May 21, 2013 by Dave Lefebre
(Editor's note: Veteran bass pro Dave Lefebre has agreed to take time to share his insights into each FLW Tour event of the 2013 season. After every event, Lefebre will give his thoughts on tournament strategy, winning techniques and other behind-the-scenes stories/information that is compelling to our readers. The following blog represents his fourth installment of the season. Lefebre ultimately finished the Lake Eufaula event in 55th place with a two-day total of 22 pounds, 7 ounces. For his efforts, Lefebre took home $4,000 in winnings.)
Despite a miserable finish at Lake Eufaula, I'm still moving on up in the AOY standings. I finished 55th - just a few ounces away from a $10,000 check - and I can tell you that is not fun at all. I now sit in 36th place with two events remaining. The goal is to sneak into that top 15, which will require a couple of very strong tournaments.
I had a solid three-day practice period, spending all three days down near the dam hunting offshore sweet spots. I spent more time idling with my Lowrance HDS Structure Scan units than fishing and I honestly believed that I would be in contention to win this one going into the final day.
Of course I was not; I didn't even come close to making the first top-20 cut. But the worst part of it all is that I really don't understand what happened. The bites I was getting in practice produced some really big, fat fish. I actually figured they were all post spawn from quite a while ago because they were clean, healthy looking bass. As it turns out now, as weird as it sounds, I'm convinced my fish were pre-spawners headed to the bank.
In retrospect, it seems like the postspawn fish were kind of in limbo, hanging around just off the bank in 5 to 10 feet of water. For the most part it appeared that they hadn't yet made their way out to the deeper water. So, in a nut shell, I put all my eggs in one basket - guessing incorrectly that my areas would be replenishing throughout the event instead of thinning out.
Having said all that, I still had the bites to do much better than I did. My main baits were supposed to be a shad-colored Rapala DT 16 and a big 5-inch Storm Pro Paddle Tail swimbait with a 1-ounce jighead. But during the first two days of the event, my key bait turned out to be a green pumpkin/blue Yamamoto 5-inch cut-tail worm on a 3/8-ounce jighead - which helped salvage the tournament for me to a certain extent.
I had three big bites on the swimbait on day one and one on day two, but every one of them came unbuttoned or jumped off. I also lost a 4-pounder on a swim jig with two minutes to fish on day one right by the takeoff site to add a little more salt in the wound. For some reason the crankbait that I had so much confidence in going into the event didn't even garner a single bite for me... CRAZY!
Based on the number of guys I saw throwing umbrella rigs near bridges, I can only assume fish were caught on them again. I know that the deep diving DTs played big time for a lot of guys. The shallow-water bite was also very strong, way better than many thought it would be. Baits like buzz frogs, swim jigs, buzzbaits, Skitter Pops and ChatterBaits all worked around the grass. And slower baits like trick worms and Senkos caught a bunch of shallow fish as well. I got to watch Gary Yamamoto catch a bunch on day two near the bank; it was like watching a fishing show as I tried hopelessly to fire up those deep fish with no luck.
Overall, Eufaula is a great place for an FLW Tour event and I truly hope we get to go back sometime soon. The fans are awesome, the food is great and the history of that area is off the charts. Oh, and the fishing is good too!
Our next event will be held on Grand Lake in Oklahoma in a couple weeks. I've never been there but am looking forward to visiting another famous fishery loaded with big bass.
Follow Dave Lefebre on Facebook by clicking here.