattern being topwater. Its amazing, the main lake was clear, and the take off creek is socked in. We wait over 3 hours, and the fog has yet to lift. Word is that if we wait over 3 hours, BASS will cancel the day. By 10am, a BASS official finally gets a fisherman to take them out to evaluate the fog. He comes back in and announces that we will go. This is good and bad. I want to fish but I'm afraid my topwater bite is gone. The worse part is that I am due in at 2:30 and we are still sitting in the marina at 10:30.
Man what a short day. I decided to try my topwater pattern anyway to no avail. I knew I was in trouble cause when the fog lifted, it was blue bird skies and no wind. I figured I was making a bad mistake even trying it but its really all I had going. The first time I look at my watch, its already 1 PM! Did the day go by fast or what !! And the day would be a bad one. I will fire a blank. Dang. I had one fish on that would have been a keeper late in the day flipping a heavy mat, other than that, it was allot of casting, not much catching. With the days weights, that one fish would have put me on the board. I can only hope that tomorrow will go on time.
Tournament Day 2:I just don't need a fog delay this morning. Right now it looks like we will have some fog. My second day co-angler is from Alabama. He also blanked yesterday, so we both need to catch up. And the good news is that we can. The weights are off. If I can get my topwater fish early, and then have time to go flipping, I think I can perhaps make the cut. First agenda is catch some fish. I don't need to come out of this event blanking without any points. I'm in great position to make the BASS Open now, I just need to not completely fish my way out of it now. I feel good about today knowing we are going out on time.
The fog begins to roll in, but BASS begins checking out boats on time. I'm in the last flight, so I will get a long day, but miss the first hour of topwater. Forecast today is for temps near 90 and calm, sunny skies. It will be right. Right before my flight # is called the fog gets thick. My partner ask if they will hold us up, I tell him once we got started, there's no turning back. We go on time.
By time I get to my first topwater area, there is already a boat fishing the grass line. I decide to fish it anyway, working the opposite direction. The jack fish are biting, but nothing with bass. We move, jumping from place to place hoping to connect with my topwater bait. The sun is high by now and I'm getting worried. Finally I put a nice keeper in the boat. By noon, I have managed 3 keepers. I'm on track to make the cut if I can just flip up a nice fish. I haven't had a big bite all week, I'm due. I figure its going to take around 9 lbs to make the cut. I know I have a long row to hoe by blanking the first day. Its hard to catch up with the caliber fisherman in this field. One bad day usually leads to one bad tournament. The day will be long and frustrating. The weather was perfect for flipping late day. In fact, it was near record highs for this time of year. But all I can manage flipping my jig is non-keeper fish, the big bite did not come for me. My co-angler had a couple that would have put him in the cut. He had one nice fish jump off and broke off a huge fish around a cypress knee. He still comes close with his two keepers. I will end the day and tournament with just under 7 lbs. I will miss the cut by 3 lbs. One decent bite here. If I could have only put that one fish in the boat the first day. Just having a shot to come back was lucky since I blanked. I still have an outside shot at the Open Championship, but I will have to finish very high at Okeechobee next tournament. It will be interested at the Big O. I have heard mixed reports about it since the Hurricanes have hit the area hard. The lake is at record high levels and the surrounding community at lose with several its housing facilities. Well, I know what I have to do. I will go there with a make or break game plan. I can't fish for points, I got to fish to win if I am to make the Championship. Hero or Zero............................................