My 2021 bass fishing season got off to a slow start this year with a 41st place finish at Sam Rayburn. I fished the ABA South Texas Division and let’s just say, things did not go as planned. Now as a true angler, I know in my mind what went wrong, or should I say where I went wrong. Like any great angler, I have plenty of excuses that I will attempt to explain and then we’ll break it all down and see exactly what really went wrong.
First, there was another major event taking place on Sam Rayburn at the same time as my event called the MLF Toyota Series which included some of the greatest names in bass fishing with Rick Clunn (who is arguably the greatest angler of all time) Paul Elias (one of the legends of the sport) and many other top names that fish the MLF Pro Tour. With over 200 plus anglers in this event alone, the lake was very crowded making it difficult to have fish to yourself. Second excuse, too much fishing pressure on the lake with Toyota, ABA Open Series and guys practicing for a Sunday event called the Sweet 16. Unstable weather was another reason I had trouble (while others did not) as a front came through with high wind and rain. Oh, and did I mention we were in the middle of a full moon cycle.
As you can see, anglers are full of reasons why they did not catch fish for a particular event. I did have 3 days of good pre-fishing in which I was able to put together a Rat-L-Trap (a flat sided crankbait) pattern along with everyone else on the lake. But this time of year, that’s a normal pattern that a lot of anglers will make a part of their game plan. This is a great technique especially when you have a lake like Sam Rayburn with plenty of hydrilla (aquatic vegetation). I was also able to catch a few fish on a Yamamoto Swimming Senko slow rolling it through the hydrilla in 5 to 6 feet of water.
After picking up my co-angler (Lat Nichols of Paris, Texas) for the day, I decided to start our fishing in the same area I found and caught 4 bass in practice on a 100-yard stretch. There were 70 boats (pros) in this tournament and we were boat 47 at takeoff on Saturday morning with our scheduled weigh-in time of 3:30. We spent the first two hours on this so-called hot stretch that did not pay off with an early morning bite. So, we made a few moves here and there but still had nothing to show for our hard work and commitment. But with little to no success, I still maintained my focus and felt there would be a late bite in the afternoon just before weigh-in time. Turns out, I was right as I proceeded to catch 3 of my four keepers in the last hour of the tournament. Just like touring MLF Pro Mike Iaconelli says, “Never give up!” Always keep this in mind the next time your tournament day does not go according to plan.
Tune in to Tackle Live every Monday at 12:30 CST. on our Facebook or You Tube channel as we discuss the latest news and tournament results from Toledo Bend, Sam Rayburn and other great bodies of water found right here in the Ark-La-Tex region. Until next time, don’t forget to set the hook!!! – Steve Graf