When you're fishing a major tournament, any tournament, there's always pressure to perform. Money and reputations are on the line, pride is also always playing a slight role as well. After having fished two different events in far away lands, it was definitely nice to get a chance to compete on a body of water that I am much more familiar with...the Richelieu River. It was the Pro Bass Canada Open and this time I partnered up with good pal and river rat, Dobyn's Rods Pro Dennis Fontaine. Dennis and I have been fishing both the Richilieu and Lake Champlain for that matter together for quite a few years now. I knew that I had the right partner from the get go.
With my busy tournament schedule, we ended up only dedicating one day to prefishing, and a week before the tourney to boot!
Our initial pattern we developed was punching thick main river matts with 1.5oz Ultra Tungsten bullet weights and Havoc Smash Tubes. We even found a couple shallow grass clumps that were holding some decent fish. As you can see from the photo above, we ended the day with confidence, feeling pretty good about what we found and ready for the following weekend.
To our disappointment, absolutely none of our patterns were working. By 10am we had yet to catch a keeper and panic started to kick in. Do we continue on our path or do we call it and make a drastic change in the gameplan? After much thought and comparing views, we quickly decided to try something different. We had noticed that the water levels were certainly lower than the week previous and who knows? Maybe the areas we had found that were holding fish may have been pounded pretty hard by other teams during the week. This is the reality of tournament fishing. The only thing that you can truly concern yourself with are those variables that you actually have control over. In this particular case, what we were going to do next. Believe it or not, we went back to basics and starting hitting up some docks that we suspected may be holding a fish or two. To our surprise, almost each and every dock we hit produced fish! A 4 and then a 4.5...and then even a nickel! Yep, we were onto something and the timing couldn't have been any better.
We threw compact baits such as the Berkley Havoc Pit Boss, designed by Skeet Reese in June Bug colour. Most of the docks had stained water under them so we wanted to make sure to throw a dark colour. Pegged to 1/2oz Ultra Tungsten and the combo was just on fire.
At the end of the day, we went to scale with our best 5 weighing in a decent 19.95lbs anchored by a 5.05lb lunker. Good enough for 4th place overall and a cheque. I can honestly say that I had an absolute blast fishing this one and can't wait to do it all over again. Thanks Dennis for another awesome time on the water. Lesson learned? Never be too stubborn when it comes to fishing. Always pay attention to change and be open to change it up, even when it may be in your own backyard. Next stop: Ottawa River for Renegade Bass Q2.