Ounces short at Lake Seminole

The second of back-to-back Bassmaster Elite Series events took place over the weekend at Lake Seminole in South Georgia. After a solid start the week before at Lake Okeechobee in Florida, we came up a few ounces short of making the top 50 day three cut last week, finishing up in 55th place.

Having never been to Seminole, it was a little bit overwhelming. It’s a big lake that is loaded with standing timber so it was very difficult to get around. There were lanes that were safe to run the boat where you could get around to different parts of the lake but if you went off of those lanes in most places around the lake, you had to go slow and creep along because you would bounce off the rock-hard stumps. Several anglers damaged their boats and motors during the week. Like many waterbodies in the southern U.S, Seminole is a manmade reservoir with plenty of trees that were left standing when the lake was formed.

The three day practice was kind of tough for me, as far as not being able to figure out how to consistently catch any big bass. I did catch a few nice bass during the week but they were all in different areas, doing different things. I ended up spending most of my time in the tournament fishing a large flat area that had a decent population of fish around. I ended up catching a bunch of fish over the first two days of the event but just was not able to catch a bigger fish to put me over the hump.

Making the top 50 after two days is quite significant because it earns you $10,000. That is the first goal heading into each tournament so missing that by only a few ounces kind of hurt. I had my fish relatively early on day two and had a bad feeling all day that I was going to end up where I did because I was just not able to upgrade my weight throughout the second part of the day. I just had a feeling all day that I was going to end up where I did.

It wasn’t a bad tournament because I did still earn a little bit of money and collected a decent amount of points – the tournament was not a bomb, but you hate to be that close and miss. Considering that I did not find anything really good during the three day practice, it could have been much worse.

Elite Series rookie Joey Cifuentes of Arkansas won the Lake Seminole event with a four day total over 85 pounds, winning by nearly a nine pound margin over Japanese rookie Kyoya Fujita. The group of rookies this year is evidently really strong.

The Elite Series takes a break now until mid-April when we have back to back events in South Carolina. In between, we have the Bassmaster Classic, our championship event that I qualified for from last years season. It will take place March 24-26 on the Tennessee River, out of Knoxville, Tennessee. It was the site of my Elite Series win in 2021, so I’m obviously excited to get back to that body of water. It is the biggest event in our sport, with the biggest prize so I’m looking forward to a great opportunity there.

We are back home now for a couple of weeks after a busy start to the season. I’ll spend some time working around home, catching up on some writing jobs, working on my fishing tackle, doing some ice fishing and getting ready for the biggest tournament of the year later in the March.

Even though I was in South Georgia, I still couldn’t get away from the pike. This was a chain pickeral, one of many that I caught last week at Lake Seminole. They are very similar to the pike we have but don’t get much bigger than this one.