Lake O’ Dowd, Shakopee, MN
Preparing for this tournament wasn’t tough at all since I grew up just a couple miles from the boat landing and still do most of my guide trips on this very body of water. One may think I should have this one in the bag and in the summer months when the bass go deep I would consider myself a tough one to out do but this time of year the bass are shallow and big bass at that. It was truly anybodies ball game.
I was paired with fellow fishing buddy Rich Lindgren for this event which wasn’t really the most ideal pairing in that we were sitting first and second in the Angler of the Year race with Rich slightly edging me by less than a pound. I new I had the water to do well in this event but new damn well Rich would stick his fair share of them. We fish together pretty often and are used to sharing the front deck, why would today be any different? We decided we’d just act as if we were out fun fishing and rotate on the trolling motor.
The action starting slow which was a surprise to say the least. I had a stretch that I found in practice that I honestly thought both Rich and I could put 14 pounds in the box within the first 30 minutes. Not the case. Instead we left the first couple spots with nothing to show.
Success was to be had and after a mind boggling start we finally got our act together and started setting some hooks. Rich and I went blow for blow all day, culling lots and often but upgrading only ounces at a time. We joked all day about who had the better bag, both thinking the other did of course. Our main pattern was ultra shallow water because the snowy winter made for some high water and the fish were literally on the bank. Most my fish came on a Lake Fork Ring Fry with a 4/0 Trokar Magworm Hook.
Knowing we needed a kicker fish, Rich and I decided to hit a deeper spot that I knew the bass would use as a transition from shallow water out to the deeper water. Basically the weedline forms a underwater point between to spawning flats and also has some mixed in rocks. Both Rich and I were able to catch a few on football jigs, I was using a 1/2 oz. hand tied Picasso Fantasy Football Jig.
Back at weigh-in I really wasn’t surprised to find out the overall weights were up. This lake is loaded with 5 pounders and I’ve seen my fair share of 6’s and 7’s as well. Actually there was a donkey of a 6.45 lb. largemouth that got weighed in as well.
I finished with 5 for 15.71 lbs. and good ole’ Richy finished with 5 for 16.01 lbs. barely edging me out and adding a few more ounces to his AOY total. If I had my choice I’d take 15.71 pounds for 5 in every tournament I fished and would cash checks in almost every event but this time it was only good enough for 6th. Just like I said to the boys, “I’m on 15 pounds unless I crack a kicker or two.” I had a bag of all 3 pounders and just never popped that big bite I needed to jump up into the top 3. Though I have to admit, Rich and I had a great time whacking on ’em all day that’s for sure!
On another note, Lake O’ Dowd sucks, stay far far away from it. ; )