Meaning…that you can study weather reports, spend all week pre-fishing to formulate a strategy for the event, and even locate active fish. And suddenly – come gameday, with one fell swoop, those plans you had counted on for success – simply go south.
Which was the case with many anglers who prepared in earnest for last Saturday’s Future Pro Tour event at Lake Berryessa – dubbed the “Grapes of Wrath” where a field of 107 teams gathered to reignite their competitive fires after a 3-month long summer break in the FPT tournament season.
Many employed their favorite and time-tested top water tactics.…no good.
Many settled on deep diving crank baits hoping to fool fish that were herding tremendous schools of bait all over the lake, into biting their multi-colored offerings.…no good.
Many went “point hopping” with swim baits, hoping that Lake Berryessa with its healthy population of rainbow trout, would yield a double-digit monster bass looking to “hammer” an easy big meal….no good.
But ultimately, it was the ol’ school techniques and way of thinking that proved to be the key to solving the Lake Berryessa puzzle, as anglers who split-shot (yes split-shot), and drop shotted soft plastics – with SLOW presentations, enjoyed the success they needed to place high in the standings.
“The only thing that would work for me was to slow-drag plastics all day”, said Bob Flink who finished third in the competition with a healthy 13.79 limit of largemouth and smallmouth bass to his credit. To catch my fish, I had to be barely moving the worm to get the fish to bite and commit”, he added.
The team of Barry Johnson and Cody Somers experienced the same thing as they ran to various areas of the lake using a variety of baits to bag a limit of bass that weighed 14.51 pounds and capture their first FPT title. “Don’t know what to say”!, said a visibly excited Barry Johnson as he addressed the large crowd of spectators present at the awards ceremony. “I had to fish by myself today which in itself was a challenge…but I was able to put some things together and do well”, he added.
Wire-to-Wire Coors Light Angler of the Year Race
The race for the inaugural Coors Light – Silver Bullet Angler of the Year title took an interesting turn as leaders Shane Pierson and Travis Ladner, were not able to capitalize on the success they experienced during their pre-fishing just days prior to the event.
Going into the event they enjoyed a two-point lead over contenders Stacy Gee and Rafael Ortiz, and Austin Wilson and Jose Juarez, but quickly saw that lead diminish as they were only able to bring in a small limit, dropping them out of the lead and possibly out of contention for the AOY title.
Stacy and Rafael now enjoy the lead – but only by a mere two points, and it is for sure that they can see Austin and Jose in their rear view mirror, and can feel them virtually breathing down their necks to capture the title for themselves.
Everyone….the final event of the season to be held at Lake Oroville is just three short weeks away and will surely be a SHOWDOWN of magnum proportions, carrying with it as much drama and excitement for these two teams as the historic gunfight at OK Corral!
We hope to see you all at that exciting season ending event!