Dream day on Shoal Lake

The Shoal Lake Big Bass Classic took place this past weekend and 72 teams were greeted with beautiful weather conditions and some excellent fishing.
My partner, Chris Savage, and I were able to win the top prize thanks to a second day that was the best tournament day we’ve ever had.
Overall, the weights were the highest they’ve been in recent years, with a lot of teams bringing in good catches.
Chris and I started the tournament with an average catch on day one at 15.55 pounds. That put us in 32nd spot.
We targeted both largemouth and smallmouth bass the first day, but were not able to get any big “kicker” fish.
The leaders after day one, Brent and Jamie Greene from Shoal Lake, had a weight of 17.46. There were eight other weights over 17 pounds on day one.
The big bass on the first day went to Carson Dubchak and Connor Burton with a 4.40-pound smallmouth.
Starting day two, we felt like we still had a good shot of catching a big bag and making a run at getting in the money, which paid out the top 14 places.
Although we still believed we could win the tournament, the reality was that for that to happen, we would need to have an extraordinary day.
We started the day fishing smallmouth and managed to catch a good limit in short order by cashing in on fish that were having a feeding frenzy on some mayflies.
We had about 16 pounds in the first hour.
At that point, we decided we should start fishing for largemouth because the chances of significantly upgrading our fish was better with “largies” than with “smallies.” We left with the mindset that if we could catch a couple of big largemouths, we would really be able to make up some ground on the leaders.
Within a few hours of targeting largemouths, we had culled our entire limit of smallmouths and were well on our way to the biggest catch we’d ever reeled in.
Chris caught the biggest bass of the day just moments before we crossed the finish line—a 4.68-pound monster that pushed us into the 20-pound class.
At the end of the day, our five fish came in at 20.19 pounds—good enough to take over the lead and give us the win, worth $12,000.
The interesting part was we fished for largemouths the majority of the first day and caught a lot of them, but did not snag any big fish. On day two, we only caught about half of the numbers that we did on day one, but their size was much bigger.
Just goes to show that you never know what to expect with fishing.
We definitely had some luck on our side, but we put ourselves in a position to get lucky by preparing our gear, spending time pre-fishing, and fishing with confidence.

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