UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

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FLW Tour Recap: Beaver Lake

FLW Tour Recap: Beaver Lake
Dave Lefebre of Erie, Pa., shows off his opening round catch on Lake Hartwell.

(Editor's note: Veteran bass pro Dave Lefebre has agreed to take time to share his insights into each FLW Tour event of the 2012 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 Beaver Lake event in 63rd place with a two-day total of 16 pounds, 1 ounce.)

I moved up in the AOY standings, all the way up to 52nd place ... woo-hoo! We just wrapped up the third FLW Tour Major on Beaver Lake and it looks like I'm back to my old Beaver Lake ways. I'm having difficulty dealing with my 63rd place finish after the insanely good practice I had this year. I had over 18 pounds on day 1 and again on day 3 of practice without even fishing that much. I was surprised to find the Storm Wiggle Wart bite was on fire in the afternoon on the first practice day. I'd thought it was way too late for that, but when I caught a 51/2-pounder on my third cast I new I was on to something. There was a local tournament that same day that only took 14 pounds to win, so I was feeling pretty good. I had three more 4-pound bites in the next hour in completely different places and then quit fishing and began looking for more places that looked right.

I spent day two of practice out deep and I was happy to find a solid backup plan with a jig and drop-shot in 20 to 25 feet. There were a lot of smaller keepers (spots) out there with the occasional black keeper or smallmouth. My practice partner, Danny Jones, and I had a good day 2, but after day three, and going back to the Wart, I really felt I had a shot to make an easy top 10 this time at Beaver. I went back to the Wiggle Wart and spent a lot of time waypointing areas that looked right; and every time I made a cast it seemed I caught a 31/2- to 5-pounder - it was crazy.

Fast-forward to the tournament. For two full days I had a perfect game plan. I adapted to the conditions well, seemed to be at the right place at the right time, had a great mental attitude (that Dudley would have been proud of), and was as confident as one could be. But despite of all that, I weighed in 9-4 and 6-13 bags. No one is more tired of hearing the stories of fish getting off than I am, but this is my blog and it is my story. In order, I lost a 3-pounder, and one well over 6 pounds at the boat on day one, and a 3-pounder, a 5-pounder and a 2-pound spot on day two - not to mention the heavy fish that got off that I didn't see. The next time I fish a crankbait I will not spend countless hours in my boat changing hooks and line. I will not match up my rods and reels perfectly to my baits. Instead, I will employ the stock, dull hooks and maybe even use the wrong rod intentionally. Maybe I'll even leave the net at home.

I've been playing this game a long time and I've had streaks throughout my career when every bite came in the boat and also when this fish-losing curse got me. I've talked to many other pros who have experienced this as well. I'm convinced more than ever that there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. This is one of the "uncontrollables" in our sport. In other sports you train for every variable possible for the big day, and the one who is in better shape and prepares the hardest wins most of the time. I wish there was not so much luck involved in bass tournaments, but there simply is. I agree with Dudley about the mental aspect of our game, but when a 5-pounder is barely skin-hooked on a Wiggle Wart, you just can't "will" her into the boat with your great attitude ... sorry. Fortunately, by the end of the year the standings usually even out when it's all said and done, and the luck factor declines.

The lake was weird this year with the crazy weather this spring and the water falling 5 feet in a week. In the end, it was the same techniques that worked for most of the field, with the exception of the multi-lure rigs, which were predominant in the top 10. Shakey heads, drop-shots, crankbaits and sight-fishing all worked well this week. Glenn Browne got the short end of the stick unfortunately, being the highest finisher who did not use the umbrella rig according to him. All those in front of him needed it to place where they did. It's obviously still legal in our events, so kudos to them for making it work. The local event I spoke of earlier did not allow the use of multi-rig harnesses in their competition. Glenn had a chance to make it close in the end however; he actually lost a 4-pound fish in a tree top on day two that would have culled out a 11/2-pounder. Versatility was the key for him, weighing fish on spinnerbaits, a Rapala DT-6 crankbait, a flipping tube and a topwater bait.

Continuing on the "losing fish" train, Randall Tharp also lost a 4-pounder on day two which jumped into a cedar tree and fell off the hook as he got close to grabbing it. That fish would have kept him in the game another day and given him a chance to advance.

Dudley won it and admitted he caught 65 percent of his winning fish using an umbrella rig. He caught the rest (seven) on a wacky-rigged worm. He stayed in, or close to Prairie Creek all week, which was my game plan. I saw him everyday and even watched him for a couple minutes on day 4 while hospitality fishing for crappies with some friends from Kellogg's. When I left him around 9 a.m. he had 3 keeper largemouth in the boat. He culled everything in the last two hours of day 4 and said it was just unbelievable how many 3-pounders he caught in that short time. He keyed on windy rocky banks with the wacky worm.

I talked to him while driving home today and if you've been following the event, you'll be glad to know he made it home safely last night and got to see his grandmother... awesome!

Our next event is on the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. - one of my favorite places to fish. AOY is out of the question now, so my goal is to get back on track, win an event and finish the season in the top 20. Talk to you after D.C.!

To read more about Dave's life on the road, check out On Tour With Dave and Anne, sponsored by Chevy. Throughout the 2012 FLW Tour season, Dave and his wife, Anne will be keeping a detailed blog of their experiences while traveling the country in their Chevy Trucks.

Tags: dave-lefebre  blog 

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