During the weeks prior to the tournament, the weather and water levels were high but fairly stable, the spawn was in full effect, and fishing was amazing. However, the lake dropped multiple feet the week of the tournament, leaving many anglers empty handed and the rest scrapping together anything they could. The day of the tournament called for 66-69 degree water temp, high 70s air temps with bluebird skies and 6-10 mph winds out of the Southwest.
For those who don’t know, Lake Skinner has a 10mph (minimal wake) rule and a three fish limit. With multiple weigh-ins anglers had to decide whether to make the long slow run to the South end of the lake or maximize fishing time and stay in the North.
1st. Max Bauer – 16 lbs.
Max started his day fishing tulles in five to eight foot of water on the South end of the lakes in a pocket with stained water. He had seen quality fish cruising the bank during practice, and hoped they would be in full spawn mode come tournament day. Despite not finding any beds early, he didn’t fish long before grabbing his first fish of the day on a weightless six inch watermelon Yamamoto Senko. He managed to boat the crucial 4 pound keeper despite his hook “being bent like a pretzel.” After a few short fish, Max managed to grab a solid three pound keeper drop shotting a thin Yamamoto Senko. With a limit and time to spare, he let his co angler take over the front of the boat for the rest of the morning.
After the first weigh in of the day, Max decided to try some water closer to the launch in the North arm but “the tulles were not deep enough”, so he picked up and headed to where he started in the morning. It wasn’t long before he found a good fish locked on a bed. After 20 minutes of working the fish and the time ticking, he left to go hunt for another keeper. With his flipping stick back in hand, it didn’t take long for him to land his best fish of the day, a solid five and a half pounder. With a very short window of fishing left for the day, he went back to the bedding fish he had left hoping no one else had plucked her. Luckily she’s still there and he goes to work. With only minutes left until he has to make the long 10mph trip back for weigh-in, he manages to catch the four pounder to win the tournament. “I was very blessed today; I didn’t get to cull any fish, but was fortunate to get four solid keepers.”
Max’s Setups: Powell Endurance dropshot rod with an unspecified reel rigged with 10 pound Power Pro Super Slick main line, a 7# Sunline Shooter Fluorocarbon leader, and a thin Yamamoto Senko in Green Pumpkin; Powell Casting rods, unspecified reels, with 20# Sunline Assassin Fluorocarbon to flip a Reaction Innovation Sweet Beaver, a Berkley Havoc Pit Boss, and a Yamamoto Senko.
2nd. Aaron Yun – 15.25 lbs.
Aaron almost took home the win as a co-angler fishing backseat to the San Diego region stick, Gary Bass. He caught most of his fish dragging a Carolina rigged green pumpkin lizard rigged on a G. Loomis 7’ MBR842 rod, with a Shimano Metanium. He also caught a few fish on a 3” on a 1/8 oz. shakey head.
3rd. Jason Smartt – 11.7 lbs.
4th. Gary Bass – 11.25 lbs.
Gary had limited practice time, so he fished history in the morning heading to a cove near the dam on the North side. He picked up his only keeper of the morning throwing an Owner jigrig with a 4” Yamamoto laminate senko in green pumpkin/amber. In the afternoon, he decided to try new water and fished on the south arm where he noticed tons of fry along the tulle line. He started pitching weightless watermelon red senko into the balls of fry and picked up a nice 4.5 lb. keeper. On Gary’s very last cast of the day, he picked up his third keeper of the day on the jig rig. Gary’s threw his jigrig on a 7’8 Phenix Bass Recon Elite Casting Rod with a Quantum reel spooled with 17# fluorocarbon.
5th. Melvin Watson – 8 lbs.
Mel caught all four of his keepers on a neko rig throwing at shady spots on big boulders in 15’ or less of water. He was able to duplicate this pattern throughout the lake and caught fish all day. His neko rig set up was a 7’2 Abu Garcia Villain spinning rod paired with a Abu Garcia Revo reel spooled with 10# Spiderwire braid and a 6 lb. Berkley Trilene 100% fluorocarbon.
Big Fish: Collin Martin – 5.7 lbs
Two tournaments in a row now big fish have been caught on the Yamamoto Senko. Collin caught his big one fishing tulles in the back of the Southern arm throwing a weightless green pumpkin Senko on a 7′ MH Fox River Rod paired with a Daiwa Tatula spooled with 12 lb. Seaguar fluorocarbon.