Shop

Doug Brownridge year in revue.

I believe that to be a truly effective tournament angler you need to learn from not only what brought you success in a particular situation, but also from what didn’t work.  For most of us, paying attention to those finite details is what makes us better at what we love and keeps our thirst for knowledge alive. While we always  celebrate our victories, a great deal of time should be spent dissecting tougher days on the water so that you can use the information that you gain to your advantage the next time you find yourself in a similar situation.

Tournament fishing is the act of stubbornly fishing for 5 big bites.  It is stepping out of your comfort zone and adapting a “go big or go home” mentality that takes you away from mediocre fish and makes you search for the biggest, best fish on any given body of water that you are on.  While this is sometimes a success story, it is also a big risk that you have to be willing to take.  While you need to fish to win, you need to be prepared to come in last at the same time.

I can find examples of this in every event that I fished last season, and the post mortem on the tough days went on far longer than the celebrations when things fell into place for my partner and I.

Newboro Lake

Our first stop on the Renegade Bass Tour in 2017 brought us to Newboro Lake.  We were excited to get our season underway. Unfortunately, the heavy rain that moved in during our prefish made it very difficult to figure out a solid, reliable pattern that we could count on. We decided that we were going to start with the few small clues that the fish had revealed to us during practice and built our pattern as we went on tournament day. Throughout the day, we caught plenty of fish, but unfortunately we did not get the bites we were looking for.  As the day went on, we refined our pattern and committed to the baits that we caught our heaviest fish on. We felt that we were using the right baits, but went in search of new areas in the hope that we could find quality fish. Our best fish were caught in the last half hour of the day.

Key Techniques/Baits:

  • Topwater (spooks, poppers) w/ Duckett Micro Magic 6’6” medium heavy/fast action casting rod
  • Swim baits w/ Duckett 7’6” medium heavy Micro Magic casting rod with Duckett 360 reel
  • Jigs and Zaga Craws into heavy cover for large mouth using a Duckett 7’6” extra heavy casting rod.

Lake St Francis

By the time we got to Lake St Francis, it was clear that Mother Nature was not pleased.  Tournament day brought torrential rain, as well as deafening thunder and lightning.  Our prefish revealed very little to us in the way of quality fish, so we started with the best areas that we had. We found an abundance of 3lb + fish, but not the quality that we knew we needed to win the event. I believe that you need to focus on the area where the fish are going to show up, not the areas that they are leaving. With this thought in mind, we started running our spots until we found better fish.   Leaving fish to find fish is always a risk that tournament anglers need to be able to take, and this day was no exception.  We were able to cull up at our first big fish spot, but also lost a fish over 4lbs that would have helped our cause.  That pattern continued throughout the day, as it seemed like there were several times that we culled up and lost another big fish right afterwards. Versatility was key, as we did not rule out anything and fished everything we could, shallow or deep, until we found what we were looking for. Turns out, our best tool on this day was quality rain gear and some serious determination.

Key Techniques/Baits:

  • Carolina rig with a Duckett 7’6” medium heavy Micro Magic casting rod and Duckett 360 bait casting reel
  • Swim baits w/ Duckett 7’6” medium heavy Micro Magic casting rod with Duckett 360 reel
  • Jigs and Zaga Craws into heavy cover for large mouth using a Duckett 7’6” extra heavy casting rod.
  • Set the Hook “Dark Melon Gold Purple” tube on a 1/8oz jig head with a Duckett 7’2” medium heavy Triad spinning rod.

Ottawa River

The Ottawa River has always been our nemesis.  It is a body of water that we have struggled to figure out for many years. There are so many areas that look as though they should hold good quality fish, but produce very little.  It is an exercise in eliminating water and finding key areas to focus on. This year seemed to be heading down the same path as other years, as we had a whopping 7lb limit by noon on tournament day, having fished all of our best water.  We spent the rest of the day fishing an area that had brought us some success in the past, but expanded on it and fished it as thoroughly as we could in the hope that it would show us something new. Our three best bites of the day came from doing this.

Key Techniques/Baits:

  • Swim baits w/ Duckett 7’6” medium heavy Micro Magic casting rod with Duckett 360 reel
  • Jigs and Zaga Craws into heavy cover for large mouth using a Duckett 7’6” extra heavy casting rod.

St Lawrence River

After a consistent season, we went into this event sitting in third place for Team of the Year.  Although we knew that it would be very difficult to bridge the gap between us and the leaders (Lenny Devos and Jeff Desloges), we were also determined to make them work for it .

The St Lawrence has always been a fishery that has challenged me and reaped fairly good rewards for my efforts. Having spent a great deal of time there, we have refined several different techniques that play well in different circumstances. Prefish showed us that our fish were in areas that we expected them to be and responded to techniques that worked well for us previously. Acouple of our key bites came early in the day, which made it very easy for us to stay with it, resulting in a win for us.

 

Key Techniques/Baits:

  • Carolina rig with a Duckett 7’6” medium heavy Micro Magic casting rod and Duckett 360 bait casting reel
  • Set the Hook “Ten Point” tube on a 3/8oz jig head with a Duckett 7’2” medium heavy Triad spinning rod.

Renegade Classic (St Francis)

We were excited to return to Lake St Francis for the Renegade Classic as it is a body of water that we have always enjoyed fishing. We were also were happy for the chance to go back and use what we had learned from the previous event here. We found big fish during practice, but not the number of fish that we had hoped for. Going into the Classic, we knew that we would need to be patient and methodic in order to bring the kind of weight that we needed to the scales each day.  Our big fish plan fell apart as we left the area that we had committed to with only two fish in the boat at 11am. From there, we did what Dave and I always seem to do best….we made things up as we went along. We managed to find enough good fish to finish out our bag for the day and keep us in contention going into day two.

The second day we reversed our plan, and started where we caught our fish at the end of the first day and quickly caught a solid limit of fish.  Believing that our big fish would still be there, we returned to the scene of the crime around 9am. We could see the fish we needed on the graph, but the only cooperative fish turned out to be a 30lb musky, caught on a Carolina rig.

 

Key Techniques/Baits:

  • Carolina rig with a Duckett 7’6” medium heavy Micro Magic casting rod and Duckett 360 bait casting reel
  • Set the Hook “Ten Point” tube on a 3/8oz jig head with a Duckett 7’2” medium heavy Triad spinning rod.
  • Swim baits w/ Duckett 7’6” medium heavy Micro Magic casting rod with Duckett 360 reel
Comments are closed.

Select your currency