Lost Fish Cost Ashmore Spot in Finals
Legend Pro Scott Ashmore had what he called a “frustrating” experience on Bull Shoals last week, where he was in 8th place after day one before slowly falling to 50th due to a weather change and missed opportunities. 50th place isn’t necessarily that bad all by itself. Heck, it still gets paid and provides valuable AOY points, but after sitting in 8th place as the scales closed on day one, the Broken Arrow, OK pro had much higher hopes than 50th. The following is a day-by-day breakdown of Scott’s Bull Shoals experience.
“I actually had a really great practice. I found a couple of excellent spots and had like 22lbs of smallmouth one of the days.” Ashmore says about his practice. He even caught one close to seven pounds in practice and was able to expand the pattern to another location as well, saying “I had two spots I could catch them on, so I had a really hard time deciding which one to start on. I was fishing long points that had really deep water nearby and I was able to get the big smallmouth to react to popping a jig.”
In addition to the jig fish, Ashmore had also identified a bank where he could catch them cranking rocks with a Bomber 7A, but the quality wasn’t the same as the jig fish spots.
Day 1: 5, 17-06
Ashmore decided to start in the smaller of his two spots and the decision immediately paid off, “I had a limit by 7:58, including a 5-2 largemouth and another one close to five.” He caught one of the big ones off a bed, but the other one came in his primary smallmouth spot. He ended up moving through his other locations and culling a few times to get his eventual weight. His bag consisted of two largemouth and three smallmouth, good enough for 8th place at the end of the day.
“Day 1 went great, but I was pretty concerned about the second day since I know how finicky smallmouth can be. I knew that cold front moving in would have some effect, but I didn’t realize how much it would change things.”
Day 2: 5, 10-12
Ashmore’s concern over the weather change turned out to be prophetic, as the cold front scattered his smallmouth until the afternoon and he had only one fish by noon. “I picked up a crankbait at 12:00, and by 12:20 I had a limit in the boat. After that, I went back to check on the smallmouth and they were there, but they were biting different.” The weather had caused them to bite very lightly, and he lost 4 fish that he estimates were between three and four pounds.
“For whatever reason, I just couldn’t keep them buttoned up. I’d get good hook into them, but after about the third or fourth tailwalk, they would just pop off.”
His day two effort pushed him all the way back to 38th place going into day three.
Day 3: 3, 4-09
The second day of the cold front scattered Ashmore’s fish even more, and this time he felt like he was spinning out of control. “I started scrambling around, putting that Yamaha to work while fishing stuff that I had no confidence in. I eventually picked up a couple, then went back to my primary area again in the afternoon and proceeded to lose four more really good smallmouth for the second day in a row. You can’t do that in big tournaments and expect to succeed.”
He thinks he even had another chance at that big one he caught in practice, saying “I caught her right next to this big white rock, so I went back there a couple times in the tournament. One of the last times I was there, I threw my jig up there and she knocked so much slack in the line that I couldn’t get a good hook in it. I fought it to the surface and it popped loose. It was a freaking giant, so I’m pretty sure it was that same fish again.”
“I knew that the smallmouth are a lot more susceptible to Mother Nature” Ashmore mentions, “but this tournament really drove that home for me, and I needed to spend more time in practice developing a plan “B” and “C” so I would have confidence doing something else as the weather changed.”
About the lost fish, he is also a bit frustrated because despite the weather change he still had the bites each day to fish on Sunday. “I know its fishing, but I can’t remember a time when I lost that many big fish in a tournament. I’m just gonna forget this one, move on and get ready for Douglas Lake coming up in a couple weeks.”
Ashmore caught the majority of his fish on an unnamed green jig that he fishes on a Falcon Cara 7’6” rod paired with a Lews Tournament Pro Speed Spool reel and 20lb Seaguar Invisx. The crankbait he used was a Bomber 7A in green craw and he fished it on a Falcon Cara crankbait rod with a 5.4:1 Lews Tournament Pro Speed Spool reel.