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I had a great time at Toledo Bend, but boy was it tough! My partner and I couldn't get locked in on anything consistent. We were getting 13-15lbs worth of bites a day, which we figured would be flirting with the cut line, but they were never in the same place or on the same baits.

 

Our main two "patterns" were steep humps and points close to a creek or river channel in 15-25FOW with a c-rig and football jig, and a ratltrap (ONLY 1/2oz chrome 1 knocker, they wouldn't touch red or rattles) on banks that had 7-10FOW where the boat sat, with a creek channel behind you. You also had to be in the outer 1/3 of the creeks for that bite to happen. The issue was, the fish weren't really following a pattern, you would find a good stretch of bank or two, try to duplicate it in 10 similar areas, but would never find them again! Same with out deep, we would fish 3-5 spots for every one we found fish on.

 

We had 4 deep spots that produced multiple fish in practice, two stretches that had been decent with a ratltrap, and one small spot where we found some schooling fish. They were all spread out, so the plan was to just make a big loop throughout the course of the day hitting all of the spots. We had a 2 hour fog delay on day one, which gave us less time on our spots, but we still had plenty of time to be thorough.

 

Stop number one was on our spot with the strange schooling activity. It was a very small spot in 1-5FOW, in the back of a pocket, unlike anything else we found all week. It was the only place we got them to eat a jerkbait, but since they were schoolers it made sense, and that's what I started with there. I quickly put 3 keepers in the boat, all in the 2-2.5lb range, we caught a couple shorts too, but that was all. We figured we would maybe get one fish there so we were way ahead of schedule.

 

Deep spot #1 didn't produce, and neither did 2, 3, or 4, but we still had a couple spots for the ratltrap to pick up a keeper. First shallow spot produced a keeper for me, and 4 shorts (14" limit), which got our confidence back up. At this point we were no longer concerned about a 4lb+ bite that we had gotten every day, we just needed our 5th fish! No more ratltrap fish in those areas, so we headed to our starting spot with about 20 minutes left to fish. We put 5 in the boat there, but none were big enough! We were pretty bummed, because from what we did in practice, even though it was tough, 5 should not have been a problem. We sat in 69th place out of 248 with 8lbs 8oz after day one.

 

Day two we decided to completely abandon the deep bite, and try to expand on the shallow stuff, even though finding areas with fish was really hard to do.

 

We started again on our schooling fish spot, and we didn't get bit when we made our first pass, which was disheartening. But we knew they were there, so we put our heads down and stuck it out. I saw something break out behind the boat, it didn't look like a bass but I threw out there anyway. A few seconds later I popped a 16"er which went in the well. On the very next cast I leaned into what ended up being a 5+lber, our biggest of the day and of our whole trip! 5 minutes later my partner stuck a 4, and then a chunky 2lb+ fish. That spot was super strange, it was very shallow, and you had to just keep casting, but when they turned on, it happened QUICK!

 

We stuck with the jerkbait for several hours, finishing out our limit and then culling our smallest with a 3.5lber. The jerkbait bite died once the sun got up, so we went and ran some dirtier water with ratltraps, where I was able to make one more small cull. That was it for the day, we caught a lot of fish, but none that would help.

 

Our bag went 17-0 on the scales, which jumped us from 69th to 37th place, missing the cut by a mere 13oz! I sure which a little spotted bass would have latched on to one of our baits on day one, or any keeper for that matter! I was very pleased with our work, after a tough practice we were left scratching our heads, but we used what we learned on day one of the event to turn things around and give the guys in the top 30 a scare.

 

We still have another chance or two to qualify for the BASS National Championship, and you can bet we will be giving it our all!

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Give 'em heck. 

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That's pretty good!

 

Toledo Bend is tough this time of year 😉

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Not bad at all for a huge tournament like that! Keep at it man! 

 

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A great effort and a well written account - you guys are good. 

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You did good! Way to go.

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Nice fish! Not making the cut with a 17 lb limit on day 2? Dang. Must have been some big fish brought in! Very impressive catch regardless of placement 

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You two did great!

 

I know you would make the cut if you fished the third day.

 

Keep the faith!!!!

 

Great story. Thanks for sharing.

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You make us West Virginians proud Nolan!!!

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Great effort, you did yourselves and UVW proud! Good luck to you both in your next tourney!

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