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As we pulled thru the gate Todd and I made guesses at how many anglers were already in the park. We turned down into the parking lot and saw two boat trailers and four kayak rigs. More kayakers were pulling in behind us, must be a yak tourney. We launched side by side with Nathan, who would be my favorite to win the yak tourney. We dimmed the electronics and blasted off. It was 5:45AM.

We made the run to the home of the giants. The lake level is so much lower and the shallows are choked with grass. We made perfunctory casts in the dark, biding our time until the sun came up and we could see the holes in the grass. As dawn broke the fish were stirring. Todd got a couple on senko as we pushed further into the backwater. We both switched to topwater. I bombed out the Chug Bug and a two-pounder exploded on it, the fish coming completely out of the water but never getting a hook in him. The grass was fouling the hooks of our topwater plugs. Todd went in his rod locker and grabbed out a buzz bait set-up. He cast at a cheesy mat and a fun-fish clobbered the buzz bait. Todd is really good with the buzz bait. I’m still fishless and wondering when my turn to catch is going to come. Then I broke off a senko fish, doh!

I needed to regroup as the broke off fish made sporadic jumps. I switched to Texas Rig straight tail worm. I went on a good run, catching four fish on eight strikes from a ditch with TR. That’s more like it. Todd saw his fish count lead disappearing. He switched to Texas rig, but the fish had sounded. We ran to a different cove where Todd caught a couple of senko fish out of inches of water. I was fishing a texposed senko, and missed one and caught one. We made another run, to the cove closer to the dam. There were boats and kayaks on most shorelines, but we found a open stretch and settled in. We were both drop-shotting, however nothing was biting.

A yakker in an orange kayak was fishing the shallows in front of us. We watched as he transited across the mouth of a basketball court sized cove within the cove. He tightened up to the shoreline and focused on the reeds. We were moving very slowly, trying to locate some fish along the outside edge. We heard the yakker exclaim, and then he started paddling out of the cove. At first I thought he must have lost a fish. Then it occurred to me a different scenario. I told Todd, “You know, I bet Nathan just posted up a seven pounder to put the tournament away and this guy just threw in the towel.”

We were also very close to throwing in the towel, but I still had a couple casts left in me and Todd encouraged me to fish as long as I wanted. We turned into the wind. Todd was fishing the reeds off the starboard bow. I chose to throw TR over his left shoulder into the wind towards the outside edge. I felt weight like I was bound up in the grass, then I saw the bow approaching my line and I shouted, “Trolling motor!”

Todd hit the pause button. He looked and saw my line was moving away from the bow. My rod bent double and I realized I had a good’un! I caught another TR fish from that edge and then we decided to call it. We took a pleasant boat ride all the way around this beautiful lake. We saw nutria and herons, such a wonderful lake.

I backed Todd’s F-150 down the ramp next to a Malibu wake boat that was struggling to launch from the short steep ramp into a lowered lake. We recovered without incident while the Malibu gave up and hauled ass down the road to find a more suitable lake. The yakkers were handing out pay-outs. As I pulled up the ramp, I rolled down the window and asked one of the yakkers how he did. He waved a thick envelope at me and said he won. I asked him, “What was your big bass?”

Ernesto said, “Twenty four inches.” I cussed, just like the angler in the orange kayak! Ernesto fishes Decker quite a bit. He has shared some of his techniques with me. When he’s not winning tournaments, he’s filling the yak with stringers full of hybrids. I’ve watched a couple of his videos on YouTube at JE FISHING.

All in all another super fun day at the mud hole. Todd says I edged him by one in the fish count, nine to eight. I did get the big bass that went 3-6. Water temps were 84° to 86°. Off at noon.
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