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Author Topic: Joshimoto's Stren Championship: Part 2 - TX Day 1  (Read 7153 times)

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joshimoto son

Joshimoto's Stren Championship: Part 2 - TX Day 1
« on: November 27, 2007, 02:57:13 PM »

Practice is over and the only thing left to do before I “take the test” is go to the registration meeting and find out who my pro partner is for the first day. The registration is at the convention center in downtown Mobile. It is also where the weigh-ins will take place for the final two days of competition after the top ten cut.
FLW really made this event extra special. While going through the registration line they had plenty of free stuff to hand out to us. The tournament staff was sure to shake everyone’s hand and congratulated us on making the championship. I got four free hats, a floaty key chain from the National Guard, a filler spool of Stren fluorocarbon line and every pro and co-angler that was Ranger qualified received a certificate for a free Ranger coat.

At the end of the line they took our picture and then released us to the buffet tables where there was plenty of great food to eat. After eating I was able to go around and say hi to some of the people I’ve gotten to know through the course of the year. I was really surprised to find out just how nice everyone is in this circuit. Even some of the big names I’ve been paired with will take the time to say hi and ask how things are going. I will save you the agony of dropping the names of some of the people I’ve shared the pleasure fishing with. (Bobby Lane, Mark Rose, Chad Grigsby)
The tournament meeting was just like every other one I’ve been to, nothing special, just waiting for it to get over anticipating and hoping you get a good draw.

I will be very honest with you, a large part of a co-anglers tournament success lies strictly with the pro partner he’s drawn with. Plain and simple. If you’re not around fish, you can’t catch fish. If the pro is around fish, it is up to the co-angler to figure out how to catch them around or behind the pro. That can be a difficult and frustrating task. Very rarely do I hear about a pro having enough fish for four days where he will just open the boat up and share his sweet spot with the guy in the back of the boat and the two just swing away.

Most cases, even more so in tough tournaments, the pro will keep himself between the target area and the co-angler. If it’s isolated structure, you can expect to be pointed out away from it and hope to cast to the very edges and pick up some scattered fish. If the pro is fishing a weed line or break line you can count on him running the boat right on top of it, casting parallel and keeping his lures in the strike zone at all times, while the co-angler has to figure out how to catch fish the boat just ran over or hope he can find fish out and away from the boat. It sounds simple enough, but it can be very trying when you’re in the back of the boat stuck three feet off of shore.

You can do only three things. Make very short casts, throw your lure on the deep side or drag something behind the boat if you’re not going too fast. When this happens, it is not uncommon for a pro to come in with a nice sack and the co-angler to only get one or two bites the whole day. If you ever think you want to be a co-angler, understand this and just accept it with the gratification of knowing that you’re learning something. No matter the ability of the pro, if you don’t learn something from them, you’re not paying enough attention.

Finally the meeting is over and the pairings are being called off. My pro partner for the day is Matt Saaverda from California. We walked out of the conference room and into the lobby to exchange information and prepare for the next day. Matt was very upbeat and excited about fishing. One of the first things Matt told me was to pack light. He said “we’re going to make a run! I’ve pulled all the excess tackle out of the boat to make it as light as possible.” Matt then said we’ll have to stop for gas on the way up and on the way down. The second thing he told me was even though we only had about three hours to fish, we should both easily get our limits. That’s the only thing a co-angler can wish to hear.

I always respectfully ask my pros to give me a general idea of what we’re going to be fishing so I don’t take the kitchen sink with me if I don’t have to. Matt commented that he had lots of bites on a number of lures, but I couldn’t go wrong if I brought a shaky head. I said, “good enough” and made plans to meet with him in the morning and returned to the motel.

Thursday morning, day one of the tournament, I woke up to a balmy 34 degrees. The local weather man said that we had tied the lowest temperature ever record for that day and he hadn’t seen temperatures that low in almost 20 years. Great! I put on a pair of long pants, an extra sweatshirt and bundled up in my rain gear to help defeat the wind and cold. I will tell you now that I didn’t bring enough clothes with me for the entire trip to keep me warm enough.

It took almost an hour to go our first 50 miles when we stopped to get gas. The cold temperatures, coupled with a 65 mile an hour wind, sucked the heat right out of me. My fish headz protected me, but because there was no passenger console, the direct force of the wind slapping me in the head had started quite a boomer of a headache.
We had to idle through a small creek to get to the fueling station. It was only the width of a two lane road with laydowns stretching across the middle of it that we had to zig zag around. As we get half way down the creek we see a boat coming at us on pad. It was another tournament boat returning to the main river after gassing up. I stood up and waved my arms to make sure the driver could see us and he then set the boat down. Matt and I both made a few choice comments about the guy and we pulled over to the shore so that he could get past us. The small creek then opened up and after we idled over a shallow mud flat we put it back up on pad and headed to the back of the creek to refuel.

Matt had never made the whole trip from the launch to his spot way up, he asked the guy at the station just how far we had been and how much farther we would have to go. Old boy pulled the cigarette out of his mouth (yes! He was smoking while we were fueling, apparently they think that stuff’s funny down there) and said that it was 50 miles from the I-10 bridge (our launch) to here and another 70 miles to the dam. I was relieved when Matt told me we weren’t going to the dam. I wasn’t as relieved when he told me we were stopping a few miles short of it. Let me just say it right now. A 110 MILES ONE WAY!!!!

It took us 35 minutes to gas up and get back on the main river and another hour and 10 minutes to go the remaining distance. We blasted off at 7:18 in the morning and at 10:00 am we finally set down. I know I’m a Michigan boy, and I know I should be accustomed to the cold temps, but there was no denying that I was just completely froze to the bone and my head felt like it was going to burst. Not only did I have that going for me, Matt made the comment that we just drove two hours and 45 minutes just to have somebody he’s never seen before beet him to his spot. Yup, the guy that passed us in the creek earlier was up there putting a whacking on the fish.

The “spot” was a big pipe that laid perpendicular to the river and was the cooling water discharge for a paper mill just up the way. With water being released from the dam, and the outgoing tide, the current was ripping. We were stopped about 150 yards down stream of the discharge, more or less in the tail waters, I grabbed my 1/8 ounce shaky head with a black Zoom finesse worm and just threw out across the current and let it sink down bouncing it across the bottom. Being the first cast of the day and not knowing what the bottom of the river was like, I noticed that my shaky head had stopped moving down river. I really couldn’t feel anything because I was shivering violently and could not detect a bite if I had to. So I reeled down to get a better idea of what was happening and felt the distinctive pull of a fish. I leaned back and swept my rod only to watch it load up. “There’s one.” I said to Matt. “Already!” he said. I played the fish to the boat and Matt scooped it up with the net. It was an easy 13 to 14 inches and quite chunky. I took a second look at the fish before I put it in the box and said, “Is that a spot?” “Yep, they’re all spots up here.” Matt replied. It was only the second Spotted Bass I’ve ever caught in my life.

I rigged back up and managed to catch another keeper about five minutes later. Matt said we’re going to catch ‘em good today, especially if we can get up there to fish the discharge. We continued to fish our way up to the pipe and Matt, being the true Californian he is, picked up a swim bait and started hauling water. He then grabbed a ½ ounce football jig with a hula grub and started swimming it along the bottom to finally land his first keeper. It was just that, a 12 incher that maybe weighed a pound. In the mean time, we continued to watch the two guys that beet us up there continue to upgrade their limits.

I mentioned to Matt that if that guy was smart he would leave or wave us on up there with him because tomorrow the tables would be turned and Matt would be the first one to the pipe. It’s not that there wasn’t enough fish to go around, in fact there was more than enough fish for two boats for four days. That’s right, one of those rare occasions where there was enough fish for everyone. Not to mention that given the extremely long, wide open throttle runs, it would be an even better idea to work together and watch out for each other because the chances of breakdowns or running out of gas were greatly increased.

There’s no way that the guy could have heard me, but about a half an hour later. He picked up and headed toward the dam giving us free will of the area. Matt alternated between the hula grub, shaky head and a drop shot for the next hour and a half. He had managed to get his limit and cull three of four times. In the mean time I’m still sitting on the two fish I caught early. The current was much stronger ay the discharge and because of the boat position I had a hard time presenting my bait so that it would naturally flow with the current. Either that or I just couldn’t pull my head out. With 15 minutes left to go, I switched to a Zoom trick worm in black neon and missed a fish and put two more in the box. It seems that the fish were getting active and of course, as we’ve all heard the story, we had to leave just as the fish started to turn on.

It kind of sucks to leave two hours and 45 minutes before it’s time to weigh-in. It gives you way too much time to beet yourself up because you didn’t put a limit in the boat when you should have. I then started thinking about what I was going to need for the next day just to have a chance to cut a check. In my mind I thought it was going to take seven pounds to make the check cut and 11 pounds to make the top ten. Thinking I only had about four pounds in the boat, I would need to duplicate what I did today to cut a check and have a phenomenal day to make the top ten. That has been the case for every single tournament I’ve been in this year. A good start the first day and then the dreaded second day comes along.

I case you don’t know, at my first tournament on the Potomac, I was in 12th place after the first day only to get caught in a tornado the second day, virtually sinking our boat and with our cell phones destroyed, being reported as one of nine boats that went missing. They sent the coast guard looking for us. When we finally were towed back to the ramp the weigh-in had been completed for an hour. Needless to say the fish I had to throw back cost me a check for $435.

Nothing really happened at the Detroit River, really… nothing I couldn’t catch em. At the Hudson River my one fish had me knocking on the back door of the top ten again. It was the hour and a half fog delay and my pro partners great driving skills that beached us on a sand bar that made us lose over a half a days fishing that took me out of the tournament.  And finally, with yet another chance to make the top ten at Lake Gaston, it was a three hour fog delay on day two and a pro partner on day three that was not willing to burn any gas (because he had no chance whatsoever of even cutting a check) that he stuck us in the same no fish creek all day until it was time to go in. I couldn’t even get him to move anywhere. He just kept telling me that he was going to stay there no matter what.

So given my entire tournament season was what I would classify as a royal beating. You could only imagine the type of things that were going through my head. I’m a firm believer that if you keep a positive attitude, you can turn things around or at least keep things from getting worse and I tried my best to keep that positive attitude the entire two plus hours it took to get back.

Once we were checked in and had the boat back on the trailer, we then had to drive to Battleship Memorial Park. That is where the first two days of the weigh-in were going to take place. It is literally on the shore of the Gulf of Mexico and the U.S.S. Alabama is parked in front of the museum. The weigh-in was actually inside the museum where on one end there was actual military planes and jets and on the other end… the weigh-in stage and fish tanks. Kind of cool actually.

Matt and I went across the stage, I think he had a little over seven pounds and my four fish weighed five pounds even. We weighed in toward the end of the pack and I was near the top ten. I then received a phone call from Duane who should have gone through the line already and he told me that he’s still on the water and waiting for the rescue boat to come find him and tow him in. Apparently he had been floating around for the last three hours of the tournament because he lost all power and could not start the engine. Duane and his partner did not make it in on time and were DQ’ed for the day. To make things even worse, the tech at the Yamaha trailer popped the cowling off, located a burnt fuse, replaced it with the spare fuse located right next to it and fired things up in less than five minutes.

The Yamaha tech said it is not recommended to run everything on the boat off of the trolling motor battery.
In other words, Duane only had three batteries on board his boat and should have had four. He was told that’s why he had been having problems. The tech told Duane that if he went and bought another battery, that he would re-organize the back compartment for him and install and rewire the whole system. So off to Wal-Mart we went. We finally got back to the hotel around 11:00 which would give us about five hours of sleep before we started it all over again.

I ended up in 17th place overall after day one and only 12 ounces away from the top ten. I kept telling myself how important that infamous “one more fish” is. My pro partner for day two was the Abu/Garcia Pro Mark Goines of Arkansas.

Before I went to bed, I thanked the lord for the day I did have. I asked him to help me carry on with what it is I feel he put me on this earth to do and help me stay focused and do what I needed to win this tournament.
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dashaver63

Re: Joshimoto's Stren Championship: Part 2 - TX Day 1
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2007, 05:03:43 PM »

Awesome report! I can only imagine what that morning ride must have felt like, actually, no I don't even want to imagine that. Can't wait to read the rest.
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Cheetam

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Re: Joshimoto's Stren Championship: Part 2 - TX Day 1
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2007, 05:05:11 PM »

Good stuff, just like the last one Josh....
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Jeff

joshimoto son

Re: Joshimoto's Stren Championship: Part 2 - TX Day 1
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2007, 08:41:27 AM »

Yeah, it was cold alright. So cold, I didn't get rid of the shakes until after I caught my second fish. generally it only takes one fish to get warmed up.
On the way back I actually sat on the floor facing the back of the boat. It was soooo much better. And the temps actually warmed up in the high 60's.

I'll keep plugging away and try to get the last two days out as soon as I can.

joshimoto son ;D
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dartag

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Re: Joshimoto's Stren Championship: Part 2 - TX Day 1
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2007, 12:01:27 PM »

were you with any of the guys in this article,  see link below.   thanks for the reports.  good reading on cold winter days here in mich.

http://www.bassfan.com/news_article.asp?id=2612
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RB

Re: Joshimoto's Stren Championship: Part 2 - TX Day 1
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2007, 12:33:46 PM »

I dont post very often but i had to get on here and say great job Joshimoto.Your post were great to read cant wait to here the rest.
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Team houston

Re: Joshimoto's Stren Championship: Part 2 - TX Day 1
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2007, 02:16:03 PM »

Still can't wait for the rest. As far as the gas situation goes, Those pros cleared everything with the tournament directors. Nuff said.
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joshimoto son

Re: Joshimoto's Stren Championship: Part 2 - TX Day 1
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2007, 04:49:41 PM »

I fished with both David and Matt. I know for a fact that everything was cleared by the way they talked about it during the meetings.
The big concern was to keep people from stashing fuel tanks on the bank somewhere, which happens a lot down there on the local tournaments.
It was brought up at the top ten meeting also, the concern was that it must me a facility that sells to the public. Which it is.

joshimoto son ;D
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Team houston

Re: Joshimoto's Stren Championship: Part 2 - TX Day 1
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2007, 07:08:29 AM »

Still waiting.
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joshimoto son

Re: Joshimoto's Stren Championship: Part 2 - TX Day 1
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2007, 09:25:30 AM »

Sorry Houston,
I feel guilty and know i need to get to the "rest of the story"
But since Thanksgiving, my future wife and daughter have had something planned every night of the week. I will start to see the light of day sometime next week.
I need to get it done before I forget everything.

joshimoto son ;D
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Team houston

Re: Joshimoto's Stren Championship: Part 2 - TX Day 1
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2007, 12:06:12 PM »

Thats what I was worried about lol. We love all the little details.
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stackenem

Re: Joshimoto's Stren Championship: Part 2 - TX Day 1
« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2007, 07:31:30 PM »

Is it next week yet???????
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Remember you don't quit fishing when you get old, you get old when you quit fishing

joshimoto son

Re: Joshimoto's Stren Championship: Part 2 - TX Day 1
« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2007, 09:04:28 AM »

I don't know what week it is...
Somebody please make it stop!
I will get it done, it's just soooo busy right now.

Wished I had some Christmas music to play while I've got you on hold. ::)

joshimoto son ;D
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stackenem

Re: Joshimoto's Stren Championship: Part 2 - TX Day 1
« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2007, 03:14:30 PM »

Josh, be cool bro we know it is hard to get time to write all the details and take care of the home front too. Soon all the holidays will be done and then maybe things will slow down for you. We can wait.
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Remember you don't quit fishing when you get old, you get old when you quit fishing

dashaver63

Re: Joshimoto's Stren Championship: Part 2 - TX Day 1
« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2007, 04:42:54 PM »

Yes, Josh, take care of the family stuff now, we'll still be here anxiously awaiting "the rest of the story". However, you can skip the christmas music, I've heard enough.
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stackenem

Re: Joshimoto's Stren Championship: Part 2 - TX Day 1
« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2008, 08:02:57 PM »

 :D :D :D OK Josh the holidays are over now is the time to finish the story  ;D ;D ;D
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Remember you don't quit fishing when you get old, you get old when you quit fishing

joshimoto son

Re: Joshimoto's Stren Championship: Part 2 - TX Day 1
« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2008, 12:28:46 PM »

Yes, I know... I almost got to start up again last night.... almost. :'(
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stackenem

Re: Joshimoto's Stren Championship: Part 2 - TX Day 1
« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2008, 05:59:17 PM »

Am I the only person interested in the    Rest of the Story?   Just messing with you Josh.   NOT
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Remember you don't quit fishing when you get old, you get old when you quit fishing

Dan

Re: Joshimoto's Stren Championship: Part 2 - TX Day 1
« Reply #18 on: January 09, 2008, 10:07:30 PM »

Isn't the Stren Championship coming up on TV this weekend?
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Team houston

Re: Joshimoto's Stren Championship: Part 2 - TX Day 1
« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2008, 07:18:17 AM »

I am still waiting too
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