The duo had a pretty good idea of what they were going to do heading into the tournament after catching some nice fish during pre-fishing, but Mother Nature reared her ugly head the night before.
“We had a major cold front come in that night and I think it was 25 degrees that morning and it was freezing,” Still said. “I think those fish just weren’t as active as they were a couple days before the tournament. Well, let me put it this way, we were fishing too fast and they weren’t active enough to bite the stuff we were throwing.”
Despite the bass being lethargic most of the day, the first 10-15 minutes were action-packed, as Brees landed his football of a smallmouth just after launch.
“He bit in the morning about 15 minutes after launch and that was all we got for the rest of the day,” Brees said. “We tried everything we had and kept grinding but couldn’t get another in the boat. My one fish in the morning weighed in at 3.66 and was the big fish of the day, which was cool.”
“After him catching that right away, we thought the fish were gonna be munching, but that wasn’t the case,” Still added. “So we pull up to weigh in, and that one fish we weighed in managed to get us second, and we were not mad about that!”
Brees agreed with Still’s assessment that they were fishing too fast, based on what other anglers told them after the weigh-in.
“One thing I wish we would’ve done was fish really, really slow,” Brees said. “The guys that won it said that if you thought you were fishing slow, then you weren’t fishing slow enough. We had a lot of fun, though, and we’ve still got a couple more left before the end of our bass season.”
The T-Bird anglers were joined on the boat by fellow Topeka angler Thomas Heinen, who served as the boat captain. Heinen is a recent Hayden graduate who is fishing collegiately at Washburn after a successful high school career.
“So the day goes on and on, and we throw everything we’ve got at these fish and nothing. Meanwhile, while we’re chucking baits at the bank, my boater Thomas Heinen is back there dying to grab a pole,” Still said, laughing. “Never seen a kid wanna fish so much!”
Heinen, who won last year’s event with teammate Brock Bila, would soon get the chance to jump back in the boat and do some fishing of his own, though, competing this weekend at the Kansas BASS Nation College State Championship on Perry Reservoir.
Still and Brees thanked Heinen, as well as their sponsors — Rockwell Security, HighclassHankia, Skycom, BassTechBaits, Hallas Construction, Greg Overby and Denis Boyles — for their support.