We knew fishing would be tough at Bartletts Ferry for the Potato Creek Bassmasters tournament last Saturday. It took only 11 pounds to win a local tournament a week prior with 47 teams fishing. In local tournaments like that, there are usually some very good fishermen that know the lake well. They’ll fish it several days a week to keep up with what will catch bass.
In our tournament, 18 fishermen cast from 7 a.m.- 3 p.m. to land 51 12-inch keeper bass weighing about 64 pounds. There were three five bass limits and two fishermen didn’t weigh in a fish.
I managed to win with five weighing 7.26 pounds. Doug Acree had five at 7.05 for second, and Stevie Wright came in third with four weighing 6.01 pounds. Glen Anderson had three weighing 5.9 pounds for fourth, and his 3.71-pound largemouth was big fish.
I went to Blanton Creek Campground on Wednesday to practice and try to figure out something on Thursday and Friday. Blanton Creek is a very nice Georgia Power campground about five miles by land and three miles by water from Idlehour Ramp where our tournaments are held.
I like camping there, it has nice shady sites with electricity and water hookups and a good bathhouse with hot showers. As usual, when I pulled up to check in the attendant said “you know you can not park your boat in the campground.”
I have run into that problem every time I camp there. My boat batteries have to be charged every night or I can not fish the next day. They want me to leave my boat in the ramp parking lot, where there are no outlets. I have to take off all my electronics and take all my tackle with me. I am very uncomfortable leaving it exposed in a parking lot.
In some trips in the past, I have been able to park my boat on my campsite. I assured the attendants I would not park it outside the gravel area or on the roads. This time I had gotten a site on the water. This was one of only about ten that allow you to keep your boat in the water, and run an extension cord to it to charge your batteries.
Although written rules in the campground say no vehicles should be parked anywhere other than on the gravel camp sites, there were 6-to-12 trucks and cars parked outside campsites beside the road every day.
So they do not allow anyone to park a boat in the campground since someone might park outside their campsite, but they do not enforce the written rules for cars and trucks.
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Seems very unfair to me.
I was shocked to win the tournament. My elbow started hurting the week before the tournament, and I got a sharp pain in it every time I tried to cast. Thursday I tried to learn to cast with my left hand, and got pretty good at it as I didn’t care where my bait went.
I cast about 20 times Friday and my elbow hurt so bad I stopped. I spent most of Thursday and Friday riding points, looking for places where I could drop a bait over the side or heave it out with no target. I let it sink then drag it around with the trolling motor.
I started Saturday morning on a rocky bank where I could heave my spinnerbait toward it and not care much where it hit. I hooked and lost a fish on my third cast, then lost another a few minutes later. That was not a good start.
I next went to a hump with some hydrilla on it and heaved a topwater bait out, and got a good keeper on my second cast with a topwater plug. After that I caught three on trick worms on seawalls. Fishing them allowed me to cast in the general direction, often landing my bait on the bank, then pulling it into the water.
After the sun got high, I got my fifth keeper dragging a small jig on a point with some brush. Then with less than 30 minutes to fish, I went back to the hump where I caught my first fish.
With five minutes left to cast I hooked and landed a 2.5-pound largemouth on a spinnerbait. It was my biggest fish of the day and culled a 12-inch spot that weighed less than a pound! That made the difference between first and fourth or so.
Never give up — even when every cast hurts!
Till next time — Gone fishing!