The B.A.S.S. Open at the Red River was an interesting tournament. For most of us the fish were plentiful but the bigger bites were few and far between. What the tournament was mostly about was strategy. Since we were launching in Pool 5 and could fish 5, 4 or 3, the decision of how to spend you fishing time was even more critical than normal.
In my opinion, pools 3 and 4 contain better fish but each lock takes close to 2 hours out of your day by the time you lock down and back up. Despite this loss of fishing time, several anglers elected to go all the way to pool 3 and lock twice each way. Of those that locked, I heard of one that made the run, fished a total of 36 minutes to catch his limit and made the run back. You have to have a special kind of confidence in your fish for that plan.
I had hoped that by using an aluminum boat for this tournament, I’d be able to get in some areas that I couldn’t get my Phoenix into. As it turned out, I could have fished the big boat in any of the areas that I found although I might have hesitated to take the Phoenix into some of the areas.
As is usually the case, I did learn a great deal during this event. In this case, I was fishing mainly rock jetties on the main river. I’ve done that many times before, but they are a little different on the Red River. When fishing this type of cover, you always look for the current breaks. These breaks can be on the points or in areas where the water flows over the jetty, but regardless of their location, you key on these eddies in the water flow. The bass use them as ambush points and are generally very aggressive about biting.
What makes the Red River jetties somewhat different, is that they are drastically affected by the locks. Every time the lock cycled, the current would shift direction, repositioning the bass. Because of this shift in current, you could catch bass on both sides of the jetties, depending on which way the water was flowing. What amazed me was how fast the bass adjusted to the changing current flow. I realized that the fish were holding on both sides, but just biting with the current was flowing the way that had them positioned on the down current side of the jetty.
After practice, I was certain that I could pretty much catch a limit that weighed 7-8 pounds at will. As it turned out, I was correct in that assumption. I caught about 60 to 70 keepers during the two tournament days, but what I needed was a way to catch an upgrade fish each day. As it turned out, I got that bite each day but failed to land it on Day 1, so I ended up 11 ounces out of the money. I can’t fault the plan, just my execution of the plan.
As disappointing as the close finish was, it was a wonderful week on the water. The weather was great, the fish were biting and I added some knowledge that will pay off at some other fishery down the line. There’s a pretty big break coming up in my tournament schedule, since the next event is not until September. That’ll give me some time to work on some videos for my YouTube Channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/ScottMcGehee) and catch up on some technique articles that I’ve been wanting to do for the blog. If you’ve got any techniques that you’d like to hear and see about, let me know.
Thanks to the sponsors who make this all possible: Lowrance Electronics, Phoenix Bass Boats, Denali Rods, Bryan’s Marine, BoatUS Angler, Power Pole, Costa del Mar Sunglasses and Mississippi Van Lines. Without all of you, none of this would be possible.