First of all I would like to say thanks to Clay for putting on the Dunbar Tournament and everyone else for showing up. Special thanks to Casey and crew from K.A.W.T for making the 4 hour round trip and donating the sticker. It looks good on the Jackson Cuda 12 and I think it might make the yak a little faster. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that there would be 24 kayaks on Dunbar Lake at one time.
Now on to how it was won. Let me just say one thing that I know the Lubbock guys are sick and tired of hearing me say. Zoom Baits Ultra Vibe Speed Craw!
I did a lot of pre-fishing (just ask my wife) for this tournament with three goals in mind.
- Rule out the areas to avoid.
- Find 4 areas I was comfortable fishing at any given time during the day.
- Have fun.
Shane and I went out on Memorial day and conditions were pretty miserable. It was raining all morning long and a little to cold for the gear I was wearing. This happened to be the key practice day. It was that morning that I decided I would either win or lose the tournament in this 30-40 yard stretch of reeds that were less condensed as the rest of the lake. After catching a few decent fish in this area including this one I knew that I needed to be in this area from 10:00 am until 1:30ish pm (depending on cloud cover). It was also a great place to shove the kayak into the reeds and get out of the wind if needed.
Fast forward to tournament day. It has now rained 3.25 inches in the two days prior to the tournament date. A few of us here were worried that the city would barricade the ramp again. I digress. My honey hole looked completely different. It was shrunk down to about 20-30 yards of reeds and a lot more dense. The reeds had been shoved together and the debris was so thick that it was almost impenetrable with a 1/2 oz. weight.
I paddled past that honey hole at the beginning of the day to cover some water and try to get my limit as fast as possible. This decision was tough, but one that I knew had to be made. I needed 3 fish early to allow me to slow down and pick apart this 20-30 yards of reeds that “had to have fish in it”. That decision payed off early as I already landed 3 fish over 12 inches by 9:30am. After that I hit a few more spots that had produced fish during practice and culled one 12 inchers with a 15 incher. This was a good fast start but still not enough to win.
When my alarm went off at 10:30 I had to do the “last cast” thing about 5 times and then headed over to “the spot”. I pulled up there and starting beating that area like a rented mule. I had one bite early, but that fish pulled me down into the ball of reeds and got off. Not even the 40lb SpiderWireBraid could save my hook and bullet weight from that quagmire. I cut the line and got back to work. After about an hour and a half of not getting another nibble it was so tempting to bolt and head elsewhere, but I didn’t. I stuck with the game plan though and within the next hour I had two more 15+ inchers on the board. I still did not think that was going to be enough to win. I was still missing that 16+ inch fish that I knew would be caught. Hats off to Brad and Shane for finding the bigger ones.
At this point it was about 1:30 and I decided to try some small wind blown points on the opposite side of the lake. I had been keeping an eye on where everybody else was fishing and trying to avoid those heavily fished areas. Its hard to find virgin reeds with 24 yaks on that lake, but I had my eagle eyes out. I paddled over there and fished for about 35 minutes before deciding that my best chances were out of the wind. Reigning Buffalo Springs WTKF Champ Jace and I had been fishing in close proximity almost all day and so I just told him I was going to head back across the lake and fish behind Shane. He had been good luck during practice (I think its the pink cooler). Shane’s version of the story probably varies from mine starting here. It was now about 2:15 and I pulled up behind him as he was heading east on the north shore and I started back west. He spins his Nimitz class yak (Hobie Pro Angler) around and starts back westbound. I apologize to him saying “I didn’t mean to cut you off do you want to fish ahead of me?” He said something along the lines of no go ahead no big deal. I swear not 5 seconds after he finished saying that I get a bite and I land one 25 ft in front of him. That was my biggest fish of the day at 15 and 3/4 inches and culled a 15 inch fish. I was still worried sick that somebody had the 17 or 18 inch or bigger fish with a couple 14 or 15 inch kickers. I was certain that I was going to be 1.5 inches short of winning the bag of lures. That was the last fish I managed to land that day.
The 15.75, 15.5 and 15 inch fish I caught turned out to be just enough to sneak past Shane for the win. You can see the results for the tournament here. Great job by Nate Pratt as he pulled in 41.25 inches to finish out the top 3. Pretty remarkable considering it was his first weekend on the Historic Dunbar Lake. GOOD JOB NATE!
I had a great time and hope to see everybody at the next event. We are trying to finalize dates as I type this post. See you on the water!
Gear and Tackle Used:
1/2 Tungsten bullet weight pegged with Top Brass Peg-It Pegging System