|#1 Stacy Blackburn|
|#1 Dave Dyess|
|#3 Lee Brannon
|Big Fish Saturday|
"John's Club Report"
Covering the Pensacola Hawg Hunters
January 22, 2000
As tournament time rolled around, it looked as if we would be faced with a similar situation with the weather that we had dealt with in December, a cold front and rain. However we got a break and had good weather for the tournament. Cool temps in the morning rising to about 60 during the day. We had a really good tournament for January. We weighed in 70 bass for a total of 109 pounds! We did have to compete with a strong winter low tide which left a lot of banks dry, and made for a few sand bar alerts but almost everyone seemed to catch a few bass. Water color was stained but not what I call muddy. I think the color was good for the Tensaw.
I got the good fortune to be paired with Rich Cornelius, a newcomer to the Hawg Hunters and a really good fisherman. We were the next to last boat out that morning but were soon on our way up river to some fishing holes. Rich likes to fish a jig an pig and so do I, so we were both set for a fun day. When we got to our first spot we eased up to a creek mouth and started fishing the edges with crank baits but got no results. As we entered the creek we targeted every piece of structure with multiple casts. I switched to a spinner bait to give a different presentation and caught my first fish of the day after about 20 casts to the same stump.
We continued to work very methodically with jigs up into the creek but with the extremely low water were unable to find the fish. After a while we went to an area of the creek where we knew there was deeper water and found a few fish on the "j&p". They were bumping it pretty solid.
About 11am, we gave up on the creek and went to some deeper ledges on the main river. Once again we worked jigs very slowly and each picked up another fish. As the afternoon approached we
decided to head for our third plan and Rich was able to pick up his third keeper there, again on the jig. We both had a number of hits throughout the day and caught several smaller fish and a couple of trash fish, drum and grinnel.
We didnt win or even get in the top three at the weigh-in, but we did have a very enjoyable day. For those of you who havent had the good fortune of fishing with Rich, keep your fingers crossed and hope that you do get the chance. Hes a very knowledgeable fisherman and really operates the boat well and is willing to share his knowledge.
While we were playing with our jigs others were playing with their worms and cranks and spinners.. As usual someone always finds the right key. And, usually one can count on Dave Dyess to find em on the Tensaw. Dave came to the scales with a nice limit of fish.(8.25 lbs). He said he caught them on worm. (No surprise there!!!) You need to watch out for Dave, he will let you fall overboard in the cold water....just ask Jim Bray. Jim decided to go for a January swim to test the theories of hypothermia. Seems as he set the hook on a fish he lost his balance and keer- looshed. Dave, being the nice guy he is and seeing that the fish was still on the line and that Jim had swam back to the boat, netted the fish for his partner, and then unhooked it put it in the live well and only then turned to help his friend back into the boat. Way to go guys, cant afford to loose that fish!!!!!
Another new comer made his mark on his first tournament. Stacy Blackburn came in with a nice limit (8.25 lbs) to tie Dave for 1st place. I think he caught his fish on a spinner bait. Guys we better be on our toes with this fellow. His debut tournament and he kicked our tails!!!!! Congratulations Stacy!
Rounding out the top three was Lee Brannon with 5 fish for 7.45 lbs. We better keep an eye on him also as hes climbing fast in the standings. I think most of his fish came off a worm.
The lunker went to Dwayne Mills with a pretty 2.9 lb bass.
He said he caught it on a crankbait. Fish came from areas along the main river flows as well as from the creeks and shallow bay areas.
It seems that folly follows folly. Around the same time that Jim Bray was practicing the breaststroke, another Hawg Hunter decided to join the Audubon Society and take up bird watching. Cliff Armstrong learned that diving birds will also hit a bass plug. Cliff was swimming a rapala just under the surface and a gull attacked. Before he could jerk the bait away the connection had been made. I would have loved to seen the fight with a gull bill-hooked on a rapala. I bet he had a helluva time keeping him down. Cliff eventually reeled the screaming, flapping, gull all the way to the rod tip and then said "what do I do now." His partner Fred Raby (laughing in stitches), said "I dont know, but he wont fit in the livewell". Fred finally took control and gently unhooked the foul-hooked bird. Ive seen several stories about "fishing the birds", but I dont think thats what they had in mind.
Our next tournament is also on the mighty Tensaw. This time we will launch out of Cliffs Landing. I hope the fishing continues to be as good as it has been for the past several months, but February can be a fickle time.
Until next month....
Keep your hooks sharp.
|Jim Bailey Sr.||1||1.35|
|Cliff Armstrong||1 Bass
Gulls Don't Count