This year we were lucky enough to represent Garmin as the team that fishes in the Kansas City Corporate Challenge fishing tournament. My partner was a buddy from Garmin named Matt DeMoss. The fish off to see who represented Garmin was the weekend before the tournament. The fish off and the actual corporate challenge tournament were held at Smithville lake just north of Kansas City. I have fished Smithville a couple times, but do not know the lake well. We were able to locate 10 brushpiles in various depths and found fish on all of them, but a couple were loaded. Matt is a bass fisherman to the core, so he likes to cast jigs. I really enjoy long poling and dipping minnows for crappie, so the brush piles were right up my alley.
During the fish off the week before the tournament, some fish were still on the banks spawning. It turned out that the majority of these fish were smaller males and the big females were on the brush piles. I had the boat positioned that Matt was able to cast to the banks and I was dipping in the brushpiles. We dominated the fish off easily turning in our 30 fish limit.
Matt and I decided to take a half day the day before the actual challenge so we could pre-fish one more time so we had some go-to spots. It was one of the most depressing days of fishing I have had for a long time. The forecast showed 20-30mph South winds with gusts to 39mph on Saturday morning. We decided to fish the south end of the lake so we could stay out of the wind the next day. We found several excellent brush piles, but only caught one keeper the whole day. Leaving the lake that day, I was depressed not knowing where to start the day of the tournament.
Saturday morning the blast off was at 6:30AM and weigh in was 1PM. I drove over the “W” bridge on the north end of the lake around 6AM and noticed that the wind had not picked up yet. I told Matt that we had to brave the wind and try our spots that had produced the week before. After the horn sounded, we got to our first spot, which had been the honey hole from the week before. In the first hour we loaded 12 good keepers in the boat. This was the positive note we needed. The wind picked up quickly and we had to seek shelter in the coves, because the 2-3 foot whitecaps were too much. We were able to located some other brushpiles in the coves which gave up several fish over the next few hours.
We finished the day with 28 crappie – 2 short of a two man limit. It was a grind in the wind and the waves, but we pulled off the win for Garmin. Our total weight was 14lbs with the closest competitor with 12 fish at 6.5lbs. It was a dominate performance, and I didn’t take off the gold medal all day.