Myself and 2 others contemplated all week about where we would fish come tournament day. I am extremely comfortable on the lower end of this reservoir. Last year I fished Rocky Gorge almost once a week in the afternoons after work. I was able to get on the water twice prior to this event and both trips yielded no fish. With heavy wind in the forecast, we decided to make the 20 minute drive up the reservoir. This section is skinnier and offers a lot more protection from the wind. We were going to need it with 20-30 mph gusts in the forecast.
At the launch, we quickly noticed that the water was a little more clear than we had anticipated. We were not looking forward to fishing muddy water with 20 mph gusts blowing us across the water. The water temperature was a little lower than I wanted to see. It started out in the low to mid 50's and slowly increased as the sun came up. I thought the bass would be a but lethargic due to the colder water temps to start the day. My strategy going into this event would be to start the day out slow and slowly move to a quicker technique as the day progressed if the water started to warm.
It was pretty windy so a drop shot rig was out of the question. I was thinking about a football jig but I wanted a smaller profile to quickly fill my limit, not knowing how tough the day was gong to be. I decided to go with a 1/4oz shaky head with a junebug colored worm.
By 7:40, I had landed my first fish. It wasn't big but it was a start. I found him in 6-8 foot of water around wood near large rock. This would be the pattern I would start and finish the day fishing. Some time went by and I hooked into my second fish. After submitting my second fish, I took a look at the leader board and saw there was not many people posting fish. At that point, I knew it was going to be a tough day for all of us. As I drifted passed my two buddies, I asked if they were having any luck. They both answered with a very frustrating, "no". One of them was throwing a crankbait and I believe the other was throwing a jig. We were all fishing areas with wood around large rock.
As the day went on, the water temperature started to slowly rise. I switched to a lipless crankbait hoping to cover more water and get a reaction bite. I found a protected cove and fished it for an hour or so with no success. After a few more casts, I started to work my way back to the launch. My third fish came on the main section of the reservoir.
As if catching this fish wasn't hard enough, getting a picture of this fish would be even harder. It seemed like every time I went to snap the picture, he would flop around some more. What happened next was very frustrating. I re positioned my kayak to keep the sun at my back, I got out of the wind to keep from spinning and was set up to get the picture. Right before I took the picture, he flopped again and as I pushed down on him to keep him in place, I snapped my board in two. Now what was I going to do? I looked up and saw another angler about 100 yards away. I placed the fish on the fish grips and got him back in the water while I paddled to the other angler.
After I finished explaining my story to this angler he chuckled and said he had dropped his in the water earlier that day and it was gone forever. He luckily had a friend fishing nearby that was not competing in the tournament and delivered him a new board. After a few more failed attempts, I finally got the picture of my third fish. Thank you Joe D..
All in all the day wasn't a total failure. I got my limit and was able to squeak out a 5th place finish. I'm not sure what the tournament was won on, but I am pretty sure the bite was tough for everyone. There were a couple big bass caught that day and that was very encouraging to see.
Next up, Pohick Bay on the Tidal Potomac. Not my favorite body of water...