Capt. Ethan Hamrick
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Outcasts Tournament: Lake Lawton June 2021

The first weekend of June, my grandpa and I competed in our bass club’s year end, two-day classic tournament. The event was held on Lake Lawton, a large 14,000 marsh located in Palm Bay, Florida. It is a relatively new fishery, opened to the public just a few years ago. Not many of the club members had fished the lake, including my grandpa and I, so it was new to most of us.


My grandpa and I spent the entire day before the tournament scouting out the unfamiliar body of water. The lake is very shallow and has a lot of submerged trees and bushes, making it difficult to navigate in some places. Not to mention, in practice, the fishing was terrible for my grandpa and I. We caught three small bass all day and had absolutely no game plan going into competition.

Tournament Day 1

On the first morning of the tournament, we basically started from scratch. We began the day in an area we hadn’t fished the day before but had a lot of really nice cover around it. The two of us fished flooded bushes and pads with an assortment of baits.

The fishing was once again very slow for the first two hours of day one. We finally started catching a few small fish on speed worms and filled our limit. But we knew we needed a lot better than what we had in order to contend.

As we were getting ready to make a move, I did catch a three pounder to give us solid upgrade. However we relocated soon thereafter to the other end of the lake in search of some large fish.

My grandpa and I got back into a small isolated pond, away from the main lake. The shoreline was covered with lily pads, thick hydrilla and reeds. I began flipping the dense cover with a creature bait and caught three decent keepers within the first twenty minutes. We were highly encouraged to see three good bites come so quickly.

My grandpa and I spent the remainder of day one in this area and ended up catching around twenty fish. We never caught any giants, but we ungraded our bag several more times. We ended the first day of the tournament tied for first place with 12.2 pounds of bass.

Tournament Day 2

The next morning was the final day of competition. My grandpa and I began day two in the same backwater pond we’d found the day before. The bite started out slow and we only landed one keeper bass in thee first hour. However, as we made our way further towards the back of the pond, we began catching quite a few fish. I used a prop bait to catch 5 bass in less than 5 minutes in a single area with some scattered Kissimmee grass.

With a limit in the boat we continued to slowly work our way around the pond. We caught several more fish throughout the next few hours and slowly upgraded our weight total. As morning turned to afternoon, the bite slowed once again. We knew we needed at least one more big fish in order to have a chance to win the tournament.

We’d made our way around the entire area we been fishing all morning long, so we decided to relocate. My grandpa and I rode to a couple of canals not far away but were unsuccessful. We tried one last spot close to the boat ramp as time was winding down, but never had another bite. We were forced to call it a day with what we had.

My grandpa and I weighed in 10.1 pound of bass but had a dead fish penalty that cost us half a pound and 3rd place. We ended up finishing 4th in the tournament. Although it was disappointing dropping out of first, we simply never had any big bites to put us over the top on day two.

What Worked

We caught fish on three main baits during this tournament. A speed worm and topwater prop bait put quite a few fish in the boat, however it was a Texas rigged creature bait that was the key to our success. We used a craw style bait to flip thick vegetation to catch the majority of our fish throughout the tournament. This was especially true in the heat of the day. It was hot and bright and those fish were using that cover as shade and protection.

What Didn’t Work

We didn’t find enough fish in practice to have a backup plan if our first area didn’t produce. We caught most of the better fish out of that area on the first day and unfortunately, it didn’t replenish with enough quality fish for us on day two. I wish we could’ve found more areas with fish in practice, but being unfamiliar with the large body of water made it difficult.

Back to You

Thank you for reading about our latest bass tournament recap. Although its been somewhat of a challenging season for my grandpa and I, we still learn something every time we compete. I look forward to what the rest of the year holds and will have more recaps to come.


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