Dale Hollow, the lake brings up dreams of monster smallies and gin clear water unfortunately when I showed up to pre fish the Bluegrass Kayakers Dale Hollow Lake event it had risen 7 ft. The heavily stained water made for a slow pre fishing, making the trip with my buddy Bert it’s always nice to have a travel partner.
This event holding a special meaning for me, Dale Hollow being the first Bluegrass Kayakers event after the KBF National Championship and wanting to put a stamp on my first tourney after NC. My focus on this event was laser focused, absorbing anything and everything that even remotely had anything to do with fish in the lake. Learning that the largemouth bass have been producing some large ones and thinking this may be a edge.
Scouting out areas that hold some largemouth figuring out a solid pattern and finding 3 spots that holds good solid chunkers. So now I have my A,B, and C spots setting up my confidence. Running into Daryl and Daryl (yes this was their names) we chat about Dale Hollow and fishing stealthy. They bring up how they are fishing a main lake flat 5 miles out using a smoke colored tubes and gave me a pack of them. Some people find tournament fishing stressful for me I find it relaxing, being able to just focus on one thing and one thing only, catching fish.
Getting to the captains meeting picking up our identifiers and they warn us about some motor boat tournaments going on at the same time. And we are off, after hauling butt to get to my spot A which was almost 2 miles form the launch I notice a bass boat wrapped in blue haul ass out of my cove, no big deal just one boat than a second ones come out and little did I know a third was hiding in the back. They pick the place clean of large bass and i had to go into ultra finesse mode working every tree and bush to pull three fish limit but nothing bigger than 17 inches.
With plan C failing to produce large fish I decide to go free form and just scout some small flats and look for smallies finding a small flat with some boulders on it and the marks off those boulders took my breath away. For some reason i decided to throw the smoke colored tubes that Daryl and Daryl gave me, not sure why I normally would never throw a whitish tube. After a few casts I find that the smallies are waiting for me to rip the tube up and let it drop. The smallest was 18 inches and they were hungry and in roughly two hours put 30 plus fish on the boat and catching my personal best smallie at 20 inches.
The one that got away. Their was one that I almost could not get off the bottom and when I did it managed to wrap my line around my rutter. She commenced to jumping out of the water repeatedly still hooked and my line still wrapped around my rutter the dam fish was way bigger than my 20 incher. That dam fish jumped into my kayak! Without hesitating I jump on the fish trying to wrestle it, she was incredibly strong and pushed past me and got away. That fish was a fish of a lifetime but I am so glad I got to feel its strength and to see her.
staying and missing check in because the fishing was just that good. But my better judgement took over and I am glad I did. Bert broke the top ten a goal he set for himself and when you look at the top ten list it’s very impressive list of names. Huge thanks to Bluegrass Kayakers, Dairyqueen for hosting us and my sponsors Strictly sail and Hobie Kayaks.