"In the Boat" presented by Jewel Bait Company
Tournament: Monticello Bass Club
                  March 7, 2009
                  Morgan Point Bendway

Anglers: Jeremy Risley
Place: 8th - 5 bass – 11.09 pounds

First Thoughts and Goals:
Since this was the first tournament of the year for the Monticello Bass
Club, I thought I would give some perspective on my thoughts and goals for the 2009 club season.
Last year, my goal for the club year was to end the year in 10th place or better. At that time, I thought
that was a good goal, but in hind sight it was a big hindrance. When I started struggling, I would worry
about finishing bad and falling in the standings instead of trying to catch fish. So this year, I am going
to take a different approach. It is the approach that Frank and I take in the Vince Miller Super Team
tournaments.

My goal for this year in the club is to catch five keepers in every tournament. Yes, it is a simple goal
but highly effective. I am just going to go fish and try to get 5 keepers and see how I finish at the end
of the day. I will let the standings work themselves out at the end of the year. This will allow me to
focus on reducing mistakes and trying to adapt throughout the day.
   
Practice: I was able to get out two days in January to start to find some fish for this tournament. I
found 4 isolated spots that were holding some HOGS!! Off these 4 spots, I caught a 6.12, 5.10, 5 ½, 4
½, 4, 3 ½, and a 3 pounder. I was worried about these spots because I figured they were wintering
holes and also they were close to the boat lane. I knew if it got warm, these fish would leave the area.
Also, I knew that if there were a lot of boats on the water that day, that the increased activity would
cause the fish to shut down.

March 7: Derby day began with a nervous feeling because I thought it was going to take over 20
pounds to get a check and I was going to have to figure them out to be in the hunt. After a short run, I
started on a short windy bank. On the fifth cast, I had a 2 ½ pounder hammer my spinnerbait next to a
laydown. I cranked my handle once and boat flipped the fish in. I fished that area some more and
never got a bite. So I ran to my 4 hot spots. Well to keep the story short, I only got one bite and it
really didn’t feel like a bass. So I knew at that point I needed to throw that pattern out and go
searching. I run back up lake and start fishing a windy bank with LOTS of stumps and laydowns. I
worked my way up a cut and didn’t realize what I got my self into. I was in super shallow water kicking
up mud and silt with my trolling motor and boat. I thought what the heck; I will make a cast over near
some flooded brush. It was in less then 6 inches of water but I knew there should be some shallow fish
somewhere because of the warm weather we had all week. Two cranks into that cast and a 2 pounder
commode flushed it. I get it in the boat and two casts later, I missed another fish. So the light bulb
goes off and I knew it was time for boat versus stumps. As I made my way through the stump field
bouncing from stump to stump, I was able to get a limit  and then decided to run down the lake. On the
way down, I noticed a bank that didn’t have any one on it and was getting pounded by the wind. It was
just a nothing bank with a small sand drop. I was able to cull twice on that bank. So I tried running that
pattern for a little bit more with no luck. So I run back to my hot spots from January. I didn’t get
anything that time through either. I decided to run to where I began the day. I throw my spinnerbait by
a flooded bush and just about got my rod ripped out of my hand. It was a solid 2 ¾ fish. Then with
about 45 minutes left in the day, the sun comes out. I knew the spinnerbait bite was done. I had fished
the jig on and off all day with no luck, not even a bite. So I changed trailer colors. Well the next four
casts, I catch three keepers and lost another one that would have helped. By that time, I was running
low on time and had to call it a day

Keeper count:

War Eagle Spinnerbait (Blue Herring): 8 keepers
Jewel Eakins' Jig (7/16 oz.; Black/Blue Flash): 3 keepers

Final thoughts:
Well that can I say. I hate to come that close to getting a check but I didn’t lose any
fish that would have helped. One of these days, I will get that big bite. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen
on this day but it was still a great day battling the stumps. All my fish came in two foot of water or less,
which made it an exciting trip. It was a good start to the year. Normally, I have to make my way up from
20th or so place after the first tournament.

See ya’ at the next tournament,

Jeremy Risley