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Article on Okeechobee

                 We (Team 1, Tommy and Ryan) were boat 11, when we blasted off. But let’s go over what happened in the time before that. After very little sleep the night before do to the fact that we stayed at a dump to put it nicely. We arrived at the ramp at around 6:00 am, signed in got our 12inch permits and eventually found our boater. They had a rules meeting, where they missed a few things but you will hear more about that later. When we finally got on the water it was a brisk, glassy calm 20 minute ride to the north end of the monkey, we idle through the cat tails and Kissimmee grass and get into this large cove filled with eel grass and hydrilla. On our first ten casts we each had a bite on top water but missed both fish. We fished for about an hour without a bite, then I felt a thump on a 12 inch worm, I reeled down and set the hook. I knew it was a big fish, I came around the front of the boat and I saw it, a huge fish probably around eight pounds. It started shaking its head and my line went slack. I lost a huge fish, it was a bummer but all we could do was keep fishing and about five or ten minutes later Ryan hooked up with a fairly good fish, it went about a pound and a half. So we were started. As we worked around the cove we had a few more bites but no more fish. So we talked to Brad and Jesse and they told us that they had a 3 ½ in the boat and were getting a lot of blow ups. So we went the area they were in at the south west side of the monkey box near moonshine bay. After about 5 cast I had a bite but no hook up and Ryan caught another fish around a pound and a half. We went on to have several more bites in the area but no more hookups, so we went around the corner and I hooked up with a good fish. We get it in the boat and it goes over 3 pounds. About five minutes later I hooked up again, a good fish comes up and troughs the hook, about 4 ½ or 5 pounds. So were keep going catch a short fish and have a few more bites but nothing big enough in the boat. With about 10 minutes of fishing to go Ryan hooks up again another big fish, but again we get it over the grass almost in the net and the hook comes free. Another 5 pound plus fish got away. We were so upset. Well it was time to go, we run all the way to the weigh in and could not find the check in boat. Finally someone told us we had to check in at the top of the boat ramp. By then we were five minutes late. A Huge bummer, so we weigh and our 3 fish go 7-01 which would have been good enough for 7th, but with a 5 pound penalty we ended up 20th. Jesse and brad had just the one fish going 3-04 and ended up 15th. It was a tough day and we, like about 15 other teams had problems with the check in, we were not happy with how it turned out. We simply lost too many fish and had a penalty.    

 

By Thomas Edwards

 

Boat US Collegiate Championship- Lake Lewisville

            This was a very interesting and difficult tournament. The practice days were very good; we had about 20 bites each day and had 5 keepers on 5 hook sets Tuesday. On Wednesday night we had a banquet and meeting. We also drew for our number and received some nice stuff, frog togs, shirts, hats, ect. We then went to the dinner and banquet, we had Jimmy Houston there and he talked to us for a while and that was fun to get to listen to him talk. We ended up drawing boat number 50. That night a front rolled through and changed the weather from cloudy and windy to blue bird skies and windless. Not too bad but we would miss the morning bite both days. So day one we pull up at our first spot, and there are 7 other boats there including VT, Kentucky and Texas Tech along with several other schools. We caught a few short fish, after about a half hour we realized our fish were gone. So we went to our second spot and had several short fish. I was getting frustrated, because of some tackle issues. I put on a junebug U vibe and swam it through the flooded bushes. In a 15 yard stretch, I had 2 keepers and lost a 3rd later in the day in the same area. After that we went to several docks where we had been catching spotted bass, we pull up and start flipping short largemouth in the boat. I was very frustrating, but there were several other teams including locals that had the same issue. We Weighed 2 fish for 4.38 pounds.   

            On Day two we swung for the fence and basically struck out again catching mostly short largemouth and hybrids. We caught about 15 or 20 fish, had one keeper that was 2.52 pounds that ended up at 3 fish for 6.9 pounds. I was fun but quite annoying that we had some bad luck and our keepers left where we found them during practice.

By Thomas Edwards