Lake Okoboji, Okoboji, IA
Tournament season is finally upon us yet if you went strictly by the outside temperature and the ridiculous weather we’ve been having, you’d feel as if it were still the heart of winter. I’m not complaining, simply just sharing facts, as long as the water isn’t frozen I’ll be happily wetting a line.
I was excited to get in on this years Okoboji Open, the past years Ryan Brant and I had found some success down there. Two years ago we took second in our debut showing and last year Ryan and his good buddy fished the same bite and again found themselves in second place. The only place to go from here is to finally claim the top spot and no better time than now. Maybe the third time’s the charm?
Unfortunately for the both of us we were unable to get in much practice time. With only having one day we decided to search out new water to go with our already successful pattern and hopefully get enough bites throughout the day to put together a winning sack. The practice though proved to be a challenge and finding quality water wasn’t coming as easily as we had hoped. In fact, really we only found one maybe two areas that could possibly pump out a keeper and if we were really lucky would cough up a good one.
Game day didn’t go as planned to say the least. The take off temp was hovering around 30 and with the 20 to 40 mile per hour winds the wind chill was at a staggering 23 degrees. We really struggled in our primary areas as the water temp shot way down over night and was completely effected by the harsh winds. Our hope was that the area would warm as the afternoon sun came out but since the temps never came up enough and the high winds were very persistence the water temp didn’t cooperate. The areas never produced and though we did manage a few descent fish we were never able to fill a limit. A tough pill to swallow considering we banged out three good ones in a matter of twenty minutes. We both managed to leave a couple good bites swimming and in the end was on the outside looking in.
It was easy to find our mistakes, the largest being fishing off of memory. Bottom line our previous check cashing areas hadn’t yet become ripe and are still a couple weeks from maturing. The late spring season has everything set back a bit and we didn’t do a good enough adjusting to that. We also left a few out there and in a tough tournament where you don’t have a lot to work with bites are key and need to get in the livewell. The result was a very disappointing 23rd place finish and to be honest it wouldn’t mattered if we finished 50th, 23rd or 2nd, we came to win it and weren’t even close. We’ll chalk it up to a lesson learned and use it as motivation for bigger and badder tournaments ahead.