Last week was a great tournament week for me at the Red River in Louisiana, especially coming off a disappointing 30th-place finish the week before at Lake Ouachita in Hot Springs, Ark. I arrived at the Red with a game plan of trying to find one area to fish that I had to myself. Over the past trips I have had to the river, I have had some success but never a win, and all of the tournaments had been won by someone who found some bass they had to themselves.
One area I had found in the past was off the beaten path, and I felt would not receive as much fishing pressure as many of the other parts of the river. The only problem was that the river was at a water level that made it difficult to get to this area. My chosen area was an old oxbow lake that was connected to the river by a creek that was about a mile long. My first task was to find my way to the mouth of this creek. On my first trip there, I managed to get stuck twice; the second time resulted in me getting out of the boat and pushing for nearly two hours in 100 degree heat, acquiring a couple of leeches on my ankles.
I finally managed to get to the entrance of the creek, finding it clogged with trees. I got through those trees, plus two more batches of them through the creek and finally got into the lake. Once there I did get several fish to bite in a short amount of time and decided this was a productive area to concentrate on for the tournament days. My only worry was that the river was dropping, which meant each day would prove more difficult to get into the lake.
During the tournament days I was lucky enough to make it to the lake and get into it without getting stuck, although by the final day, my boat was dragging bottom the entire trip through the creek. I had the lake entirely to myself except for one other boat the first day and caught successive limits of bass that weighed 16-15, 18-12, and 21-3. All of these together put me in first place with a 16-pound cushion over second.
Tournaments very rarely work out where everything goes as perfect as it did last week, and as a fisherman, I really do appreciate when it does.
I caught all but two of my fish on a Strike King Rodent and a Strike King Series 4S crankbait fished around broken over willow trees and old barge tie ups made of electrical poles. The bass where suspended around the cover due to the falling water levels but were very aggressive once you got to them.
The big key for the week was just being able to get to the fish, and my Evinrude 250HO ETEC put in some heavy work to get me there and back. It blasted through several sand bars, several miles of silty Red River bottom and a couple of over heats during the week. It definitely earned its keep. I started the week with a fully painted skeg, now I have a paintless skeg that has been sand blasted by the Red River, but I also have a first-place trophy.