ATX Bassmasters – Lake LBJ

11 November 2009

I’ll make a quick post about how my last club tournament went on Lake LBJ back on October 25th.  Long story short, I got third, won a little cash, and gained some major ground in the point standings for the season.  Here’s the breakdown:

Pre-fishing: Generally speaking I like to give myself three days of pre-fishing before I fish any tournament.  I’ve always felt like if I can have three days of fishing, I can get the bass figured out.  Often times I will get them figured out faster than that, but sometimes I don’t quite catch on to what the fish are trying to tell me until that third day.  However, this month was different.  All of the gas money that I spent on pre-fishing for the Fishing for Freedom tournament pretty much drained my budget for fishing money for the month.  Because of that, I was going to have to survive with only one day of pre-fishing for Lake LBJ, a lake that I have never seen before in my life.  I lucked out and got a pattern dialed in quickly.  This time of the year is fairly predictable.  The weather is cooling, so the shad are migrating to the shallows with the bass hot on their tails.  I happened to find a decent topwater bite first thing in the morning along the dam for some bigger fish, but the main pattern was very similar to what I was doing at Lake Belton recently.  They seemed to be in shallow, muddy pockets of water that were loaded with shad.

Tournament Day: Now, I must mention that in these club tournaments, there is an off-limits period for one week prior to the tournament date, and none of the participating anglers are allowed to fish on the tournament waters.  A lot can change in a week.  Well, we received some very heavy rain the days just prior to this tournament causing the lake level to rise a bit, the water to muddy, and lots of floating debris throughout the whole lake.  Much different conditions than what I faced a week earlier pre-fishing.  Upon seeing how muddy the water was, I had a pretty good idea that my topwater bite on the dam would be over, but I decided to start there anyways just in case.  Just as I expected, that pattern died.  After fishing half the length of the dam with no strikes, I ran down to the other end of the dam where there was a shallow pocket of water with some shallow weeds in it to try really quick.  That’s where I put my first keeper in the boat and then decided to target shallow pockets for the rest of the day.  On my pre-fishing day, I had found one pocket in particular at the back of a slough where I had gotten lots of bites and a couple of decent fish, so that’s where I ran next.  Unfortunately, as I got there, I could see one boat already in the back of the slough fishing, and one right at the mouth of it waiting for his turn to fish back in there.  I maintained my distance, fished a few nearby docks, and carefully watched the other anglers fish the slough and back pocket.  Both boats fished the slough quickly and came back out without catching any fish.  My turn.  As I made my way back in, there was a small pocket off to the side of the slough where I landed my next small keeper.  I ended up spending the next few hours fishing the pocket at the back of the slough nice and slow and managed to catch the rest of my limit out of there by 11:00.  That was pretty much the end of my day as far as catching fish went.  After that I moved to go fish some more shallow pockets, but as I arrived at my next location, I opened my livewell to see two of my bass floating belly up.  Something had clogged my livewell lines preventing fresh water from being pumped in.  From that point on, my day was pretty well shot with just trying to keep fresh water flowing into the livewell to keep my fish alive for weigh-in.  Kind of a bummer, but at least I ended up in third place on a lake I’d only fished once before.  As a result, I stayed in the number four spot in the point standings, but I drastically cut the ten point gap the top three guys had on me to just one point.  After last month, I had all but given up on being able to actually catch the guy who is in the #1 spot.  He still has a pretty decent lead, but there is definitely at least hope of catching him now.  If he stumbles in one of the next two tournaments, I have a shot at catching up.

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