Bass East Post-Tournament Fishing Log for “Women’s Bassmaster Tour” on ”Neely Henry Lake”
Tournament Trail: Bassmaster WBT Lake: Neely Henry Lake: Gadsden, Alabama
Dates: March 26-28th 2009
Angler: Bridget K. Allen, Philadelphia, PA and Christiana Bradley, Bealeton, VA Bridget K. Allen
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Competing on the WBT as a Boater for her second year, retired PA Police Officer Bridget Allen is one serious lady when it comes to competing on the WBT. “Everyday on the water is a learning experience. I felt I really did my preparation for this event, after my practice days my confidence was flying high!”
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Geico Insurance sponsored Angler Christie Bradley, pulled out a flood-water policy adding a little extra insurance to her established patterns for Neely Henry. “I concentrated on establishing a shallow water pattern at the beginning of practice, and then factored in the forecasted changes by turning to my ‘River-Rat’ strength…fishing strong current up river!”
Q. Do you feel your practice and preparation for this event went as planned?
A. Bridget Allen: “No question about it! I had a really good practice and focused on shallow water depths by slow rolling a big bladed spinnerbait. In addition I felt I had established a strong reaction bite pattern. I duplicated this pattern in several other areas and it held up.”
A. Christie Bradley: “Absolutely without a doubt! I began my practice days as per my game plan working shallow water patterns, and was extremely successful. With rains predicted the water level slightly above normal and the Neely Henry Lake Authorities deciding to pull water, thus dropping the water level 4’, I ran my back-up pattern and this proved to be even stronger!”
Q. Playing the “Monday Morning Quarterback”, what changes if any would you
make after having reviewed your tournament finish?
A. Bridget Allen: “This is an excellent question and I keep asking myself why I didn’t make these changes on the water! I placed 54th and that doesn’t sound very good, and it isn’t! However, considering the weather conditions coupled with the pulling of water I honestly felt at the time the overcast and moving water would increase my reaction bite? I really needed a one-two combination and that is what I lacked…I should have moved to deeper water and slowed my presentation down by turning to either a Carolina Rig or Finesse Worm. Another bait that would have satisfied my erg to power fish would have been utilizing a crankbait! Not only would it have helped be located isolated cover and structure breaks I would have been able to fish it extremely slow, yet cover more water.”
A. Christie Bradley: “I know most people who read this will think I’m insane, however I would change ‘Nothing’ relating to my fishing patterns or the location of the areas where I fished! My situation was an equipment failure, not an execution failure. Unfortunately, in my case it was what I need the most to be successful…My trolling motor batteries didn’t hold up to constant usage while controlling my boat in the strong up river current.”
Q. You originally predicted covering water with reaction type baits would be the prevalent pattern, and that most bass would be caught on spinnerbaits or lipless crankbaits, most likely in shallow water. Was this true and which style, running depth and colors were most productive?
A. Bridget Allen: “I managed to entice bites with these baits until the sun came out later in the day, but after that for the most part my shallow water pattern frizzled out! From what I can gather, most of the ladies that did well utilized slower non-aggressive presentations?”
Christie Bradley: “I really can’t speak for the other competitors, but for me shallow and medium diving crankbaits, along with a ‘Red-Eye’ lipless crankbait played a major role in my shallow water patterns. I utilized a Hot-Shot-Lures ¼ oz Shakey Head with a larger trickworm in black due to the off colored water.”
Q. Your forecast of over 12-15 lbs a day as well as your prediction of needing 40-45 lbs to win was quite accurate, as Pam Martin Wells was crowned the Champion with over 38 lbs.! What’s your thoughts on this, was it the Weather conditions or the pulling of water that may have played a major role in the results at the scales?
A. Bridget Allen: “I defiantly feel the dropping of the water level by at least 5 feet, made all the difference, since my areas were then out of the water. The pulling of water also produced extremely strong current throughout the entire Neely Henry lake system.”
Christie Bradley: “I don’t think the weather played a role in the event, we ladies have competed in much worst conditions. The changing water levels may have effected some of the ladies, however in my case neither were a factor in my situation.”
Q. What final notes will you make in your ‘Fishing Log’ under Neely Henry, February 2009 in preparation for the next time you compete there?
A. Bridget Allen: “Focus on making adjustments to what the bass are relating to not what I want them to do! Slow down as needed, turn to finesse baits and have a Carolina Rig ready. I will apply and adjust to the changing conditions!”
Christie Bradley: Not to hesitate to work extremely shallow water in February! The main lake water temperature was 45-47 degrees, while the water temperature in the bays just off the main lake reached 51-52 degrees later in the day. Two key terms sum it up: Extremely Shallow (6 inches) and Warmer water.”
Q. What’s next on the Bass Fishing agenda for Bridget Allen and Christie Bradley?
A. These Ladies will be hauling their Triton Bass Boats down to Louisiana’s Quachita River for the second event of the Women’s Bassmasters WBT Tour. Which starts April 23-25th out of West Monroe, LA.
Bridget Allen: “I have never fished there before, so exploring the Quachita River, will indeed be an experience. I understand from my research that it is very similar to the Red River? I am excited and adventurous about the WBT heading to Louisiana.”
Christie Allen: “I am so looking forward to this tournament! I learned an important lesson at Neely Henry pertaining to my equipment and not taking anything for granite. I have replaced my batteries, re-checked my equipment, and I’m ready to get back on the water, especially since this is a river system and that is the type of water I cut my angling teeth on!!!”