The WCB Super Pro-Am at Oroville on 2/12-2/13 was a very challenging tournament to say the least. The conditions were as cold and wet as I have ever fished in. It rained and blew both days. It took two days to get the feeling back into my fingertips. (I have to exaggerate, I'm from Texas!) Anyway it was ugly.
I got to Oroville on Friday night and got checked in. At check in Dean and Cooch had a table set up and were passing out Yamamoto baits to all the contestants. It was like watching two kids in a candy store with control of all the candy sharing with their friends. It was something to see.
I came back for the draw at 7:00 pm and spoke with Dean a little before being assigned with the pro's I would be fishing with. I started day 1 with a pro from Reno who has fished in the Nevada and Arizona circuits for years named Rob Wenning. For day 2 I drew David Carrick, a local who has been on Oroville alot in the last couple of months. We decided on meeting places for the next two mornings and then everyone broke to get prepped for the next day.
Day 1- Rob and I blasted off in the middle of the pack and ran up the south to an area that he had fish going. He was a carolina rig and jig fisherman and we hit it off really well. We had a limit by about 10:00am and eventually ran back to the mouth of the South arm and he picked up a 3.5 spot to cull a fish and round out our weight for the day. We found no major concentrations of fish shallow. All our fish came from 30 to 45ft. And were caught on carolina rigged plastics and the last fish was caught on a jig. We went back and pulled the boat up to the weigh in and wound up with 9.44lbs for the day which put us in 21st place. We were still within striking distance of a top ten finish which was both of our goal.
That night everyone pretty much hunkered down in their rooms because it was so nasty outside. I wanted to get to know as many of the pro's as I could but no one was out. I took a hot shower and crashed for the night. I took my family with me and my wife got the kids to sleep and let me rest. I slept hard that night but was up before the alarm went off anticipating the days fishing.
Day 2- It was worse conditions than day one. It was raining from the start. David asked me how I had done the day before and knew I was in the running with the weight I had. He has lost three fish the day before and was out of serious contention. He wanted to help me do well and I told him I needed ten pounds today. He offered to let me chose the water. I had a place I wanted to start but we decided that the fish he was on were running about a pound bigger than my fish so we ran up the main body to his spot first. I put the first fish in the boat right away on a carolina rig. Then stopped getting bit. David was almost strictly a drop shotter. We pulled around onto a point and both pulled out our drop shot rigs. He said the bite was slow but if we hung with it we could pick up bigger fish. I told him lets do it. With the tough bite going on and the bigger fish still deep it was a very logical thing to do. But would it produce the fish we needed? About thirty minutes later he answered that question when he set up on a two pound spot. We got bit once every hour to hour and a half the rest of the day. My big fish came late in the day around 1:00pm. I should explain that no bite we had felt harder than pulling a small hook into a sponge at 45 feet. When my big fish hit (make that mushed) I didn't really feel it' I just felt like my bait was not acting the way it should have been acting. So I reeled down and loaded the rod and the fight was on. The sense of happiness I felt when we got that fish in the boat was incredible. I knew we had a limit over ten pounds with a possible big fish that could get me into the top ten. On the ride back to the ramp the wind didn't seem to blow as hard as it had and the rain pelting me in the face didn't sting nearly as bad as it had over the last two days. Yet I knew the conditions were just as bad as thepast two days.
We weighed in 12.12 lbs and my big fish was a 3.55lb spot. We didn't wait for the other boats. I thanked David for putting us on fish and went back into town to the hotel where the awards would be presented.
As the Pro's and Semi-Pro's were coming in I passed out cigars that one of my sponsors, Sacramento Pro Tackle, had furnished for the event. Afterdoing my duty I sat back and talked to the guys and spoke with my wife about where I might of finished. As things got going the first thing they did was announce the winner and Gary Dobyns came up and got his boat certificate. As they went down the list of winners they announced that I had won 4th on the Semi-Pro side with 21.56lbs. and a 4th place big fish. I won $850 in cash, a $150 Lamiglas rod and $50 worth of tackle and a plaque for the braggin wall. They took my picture and I had the opportunity to speak about the tournament. I thanked my sponsors and the pros I fished with. I also thanked Dean Sault for all the help he has giving me, which I am still very much in appreciation of. And Then I went and sat down and got congratulations from alot of great guys.
Many of those great guys are part of the NCBF family. Being a part of NCBF has really helped me become familiar with the lakes here in Northern California and allowed me to make a lot of new friends. Thanks Tony and NCBF.
aka Texas "T"