The title pretty much sums it up. Last Saturday was the 5th Annual World Championship Bass on the Fly Tournament on beautiful lake Fork.
The festivities started on Friday with sign-ups and check-ins, casting distance and accuracy contests, buying additional flies, and maybe a lie or two being told.
Sign-up & check-in
I "always" need more flies!!!
The mastermind behind this tournament is Ted Warren.
Friday night proved to be interesting as it stormed most of the night. At 6am on Saturday when we were allowed to make that first cast it was still pouring rain so I decided that a few additional cups of coffee were in order. I finally left camp at 7:20am after pumping approximately 8 inches of water out of my Ultimate FX.
The winds were still somewhere in the 20 to 25 mph range and there was the typical huge amount of Lake Fork boat traffic on the lake. I took off armed with my new TFO 6/8 Mini Mag rod and a quiver full of new flies that I had tied up that week. I paddled to a cove approximately 1/2 mile from the campground and started working the grass-line with a top-water foam popper. After about 10 casts I saw a swirl next to my fly and then my line tightened. I strip set the hook and the fight was on. The fish, a beautiful bass in the 24 to 25 inch range was towing me around and made a couple of sweet jumps before snapping my 17 pound leader. When I finished wiping my tears I tied on another popper and continued the hunt. After making a number of unsuccessful casts with the popper I decided that it was light enough out to switch to something sub-surface.
As soon as I switched to a sub-surface fly I started catching fish.
I caught a nice 16 1/2 inch bass.
A nice 9 inch bluegill.
Two catfish (not pictured). Seriously, catfish on a bass tournament day???
I fished that slough for a while longer and decided to move to the slough closer to my campground. I paddled around the point to that slough where I met the guy who was camping next to me. He was fishing from his yak but was not a tournament participant. He advised me that he had caught a bunch of fish and that he was going to take a break and "you want to fish right there". So, who am I to argue with someone who is giving me fishing advice. I cast my fly into the area he had pointed out and BAM caught a nice bass.
I brought it in, photographed it and put it back. I cast right back in to the same spot and BAM another bass.
This one was 21 inches and weighed in at a little over 5 pounds on my Boga Grip scale.
I cast a few more times into that spot with no luck. I then started working the vegetation line and went about 50 feet and hooked up with another bass.
I fished for about another hour after that with no luck. It was 1:00pm at that point so I decided to get an early start on the 2:00pm weigh-in. So in I go with only 4 of my 5 allowed fish.
Those 4 fish gave me a combined total length of 67.5 inches.
My big bass was 21 inches.
My big bluegill was 9 inches.
The winning flies!!!
When the final results were all in I wound up with 1st place in the non-boater (kayak) division and, big bass and bluegill in the same division.
If you've never fished one of the tournaments I highly recommend you consider doing it next year.
Ted puts on a top-notch tournament and the comradery and fellowship is just excellent.
The proceeds from this tournament went to support the Texas Council IFFF and Reel Recovery.
Thanks to Shannon Drawe for many of the above photos.
Until next time, tight lines,