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24/7 Tournament Bass Fishing Blog

B.A.S.S. Central 2 Fort Gibson Lake

I feel like I am starting to sound like a broken record. After driving 2 days from Montana to Oklahoma I arrived at Fort Gibson. Fort Gibson is a flood control lake in north eastern Oklahoma. When I showed up and launched the boat the lake was 5 feet above normal pool. Much of the shoreline and shoreline timber was flooded and there were millions of threadfin shad and larger gizzard shad everywhere. I was excited as I launched the boat and decided to fish the shoreline from the boat ramp down in front of the campground that I was staying at without even firing up the big motor. My second cast with a shad colored squarebill crankbait yielded by first Fort Gibson largemouth. At 4.5 lbs this was a great start to practice! I knew that this lake was not known for giants so this fish was a very good one. My confidence was immediatley high and I knew that I had a good solid foundation to start from. With the water temperature in the high 70's my practice continued to get better. I would pull up to a spot and bam 3lber! I was quickley establishing a pattern on what to use and where to use it that seemed like it was going to produce several nice limits of fish. The next few days of practicing the weather started to get hot. I also found out from the staff at the campground that they were going to draw the lake down for the Labor Day weekend. I knew that this would probably adjust the fish a bit but I was still confident that they would be easy to find again as I pretty well had them dialed in. I went to bed prepared to wakeup and start over again in my search for the fish. Well, little did I know when they say the water is going to be drawn down they meant now... Not a day later or even 3 hours later. I watched as the water fell 4 feet overnight. When I woke up the areas that I had been fishing were completley dry! The weather had moved from the 80's into the high 90's I was slowly starting to notice that the water temperature had started to creep higher and higher into the high 80's. The fish got increasingly harder to catch and find. About this time my friend Scotty Stevens from Kansas City came down to fish with me for a few days. It was nice to have a buddy to fish with as I was starting to go a little crazy and overthink everything that was starting to happen on the boat. We managed to find a few new spots, lose a pair of Abel Pliers trying to release a 25 pound gar, roast our asses off and have a ball all at the same time. Scotty left before official practice started and then I was all on my own again. One of my favorite spots that I found was up the river that feeds the lake. There were a ton of laydowns to flip and at times alot of current. In the hot water this seemed to be key to where the fish were holding. My first day of practice I went up the river and fished a few brush piles. I caught two keepers and got another monsterous bite off of my main brush pile. Alright my confidence was back! I quickly pulled off of these areas to save them for the first day of the tournament. At the pre-tournament meeting I was listening to all of the dock talk and the consensus seemed to be that the bite was extremely tough. I felt good about my chances to land five keepers the next day so I got a good night sleep and attacked it full bore the next morning! When I launched the boat I noticed that the water had come up again? This had me a little concerned as I had just spent my last three days in practice re-patterning the fish. I raced to my first spot and found that there was nobody on it. I started to fish and watched boat after boat come by and turn away when they saw that the spot I was on was taken. My co angler and I fished the snot out of this spot. We could not buy a bite. Then I raced to my next spot and again nothing. 1pm rolled by and I knew that I had to make a move. I went to a spot I had marked in practice but had not fished very hard. It was a sharp ledge in the middle of a creek arm that was riddled with docks on both sides. I watched as boat after boat came in and fished the docks but no one was fishing this ledge. First cast on the ledge bam 2.5 lber. About 5 casts later another keeper that went 1.5 lbs. I was starting to get cocky now as I felt as though I had figured something out. There were all of these boats in there fishing these docks and watching me land keepers from the oddest looking spot. Then the bite shut off. I managed to weigh in 4lbs that day. I was pretty excited about this as there were many elite series pros that got blanked on day 1. I was in 100th place out of 177 boats and I felt like I had some momentum going into day 2. Maybe I could catch five and get a check! On day 2 a northern front blew in and it rained and blew hard all day long. For the bite that I was on this really turned the fish off, and I was only able to boat 1 fish. I had another really good fish on and it threw my crankbait at the boat. I ended up in 130th place out of 177 boats. There were several boats that did not boat a keeper either day of the tournament so I felt ok about my lack of production. I am still learning more than I know each day of practice and each tournament day. It is time to head home and see my wife and kids for a week before I turn around, fly back to Missouri, pick up the boat and truck and head to Table Rock Lake in southern Missouri to try it all over again. Man I am having a blast!

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