Last week was a whirlwind as I traveled to Orlando for ICAST. I returned Friday night around midnight, got a few hours of sleep, and then Saturday I got ready for my night tournament on Loon Lake. Loon is one of my favorite lakes in the area and I have spent many days there so I knew what to expect and brought very little tackle and just a few rods. I ended up in second place with 14.23lbs and don't think I could have done anything different to catch the winner who had over 18lbs.
The hours of the tournament were 7pm to 7am so it was a long event. The nice thing about those hours was we were able to fish in three prime times for fishing, the late evening, nighttime and early morning hours. As it turned out, I should have slept through the night as I barely caught anything while it was dark.
I started off fishing for largemouth on docks and deeper weedlines with crankbaits and jigs. After about an hour without a bite I switched to smallmouth fishing and caught two right away on a drop-shot. One was barely a keeper and the other was close to three pounds. Both came on a 4.5" Aaron's Magic Roboworm nose hooked and with a 3/16 Eco Pro Tungsten Full Contact Drop Shot weight (which is awesome by the way).
Once the sun set, I started fishing traditional night fishing baits like 10 inch worms, black jigs, black spinnerbaits and a chatterbait. Around 10:00 I caught my biggest fish of the event on a 1/2 oz Z-Man Project Z Chatterbait in Black and Blue. It weighed 4.11lbs and gave me confidence to throw it for most of the night. I never caught another keeper on it but kept trying to make it work.
I knew from past experience that the big smallmouth feed very early in the morning so I idled across the lake to a good smallmouth spot at around 3:30 am and waited for it to get light. Being this far north, around 4:00 the sun was already starting to create some light and it was on! I caught between 10-15 keeper smallmouth including one that weighed 3.67lbs, and many short fish in the time between 4:00-5:00 and was able to fill out my limit and cull a few times. I was using the Roboworm again and when it slowed I tried other baits but could not get a bite on anything else.
This was the fifth time I have ever fished a night event and each time I have cashed a check. I do not consider myself a good night fisherman, but I must be doing something right.