ArmyBassAngler Pros had an all around difficult day as Bass Champs hosts its last South Region tournament on Lake O.H. Ivie. The 159 boats participating in this tournament found themselves stacked like sardines trying to find the honey hole that would yield a decent bag of fish. The lake was over 30 feet low making fishable water a premium. Combine that with a unique slot rule and four ArmyBassAnglers teams drive away with only the experience of fishing on what is normally an outstanding lake and for a few teams, it was. Only two fish under 18 inches and three over 18 inches could be brought to the scale.
For the team of Chuck Guthrie and Chad Nelson, fish under 18 inches were easy to catch. They caught at least three 5-fish limits of 16 to 18 inch fish on a wide variety of baits. The first several fish came on topwater baits and the rest of the day was spent catching and slightly upgrading their two “unders” on Carolina Rigs, Shaky heads, and Texas rigged Lake Fork soft plastic baits. “We saw fish stacked up like crazy on the graph; we just couldn’t get them to bite with any consistency,” Chuck lamented at the end of the day. Chuck even broke out his last resort late in the day…..the Drop Shot. He caught several small fish on the finesse technique, just not anything that would make for an exciting weigh-in.
Cody Roberson and Don Bailey also had a very frustrating day. Cody is famous for throwing Victory Tackle Spinnerbaits and Fury Lures Crankbaits, but on this day he pulled out all the stops. He did find a bright spot for the day: “Short of tying a hook on my tackle box, everything from inside it got wet today, but to no avail. We caught a drum, a perch, and a ‘sandie.’ However, another part of the team’s mission was accomplished. Sportsman’s Lodge agreed to donate the team’s hotel fee to one of the non-profit charities. Sometimes, catching fish isn’t the most important part of tournament competition.”
Two Coalition Pro Staff teams participated, as well. Efrem Dicochea fished alone as his partner had other military commitments. He too was frustrated with O.H. Ivie. He was able to catch two “unders” like most of the rest of the field, but anything that would make weighing in worth the effort illuded him. Finally, the team of Wes Higgins and Mario Valenzuela made an appearance on the stage. They caught their two unders and one good fish over the 18 inch slot. They weighed in a respectable 9.02 pounds, but compared to the 90 teams that zeroed, they were pleased with the effort. They spent their day pitching and flipping the vast forest of flooded timber with Texas Rigged Lake Fork plastics, mostly consisting of 10 inch worms. It will not be until October when these teams come back together for a Bass Champs event when the South Championship is held on the world famous Lake Falcon. In the meantime, they will spend their time raising money and awareness for Returning Heroes Home, Heroes on the Water, and Veteran Outdoors. They are all looking forward to this part of their SUPPORT.DEFEND.FISH. mission statement at the Skeeter Boats Owners Tournament on Lake Fork in early June.
For more information about this and other Bass Champs events, visit basschamps.com or see what is new with the ArmyBassAnglers on ArmyBassAnglers.com.