Photos Courtesy of Dave Wojcik

Cran Bog Hawgs

Team Elliot and Sullivan finished 2nd with 12.03 and had the event Lunker with a 4.43 lgm.

Team Burrel and Sagle with an impressive Mid-December bag. 2nd Place - 13.73

Dave Wojcik, Tournament Director and member of CranBogHawgs 3rd Place - 11.06

Me with a few Cape Cod fish. 4th Place 9.90

     As the day progressed and people seemed to not be catching them, or so I thought, I began to prep myself.  Could I win?  Would I win?  Could I have cracked them on their home water? To each of those questions, the answer was ultimately NO, and I really should have known better, but any tournament angler would have been thinking the same thing.


     I didn't win, but man, I had a great time trying. I really didn't hear about one other limit until I got to weigh-in.  Well, I take that back.  Dave Wojcik finish his limit at 1:58, just minutes before the end - and had just enough to edge me out of third.  I saw him do it, too; which was in my mind more painfull than not knowing.


     Most of the guys were throwing the typical cold water stuff, suspending jerk baits, tubes, jigs and spinnerbaits.  A few guys were throwing inline spinners early on and paid the pickerel after pickerel price.  I heard them talking later in the day saying that somewhere around 20 had found their way on to their respective hooks earlier in the morning (that was the flurry I watched).  In my favor, as they caught pickerel in 5ft, I was catching my limit in 7.  They did manage a few big ones early, but fell short of a limit when it was all done.  Most likely had they gotten the other 2, they would have made a run at the winners.


     I think that my fishing for 2014 is finished.  I fly out to Jackson, MS Saturday to bring the kids up for Christmas. By the time  the holidays quiet down, the ice will be on the lakes and new licenses will have to be purchased.  See you guys soon on the hard water.   NLBF - HERE WE GO.


     

Sunrise on Santuit Pond, Cape Cod Massachusetts.

Photo By; Gradie Beaulieu  

By Gradie Beaulieu

Date: 15 December 2014 

DECEMBER LIMITS

Santuit Pond

     After making the run on some new water, I decided to make it back to the spot where I had got them earlier.  By letting them rest a bit, I managed to upgrade rather quickly, although not quite as much as I should.  I opened my livewells and had two fish swimming on their sides, just barely alive.  Something was in the wells and the fish didn't like it.  So I grabbed what I thought was the smaller of the two and culled it out.  It wasn't until weigh-in that I realized that I had one substantially smaller, like a pound and a half smaller...


     Concerned about the fish in the livewells, I worked hard to get them upright and swimming.  Dave later gave me some livewell treatment to help them out and man did it work.  Next time out I will have some on hand. 


     When I was back on the point around noon, a team was tucked in out of the wind and we talked about the day so far.  They said that they had one and I mentioned that I had a limit.  It seemed to me that they were stunned.  "Wow! Really? You must be fishing different water than we are."


    Now for any fisherman worth his time in tournaments, a statement like "Wow!" should tell you something and you should pull out the following rule book for recommendations on how to advance.



~Gradie's Rule Book~ 


     1st.  Keep your mouth shut.  Put the headphones on and keep going.  
             (This is easier said than done, rule 1 takes practice.)

    

     2nd  Fisherman lie.  Or should I say,  they don't fully explain the day as well

             as one would like to believe.

    

     3rd  Tournament fisherman utilize rule 2 more than the "normal" fisherman.

    

     4th  The word Fisherman is French for rule 2

    

     5th  Other tournament fisherman are bleeding information from you; refer to

            rule 1.

    

      6th  Lastly, but most importantly, don't tell people what you are catching

             fish on.  If you are alone and catching fish on something, imagine what

             2 additional people can do with the same information.  


    The morning started really fast.  Taking a cue from a long time fishing friend, Carl Andrade, once my boat was called I shut it off and started to fish at the ramp.  Fishing directly to the left of the ramp, I started on a small point with water in the 7 foot range.  About 5 minutes into the event I hear, "Don't tell me that was your first cast?"

    "No, it was my second."  I looked back toward the middle of the pond, just out from the ramp area 200 yards or so, and paid witness to Dave and someone else putting on a cold water clinic.  Really, out of the corner of my eye, these guys wacked at least 15 fish in 10 minutes. 

  

     So, doing what any good angler would, I made sure I was 200 yards south and picked up a tube.  Not knowing the water clearly as well as those guys, I started plugging away.  About 15 minutes later I snapped the tube up off the bottom in 6 ft and was greeted by a solid 2lb lgm.  In the boat at 8:10, keeper 1.


    The next hour was very similar.  Setting up on my own area, I stayed out in anywhere from 6 to 8 ft and occasionally picked a dock apart with a jig.  By 9:15, I had my limit, a solid 9 pounds, maybe 10.  I weighed 9.9 at the end....There was a catch.


     At noon, I decided that I would take a look at my NAVIONICS chip and make a move.  Not having caught a fish in some time worth mentioning, I was looking to switch it up and look for some new water.  I picked my area and made my way to a cut in the creek around a point that dropped to about 9 ft.  I hooked up on my 2nd cast.  Now, not to pontificate on fish, but when I set the hook, and for at least 10 turns on the handle, nothing but drag and a full bow of my rod was happening.  Big fish is what went through my mind.  However, on the 11th turn, the hook pulled out and just like that my hopes of winning the event vanished. 

     Finally, a day that we have been waiting for. 45 degrees and all sun; well, for the most part.  Clouds and some wind found their way to the Cape Sunday the 14th, but for the most part, it was a really fantastic, mid-December fishing day.  


     With a drive of just over an hour and a half,  I left the house in Rhode Island and made my way to the local DD on the trail for a coffee.  Coffee in hand, I had my wheels moving towards the Cape at 5.30 am. I arrived at the ramp at 7:00 and immediately met Dave Wojcik.  Tournament Director and Series coordinator for the Cran Bog Hawgs, Dave hosts the the annual late-season series located on Cape Cod and, from what I saw, has a great following (considering just two week prior he had 24 boats on Billington Sea).  


      I launched the boat with Dave's help and quickly realized that every one of my compartments was frozen closed.  It took me almost 20 minutes and some help from the Golden Rule to pry open the live-wells, battery compartments and storage lockers.  Once I signed up and drew boat 9, I was greeted with a fantastic sunrise over the Cape as everyone was making their way to the starting boat.

HERE WE GO!

Next Level Bass Fishing

Photos Courtesy of Dave Wojcik

Cran Bog Hawgs

Photos Courtesy of Dave Wojcik

Cran Bog Hawgs

Photos Courtesy of Dave Wojcik

Cran Bog Hawgs

     Now, I am not implying that my voicing of my tactics to anyone resulted in me not winning. Absolutely not. Those guys wacked them, and I got my butt beat.  Truth be known, the guys that won it, and for that matter those in 2nd, were not even around me.  But, and I say this...caution is needed when saying even the least important information because you never know.  Here are some staged answers when asked questions during tournaments.  This is application of the above rule #2.


     1st:          How's the day going?

     Answer:  Shitty

     Reality:    You have a bag that you have already sent a text to your Mom about.


     2nd:         Heard of anyone getting them?

     Answer:  No man, my phone is dead and so is the bite.  The only thing

                     happening in this boat is me practicing my knot tying as I search for

                     new baits that might work.

    Reality:     Everyone is getting them....or are they?


     3rd:          Man, are you culling already?

     Answer:  No dude, I was checking on a 7 pounder I got this morning

                     which coughed up a smaller fish and I wanted to clear the livewell.

                     You?

     Reality:    You may or may not have a limit, but throwing out a fish in front of

                     another angler strikes the fear of loss in them. THINK..... WIN!!!


     P.S.         Don't throw out a fish until you have 6 in the boat.