Nineteen years ago, May 5-6, 2001, I fished the first Bass-n-Tubes ‘US Open’ float tube/kickboat tournament at Clear Lake. I had never fished a tourney before, of any kind, and had never fished Clear Lake. I found a new passion that weekend and haven’t looked back.
This weekend May 4-5, 2019, I finally got my first Bass-n-Tubes ‘Clear Lake Kickboat Open’ win.
I took the whole week, leading up to the tourney, off of work and towed my ChampioN to Clear Lake for my usual R&R, and of course some pre fishing. From Monday to Friday I fished from the big boat. I stayed out of the keys for the most part and ran around the south end of the lake just learning how to drive a bass boat, and fish from one. Got that down now!
The three times I did enter the keys I figured them out pretty quick. I fished the walls, docks, weeds, and bare banks in the keys with very limited success. I tossed a frog in the keys, each time I fished in there, with not a single sniff all week. The fish I did find were all tight to the wood. Yea, it was a flip bite and I like flippin! My game plan was to run from tree to tree flippin a double wide beaver in watermelon red. I also figured with the weather warming all week that a frog bite was gonna happen eventually so that rod was in the number 2 rod holder.
Day 1: 5:45 blast off and I rowed to my spot and started flippin. My first fish came from the base of a tree that I had picked one off of during pre-fish, 3lber in the livewell. On my way to the next group of trees I was throwing the frog and got a little slurp, through the floating algae, and the frog disappeared. Swing and it’s a hook up and a 3.5lb. fish went into the tank. Yea, the frog got bit I fished for a while and lost one when I knocked an oar in the water on the hook set, doh. This was my only missed hook up all weekend. I got to another tree, where I had caught one from in pre-fish, and a fish rolled on the frog but didn’t eat it. So I went in with the beaver and had #3 in the livewell for another 2.5lbs. Fish #4 was another one on the beaver right at 4lbs. It took about another hour to fill my limit but #5 finally came on the frog, skipping it under the trees. I figured I had about 15 or 16 pounds at this point. I started going back over the water I already fished looking to cull up the weight. At the same tree I caught my third fish from I went in again with the beaver and got whacked. This time it was a pig, and a 7.57 pound fat girl went into the net and upped my total weight by about 5 pounds. I culled a couple more times with the beaver and once on the frog to finish the day with 22.09lbs for my best five, with the 7.57 earning the big fish option $$$ for day 1.
Day 2: 5:45 blast off and I went straight back to where I fished on day 1. I had left 2 side canals in the key I was fishing alone for the most part on Saturday, so I had some new trees to flip on Sunday. That paid off. This time my first fish came on the frog as a 6.1 lber ate it good. I was stoked; it’s good to get the kicker with the first bite of the day AND on the frog! The rest of the day went by really fast and is a blur to me now. The frog bite picked up on day 2 and except for the first fish they just slurped it down without a big blow up. Skipping under trees was the ticket with the frog, and the beaver continued to produce when flipped against the tree trunks. I filled my limit and culled up twice to end the day with 19.29 pounds, with most fish coming on the frog on day 2
The total weight for my best 10 was 41.38 pounds for the victory.
I want to thank everyone involved in making these tourneys so much fun, win or lose. Jeff, Dan, Sal, Jake for running the show and putting on a great raffle, and all my SCBBBC friends who show up each year to up the ante and make the 'Open' what it is.
Winning these things isn’t easy with all the great sticks in both clubs. I feel honored to be able to fish and compete with all y’all.