Brown Trout Tournament - Day One
Nasty Weather Start
It was a rough start for the Baileys Harbor Brown Tournament, weather-wise. There were gale warnings on the lake side for much of the day. It was also a rough start for me and Paul (aka Team Noor Door Floor) fish-wise. To be honest, it was actually a typical start. In the last three years that Paul and I have fished the tournament together we have done very well before the tournament starts. However, for some reason, when the day of the tournament comes around our luck runs out. For example, we have boated over 30 brown trout so far this year, several over 10 pounds. Today was a different story.
We decided to wait until noontime to start fishing. Our only option was the bayside, what with 6-7 footers out on the lake. Of course, all of the other people fishing the tournament had the same idea. With east winds the waters off Egg Harbor were actually fairly calm. It was cool and overcast. We found crystal clear water with temperatures in the 40F range. We also found a lot of other anglers. In fact we saw more boats in a couple of hours than we had seen in the last 3 weeks. So, fish that the week before had only one or two boats pass over them each day or so now were being chased by dozens per hour.
So we went out with low expectations and they were met. We trolled for about 4 hours, over 10 miles and boated one 19" brown. That's a rate of 0.1 FPM (Fish per Mile). Normally catching a nice "eater" like this might be satisfactory. But when you are trying to put something on the board for the tournament, it is less then adequate. One interesting thing about this fish was that we caught it in a little deeper water (20 FOW) than we had been catching fish. We also caught it with a purple #11 Rapala. Bright colors (orange & fire tiger) had been working most of the early season. Today it was overcast. It made me think about the old saying about muskie fishing baits; "Bright day, bright lures; dark days, dark lures". I wonder, does the same apply to brown trout in Spring? Food for thought.
The good news is that it looks like the weather is going to improve over the next several days. Friday the winds are supposed to be light and variable later in the afternoon and Saturday looks like it is going to be bright and sunny. Maybe those orange Rapalas will start producing again. One thing for sure, there will be a lot more guys fishing and that means a lot more fish are going to be caught. It's shaping up to be another great tournament. I hope you get a chance to get out there. I know Paul and I will.
Tight lines, Bruce