I flew back to Austin after only a week home. The next tournament was on Lake Texoma on the border of Texas and Oklahoma. I was excited about this tournament considering that Texoma is a clear water fishery and there are abundant smallmouth bass in the lake as well as some nice quality Largies.
What greeted me when I arrived was rising lake levels. The reservoir had been almost 30 feet low until about 2 weeks ago and the water had risen about 20 feet in a matter of a month. The rain just kept falling and the west end of the lake where the Red River comes in was completely off color. In practice the fishing was slow but the quality of the fish was incredible. However it was hard (as always) to establish a consistant pattern. In the bass world they call this type of fishing "Junk Fishing". It consists of trying every technique in the book, catching a fish and then going hours or days until you get another bite. Then you switch techniques catch a fish right away then not another for hours or days. I concentrated a lot of my practice time on trying to find a fly fishing pattern that would consistanlty work. I was able to catch a few fish on a simple black leach fly that sinks slowly. Most of my fish came on this dead sticking fly technique. The problem with implementing this into a tournament is the time it takes to fish this way. My plan was to locate groups of quality fish with my bait casting stuff and then for the tournament, fish slow with the fly rod and maximize my effectiveness by being confident that I was around lots of fish. The problem was finding good groups of fish.
In practice I would go to an area where there should be lots of fish and I would catch one and then have to move. The problem with this was, over half the lake was super dirty and that concentrated all of the other anglers into the clear part of the lake making many of the good places crowded. I came in 80th out of 90. I was super dissapointed with my performance in this tournament but to give an example of how hard the fishing was, one of my practice buddies on the first day of the tournament caught 5 nice keepers on a swimbait. He finished day one in 13th place, on day 2 he was only able to put one in the livewell doing the same exact thing. Now that the FLW Texas division was over the complete results are in.... I finished in 77th place out of 158. That is in the top half of the field all in all not to bad for a guy that had never participated in a tournament prior to February. The fun thing about this Tournament was that My wife's aunt and uncle have a horse ranch 45 minutes from the lake. I was able to have a super comfortable place to stay and great Texas hospitality complete with a crawfish boil!