I didn’t exactly whack ’em on the Ohio River, but the one keeper I weighed gave me enough points to qualify for the BFL Regional Tournament on Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia! My final season-long ranking in the Buckeye Division was 24th. I will be competing from October 13-15 against 160 other anglers who qualified from 4 divisions around the country, with the top 6 anglers qualifying to fish the 2012 BFL All American tournament.
Smith Mountain Lake is nestled in the valleys of the Blue Ridge Mountains and spans over 20,000 surface acres. The Appalachians filter water into the Roanoke and Blackwater Rivers, which feed the lake with crystal clear water. The lake is an absolute maze when viewed on a map, so I’m looking forward to actually launching my boat to get a grasp on it.
This will be the biggest tournament I’ve fished to date, and I’m really pumped-up about it. I’ve already spent some time researching the lake and studying a map. I will have two full days to prefish before the tournament, which isn’t a lot of time, but should afford me the opportunity to locate some fish and develop a pattern. Largemouth outnumber smallmouth in the lake at about 10-1, but the smallmouth are BIG, and past Bassmaster Elite Series tournaments have been won with mixed bags.
By mid-October the fish should be entering into their fall patterns, so it’s very possible that the tournament could be won fishing in the larger creeks by following the baitfish movement. However, until I get on the water I won’t know exactly what the bass are doing, and I plan on exploring both shallow and deep patterns with a multitude of tactics. Assuming my 3G works in the mountains, I will be giving daily blog updates during my practice and competition days.
On a final note I wanted to give an update on my September 9th blog entry regarding Nate Wellman. Yesterday B.A.S.S. released a short statement on its website stating that Wellman and B.A.S.S. have mutually agreed that Wellman will not be competing in the remaining Northern Open tournaments this year. By not participating in all 3 Northern Open events, Wellman will lose his automatic berth into the 2012 Bassmaster Classic. You can read the press release here: