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Author Topic: Don Watts and Jeff Denny win Lake Drive Championship on Burt and Mullett Lakes  (Read 14799 times)

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Day 2 of the Tournament

Believe it or not I slept fantastic. I wasn't nervous at all. I was pretty confident that our fish would be there and all we had to do is catch them. As it turned out that was a little harder than I would of liked.

When I got to the boat launch I had to wait for Jeff, I think he got about 2 hours of sleep somewhere around Grayling on his way back up from the football game. Maybe that's why he got alittle grumpy around noon but I will get to that.

On our way up the river we were hoping for another day like the day before. As we pull up to the spot I was expecting to get bit right away, well an hour later and no bites I was getting a little worried. Finally somewere around 8 o'clock I got a bite. It was a good one. After the typical couple minute fight we got it into the net and had our first fish for around 5lbs.

It only took about 20 minutes or so to get our second bite. As Jeff fought the fish I was thinking that they are finally moving up and we were going to have our five real soon. Jeff finally got his fish in and it was just over 4lbs. The next 4 hours were the most grueling time Ive had in a long long time fishing.

The area we were fishing was only about 20 yards long so casting over and over and over again at the same spot for 4 hours straight without a bite was just so frustrating. We were debating whether to go to Mullet around 11 o'clock but we decided to live or die on this spot. We already knew it was a tough bite as Chip Harrison left Burt and went to Mullet around 10 o'clock and said he was having a rough time and probably another 5 boats left soon after that all saying it was tough. So staying and waiting them out was our best option.

Around 12:30 I told Jeff I just had to sit down, have a snack, drink something and try to get focused. After a brief break I was refreshed and ready to catch some fish. Some where around 1 o'clock I finally got bite number three. When we got this one to the boat it was right around the 5lb mark. It only took another 10 minutes or so and I get bite number 4 on the same spot we've been catching them the last few days. It only took me a few seconds to know this was another good fish. I tell Jeff that Ive got one, he goes for the net, starts to come up front. As he stepped up on the front deck the worst thing imaginable happened. The fish shook its head and came off. As all of you know loosing a fish when they aren't biting all that well is a heart breaker.

At this point I really thought that I just blew it. I remember talking with Jeff about how much weight we thought it was going to take to get into the top 3 and we came to the conclusion that we needed at least 18lbs to do that. With the three fish that we had we figured we had around 14lbs with the three we had so one 4lber would do it and I just lost one that was at least that big since we haven't caught anything on this spot that was under 4lbs. I don't normally get rattled when I loose fish but this one really got to me. I tried to shake it but I just couldn't. About this time Brian Feutz and Lenny Ingvartsen come idling up the river. As they squeeze by us they ask how we were doing and that they saw me loose that last fish. I tell them thanks for stalking us and that we only had 3 but they were good ones. After some encouraging words from them they were on there way.

I guess it was around 2 o'clock when I got bite number 5. As soon as I pulled back I knew that this fish was special. I tell Jeff that Ive got one and he goes for the net. As he does this huge fish jumps about 3 feet out of the water. I think my heart stopped. I didn't say a word since Jeff didn't see it. About a minute later as Jeff is standing right next to me the fish decides to show her self again in leaping fashion. I didn't hear a peep out of Jeff. I think he was as nerves as I was. After loosing the previous fish I think I pulled a little harder, kept the line a little tighter and I don't know if I took a breath the entire time. When Jeff finally netted the fish it was huge. It wound up weighing 6.29lb. At this time we figured we would be in the top 3. It all depended on how 1st and 3rd place were doing. I knew that any team below them would had to of had a huge day, not that that couldn't of happened but from everything I was hearing the bite was off so it was going to be hard to do.

As the boats rolled in to head back to the weigh in we were trying to get that one last bite and talking to all of the anglers as they came back in. No one did that well including the guys that were in third. Now we were just worrying about Andy and Stew who were fishing up in Mullet.

When we got back Stew was waiting in the boat to load up so I asked him how they did. He said I don't know around 23 or 24lbs. Of course I told them that that was awesome and They were going to win when he laughs and tells me that they only have 3 for around 10lbs. Of course I said a few choice words to him and we both laughed. I told him that we only had 4 but they went 19+lbs.

As it turned out we had just over 20 with 20.13lbs which was good enough for 1st.

I did learn some things from this experience. You should always go with your instincts. Mine told me to stick it out. We did and it payed off.

Although Jeff caught a couple of fish on the regular Erie Darter most of our fish were caught on the Dixie Darter. I believe it showed a bigger profile in the water which is what the bigger fish wanted. Also like I mentioned before we caught all of our fish fishing against the current. Not that we didn't try fishing with the current but every bite came when we were fishing against it.

We were throwing our Darters on Bite Me Round Ball head in 1/4 oz. They all came on the Mango Magic color.

Thanks for sticking with my story, hopefully you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed reliving it by posting it here.

When you are in any contest you should work as if there whereto the very last minute a chance to loose it.

Esox lucius

Thank you Don, that was an excellent read!


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Great story! Thanks for sharing the exclusive with!!

Help stop invasive spcies. Don't move fish between unconnected bodies of water. Clean, drain and dry your boat before launching on another water body.
Unless clearly stated as such, opinions expressed by Dan Kimmel on this forum are not the opinions or policies of Michigan BASS Nation or TBF of Michigan.


I struggle with that alot....When to leave and when to stay....Excellent job and everyone appreciates the read...Congratulations on the win!!!! :o :o

Firefighter Jeff

  What a great read Don  !!!  You do a great job of writing. Congratulations.  And to think this was your first time on the lakes.  I'm sure all that read this post will learn something they can use to help them be more successful on the water.  Thanks for the time and effort you put into this post.  :)


Congrats!!! and nice write up!


Congrats Don!


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Yeah, thanks for taking the time to share - and congrats! See you on Sunday!
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Thanks guys, Im not much of a writer so I just wrote it as I remembered it.
When you are in any contest you should work as if there whereto the very last minute a chance to loose it.


Congratulations Don !  So sweet I can say I fished with this guy ....  8)
Thanks for sharing your story.


sweet read  ;D....whats it looking like for sat..... ::) be safe and good fishing


Don, I was as impressed by your writing as I am with your fishing. You have a great balance as a competitor, an angler, and a steward for our sport. I hope I have the opportunity to compete against you and hopefully beat you in the future. I appreciate your kindness and willingness to share your knowledge and techniques you use to kick our butts most of the time. Good luck this weekend and for the rest of this season.
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