10-24-19 BFL REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
GRAND LAKE – GROVE OKLAHOMA
I am very excited to be going to the Regional Championship for the BFL on Grand Lake in Oklahoma. The boaters and co-anglers from four divisions will be competing. The divisions are the Arkie, Cowboy, Illini, and Ozark. The field consists of 45 of the top boaters from each division and the first place winner from 5 tournaments, which makes the field up to 200 teams. I am very fortunate to make it to the regionals the first year. I was ranked 24 in points out of 258 teams this year.
It is quite miserable for fishing today. I am bundled up with long johns, shirt and jacket and rain gear. The only thing is, I only brought my tennis shoes. We all know they will be soaked. This is the beginning of a very rainy tournament.
There are 173 teams fishing today. We will fish for 2 days and the top 12 teams will advance to the 3rd day. My co-angler is Mike. He is from Illinois and he was a prison guard for 19 years and is still working for the prison today. He told me some really wild stories of what goes on in prison.
It’s raining and the wind is blowing 15-20 mph and it is 45 degrees. It is cold and wet. I am wearing my motorcycle helmet today to spear the waves.
The first stop we caught a few shorts. We continued to fish and half way through the day we still had no keepers. Mike caught one and it came around the back of the boat, the fish jumped and I netted it and as soon as we got it in the boat the hook fell out. He was lucky he didn’t lose that one. We fished in Duck Creek and caught about 15 shorts.
My chatter bait did not work at all except on one fish. Mike caught a 3 ½ and a 2 pounder. He caught 3 fish for the day. I was by a dock and a bass wrapped me up in the wire and bent the hook and came off. I ended the day disappointed with only one fish.
It is a miserable cold tournament this time. It is still raining and cold, but is supposed to stop raining after noon. Today my co-angler is Trey. He is from Arkansas. The fishing was a little better since I caught 4 fish but they were all small. I ended up with 9-6 total. Not a good weight for 2 days of fishing.
While I was fishing my mom went to the local fishing/tackle store. When she walked in, there was a GIANT FISH suspended from the ceiling. It was the Grand Lake State Record Paddlefish, also called a Spoonbill. She met a man named David that worked there and asked why these fish like living in Grand Lake. He informed her that the lake is filled with plankton. There are farms in Kansas and Missouri that are being fertilized. The run off comes in as the Spring River and Neosho River meet to make one river called the Grand River, which feeds into Grand Lake. The fertilizer makes the planton thrive. Paddlefish swim through the water with their mouths open to scoop up zooplankton. They have an ability to use special cells on the bill to sense the weak electrical signals generated by plankton. Since paddlefish don’t bite on bait anglers have to catch them by snagging. Anglers have to find a pod or school of fish. Then they drive the boat through the school with a dipsy diver and a hook to snag one in the pod. Once you keep one, you are done fishing for the day. The limit is one a day and 2 per year.
The Spring River is the sanctuary for the paddlefish. They go up the river to spawn. You can only catch them in the Neosho River. The weight of these fish range from 20-120 pounds. Although the record fish caught weighed 132.8 pounds. Monday and Fridays are snag and release days. They survived the Ice Age and the effects of the impact from meteorites. Fossil records of this fish date back over 300 million years, almost 50 million years before the first dinosaurs appeared.
Throw It Out, Pop It In, Fish On!