While considering the conditions at hand and the fact that the Corps was pulling water, my partner, Alan Daniels and I made the decision to start our day off in the lower Grand and Tebo Arms. Due to conflicting schedules we were unable to spend any time on the water prior to the tournament and our results were sure to prove it.
As 2010 Truman Division Champions we were rewarded the #1 boat position for the 2011 season. So, once our number was called we got on plane then set back down a short distance from our take-off of Sterrett Creek. This first spot was an ideal main lake channel swing that was semi protected from the extreme winds forecast for the day. We worked this area over without any takers, then proceeded to work our way back into a large cove with every type of bank a person would want for the time of year. We were less than impressed by the water temp of 45 degrees and the lack of bait in the area so we headed up the Tebo a ways. Again, we stopped to fish a main lake channel swing then began working secondaries and transition banks heading towards the back of the cut at a rapid pace trying to put some type of pattern together. Once again we hauled nothing but water while methodicaly working a jig, spinnerbait, and crankbait in what we considered ideal places for spring time fishing.
It was close to 9:00 and we had already fished 2 hours without any sign of us being in the right area. We knew that it was very possible that an early afternoon bite may be the deal, but when fishing against the caliper of fishermen that Joe Bass draws it's important to follow your instincts and just go for it. That said, we fired up the Mercury and headed up the Grand looking for warmer water. Our first stop up the Grand was a small pocket lined with cedars and chunk rock to p-gravel transitioned banks not far above Bucksaw. The first thing we noticed was the water temp was 8 degrees warmer and it gave us hope that we may be able to put a fish in the boat. I began working the jig and my partner worked a spinnerbait around the point while working our way into the cut. Immediately I felt a subtle tap and set the hook, but nothing, pitched back in and once again felt a tap, set the hook, nothing. We continued working this small cut over at a fast pace with the jig and spinnerbait, then pulled up the trolling motor and headed up river another 5 miles further.
As we set set down the first thing we noticed was the bait activity and temperature being in the mid 50's. Much better than the 45 degrees we seen down lake. We began working our way in when Alan called for the net and we boated our first keeper of the day on a 3/8 ounce white skirted spinnerbait with colorado blades. Not a huge fish but a solid 16 incher none the less. This pocket we were fishing was fairly flat but had the perfect combination of bigger rock and p-gravel, and will be sure to hold a few larger females in the coming weeks ahead. After boating the first keeper both of us began saturating the area with spinnerbaits. On this day the fish wanted the bait right up against the bank and we made adjustments to make sure we were doing so. Holding the boat 6-8 feet out we parallelled the bank and made repeated casts to laydowns and pole timber. Most of the fish were relating to pole timber just off the bank a few feet. We boated 3 healthy fish that ended up being our only keepers of the day giving us close to 9 pounds for the tournament. But what a fun day of catching fish. We caught a lot of fish on the spinnerbaits in the 14" - 14 7/8" range. Unfortunately, we never got the 2 limit fish needed to compete.
Definately not the results that we were hoping for, but what a great day of fishing. Yes, the wind blew hard and the back is still aching from the boat ride back. But after what seemed like the longest winter in a long time, it was great to get back on Truman Lake! This is truly on of the best lakes in our region, and it's great to see all of the healthy 14-15 inch fish in this lake. It just proves that my son will be able to enjoy this lake as much as I do.
Congrats to the top Finishers!
35 mph winds, gusty / Partly to mostly Sunny / Water Temp: 45-57 degrees / Lake Level: 708 and Falling / Water was heavy stain to muddy