3:15am strikes on the morning of April 16th resulting in the “Autobots” as my teammate called us, to roll out of the Circle K in Thornville and head 2 hours Northeast to Tappan Lake. The trio of rigs virtually made up of all underclassmen Buckeye Anglers consisted of myself in the F150, my partner Jay Gramlich, and the wrapped Triton. Rig 2 had teammates Mason Dejarnette and Jacob Jesionek hauling Masons’ Champion. And on the end was clear water guru, Jacob Miller, with his partner Jaycen Newsome. Also in the F250-Ranger combo was Ben Wiley to help run the tournament and Jacobs’ fiancée, Hanna Burton.
Once we arrived to the ramp around 5:15am, it was go time. Hyped up by pregame music, we put everything up and registered the contestants for Ohio State Bass Fishing’s 2nd annual open on Tappan Lake. After a morning of ramp talk with familiar faces, the National Anthem played and seniors Sid Hoover and Kain Fadeley sent the crowd off.
Now for the details on my tournament… Being the 4th to last boat to launch, I headed up lake to where I had landed solid fish during prefish. After the long idle, we pulled into our first cut. A small cut off the main lake with a small feeder creek in the back. The clear skies over night pushed the water down to 49°. It wasn’t happening in there. We idled as far up lake as possible after that. We caught our first two keepers in the very middle of the lake on the river channel. We threw Strike King 1.5’s on the 1′ to 4′ drop off and boated the first two 15″ keepers. After the cranking bite died off, we ran for the cattails in the back. I flipped a Venom Lures Dream Crawl in Junebug, pegged a 3/8oz tungsten and 4/0 Gamakatsu to my 20lb fluorocarbon, and flipped the vegetation line with my 7’6″ H 13 Fishing Envy. I was able to pick up one 14″ keeper back there. Once 10:30 rolled around, we idled to my next cut where I had found 60° water the day before, and where I conveniently found a big female prefishing. I stuck another keeper and a few shorts flipping the rocks and brush, just couldn’t find that kicker. As the slow day pursued, 2:45 rolled around. We ran new water looking for our 5th fish. Fortunately enough, Jay hooked a 12″ green fish flipping the edge of a dock and put him in the Triton live well.
3:20 showed up on my Humminbird 999 as we tied up at the ramp. Our 8 hour grind landed us with an Ohio special, a five fish limit rocking the scales at 7.77 pounds. That’s way too lucky of a number for us not to get 6th place and some cash in our pockets, am I right? 14 pounds and some change won the tournament, and to prove how tough the tournament was, 50 or more teams didn’t weigh in a fish.
Overall, it was a great turnout! Thank you to everyone who competed! Next stop is the FLW Northern Qualifier on Smith Mountain Lake this Saturday. Keep up to date by the hour with me on my Facebook page, Kyle Waller Fishing. Thanks for reading!