By Jerry McBride
Patience can be a tough virtue to practice when the clock is ticking in a fishing tournament at the national level.
Two factors made it easy for Tyson Peterson to never move off a deep ledge the final day of competition at the Hobie Bass Open qualifier out of Kentucky Dam Village. One, he knew the fish were down there. Lots of them, and they were big. They'd put him in second place, 1.75 inches off the lead, after the Day 1. The fish ate whenever persistent winds took a break. Secondly, patience is a lot easier to come by when you're sitting on a significant lead. No need to radically change tactics or desperately search out a new venue. Peterson simply continued to dredge the same lizard on the same half-ounce football jighead, fishing next to eventual 3rd-place finisher and fellow Kentuckian Jay Wallen from start to finish.
Calm conditions early the second morning all but ended what had been a suspenseful competition. By the time Hobie's Morgan Promnitz and his iAngler staff turned their computers on around 7:30 a.m. Sunday morning, Tyson had already caught, photographed and released a 3-fish limit of 59.5 inches of Kentucky Lake largemouth, more than enough to overcome his deficit after the first day. From then until quitting time, it was simply a matter of culling catches and killing time, trying to eke out another inch or two in case previous two-time winner and eventual runner-up Tom Michael staged a dramatic run. When a competitor is throwing back numerous 18.5-inch bass without bothering to submit them, it's a good day. Peterson found a couple more inches among his 21-fish day, posting an incredible 61.5 inches on Sunday to finish with a comfortable advantage of 6.75 inches over Michael.
The Hobie Bass Open in Kentucky was the second in a series of four qualifying events being held in the U.S. and one in Canada that give anglers the opportunity to qualify for five coveted spots on the North American team that will compete on Shang Lake in Changshu, China November 9-16. Tyson will join 2014 Hobie Fishing World Champion Steve Lessard, and 2014 IFA Champion Benton Parrott, in representing Team USA at the fifth annual Hobie Fishing World Championship (HFW5). For more about the Hobie Worlds, go to hobiefishingworlds.com
Launching and fishing on both Kentucky and Barkley lakes, the 73 adult and five junior competitors were scattered sparsely over hundreds of thousands of acres of water, often nestling up to steep banks and inside the numerous coves and cuts to escape strong winds and rain. Despite the often sloppy conditions, anglers checked in over 420 bass during the 2-day event. Big-fish honors went to first-day leader Terry Elkins for his 22-inch bass. Strangest phenomenon of the tournament? Hordes of channel catfish challenging bass for lures. Outdoor writer Jimmy Jacobs landed seven channels up to 24 inches on a topwater Rapala on Sunday alone.
For complete tournament results, visit the Hobie Open Leaderboard