The Bassmaster Northern Open Division started on Douglas Lake in east Tennessee. I had been there for two Bassmaster Opens in the past. In 2012 it was the same time of year and same lake level, so I had some idea of what the lake would fish like.
In 2010 I had 17 plus on day one and was in 11th place. Day two didn’t work out and I weighed in only one fish, dropping down to 60th place
Practice this time went very well. I had the best practice I have had in several years for any tournament. You could catch fish both shallow and deep, but most of the good fish were deep. I fished 5 practice days including, Memorial Day, weekend. I wasn’t getting a lot of bites per day (8 to 12) but they would be good bass in the 3 to 5 lb. rang on a football jig, swim bait and a big crank bait They seemed to change a little every day. One day the jig worked better and the next they wanted a moving bait.
There were 189 boats in the tournament and if you have ever been to Douglas you know that makes it very crowded! Most of the fish were on obvious long points off the main lake and main creeks. By the time day one of the tournament was there the fish were already beat up pretty bad.
I went to 8 or 10 places I had caught them in practice and found 1 to 3 boats on all them. Finally I got on a place I caught 1 good one in practice and was able to catch 2 good ones. I had one place up the river and decided due to boat pressure down lake, I would make to 20 mile run. As soon as I set down, I got the school fired up and caught them good for 30 min. I ended up with 17.95 and my co angler had a 3 fish limit for 10 lbs. After day 1, I was in 10th place and my co angler was in 3rd.
Day 2 I couldn’t find anywhere down lake that wasn’t full of boats. I finally got on one point closed to the take off area and caught a 5.95 and 2 little ones, and then took off to my river spot. As I got within a mile of the spot, I saw a boat pull up there. When I set down they were already netting a 5 lb. I watched them catch another 5 lb. and a 6lb and two or three other ones. Needless to say, that hurt! If I had only got there 5 minuets earlier! But that’s tournament fishing!
All in all, a good tournament though. Finished 21st in a field loaded with Elite Series pros, FLW Pros and several very good locals.