Montgomery finding the fishing tough for Elite Series tournament on St. Johns River
After a satisfying finish in the first BASS Elite Series tournament of the year a week ago on Florida's Harris Chain of Lakes, Andy Montgomery admits he has had an extremely frustrating practice for the second Elite tournament of the year on the St. Johns River.
“I am seeing a lot of fry which tells me a lot of the fish have already spawned and all I am seeing is buck bass on the beds,” said the Blacksburg, S.C., pro who moved to the Bassmaster Elite Series this year after a very successful career on the FLW Tour.
Montgomery finished 31st last week in the Bassmaster Elite Series Sunshine Showdown on the Harris Chain, weighing in a three-day total of 33 pounds, 1 ounce, to win $10,000, an outcome he said he was very pleased with for his first Elite Series tournament ever.
But, trying to find fish for this week's Bassmaster Elite Citrus Slam on the St. John's River has proven to be very perplexing, he said after two days of practice.
“It's really tough” he said. “I have not fished here before, so I have no experience on this place. I pretty much figured this would be a sight fishing tournament, but now all I am seeing is a bunch of buck bass on the beds, not many big females. And the females I have seen were not catchable.”.
Montgomery said he spent half a day Tuesday looking for bedding fish and the other half “just fishing around and trying to catch a fish.”
“I tried a little bit of everything – a Chatterbaits, a spinnerbait, a Speed Worm, a Horney Toad. You name it, I tried it, but I only got a few bites.”
After spending his first two days of practice in Lake George and the smaller Rodman Lake with little success, Montgomery said he will spend the last official day of practice Wednesday in the St. John's River itself.
“I've not fished the river ever, so I am going into it cold,” he said.
Although frustrated, Montgomery has been in this spot before and somehow managed to find success once the tournament started.
“It can turn around if the females move up. We have a full moon coming, I'm not sure which night, but that could make the females move up,” he said. “If the big females don't move up, however, it could be a low weight tournament. It's just a guess, but 10 to 12 pounds a day could be good if the females don't move up.”
Montgomery operates the Rack & Reel Outfitters with fellow tournament angler Matt Arey of Shelby, N.C., who finished fifth last week in the first FLW Tour Major of the year on Beaver Lake in Arkansas. Sponsored by Ranger Boats, Zoom Baits and Evinrude Outboards, Montgomery guides on both Lakes Wylie and Norman. To book a fishing trip, call him at (704) 692-6642 or call (704) 484-7715. Check out the guide service website at: www.rackandreeloutfitters.com.
Bassmaster Elite Citrus Slam
March 17-20, 2011
St Johns River
Palatka City Docks