Going into the second tournament at Lake Shasta was not looking good. We were coming off a 131st place finish at Lake Oroville and the only thing we figured out about fishing for spots was the shaky head. Prior to heading up, Patrick had looked up where the past couple top 10 finishes were on the lake and it all pointed to the McCloud arm. Along with some reassurance from Travis Bounds and Andrew Loberg, we made the decision to start there. We arrived at Lake Shasta at around 6 am and it was a little rainy but it was supposed to clear up around 10 am. We blasted off around 730 am and went straight to the McCloud arm which looked very promising. I started out throwing a shaky head and Patrick was throwing an Alabama rig along with a single swim bait. The shaky head was producing a lot of bites but I couldn’t seem to set the hook on any fish. I finally got linked up with one which ended up being roughly an 8-inch spot. This explained why I was getting short bit so much. I was over that spot and wanted to move. Luckily I heard running water near us so we decided to check it out. It ended up being a beautiful creek running into the mc cloud arm and we decided to give it a little time.Pat picked up a chartreuse spinner bait and I stuck to the good old shaky head. It took about five minutes for Pat to connect with a three-pound spot and that’s all we needed to say let’s start running and gunning creeks. I got on our navigation system and just started jumping from creek to creek. We found an area where three little creeks and one huge creek were emptying out into a big cove. Pat ended up getting a two pounder off the smaller creek right before we headed to the main creek. As soon as Pat landed the fish he said to me “put a damn spinner bait in your hands”. This creek just looked like the real deal. Right at the base of it were big boulders and submerged trees where it slowed the flow of the water and seemed ideal for big bass to ambush prey. We fished the hell out of it and couldn’t believe we didn’t produce a fish. So we started to work our way away from what we thought was the honey hole. Pat swung the bow of the boat away from the main creek and I saw this pocket on the bank with shade on it and decided to make a cast. I threw the spinner bait up onto the bankan reeled it into the water. I gave it about three cranks until it loaded up and I swang. For the first two seconds I thought I snagged a rock until I felt the head shake. I yelled “pat I got a biggin” the whole time while reeling and not gaining an inch of line. At this time the fish came up to the surface not to jump but as if to let us know what we were dealing with. Due to my lack of knowledge and lack of experience I yelled “it’s a stripper”. It should be noted that there are no records of anyone catching a stripper at Lake Shasta nor will there be any because they just aren’t there. At this point the fish made a B line towards a submerged tree but I was able to get her out with a little help from Pat putting our trolling motor in full board reverse. I was fortunate enough to get her up next to the boat and Pat got a net around her. Pat and I went nuts for about five minutes before we realized we’ve got something here. We can take this thing if we get 4 more keepers.
We ran some more creeks to no avail and decided to hit a bridge we saw coming in. It’s now about one in the afternoon and we have to check in at 315. Pat was able to stick another two-pounder off the bridge but that was it. We went in with four fish and the only sign of a pay day for us was that big fish. I headed up the ramp to weigh in and all the other anglers were sure we had the big fish check headed home with us. That is until and angler showed up two guys behind me with a six pounder. We were the second flight out of five and if that guy had a six someone out of the 180 boats left had to have bigger fish than ours I was sure of it. I headed up to the stage with our big fish and she weighed in at 5.4 pounds and our bag totaled at 12.64. we ended up in 62nd place and got the second biggest fish of the tournament which sent us home with a check. To me it was a win. I’m not going to lie, coming off that Oroville tournament I didn’t know if we had what it takes to hang with the competition or if this is what I want to do with my life. After Shasta I know I’m in this for the long run. I know we got what it takes to take it all home we just have to stay positive and take a page out of Travis bounds book. Right before this tournament he told us that were not fishing against the other anglers, were fishing against the fish. That made all the sense in the world to me and helped me throughout this tournament. Well now were gearing up for Clear Lake and I’m jacked about it. All the light line is coming off and were gearing up for BIG LINE, BIG BAITS, AND BIG FISH. Stay tuned we will keep you up to date on our prep for this and we also have some smaller local tournaments to get ready for as well.