The sixth bass tournament of the year for my grandpa and I was held on Reedy Lake in Frostproof, Florida.
The lake is made up of 3,483 acres, which is smaller compared to many of the other lakes in Polk County. However, the fishery is still sizeable and holds some large bass.
My grandpa and I had only fished Reedy Lake a couple times in the past and had little knowledge of the fishery. Therefore, two weeks prior to the tournament, my grandpa and I took a trip to the lake, where we did our best to find a few bass.
We spent most of our time fishing ledges and drop offs out away from the shoreline. While we didn’t catch a bunch of fish, I did catch two big ones. One weighed four pounds, while the other weighed a hefty 7.53 pounds! We had found an area where we thought we could catch a few solid fish.
We returned to Lake Reedy the day before the tournament in attempt to locate a few more likely spots. Unfortunately, the bite was slow again and we managed to land just four fish, the largest of which weighed six pounds.
We’d caught them all in isolated lily pads in five to eight feet of water. With somewhat of a pattern, we hoped we could catch a decent bag the following day.
My grandpa and I began the tournament fishing some shoreline pads that were scattered out in between boat docks. We threw soft-plastic swimbaits, topwater frogs and chatterbaits all around the vegetation and boated two keepers in the first half hour. We both thought we could quickly fill out our limit in that area. However, forty-five minutes passed without us getting another bite.
We decided to crank up and run down the lake to another area full of more scattered pads. We spent about an hour fishing the isolated cover without success before heading offshore to fish a brush pile where I’d caught a giant fish in practice.
I pulled out a black and blue chatterbait and began firing it across the area, allowing the bait to fall down near the structure, then jerking my rod upwards to hop the lure off the bottom. I repeated this process to make the chatterbait appear as an injured or dying baitfish.
We had been fishing the brush pile for a little more than five minutes when I made a cast directly behind the boat. I had worked the lure almost all the way back to me when I let it fall to the lake floor one more time.
The bait touched the bottom, I began turning the reel handle to retrieve it and a fish slammed the lure on the way to the surface. I set the hook and knew immediately it was a big one. The fish swam under the boat and quickly came to the surface. The large bass managed to wrap my line around the shaft of our trolling motor and I thought for a minute I might lose the fish. My grandpa helped me lift the motor and thankfully, I was able to reach out and grab the exhausted fish before it escaped.
The bass weighed every bit of six pounds and was a huge confidence booster for my grandpa and I. We knew we were in the right area to catch big fish. We spent the next two hours fishing that structure with many kinds of lures.
Unfortunately, neither one of us picked up another strike. Around noon, with still only three bass in the live well, we decided to make a run to a row of boat docks on the north end of the lake. We thought this technique was our best chance to finish out our five bass limit.
I rigged up a wacky rigged senko and began skipping it underneath every dock we passed. My grandpa tossed a chatterbait behind me around vegetation in between the docks. The second dock I flipped my worm under, I caught our fourth keeper bass. We went another hour before I finally caught our fifth keeper under a different dock. However, we had a limit, so we decided to head back out to the brush pile, where we knew was our best chance to catch another big fish.
A Crushing Loss
My grandpa and I both picked up a chatterbait and began combing the area once again. We’d been fishing the structure for almost half an hour without a bite. With thirty minutes left to fish, my grandpa made a cast to the side of the brush pile and let his bait fall to the bottom. He began to slowly retrieve the lure.
About halfway back to the boat, his bait got smoked and his rod doubled over with a big fish. The fish pulled extremely hard and my grandpa couldn’t do anything to turn it around. For about five seconds he had it hooked, and then, the bass pulled the hook.
We never seen the fish and didn’t know exactly how large it was. However, the way the bass fought back for the short time it was hooked gave us both the impression that it had to be a giant fish, and our shot at a victory. It was a brutal loss and one we would not be able to overcome. I caught just one more two pounder on the brush pile to give us a small upgrade before we were forced to call it a day and head back to the ramp for weigh in.
It had been an extremely slow day of fishing for my grandpa and I. Despite that, we still ended up weighing in 14.88 pounds of bass and landed a 4th place finish on Reedy Lake. The big fish he lost would’ve likely given us the win. However, losing fish is a part of the game and it happens to all anglers from time to time.
We only caught twelve bass on Reedy Lake between our two practice days and tournament day combined. However, three of those bass were over six pounds. We were certainly catching quality fish over a large quantity of fish.
All of our fish came on one of three baits: a chatterbait, a creature bait, and a senko. Black and blue was our primary color. The water in Reedy Lake is real muddy and has a low visibility, so darker colors tend to excel.
We caught fish along the shoreline around scattered lily pads on a Z-Man Original Chatterbait and a Texas rigged Strike King Rage Craw. A few bass also came fishing underneath docks with a wacky rigged Yum Dinger. However, the largest fish we caught at Reedy Lake were on an offshore brush pile in 13 feet of water.
A ½ ounce Z-Man chatterbait paired with a Strike King Rage Swimmer as a trailer fished hopped off the bottom was the key to every bite we got on that structure. It produced our largest fish on both practice day and tournament day and was the main reason for our high finish in the tournament.
What Didn’t Work
My grandpa and I spent the entire tournament fishing the two best patterns we had found in practice. Overall, the bite was just tough, no matter where we fished. Our biggest mistake was probably not spending more time than we did fishing the brush pile we knew was holding big bass.
There weren’t a ton of fish on that structure, but I believe that if we would’ve spent more time fishing that brush pile, there’s a chance we could’ve finished higher in the tournament. But we learned something new each tournament and will use it to improve.
Back to You
Thanks so much for reading about our latest bass tournament. I hope you can use some of these techniques the next time you’re bass fishing to help you put more fish in the boat.
If you fish in tournaments, feel free to comment down below. Let us know what where you’ve been fishing and what techniques have been working for you!
As always, happy fishing and keep your hooks wet!