The Cartwright Realty Fishing Team wrapped up our 8th tournament of the 2014 Bay Area Bassmasters’ season yesterday at Lake June in Winter with an 8th place finish. Here’s a link to the results: http://www.bayareabassmasters.com/2014-schedule-and-results/83-main-menu/schedule-and-results/2014/121-august-2014-lake-june-in-winter.html
The previous weekend found us in Orlando doing some shopping with our niece from Finland. I dropped the wife and niece off at the outlet malls and made a run over to Bitter’s Bait and Tackle (Candy-land). I picked up some of their big bags of swim baits in their bluegill and sprayed grass colors. They also have a bait that is similar in action to the horny toad. They call it a Buzz’n Gator. Since we’d been catching bass lately on white horny toads, I decided to pick up two bags of white Buzz’n Gators. As I was getting ready to check out, the clerk was giving me advice on how to rig them. He handed me a pack of screw in lead weights – I believe they were Gambler 1/8th ounce weights similar to these. When we arrived at the hotel the night before the tournament, I rigged my big flippin’ rod up with the nose weighted white buzz’n gators using Owner #4 wide gap hooks.
We went into the tournament with little knowledge of the lake and no real game plan. Brian and I had studied it a bit on google maps a few days prior. I noticed a smaller lake, Lake Henry, that was connected to Lake June-in-Winter with some promising looking areas based upon the satellite images. I sort of decided that we’d try to get into it during the day and fish a few spots. That turned out to be a good call, as we caught most of our fish in Lake Henry. We were 18th in the launch order that morning. We drove straight across from the ramp to a point and started fishing. We had a few hits just inside the grassline on top, so we started throwing our buzz’n gators and horny toads. Caught a few there, then decided to go find the entrance to the smaller lake Henry.
We got into Lake Henry and began to figure out that the white buzz’n gators and horny toads were going to be a solid pattern throughout the day. We caught a bunch of fish around the lilly pads along the banks in Lake Henry. The fishing slowed down around noon, so we decided to run back out to Lake June-in-Winter. We hit a few spots that we’d been to in the past. Caught one in the mouth of the big canal system along the seawall, and with an hour left to go, Brian suggested that we go back to Lake Henry and hit some of the bigger expanses of lily pads one last time before weigh-in. We did. We caught our best fish of the day as a result (3.81lbs).
While we were back in Lake Henry, a pretty good thunder storm was rolling our way. It wasn’t quite upon us when we decided that it was probably a good time to boogie back to the ramp as the canal connecting the two lakes was extremely narrow and shallow. We should have left a little sooner. The storm was bad, and it was blowing straight into the canal, pushing a lot of water into Lake Henry as we were making our way out through the canal. Brian had to operate the trolling motor while I drove the boat forward with the big motor. The trolling motor was necessary just to keep the boat centered in the canal, especially when we were passing under the bridge as it had concrete footings about a foot off of either side of the boat. It was really too shallow to even run the big motor, but we had to as there was too much water flow and wind pushing us backwards. The Minn Kota 101 Fortrex was giving all she had, but it barely enough to keep us in one place, let alone pull us forward. Neither one of us could barely see a thing. Rain was coming in horizontal, right into our eyes. Brian looked like the Gordon’s Fisherman on the front of the boat, sans the yellow rain suit!
We finally made it through the canal. Rain still coming in sideways. We made our way slowly back to the ramp for weigh-in. Lightning was popping all over the place. The dockage around the ramp was already full of boats, so there wasn’t really any place to land in order to take shelter away from the lightning. We sat out there shooting the bull with some of the guys while lightning continued to pop all around us. It finally subsided and weigh-in started.
All in all, it was a good day of fishing for us. We caught a bunch of fish throughout the day. We didn’t wreck the boat during a raging thunderstorm, and we weren’t struck by lightning! Our last tournament on Lake June-in-Winter didn’t go nearly as well, seeing how we weighed in zero fish and struggled with a malfunction in the motor’s trim control right at the start of that tournament.