Last week I wrote about the Pro-Am bass fishing tournament I participated in at Potholes Reservoir where I personally didn’t catch many bass fishing with two pros over two days but I certainly learns a lot.
The experience prepared me well for the tournament that took place the next two days, May 6 and 7. This was the Limit Out Marine Big Bass Tournament, also at Potholes Reservoir and hosted by MarDon Resort. A total of 86 boats with one or two anglers in each one signed up to fish the event.
These tournaments are really fun. There are hourly weigh-ins and the biggest bass weighed in is worth $550 to the angler or team that caught it. Meanwhile, the biggest bass caught during the weekend is worth $7500 along with whatever hourly winnings the angler or team of anglers earned.
Two things I enjoy about Big Bass tournaments is that even a blind squirrel like me can occasionally find a nut or in this case, a big fish. Second, I believe a big bass tournament is good for the sport because there is less mortality to the fish. During a typical bass tournament, you have five fish in your live well and may have them there all day. If you are fishing a stormy day and making a long run back to the weigh in site or are fishing on a hot day you run the risk of killing some of these fish, and the longer the fish are in your live well the worse it often is for the health of the fish.
In a big bass tournament though, you generally have the fish in the live well for an hour or less before weighing it in and releasing it. This is much better way to reduce mortality. The other nice thing about a big bass tournament is that you immediately catch and release the fish you catch if you don’t think they are big enough to win an hourly weigh-in.
I fished the tournament with my best friend and longtime fishing partner Rusty Johnston. Like everyone else, we headed back into the sand dunes, looking for bass in the shallows on spawning beds or near them. We were lucky enough to find a spot nobody else was at and fished it all morning. We had a great day, catching fish after fish with wacky rigged Senkos, (a plastic work hooked in the middle with little to no weight).
The vast majority of the fish weighed two pounds but we also caught a three-pound bass and one that was close to three and a half pounds. This fish was just an ounce or two shy of being a winning fish the first morning when a 3.6- and 3.7-pound bass both took home hourly cash winnings. By the end of the day, we had caught 25 to 30 bass and were confident about the next day.
Unfortunately, the weather cooled overnight and the bite cooled as well for just about everybody fishing this tournament. We caught some fifteen bass the second day fishing the same area and trying a couple of others as well. Unfortunately, the biggest bass we caught that Sunday was only a 2 ½ pound fish.
As for the winners? That was Josh Lucas and Ryan Williams who both live in Pierce County. This was actually Williams first tournament fishing experience. Like me, he fished the Pro-Am and Big Bass tournaments as a co-angler. The two won two hourly prizes over two days. On day one they weighed in a bass under four pounds to win and the second day they got the big one next to a flooded tree where Josh had caught big bass in the past. When Lucas cast his Senko next to the tree, it was grabbed by a 6.15-pound largemouth bass and that fish earned the two a total paycheck of $8600.
If you want to fish next year’s event or find out more about tournament bass fishing at Potholes Reservoir, contact Russ Baker at Limit Out Performance Marine in Spokane Valley or just go to his tournament series website at www.bigbasstrail.com.
John Kruse – www.northwesternoutdoors.com and www.americaoutdoorsradio.com
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