The first Kayak Bass Series North Open came and went under some favorable weather conditions this past weekend. After watching the weather for the past week, the temps remained steady in the high 70’s to low 80’s with no chance of rain and very little wind or cloud cover. That doesn’t always offer the best fishing action but it was perfect timing as the water warmed up into the low 60’s.
I caught a few in practice but not the Dale Hollow-famed beastly Smallmouth but, rather, some quite nice largemouth. I still wanted a limit of smallmouth, though, and on Saturday, I thought I had a good idea of where they’d be. Saturday’s tactic wasn’t to catch numbers of fish. Instead, I wanted to pinpoint large fish and risk not catching my limit, which is exactly what happened. I fished the creeks near channel swings and the creeks with channels running right down the center of them. I concentrated on secondary points, especially those with laydowns.
Within the first 30 minutes of the tournament, I had caught my largest smallmouth of the day and my only largemouth fishing secondary points. There’s no doubt in my mind that these fish hadn’t spawned but were staging and actively feeding that morning in preparation. For the first few hours, I was in the lead but as I struggled to catch a third fish, the rest of the field began to catch up and overtake me. It would be another four hours before another bite and I slightly deviated from my plan and fished a wide, shallow flat for spawning fish. I couldn’t locate anything so I made a run to a creek on the opposite side of the flat and caught two back-to-back but I REALLY had to slow down and fish thoroughly as the fish were not active much at all.
I figured if I could spend the next few hours finding a school of fish on main points near channels, there’s a good chance that I could at least get my limit. It seemed they didn’t want a crankbait or spinnerbait, at all and I settled for four fish finishing in 13th place with 69.5″.
I’m fairly happy with the way the tournament went as it was the first of the season and my first time on Dale Hollow. Competition was tough and I learned a lot throughout the trip. I’m looking forward to fishing in the 2016 No-Mo Charity Kayak Tournament on home waters next month before the next KBS North stop at Table Rock at the end of May.