March 25, 2013

Liberty Lake Recap: Bass at $227 per pound

The 2013 has officially started. Not only was this my first tournament of the year and first since I moved back to Spokane, but it was also the first ever for the new Spokane Bass Club. It was great to get out on the water and compete with all of my friends, old and new. Overall, I think everyone was happy despite the tough fishing and icy boat ramp in the morning.  With 23 degree air temps are low 40's in the water temps, the fish were not in a biting mood. Out of 22 anglers, only two weighed in fish. Luckily I was one of them and my 1.16lb smallmouth translated to a $264 paycheck. That's about $227 per pound! Congrats to the winner, Dustin Lanaville who had a 2.88lb largemouth for big fish and 1st place.

Leading up to the event, Tanya and I had been dying to get out on the water and since Liberty was one of the first to be ice free we spent five days of practice over the past few weekends on leading up to the   event. In all of our practicing we caught four bass between us and crisscrossed the lake multiple times. We also boated more brown trout than I can ever remember catching. I think the time on the water did help because we only caught fish in two small areas in all that time on the water and one of them was where I caught my fish. It was also close to where the winner caught his. It's kind of funny talking about a "pattern", but it was a jerkbait bite with an occasional bite on dropshot. With this cold weather, it was about the only way to catch a fish and this was the only "pattern" I had to try.

I have several new jerkbaits to review and I spent some serious time learning about each one. During practice I had up to six jerkbaits on at once to test out different models and experiment with different line sizes and rods. Here's a quick recap of what worked best for me with more info to come as I begin my reviews:

Rods are not all created equal when throwing a jerkbait: I had six similar rods rigged up for jerkbaits, all between 6'6" and 7'1", and all medium action. By far the best was the Denali Michael Murphy jerkbait rod. It's designed for it and it showed. It had a much better action and you can tell it was made just for this purpose. I enjoyed using this rod because it was light and the 6'8" length was just about perfect for ripping baits all day long.

Light line is critical: 8lb and 10lb Seaguar InvizX were the top performers. I experimented with slightly heavier line and also with mono but that 10lb InvizX made all the difference in bait performance and action.

Baits: I estimate that I threw 15 different jerkbaits during these trips and they all impressed me in some way and I believe each will work in the right situation. I'm extremely excited to share my thoughts on the brand new Megabass Vision 110 Jr. and X-80 Magnum but not quite yet.

The Vision 110FX Elite, Vision 110 and Lucky Craft 78SP Deep Diver were the top baits as far as fish catching. Colors ranged from super bright colors down to the most natural finishes you can find.

I will continue my quest to review all of the best jerkbaits, check back for reviews on:

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