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Learning New Lessons Up North

Posted by brian on August 13, 2015

 Brian Oneida Practice.jpg

After the Oneida event I felt like it was important to get back on the horse.  The last couple days I’ve been hitting up Hartwell to try and get my confidence back.  The first evening out, a friend and I won a small local tournament with about nine pounds and then yesterday I just got out to have some fun and managed to catch a few as well.  Hartwell isn’t fishing that well as is often the case at this time of year, but I kind of like it when it’s a little silly.  This is when I always seem to do well.

I loved it up north, but it doesn’t seem to love me.  Oneida was an extremely tough event for me.  I went up early with my family to get settled in and get a little practice time in, but started hitting it hard Sunday.  Coincidentally, Sunday was my best day of practice, as I caught about fifteen to sixteen pounds.  After Sunday though, I don’t think I even caught five any of the days leading up to the event.  I spent a lot of time looking for largemouth and wasn’t able to hone in on anything worthwhile.  A lot of the time, I would catch them randomly mixed in with the smallmouth.

I fished a lot of the popular community hole type areas with massive schools of smallmouth on them, but was only able to get a bite or two from each.  To be honest, they didn’t seem to be that good of areas.  I wasn’t really expecting to fish in a crowd, but it ended up being like a ledge tournament.  There were three or four good schools of fish and if you were fishing outside of them, there was not much going on.  The crazy thing to me was that the fish stayed at those areas even though they were getting pounded on by twenty to thirty boats constantly.

I struggled day one, but went with my instincts on day two after the sun came out and it got slick calm.  I figured those smallies would be up on those do nothing banks as I had found in practice and sure enough they were.  I put a few in the three pound class in the boat and my co angler caught a couple too.  I just didn’t trust what I learned in practice until it was too late.

Overall, I really enjoyed the experience.  It was definitely different than what I am used to, but it expanded my game significantly.  I’ll figure out these smallies before long. This event and the James were ones I really felt I needed to do well in going into the final event at Lake Erie.  Lake Erie is a completely different monster.  Erie is big water and more than just catching fish will come into play.  Getting to your spots and back in one piece will be a big part of the event.  With any wind the place can kick up and make navigating very dangerous.  I’m looking forward to the experience, but it’s definitely one that you have to be on your toes constantly to avoid destroying your boat.