In my opinion Lake Havasu is the BEST WORST FISHERY in the WEST! When you go to Lake Havasu at the right time, usually not for a tournament, it can be an incredible place to fish, but when you go there at the wrong time, it can make you feel like you don’t even know how to fish. In this MLF Big5 Lake Havasu event, the bite was really tough, but I did manage to find some of the right quality fish that put me in position to have a great event.
This Lake Havasu event was made possible by the support of GCI Outdoor (Discount Code MLF15), 6th Sense Fishing (Discount Code Luna10), Waterland Fishing Optics (Discount Code Luna15), and DoIt Molds (Use this affiliate link https://store.do-itmolds.com/?AffId=5). Without the support of those companies, I wouldn't have been at any of these events this year, so please support them and buy their products!
I had 5 days of practice for this event, so I had plenty of time to figure things out. Most of the time, I give myself 4 days of practice, but with the way things worked out, I was able to get one additional day on the water. I fished from as far south as the Bill Williams, and all the way up into the river. Pretty much everywhere was a grind. I caught fish in most of the areas I fished in practice, except the river. The river bite was the toughest for me, so I pretty much wrote off the river because I didn't have anything to go to in there.
As practice went on, I began to narrow my fishing areas down, and was fishing essentially the middle part of the lake. I found a jig bite, a crankbait bite, and had one chatterbait fish in practice that ended up being a huge factor in the event for me. Most of these patterns and areas were found on the 4th day of practice. The final day of practice I tried to expand things and find areas with fish.
Going into the tournament, I was cautiously optimistic. I thought there was a chance I could catch some fish, but also knew there was a possibility that I wasn’t going to catch them. I knew I had a potential for a decent bag, but also knew the fishing was going to be tough. I wanted to take advantage of the low light and throw reaction baits first thing in the morning, and I was counting on a crankbait to be a player based on how things went in practice.
I ran to my first spot and started off throwing a chatterbait. One of my best fish in practice was caught on this spot on a chatterbait, but it was at almost 6 o'clock at night, so I was somewhat rolling the dice here. Thankfully, I was able to get a good bite pretty quick and caught a solid largemouth on the chatterbait.
After I left that area, I decided to go run my crankbait pattern, but that didn’t come together for me. I knew after not getting a crankbait bite, the day was going to be pretty tough. I ran some of my jig water and caught a solid smallmouth. I decided to run back to the same spot that I started at before the morning was over. That ended up being a good decision and I got another good largemouth.
At this point I had 3 fish in the box and a lot of day left, so I was feeling pretty optimistic, but could feel the bite getting tougher as the day was wearing on. I managed one more good smallmouth around 11 am, and that was it for the rest of the day. I weighed in my four fish and had over 12lbs which put me in 16th place after day 1.
Going into day 2 I knew I needed things to go right for me to have a good day. I knew I needed at least one more fish from my starting spot, and needed to grind out more jig fish. My reaction bite wasn't very good so I knew I couldn’t do that for too long. I ran to my first area and couldn’t get a bass. There were some redear in the area and I caught one, but nothing else. The reaction bite just wasn’t feeling right, so I decided to start throwing the jig, and wobble head.
I began running my jig water, and was able to catch 2 fish by 8:30 - 9:00 o'clock. I had one on a football head jig and one on a wobble head paired with a 6th Sense Stroker Craw. I knew I needed to catch at least 2 more decent fish, and I had a real shot at making the top 10. I kept fishing the jig and wobble head until around 11:00. I had some short bites, but couldn't get the fish to commit all the way. The pressure the lake had felt was really starting to take its toll.
Around 11:00, I decided I needed to change things up, and rigged up some finesse baits, but nothing was working. I didn’t catch another fish the rest of the day. I ended up weighing in 6 lbs, and dropped to 27th place.
What went wrong
I didn't have enough areas with fish. I really needed 3-4 more spots or areas, that I felt confident I could get bit. If I would have had that, I would have been able to make the top 10.
I was on the right quality of fish to make a top 10, but wasn’t able to get enough bites to get there. I weighed a total of 6 fish and had over 18lbs. I had over a 3lb average per fish. That’s the size fish you need to make top 10s at Lake Havasu, but you’ve got to have 5 a day.
What would I do different
I wouldn't have practiced any differently. I did what I needed to do in order to find the right size fish. Most of what I would do differently was during the tournament. I wanted to stay open minded in the event because practice was so tough. I knew I needed to “fish the moment” as Iaconelli would say, and this enabled me to catch those 2 chatterbait fish on day 1. I didn’t plan to make a second stop on that spot, but after catching a good one I knew giving it a rest and going back was a good idea.
Most of the changes would have been to fish more spots in a day. I kept wanting to do that, but I still fished too slow. I kept having an internal struggle with myself wanting to fish thoroughly, but also wanting to fish more spots, and these two things don’t always work together.
Generally, from practice and into the event, if I got bit, I got bit right away on a new spot. In only 1 spot that I fished slowly though, did I catch an extra fish. I think if I would have kept fishing more quickly and was able to hit more spots, I may have come across a spot with more active fish, and been able to get a few more fish in the boat. This would have made a huge difference in the tournament.
Overall I feel satisfied with the fact that I really gave myself a chance at having a great event, and that I found the right quality of fish. I’m obviously bummed that I didn't make a top 10 or cash a check, but I learned a ton about Lake Havasu, and I’ll be back out there in the future.
Head over to my YouTube channel to see each day unfold on video! A special thank you to GCI Outdoor, 6th Sense Fishing, Waterland Fishing Optics, and DoIt Molds for sponsoring all my MLF Toyota Series events this year.
Tackle Used in the event:
Do-It Molds Football Swing Jig - 6th Sense Jungle Craw Skirt
Do-It Molds Football Jig w/ Holder - double tail grub trailer
Do-It Molds available here: https://store.do-itmolds.com/?AffId=5
Line - Seaguar InvizX 12lb and 15lb test
Swing Head Football Jig