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Atc 2011: My Experience

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Yesterday ended a two day fishing bonanza that I had the pleasure of participating in with my buddy Mike. This is our experience.

Day 1 (Corn boil/ meet and greet)

After a long day that seemed to drag on and on we headed to the host hotel around 6pm to meet all of the competitors and hang out and talk fishing. We met some great folks, many of whom have a very extensive knowledge of carp angling and were not afraid to share what they knew. After a couple slices of pizza and a few too many beers we headed back to the house for last minute preparations and to get some sleep. The preparations went down without a hitch but the sleep was hard to come by. Finally managed to doze off around 1am.

Day 2 (first day of fishing)

Alarm went off at 0345, my feet hit the floor running by the second note, lol. We get the truck packed and head to the hotel for peg draw. Mike and I decided to let our fate rest in the hands of my darling wife, so she drew for us. We ended up drawing The Peninsula and off we went. Its didn't take us long to get there and get unloaded so we set up camp while waiting for the start of the tourney at 0600. The time comes and bam we are fishing.

Once the rods were in we went about setting everything else up, organizing and preparing for the long day ahead.

At 0630 one of my alarms starts screaming. After a brief battle the first fish of the 2011 ATC was landed.

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And what a first fish, this one went 31#08oz (A new PB) Funniest moment of the day was when I went to release the fish I stepped down onto a piece of a submerged cement pad and one foot missed. Unfortunately the water was 3 foot deep so I ate it and I got slapped in the face by the carp's tail on the way down. I didn't care though, 30 minutes in and a thirty under our belts.

Didn't take long and Mike landed a pretty 18lb common. (don't have a pic of that one)

By this time, the sun was up proper and it was a beautiful day to be out on the bank doing what I love most. Around 0800 we pulled our first double of the event. These two went 26# and 24#.

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At this point we were in first place and I think Scott's team was the only other one on the boards. But the bite died on us and we didn't post another fish for 6 hours I think. We did manage to hook into a few grass carp, but we don't know weights because they mysteriously came unhooked at the net.

Since the fishing slowed down we decided it was time for lunch. We fired up the pit and made some kick arse fajitas. We figured if we were gonna do it, we were gonna do it right.

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For us the slow fishing continued but for Chad and Jim it was on fire. Sometime around lunch they took over the top spot and they never looked back.

Around 1530 our dry spell ended and once again I shattered my PB. This monster went 35#06oz. It would also stand as big fish of the tourney for 3/4 of it.

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We managed 2 more fish throughout the afternoon and when fishing stopped at 1900 we were in a pretty solid 2nd place.

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Unfortunately Jim and Chad had slayed em throughout the day at Red Bud and they finished the day in first with an amazing 17 fish and 355#s. We had managed 130ish pounds throughout the day and 2nd place standing so we were thrilled with our performance in our first Tourney ever. We packed up and headed home with our heads held high. We were somewhat daunted by the sheer numbers of the first place team and in our heads all we could do at this point was keep on keepin on and try to hold onto our 2nd place spot.

Day 3 (Last day of fishing)

Alarm went off again at 0345 but it took a lot of effort to crawl out of bed. Made it to the 5am peg draw and waited our turn. I drew for us today and I almost needed a new set of drawers when I saw that I drew the hottest peg of day 1, Red Bud. I'm not sure my feet hit the ground on my way outside to let Mike and my wife know, we were on cloud nine and once again full of hope and determined to give the top team a run for their money.

Let me tell ya, Red Bud produces a lot of fish but OMG its a heck of a walk to haul a long sessions worth of gear to.

I can't even begin to describe the fishing we experienced that day. There were some lulls but overall we caught fish constantly most of the day.

We caught our first fish pretty early and it was on from there. By noon we were closing the gap between us and first place. But out of no where the Bates bros did some massive hauling and the battle for second was on in earnest.

Even though the fishing at Red Bud is hot im not sure I ever want to draw that peg again. People these days have no courtesy and I was surprised at how many actually went out of their way to give us grief. My understanding is that on the first day of fishing, there was an incident in which a dog got hooked. After that the park rangers hung a caution tape around the very tip of the peninsula for the protection of the animals and the anglers gear. Evidently people took that as a personal affront. All in all we had the police called on us 3 times and the game warden once. The police took our side both times they actually came out and jumped on a couple of the more unruly protesters. Get this, the last time someone called the police an anonymous caller called 911 and informed the police that we were there distributing alcohol to a bunch of minors. We didn't even have any alcohol that day. The same officer that had been responding all day came down, had a good laugh with us, talked fishing for a bit then left.

Back to the fishing. Around noon our marshal had to go weigh another pegs fish and get some lunch, so he told us to start bagging fish and once we got 2 he would come back. It didnt take long to get two in the sack, but when we tried to call we couldnt get ahold of him. Third fish was landed and we finally got him on the line and he said he was headed our way. 4th fish landed and we were out of sacks, so the two smallest got doubled up. We were in panic mode at this point. Some of the fish had been in sacks over an hour and we were out of room. Fifth fish came and I had to stand in the water with the fish in the weigh sling, praying to God the marshal showed up soon. My heart sank when the sixth fish was on, i just knew we were going to have to let one go or risk damaging them. Luckily the marshal showed up just as the 6th fish was being landed.

After weighing all the fish and a couple quick calculations we realized that we had just moved into the top spot. We were literally dancing around the peg, hootin and hollarin. From that moment until the end of the day I couldn't stop my hands from shaking. I was having major issues trying to get the baiting needle through the loop on the hair rig and everything.

We knew it was far from over so we did everything we could to keep producing. Around 4pm they opened the dam and the bite died hardcore. We were in panic mode, yeah we were on top but one good fish by 2nd or 3rd place could knock us off. We switched up our approach because the current became unfishable. Our perseverance paid off and we managed to pick up a couple more fish. The last couple of hours were absolutely nerve racking. We killed 4 smart phones because we were constantly checking the online leader boards. At 630pm we landed another decent fish and I looked at the standings then looked at Mike and said "Um, Mike, I'm pretty sure we just won the ATC" I can't describe the feeling.

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Mike and I almost didn't fish because of financial difficulties. But we did manage to enter. We set our goal pretty high when we signed up. Our only goal was "not to embarrass ourselves" and well I suppose we didn't. I can honestly say that if our peg draws had been different this trophy wouldn't be sitting in my living room. But we did our fair share of work and we had to bust our butts for the win. I can't describe how happy and excited I am. This event was a blast, i look forward to trying again next year. Unfortunately Mike and I may not be fishing together to defend our title, I think next year my loving wife will be sharing the bank with me!

Oh and for those who were wondering the 2011 ATC was won using only chili maize and tutti fruity maize! See y'all next year!

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Well done and congrats!

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It was an awesome experience. Thanks to K-1 baits for the love y'all put into yalls baits. Day one we used K-1 tutti frutti boilies to catch most of our fish. Day two we tried the same approach but the fish didn't want the boilies so we went to our back up,

K-1 tutti frutti maize with a little chili powder love and we killed em. If y'all want to know the method mix its going to cost ya. I will say this there was a lot of K-1 love in it. Thank you to everyone behind the scenes of this event. Can't wait till next year.

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Anyone ever told Mike he looks like Bill Murrey :D

Yes :lol:

Big congrats you guys! It's been an amazing few months since you starting carping in earnest. These guys have got the mojo going big time.

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Wow! Congratulations on your win and thanks for the excellent write up.

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Great write up Thanks for Sharing

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Well done guys - a big pat on the back for you both B) See you on the bank :D

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You guys rocked to a nail biting finish!! Many thanks for sharing your experiences during the event.

I have to say it was a great spectator event for those who were unable to make it, following the event with the online keepsack.

Congrats again Champs, enjoy the victory :yourock:

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Great story and great pics. You guys sure proved me wrong on the odds and I'm very happy for your win. I hope to get to fish with you guys again next year and I promise your odds will be slighty better ;)

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