Dog Days of Summer

lay lakeWhat is the first thing that you think of when you hear the word summer? Top picks are vacations, beaches, cookouts but not fishing. Usually it’s too hot to keep the fish alive.

Our Georgia Ovarian Cancer Alliance /TH Marine rig rolled into town to be greeted by mother nature throwing us in the oven on broil mode and followed up with a nice smoking, looking like a golden turkey on Thanksgiving. To begin pre-fishing my first thought was to stay hydrated. I froze a lot of water bottles to use during the event for two reasons: 1) to drink and 2) to keep the fish cool. A dead fish penalty can ruin your chances on a good finish and can make the difference of a few dollars at the end of the day.

Speaking of ice, I always put a large bag in the livewell to get the temp down to start the day off. I follow that up with G Juice to combat ammonia and chlorine. Block off your overflow and you will not lose any water and be sure to use your Oxygenator, if equipped, as well as more ice during the day.

Having only a few days to find some fish in a lake that is full of grass can be overwhelming to most, especially if you do not do it everyday. I opted for a more traditional approach – fishing offshore. Yes I know it may be considered  stupid but I wanted to fish my strength to make sure I caught enough to survive. The goal is to get to the regional, which is why I am doing this entire division. Just make the top 50 in each event was the goal at the beginning of the year, don’t worry about a check. I wanted to make sure I had a chance to go back to All-American and this was the best plan, to qualify for the Lake Hartwell regional by traveling to an entire different division. I have far exceeded the goal and now I am in the running for the AOY title along with my travel partner, Michael Anders.

Speaking of travel partners, there is no way to do this without help, end of story. You need to align yourself with great people that you can work with on and off the water. Michael and I developed a great plan at the start and have followed it all the way to the end thus far. We share all information and help figure out how and where they are biting the best to allow us to have a greater chance of catching a bass.

Here is the skinny for my week of catching… as I said before I was looking offshore for brush and log jams on deep corners where it fell off to the river channel. As you see in the picture, the fish were suspended around the cover on the drop and this is where I was able to catch most of them on three main baits. Being a fairy wand fishermen it is no surprise that I had both of my Kistler / Quantum combos spooled up with Hi-Seas fluorocarbon both in 6# and 8#. A one-two approach was the plan using a shakey head followed up with the drop shot, both had Zoom Bait Swamp Crawlers tied to the end. During the week I kept trying to get the schools fired up by throwing my TAPP from W.E.C. which helped me make a few key culls on tournament day.

After all the sweat and when the dust settled, I managed to get another top 20, move up in the AOY race, capture some more contingency money from Evinrude and TH-Marine Atlas Awards. Most importantly, I was able to talk about ovarian cancer to raise awareness for early detection. All this aided by my outstanding wrap from ZDecals.

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