The cliché, shall we say, is true. Patience is a virtue. So is perseverance. … in life and in bass fishing.
So it was with TFO ambassador Steve Lund and his partner Steven Boyce earlier this month when they won the Alamo Lake (Ariz.) leg of the Bass Junkyz series. But it was not easy. It took a bit of trial and error to prevail in the one-day affair.
“We started off in the morning and it was a little slow, the water and the air temperature was a little cool,” Lund said. “We caught one 5-pounder in the morning in the river end (of the lake). We missed a couple fish. It was kind of a little slow going. After three hours, we only had one fish, but the bite got better as the day progressed. We decided to go to the dam and try to jig fish, because the shallow bite was getting beat up (with pressure) and everything. We tried that. That didn’t pan out. I thought we were really going to have to slow down with all this fishing pressure. We decided to cycle through our areas and we’d catch one here and one there. The bite just got better as the day went on.”
By the time it was over, the winning team amassed 24 pounds from the five-fish limit. In all, Lund and Boyce, caught 15 fish, several with the GTS Swimbait rod.
Their biggest fish weighed 6.3 pounds, the second biggest of the 88-boat tourney. Boyce caught it on a chatterbait, a lure that complemented the pair’s approach.
“It was the depth,” Lund said. “We were fishing 10 foot or less with little stickups. That was a good bait. You had some bushes and single stickups. It’s a reaction-type bait that you can actually get through that type of cover. And when it hits that cover, it triggers strikes. The water temperature the way it was you could swim a spinner bait and pick up a couple fish. The fish were a little lethargic. They were wanting to come up and feed, but hitting that cover makes them want to commit.”
The other offerings of choice were ratchet baits and square bills. Their strategy focused on simplicity and having a firm grasp of the obvious.
“We didn’t get a lot of pre fishing time for this one, either,” Lund said. “My partner wasn’t able to get out at all. So I went out the day before and got some pre fishing in. I went to a lot of different areas. I went to the river end and tried some of the backwaters and back in the coves. I went to the northern end. Fish were looking to move up in warmer water. Caught a 5-pounder there. I felt like there were four key areas that I was comfortable with that had the type of fish we were looking for in the tournament. So with that, going into the next day, those were the areas we focused on. We really didn’t focus on any new areas. We didn’t have much pre fish time or anything else. We knew where a few big fish were hanging out in and we kept working through those areas.”
Lund and Boyce pocketed nearly $5,500 in prize money for their performance and generated a smidge of momentum on the tournament circuit after the convincing victory.
“It makes you hungrier I guess,” said Lund, 48, who retired from the Marines after 21 years in the service. “Seeing the payouts on the Bass Junkyz, they’re really a great circuit. These last couple of years they’ve put a lot of money and effort into their organization. You can see the results of their hard work that they’ve been putting into it is attracting a lot more boats. They’re bringing a lot of sponsors in like Triton and Nitro to bring extra contingency money in. It’s attracting more boaters and teams and that kind of thing.”
As for the next step on the Bass Junkyz circuit, Lund isn’t quite sure.
“That’s another one where my partner and I are up in the air,” he said. “We have to figure out where we are points wise. I have a wedding I have to go that Saturday (during a Bass Junkyz tournament). It’s not my wedding, but I have to decide do we realistically want to put the time in? Wedding or the tournament? Does my partner fish solo? What are we going to do here?”
A solo angler, Lund noted, is at a significant disadvantage in a two-person event.
“When you have two anglers out there throwing baits, you can fish two different ways and pick up fish,” said Lund, who has qualified for the Arizona Bass Nation team five consecutive years and fished the 2015 Geico Bassmaster Classic. “One guy can fish fast. The other can fish slow. If you get dialed in on a certain bite like we did, then both fish the same way and we got twice as many casts, which increases your odds of picking up more fish than you need.”
Teamwork, obviously, was key for Lund and Boyce. Will they prevail again? Stay tuned for more info on Lund and other TFO anglers on the bass tournament trail.