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2010 Shriner's Journal


Shrinerís Tournament Journal

Hoping to reverse the negative trend I had started the previous weekend, partner Al Cox and I spent the week looking forward to the 2010 Shrinerís tournament with guarded optimism. We had managed a 9th place finish in last yearís event and felt that if we could string two days together we could better that this year. What follows is a chronicle of our practice and tournament days, and as will become evident, the negative streak is still intact!


Al had planned to fish Thursday while I was able to get a day off from work to fish on Friday. However, 30+mph winds with gusts forecasted to exceed 40mph convinced Al to change his plans to Friday as well. Our game plan was for Al to fish the lower Osage and Pomme arms, as he has had great success in those spots during previous spring events. Meanwhile, I would concentrate on the middle section of the Pomme, choosing to stay out of the upper reaches due to heavy releases from Pomme de Terre Lake driving the water temperatures back down to the middle 50ís. In short, Al caught a ton of fish on a white Bandit crankbait, concentrating on steeper banks near channel swings. Size was a concern, as he didnít put a keeper in the boat. As for me, I managed two buzzbait keepers and a small Davis Baits jig keeper in my first stop in the Osage, although they would have been hard pressed to total six pounds. I checked a few spots that had fish on them the previous week with no success, so I relocated to a bluff bank where I had two solid thumps on a brush hog, followed by a 16Ē keeper on which I set the hook. Feeling like one could grind a few fish from the bluff, I left to head upriver a ways where I found the water temps still in the 50ís as I had expected, but to my surprise, the mud from the previous week had dissipated to a decent water color. However, with the lake over 4í high, most of the laydowns and stumps were out of site and blind casting a spinnerbait and buzzbait resulted in no bites. Running short of time, I headed back down the lake to another steep channel bank where I quickly hooked up with a four pounder on the buzzbait followed by a short a few casts later. However, speed fishing down the bluff produced nothing else, so I headed in to gas up and head to Alís for the night.


Friday's Buzzbait Keeper

Day 1:

Hoping to score quickly, we decided to make our first stop at the spot where I had the three small keepers early the day before. When we left, the only takers were a trio of shorts that couldnít refuse Alís Bandit, but the livewells were still empty. A quick pass through a pea gravel cove that should have been loaded with spawners produced nothing, so we fired my Smithville Marine Skeeter up and ran to a stretch of bank where Al had most of his bites in practice. Perhaps it was the water dropping, the lack of wind, the way were holding or mouths (!), but whatever the reason, the stretch produced a blank. We forced the issue by fishing a little further than Al had done in practice, but only a few shorts broke the monotiny. A quick blast on up the lake put us on the channel bank where Iíd had the four pounder, but after fishing a long stretch without a bite, I told Al it was time for change. We idled out of the channel and up on a large flat, intent on fishing a group of isolated stumps and a rockpile that was out of site due to the high water. We pounded the area hard with the crankbait, spinnerbait, Davis Baits jig, a Black Market Balsa from Daveís Custom Baits, but the only bite fell to a homemade buzzbait. Sadly, all I did was roll a 3-4 pound bass over on its side, unable for some reason to get the Mustad to hookup. I rarely throw a trailer hook on my buzzbait as I donít like the added weight on the bait, and seldom does the Mustad fail to pin the fish. This time was an exception.

By dayís end we had fished the brush hog bluff with no success, along with a few spots that I had hoped to fish on Friday but couldnít due to the high winds. No takers! We headed back to a stretch that Al had fished but struggled with boat control due to the wind. The result was the same, zero! We sulked back to Long Shoal with an empty bag. Having dug a monster hole for day two, we considered running to new water but decided against it for a variety of reasons. One, we knew our spots could produce a 20 pound bag and big fish if we could figure them out; Two, we didnít want to jeopardize someone elseís chance by showing up on their spot where we hadnít been the day before.   We headed back to Windsor for the night where Al treated me to an unearned steak dinner.

Day 2: 

Vowing not to get caught up with the prior dayís results, we ran a bit further and on our third or fourth stop, Al boated a three pounder on a lizard that was ready to pop. Perhaps the fish were starting to move up! A short way down the stretch I put a small keeper in the livewell, the result of the buzzbait hooking up. Bolstered by a little success, we gambled on a shallow stump patch that I hadnít fish yet this year, along with one that had worked prior to the water rising.  Both produced a short bite, so we ran to a small cut off the main lake. The move resulted in a solid 5.38# bass that whacked Alís lizard while we were shooting the breeze with a crappie fisherman. If we could get two more bites of that size we might still be able to salvage a check. However, spending the rest of the day dragging a lizard, jig, and brushhog through the submerged stumps put me to sleep while Al boated several shorts.


Al Cox with Day 2 Lizard Fish

At the Day 2 weigh in, our three fish pulled the scales to 10.18 pounds, a decent weight for only three bass, but not nearly enough to garner a check. Of course, someone always figures out a way to boat a good sack and this year would be no exception. If we werenít able to pull off a win, I can honestly say that Iíd be rooting for this yearís victors, John Bennett and fellow Smithville Marine pro-staffer Darrell Reach. Their consistent bags of 18 pounds each day put them on top for the event. As things worked out, Darrell had lamented about having several top 10 finishes without a win in past Shrinerís events during an open house at Smithville Marine back in February. John and Darrell have that monkey off their backs, as they will now be looking to sell a new Nitro bass boat, the rewards of a great weekend!


2010 Shriner's Champions John Bennett and Darrell Reach

Iíll be taking this weekend off to attend by daughterís graduation from the University of Central Missouri on Saturday followed by reintroducing myself at church Sunday, as Iíve missed several weeks in a row. Perhaps the break will allow the lake level to settle down so Al and I can look for a little redemption in the next Bass World Sports event followed by Joe Bass with partner Dave Gaulden the next day.

Posted by Mark Thompson, who is proud to support Smithville Marine, Skeeter Boats, Yamaha Motors, Mustad, 724Outdoors.com, Daveís Custom Baits, and The Buck Stops Here Taxidermy .

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