Skeet’s Beat – Flippin, Arkansas

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SkeetBlogWe just wrapped up the Elite Series event on Bull Shoals in Arkansas. It’s one of the prettiest places we go all year. From the White River to the Buffalo River and everything in between and around the area is just beautiful.

Another great thing about the area is it is bass fishing Mecca. More bass boats are built in a 20 mile radius of Bull Shoals than the rest of the world combined. Everyone in the area knows bass fishing and they get really excited and take great care of us when we come to town. It was especially nice to have the chance to speak with some of the Stratos boats employees. I appreciate them and I never take for granted the amount of hard work that goes into building my boat every year, and every Stratos boat each day.

I ended up in thirteenth place for the tournament, just four ounces outside the the top twelve cut. With the varying weather conditions and after last years not-so-hot finish, I’ll take it.

During the official practice period I was able to find some areas with bigger than average fish. The water was gin clear and I visually spotted some four and even five pounders in the back of pockets. They weren’t on beds, but they were getting ready to spawn. With the front moving through on the cancelled day one I knew they wouldn’t be moving to beds, but instead might pull out a bit. I was left trying to figure out what the best plan of attack.

On day one of the event I decided to fish the pockets where I had seen the bigger fish with the hopes of getting one or two of them to bite. I caught a four and a three and half first thing in the morning on a Lucky Craft LC 1.5 crankbait and a wiggle wart.  I was covering a lot of ground and casting and retrieving about as fast possible. At the end of the first day, I had 15-pounds, 13 ounces and was in good position, in second place.

Day two brought dead calm winds and the water temperature dropped ten degrees overnight. I had to make the painful adjustment and slow down. I typically don’t mind fishing slow, but after power fishing the previous day it was a big adjustment to sit rotting over a deep point. I used a watermelon candy Havoc Bottom Hopper straight tail worm on a shaky head and a Carolina rig. An interesting tidbit about the Carolina rig is that it was the first time I actually used my Carolina Rig rod for Carolina rigging in a tournament. I use the C-rig rod all the time, just not for Carolina rigging. Anyway, the 10-pounds, 14-ounce limit was enough to keep me in the hunt.

I had high hopes for day three when I heard the weather forecast included some wind. I was ready to blister them and get back near the top of the leaderboard. Unfortunately, the wind blew the opposite direction of what it had on day one. On my very first cast of the day, I landed a keeper smallmouth. A second smallmouth came just a few casts later and I rounded out a limit very early.  I thought I was in business and I began chasing wind blown pockets.

As the day warmed up I was sure the better fish would push to the bank. Sometimes this sport leaves us scratching our heads and that’s exactly how day three left me. No matter how long we’ve been fishing it is still partially a guessing game. All we can do is take in all elements, conditions and use our experience to make the best guess at what should work. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out the way we figured. The fish never pushed to the bank like I expected and I finished with 11-pounds even for the day.

Overall, it was a good tournament and it jumped me up the AOY standings quite a bit.  We still have five events left and plenty of time to make a run for another Angler of the Year title in 2013.

I’d like to extend congratulations to Jason Christie. To win an FLW Tour and an Elite Series event back to back is very impressive.