Watching her hit that net was a relief you can’t imagine…

The classic for 2014 TNT season was held on Saturday, September 6th, out of the historic Whitey’s fish camp here in Clay County Florida. It was a great day of fishing for the most part. Weather was overcast, slight sprinkle, and not too hot. After blasting at about 6:45 am with a 3 pm weigh in, we made about a 20 minute run to Black Creek. Didn’t hurt that I was boat number 9 out, because of a 9th place finish in the season points chase.

As we pulled up to our first spot I started tossing a zoom horny toad around some pads with little to no action, minus what has to be the smallest blow up I’ve ever seen, and getting trailer by a monster mudfish. So I put the frog away and went to my number 1 bait. A trick worm, on a 1/0 trapper, weightless.

Starting tossing a laydown that normally holds fish. It was vacant, except for one short, and as I circled around the backside of it, once again another dink. Not exactly the start I was wanting. So, I made a move across the creek to a small feeder. First cast there, first keeper of the day. Small 1.5 pound fish, but it broke the ice.

From there I managed another small keeper, about 1 pound and moved again. After a couple more shorts and one keeper I let go because the fish looked ill, another move. This was finally one of the correct ones. As we starting working a long stretch with several small feeders, we came to my favorite one. A few casts around the front and nothing. So, I desided to start casting inside a bit. That was the ticket.

Justin Ball, Pro-StaffAs I was letting my worm naturally fall, I felt this tiny tap. I lifted my rod tip and felt a slight resistance. Then with the hammer of Thor, I made the thunder crack. Water instantly boiled and rod doubled. This fish stayed down and ran right at me. Going under the boat, circling the boat, wrapping up in trolling motor shaft, then finally showing herself. Our eyes were the size of saucers. I had just given this fish every chance of escape possible. But the trapper held. Watching her hit that net was a relief you can’t imagine.

At this point we got 3 for about 8 pounds and need 2 more fish. It didn’t take too long to find those two and give us about 10 pounds, but we needed to upgrade.

Pulled to one of my favorite pad fields and it began. We culled out 3 smaller fish for a few a bit better. Then the bite just shut down.

We headed back to the weigh in location and played around with no action and at 2:55 hit the dock.

Total weight 13.38 pounds, with a 5.50 kicker. Good enough for a 4th place finish and a $300 check. Good finish to a rather inconsistent season.

*This Post is by Justin Ball, Tournament Angler, Pro-Staff*

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