As the latter two options were unanimously voted down by the teams as they discussed the options from their boats in a cove near the Rock Creek Corps Ramp, the final option was to reschedule for a later date.
“I’m glad we didn’t do it,” Washburn angler Ryan Anderson said of the any-species fishoff.
“I’m glad, too, because I mean, we ran up to Slough Creek in the back of it and found 63-degree water and we found carp everywhere, so it would’ve been easy to snag one,” teammate Thomas Heinen added. “It would’ve made no sense. This is a bass tournament, so I think we should’ve kept it as a bass event. Same as drawing a number, I don’t think that would’ve been the right way either. Because people spend money to come out here with gas and hauling boats, I think it should be earned.”
The anglers trailered their boats and held a meeting to decide the details, eventually voting to fish from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. the following Sunday at Wilson Reservoir for the title, the location perhaps a bit to the chagrin of the Washburn team.
“I think Thomas knows it pretty well, so I think that’s a pretty good thing for us,” said Anderson, who had never fished the lake before. “At least he knows it. I trust him, he knows his stuff.”
The decision was between Wilson and Melvern, which both have been hot bass destinations in recent weeks, but the majority of the Kansas State team, and by extension the tournament field, preferred Wilson, which is located to the west of Salina, over Melvern, which is a straight shot south of Topeka on US-75 highway.
“Wilson will be fun, but I think the boat situation is going to be difficult,” Heinen said of getting their boat to the lake. “I mean, it’s on fire right now apparently, as well as Melvern. The only problem with Melvern is there’s another big tournament going on. Wilson should be fun, I just hope we can find our way there. Three-hour drive.”
The teams also agreed to no pre-fishing ahead of the tournament, as the K-State fishing team will be hosting its Big Bass Bash on Saturday — the day before the Wilson tournament — at Perry.
“Since we’re not going to be able to pre-fish, that will be a little struggle,” Heinen said. “I can fish similar spots that I’ve fished in the past and hope for the best. I mean, Ryan and I, we know finesse fairly well, so I think we can go out and catch some smallmouth. If not, some largemouth.”
Along with the weather issues, several teams also had boat issues. Heinen and Anderson had trolling motor issues to deal with, while a Kansas State team had to use their trolling motor to get up the ramp to their trailer because their engine wouldn’t start. Between the two teams, they had one working boat.
“We were fishing this cove, and all of a sudden our trolling motor stops, so we had to scramble to find what was wrong and we found a cut in the cord,” Heinen said. “But it wasn’t the cord, it was something with the battery or something in the back. We tapped on it and it worked, but we lost an hour of fishing today.”
Note: The flooding was so bad in Perry State Park that access to the Rock Creek boat ramp was closed from the west, meaning boaters and onlookers had to go through Thompsonville from the east to get to the ramp.