Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Berkley B1 - 6th place finish!!!

October 3rd, 2010

Day 2 was a bit different as the wind completely switched from W to E.... It wasn't blowing hard but it made our drifting a little more challenging. Again, our first spot produced a 4lbs that was lost on the first jump... Seems like I have to lose at least one good fish every tournament and I was hoping that was the last lost fish of the day.

Our 2nd spot did not produce a single fish but we didn't let it affect us because we had plenty of other areas to check out and we were keeping our best area for later. I went back to my deep water weedline and we managed to catch 1 or 2 fish in the 2.5lbs range. At that point the Berkley B1 boat came and exchanged our observer for a camera man for the rest of the day. I tried to not being affected by the camera but Bar and I got a little distracted.... We had never been filmed before and even if we tried to ignore him, it still felt different then usual. We moved to a plan "B" spot that had produced well in practice and I hooked into an 7-8lbs drum that almost gave me a hard attack. For a few seconds Bar and I thought we had a enormous smallie on the line but soon got very disappointed when it finally came to the surface.

We had kept our best drift from day 1 for last and it was a big mistake.... Doug Brownridge and Dave Chong were on it when we got there I knew it had been hit hard and properly.... Those guys are some of the top bass anglers in Canada but we gave it a shot anyways. We still caught 1 or 2 fish on it that help us a little bit but we had only around 15lbs and were desperatly trying to get rid of a 2.7lbs.

We were running out of time and had to make a big decision... I looked at Bar and said : "Where can we get a big fish". We had the same spot in mind so we left our main area for this spot which was closer to the weigh-in. In the first pass Bar caught a 3+ and we were finally able to get rid of that smaller fish. According to Bar, we had a little over 16lbs and not a lot of time to get back to the weigh-in... We were also concerned with the NE winds that can make the lake very nasty. To our surprise the lake was fairly calm for the basscat but apparently very rough for the camera man that had never been in a bassboat before. We must of passed over 10 boats on the way back and got back to the dock with about 30 mins to spare.

The drive by weigh-in was simply amazing.... It was so nice to see our families and friends in the crowd cheering for us as well as the bass fishing fans that came to see the show. The weights were coming in slowly and most of them were not very big... We were almost at the stage when we heard it took about 34lbs to be in the hot seat. I knew we had no chance to win it with the big teams coming behind us but I started believing we had a chance at a top 10.

We weighed our fish for a total of 16.58lbs which was good enough for 6th place overall!! Our day 2 weight was enough to bump us one spot higher in the standings and put a HUGE smile on our face. We had officially surpassed our expectations with a top 10 in the biggest bass fishing tournament in Canada. Needless to say were happy about our result.... Talk about a way to end the 2010 tournament season. Bar and I have been looking up to people like Bob and Wayne Izumi, Mike Desforges, Dave Chong, J-M Landry, Gary Gaussiran, Mark Currie, Charles Sim to name a few and to be able to beat some of them in the most important event of the year on a body of water they know very well is beyond satisfying. We knew we couldn't bring bags in the 25lbs range but we were very confident to be able to bring 16 to 18lbs any day of the week and we did.

Congratulations to Jacques and Stéphane Chopin for their impressive win. I had Mark Currie to win it and he came in 2nd place less then a pound from 1st place.

Thanks to Ben Woo, Mike Boudreau and their team for putting together such a quality event that some qualified just as good or better then FLW and B.A.S.S events in the US.

Also, big thanks to my sponsors especially St.Croix rods for giving the opportunity to fish with higher quality rods. They have played a major role in my success his year. My favorite rod for this body of water is by far the Legend Tournament Bass - Tube model. I will be looking at getting a similar rod but in the Legend Extreme series for next season.

Few pictures of day 2 :

Berkley B1 - Day 1

October 2nd, 2010

What can I say.... I'm still on cloud nine. Marc-André aka Bar and I sticked to the game plan and it paid off. We started our day battling our first spot with Mike Desforges and I tried to not be intimidated but couldn't help looking at who I believe is arguably the best smallmouth angler in Canada with so many wins under his belt. We raced to a tiny area on a sand flat with the trolling motor but probably ended up spooking any fish that was there. The 60-80mm of rain had made the shallow water REALLY muddy and I was starting to wonder if my fish were going to be there at all. I didn't want to waste time fishing shallow in that muddy water so we moved to a nearby drop off and missed a 4+ at the boat. At that point I was VERY upset and tried real hard to focus on my next fish instead of the one I had just missed.

It wasn't until our 2nd spot that I was able to put a decent 3lbs+ fish in the livewell. We then proceeded to a few deep water drifts that didn't really pay off as we had expected. At that point, I decided to move to a safer spot on a deep weedline where I can usually catch a limit quickly but ended up catching a 4lbs on the first pass. We tried the same drift again and lost a good fish that cut my line. Lesson learned... I will now fish with heavier fluoro leaders and check my line way more often. I also lost another decent fish when my leader broke... another thing that never happens.

By noon we only had 3 fish in the boat and needed to adjust and make another major decision. There were a lot more boats then I had expected in the part of the lake I was fishing and Bar had noticed that one of our drifts had been untouched since the beginning of the day. The wind was also perfect for this drift so we decided to give it a shot. On the first pass Bar caught a 4.13lbs smallie and from that point it was getting very interesting. We drifted that spot a few times and managed to get 2 more good fish from it. We figured we probably had 17+ lbs being very conservative.

We headed back towards the weigh in early knowing we had a decent bag and I also wanted to make sure to be one of the first team to weigh-in. Having lost a few fish this year I didn't want to take the chance of losing one at the biggest event of the year. We got there way earlier then we thought so we stopped on a spot that had produced many 5lbs smallie in the past but the fish were no where to be found. All our fish on day 1 came off tubes in about 12-25ft of water.

Our 5 fish for day 1 weighed in at 18.51 and kept us in first place for quite awhile. We couldn't believe the amount of zero that came in. Guys that usually come in with nothing else but 20lbs+ bags couldn't even find 5 fish..... Bar and I started to get really nervous and then a few bags over 20 started to come in but nothing in between. To our surprise we were sitting in 7th place after day 1. We went back home early to prerig some tubes and come up with the final game plan for day 2.

Berkley B1 Practice

Sept 2010

I was able to put in a few days of practice mostly on weekends for the Berkley B1 but I've fished the St-Francis enough and I know that my fish are going to be where they are suppose to be. I checked out a few new things hoping to find new areas that would hold fish over 4lbs and we did every time we were out. Practice pretty much went just as planned with bags between 15 and 18lbs. I know its going to come down to the type of weather conditions we are going to have to face come tournament day and I'm somewhat confident having fished so many different conditions on this lake before. Big winds, rain and cold is what I need because I know most of my fish won't be affected by it. Marc-André and I are so pumped about this event and I really hope we can not only fish the second day but do well and perhaps even dream of a top 30.

We will see what happens! Time to clean and prep the boat to make sure everything is safe and tight for the tournament.

Few pics of decent fish caught in practice


Sept 13th, 2010

Marc-André, my dad and I really needed to hook a fish over 2lbs after our miserable weekend in Val des Bois. We headed to a nearby basin to hook some monsters and we did!! It didn't take long before I hooked the first fish of the day and it was well over 4lbs... My dad missed a few fish and it wasn't Marc-André's best day but I caught a few more fish over 4lbs on hard and soft jerkbaits. Can't wait to go back there in the fall to see if I can get a crankbait bite going.

Econ-O-Bass Classic

Sept 11-12, 2010

My dad, Caro and I headed to the Econobass Classic with a bunch of friends without any practice and we had never even been on that body of water. From what I was told, the place was packed with tiny fish and 2lbs bass were what we were looking for.

Day 1 was a disaster as we were only able to get 4 fish for a total of 5.26lbs. We caught tons of fish but all under 12" .. It was hard to put a pattern together since everywhere we went it looked like the perfect bass habitat. On day 2 the condition changed we needed to fish much slower to get bit. Again I wasn't able to figure out a "big" fish pattern and we brought back a disappointing bag of 5.23lbs for a 26th place.

Looking back at things I would probably fish this place differently. I definitely learned a lot about this body of water and I should do better next time.

The fishing sucked for us but we had a blast at the hotel and my good buddies Julien and Simon aka The Bassnerds put on quite a show on day one with a whopping 14.54lbs. An amazing bag for this river if you look at the past results from other trails. It was also very exciting to see Daniel Cousineau win his first classic with 2 consistant days of 11.99 and 11.84lbs.