|John's Club Report
Covering The Pensacola Hawg Hunters
Email: John Buck
Founded In 1975
|Total Year Standings
Total Fish Caught 635
Total Dead Fish 24
Big Fish 6.80
Total Fish Weight 1034.15 lbs
*** Tournament Winner ***
10 Fish - 18.25 lbs
Big Fish Winner
C. J. Garrison
PENSACOLA HAWG HUNTERS
OCTOBER 23-24, 2004
After a month off thanks to Hurricane Ivan, the Hawg Hunters found themselves fishing the end of the year
"Fish-Off" tournament on the Appalachicola River. We launched from the Cipio Creek Marina. It was a brackish water area but at least it beat the other alternative which was a salt water launch. The weather was very nice with lows in the lower 60's and highs in the mid 80's. Skies were partly cloudy and the river level was slightly high. Water temps we fished were mostly in the mid to upper 70's.
Due to recent (several) hurricane storm surges, we found things quite different than we had experienced in the past. Very dark water (tannic and cloudy) was the rule in the areas where you would usually find clear water
(Lake Wimico and others). Due to the large salt water tidal surges that filled the delta on several occasions this summer and fall, the grass beds that were so prominent were basically gone.
Some new growth is returning and there are a few eel grass beds still left.
We found that where you could find eel grass, even just a little, you could find bass.
Jim Bailey and I drew out as partners and we both had hopes of success like we had the last time we fished together (each with a limit and 1st and 2nd place finishes). It didn't happen! We started off in Wimico fighting the wind but catching 6-8 small fish each. We decided to leave in search of bigger fish up river. We ran to the "fingers" and started throwing worms, craws, spinners, and cranks. We didn't get the number of bites we had in Wimico but the quality was better. I managed 2 keepers on a crank bait (chartreuse bandit), and Jim managed one on a worm. We each had several smaller fish also. I did find the big fish bait for that area but just couldn't put them in the boat. I managed to lose a big fish when he jumped and threw the bait back to me and then a couple of others in the 2-3 lb range when they jumped and slung the bait. The fish were in shallow water and there was no other way for them to go but up! Oh well, that's fishing!
At the weigh in for day one many limits were weighed in. Fred Raby took the early lead with a nice bag which weighed a little over 9 lbs. Several others had 6-8 lb bags of fish. However it was Mac Cramer who stole the show when he dumped his bag of fish on the scales. He had a nice bag weighing over 11 lbs, but even better was the HAWG he anchored the bag with. His lunker weighed 6.8 lbs which promptly won him big fish honors for the year! What a beautiful fish! He said he caught it on a june bug Paca craw.
Most of the fish were caught on floating worms, Texas rigs, and buzz baits. Most fish were near deeper water holding on shallow ledges. Fish in Wimico seemed to be around the mouths of creeks near the shallow drop ledges.
As usual day two brought changes. With a 1PM weigh-in for day 2, Jim and I opted to spend the day in Wimico and just weed through the small fish and try to get a limit of keepers. We started out with worms early and stayed with them all day. By 12:30 PM I had caught 18 with 4 keepers and Jim had caught 13 with 3 keepers. That turned out to be a good move for us as we had fun all day with pretty consistent action and each of us managed to move up in the standings a little. Even though Jim and I didn't make it into the top 4 we had a great time fishing together and we each learned something new about the Appalachicola River delta.
Several guys who found fish on Saturday didn't do a well on Sunday. Brian Metcalf brought in another nice limit to take the win! (Sort of sounds like a broken record.) Mac Cramer finished 2nd, Jere Jaillite took 3rd place, including the Sunday lunker (5.85), and Dave Rogers and Pete Potter tied for 4th.
Again, most of the fish came on a variety of worms.
The tournament results are:
1st Brian Metcalf-18.25
2nd Mack Cramer-15.95
3rd Jere Jaillite-14.05
4th Dave Rogers-11.35
4th Pete Potter- 11.35
6th Fred Raby-10.80
7th Rich Cornelius-10.25
8th John Buck- 9.35
9th Ron Fairbanks-9.15
10th Jeff Weaver- 9.10
Normally I would end here, but that's not the end to our saga . About 20 miles down the road Jeff Weaver had a blow out on his trailer. We all pulled over to lend a hand. Jeff's jack wouldn't fit under his trailer so I got out my floor jack that I carry and we were able to get him going. His spare was low on air but about 15 miles down the road he stopped in Wewahitchka and topped it off. The convoy was once again on the road.
Eventually we got on the interstate and were headed west. Just past Defuniak Springs, Jeff's spare blew. The convoy pulled off and we all jumped in to lend another hand. Out with the floor jack, off with my spare, put spare on his boat and we were off once again. One mile further and Jeff pulls off because of a vibration. The convoy stops to lend a hand. Jeff has lost 3 lugs and the vibration and wobble has cracked the rim on the spare. This time we had to change a hub because of the lug type. Out with the floor jack and on with a new hub and on with Dave Rogers's spare. Jeff is now carrying 3 messed up tires in the back of his rig. Jeff, Dave, and I take the front door of the convoy because none of us have spares and hope that there are no more problems. We didn't have any more problems, but Jeff did seal up the Slammer Award for the year. (Lee Brannon has breathed a huge sigh of relief and even Fred Raby feels better after dropping his new cell phone overboard.) That is how a 4 hour trip can turn into 5 ½ hours. Needless to say Jeff took some mighty heavy ribbing for the last hour of the trip. Just think Jeff, you'll get to relive this story in front of the wives at the banquet!
On a serious note, I want to thank ALL of the guys in the convoy for their help and assistance. There are values to traveling in convoys, especially on the longer trips. Guys this is a good time to check on your emergency extras (tools, jacks, hubs, tires, etc) . If you are depending emergency equipment that you had for a previous boat be sure that it is in good working condition and appropriate for the rig you are now pulling. Jeff had the right stuff but his spare was weak and his jack, though functional was difficult to use on his trailer. Jeff stopped by my house on Friday. He had special ordered a rim to match the one which broke, and brought me a new rim with the spare mounted and ready to go. He said that he had also purchased 2 new trailer tires and also had a much better spare now and has made some major repairs to his trailer. I do want to make the point that Jeff made sure that those of us who lent him tires etc. were fixed up and ready to go within a couple of days.
In closing, I want to thank the out-going E-Board Brian Metcalf, Pete Potter, Kevin Simmons, Frank Kelly, and Walter McCartney for their service and efforts during the past year.
I also want to congratulate the new E-board, President-Dave Dyess, VP/Treas.-Terry Smith, Sec. - Ken Repine, Tour. Dir.-Frank Kelly, and Asst TD- Paul Sullivan.
November starts our new tournament year. It's a great time to get everyone on the track for a new tournament season. Our tournament is scheduled for Millers Ferry out of Ellis Landing on Saturday, November 20.
Til next time keep those hooks sharp!