By Gary Haraguchi
April 13, 2016
With the first FLW Tour event under our belt, we flew into the Altanta airport on March 11th and picked up Jimmy's truck, then headed northeast to Anderson, South Carolina for stop number two – Lake Hartwell.
We decided to fish Lake Keowee on Saturday as Lake Hartwell was off limits until official practice started on Sunday. Keowee is a super clear reservoir with lots of docks which we started out fishing with 5" wacky rigged Green Pumpkin Senkos (9-10-297). We managed a some nice 2-3 lb spotted bass on the docks. We continued to catch lots of fish all on the senko for a few more hours before heading in, but not before making a fun little video, which handily you can view here.
I may have mentioned in the last piece that Jimmy is a big fan of BBQ. We had it several times at Hartwell. I’m sorry to say I think I'm already tired of BBQ and we're only a third of the way through the season.
The first day of practice at Hartwell we continued fishing docks with success but no real big ones. As we fished down a bank we came upon a hanging ball and it inspired Jimmy to do his own version of the video "Wrecking Ball". Later that day Jimmy caught a 6.5 largemouth on a 5" California Roll (130-10-330) on a 1/4oz Frenzy Nail Shakey Head as we fished our way down a bank. That got us pumped up and we hoped for more big bites.
The second day we fished both shallow and deep. The weather had warmed quickly and the fish wanted to move shallow. We saw bedding fish but again, no real big ones. Instead we were seeing and catching mainly 2-2 1/2 pound fish. Jimmy ended up fishing pockets and bedding fish during the tournament and finished in 50th place scoring the last $10,000 check, but he almost didn't make it because of a twig.
Here's his story: "It was a cold blistery day in South Carolina. The wind had stopped blowing and I knew bed fish were the ticket to the big dance (making the cut to fish Saturday and Sunday). The one bed fish I knew would bite lived alongside a fallen tree with a few limbs that protruded above the water -- high enough for birds to land on and low enough to think a professional angler would be able to hoist a 6-pounder over its limb. Boy was I wrong -- four times wrong! That little twig kept me from fishing on Saturday and I will never forget it.
“Four times I set the hook and four times that smaller twig coming off the branch would catch the line, and the fish would shake her head and swim back home. This happened to me twice the first day and twice the second day -- both in a span of 30 minutes. Since Sunday was an off day for me I decided to go fun-fishing on Lake Hartwell. The first place I thought of was that stupid tree laying at a 45 degree angle into the water. I’ll have you know I suppressed the urge and I never fished that tree again. I win -- I'm out!" Jimmy fished a 5" single-tail grub in Cream White (18-20-036) and Chartreuse (18-20-156) on the beds.
As you know, I’m fishing the FLW Tour this season as a co-angler. On the first tournament day my pro partner fished beds as well as pockets and my second day partner fished more main lake stuff. When you fish as a co-angler, you never know what you’ll be “left with”. I ended up with a 3rd place showing by utilizing a 5" green pumpkin Senko (9-10-297), catching a big fish each day close to 4lbs on it. Can’t wait to see what Beaver Lake has in store for us.