First fishing tournament for Skunkmaster Fishing

Help Support

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Jan 22, 2009
Reaction score
Just a post from my blog that I copy/pasted. You all don't know me that well, but I figured you might enjoy a short story about an adventure my fishing bud and I had this weekend. Not the usual warm water species fishing, but big fish are always a blast.

Many of you already know, but Andrew and I participated in the trophy trout derby on Klamath Lake. Our poor wives have been hearing nothing but derby schemes for the last month. Yep, we have been planning for at least a month. It started out small, but Andrew came up with the idea to make team shirts. We would name our team the skunkmasters since we never catch fish. From then on the plans started rolling. "Oh, we can buy this lure for the derby." "Oh, we need this new rod holder for the derby." "We can't fish the derby without a net." It went a lot like that until this last week. We got wind that there were indeed 400 entrants. With only 5 or 6 boat ramps on the whole lake and probably half the entrants fishing from boats, well, you can do the math. It was very obvious to us that the only way to get our boat in the water and still be fishing the full time limit of the tournament was to camp out somewhere near our "secret spot".


The biggest flaw to this plan was that we really didn't have a "secret spot". Well, actually there were quite a few flaws to the plan. We needed to be fishing all day, but we had to overload the boat with camping gear. We planned to fish an area with deep water and fish holding just off the bottom, but didn't have any way to get our lures that deep. We were going to troll all day, but were in a jon boat with a two stroke. And the biggest of all, we were in a jon boat!

For those not familiar with Klamath Lake, the waves can get big. Really big. Jon boats are flat bottom and don't exactly cut through the waves. If the wind kicks up the wave begin to break over the bow and transom. If you aren't quick to the shore, you can get into trouble in a hurry.

Anyways, back to the story. We decided to camp out and picked our boat launch. Andrew got off work, we grabbed some ice for our hot dogs and drove to the dock. By the time we got there, quite a few boats were there already. It turns out we weren't the only ones with a great idea. The other downer was the weather. The waves were a little big. Far too big to get on plane and scoot off to our intended camp spots. We almost turned back in search of calmer water, but decided we could take it easy and motor a little slower in an effort to get far enough across the bay to be sheltered by the hill on the other side. The going was slow and waves were splitting out from the bow and being blown right into our faces. By the time we reached the other side of the bay we were slightly wet, but relieved. We found a great little camping spot and dumped our stuff. After exploring a little and braving move of the waves we returned to our stash and set up camp. The wind started to die down and it looked like we were in for a great night. A little fire and some hot dog roasting reassured us we had made the right decision by staying in the bay. The view was great and the weather was better.



After an hour or two of eating and tying up leaders, Andrew pointed out that the waves sounded louder. It was dark and the wind had been blowing since we arrived, but we took great care picking a protected cove to beach the boat. Unfortunatly the wind had shifted and our boat was getting pounded by the waves. With a flashlight I could see each wave busting up over the transom. It was filling with water. Wow, all of the sudden our sweet spot didn't seem so sweet. Fighting to get the boat up on shore and out of the surf tired us out. We went to bed hoping our tents wouldn't blow down on top of us.

Morning brought anticipation of big fish and much better weather. There were still waves, but they were manageable. Boats were pouring into the lake and motoring full speed in all directions. It was like everyone thought they needed to be the first to the "spot". Wait, that was us. Pushing off, Andrew reminded me that we would be catching fish today because we had our team shirts on. The trolling began early. The fish finder was marking all kinds of fish. Fishing for an hour or so before the sun came up made for a cold morning. Andrew had brought his small cook stove and ingeniously thought to put his camping chair directly over the top of it. Instant butt warmer. We also had heat packs in our shoes and under armor to keep us warm. Hot cocoa helped too. The deep spot we had planned to fish was full of debris and the water was chocolate brown. Boats were all around us and no one was catching fish. It was funny seeing a lake that is normally desolate, swarming with eager fisherman. After three or so hours our eagerness to catch fish led to eagerness to find a better spot. Knowing that the wind picks up in the middle of the day, we weighed the risks of motoring across the lake. There was spot that we knew of that was usually pretty calm even in high winds, but it was a long haul from the boat ramp and crossing open lake could mean that we wouldn't make it back to the truck later in the afternoon. We decided to go for broke and do it. I bet we motored for at least three miles up the lake. Andrew sat on the bow above his camp stove the whole way even though the rushing air was blowing the heat right out from under him.

The next few hours was pretty uneventful. Mostly snacking and sitting in the morning sun. With no bites and no sign of action around us we had pretty much given up. Andrew made a simple suggestion during his turn at the wheel. "Let's go around this corner Cole". I thought it was kind of a dumb idea since the obvious channel was back the way we had just trolled from. He persuaded me to go along with it by reminding me that the Skunkmasters explore, they don't catch fish. I was standing on the bow now and the water had started to clear up enough that I figured I would look for the bottom. Barely realizing what was happening, I saw a large trout dart out from in front of the boat. Andrew didn't believe me, but I then saw a second one. We ran into some shallow water and were about to turn around to troll back through the same spot when Andrew lifted his rod rather sluggishly. He looked over at me while his rod bent in half with a goofy grin on his face. "Fish on Cole".

I started yelling in his ear, "don't you dare lose this thing. Andrew, if you lose this fish I'm leaving you here". It got close to the boat and then we realized just how important it was that he didn't lose that fish. I scrambled for the net, still trying to real in my line. I tripped over our fishing tackle, but made my way to the side in hopes of netting the lunker. I hurriedly scooped the fish as Andrew yelled at me to get it in the boat. Of course the hook was buried deep and all my excitement kept me from concentrating on freeing the lure. Andrew began looking for the camera and I began looking for the pliers. Before we knew it, the boat was trashed. We had torn it apart in less than a minute. Two of our poles were a tangled mess, food had been tossed carelessly aside, and lures were hooked in our carpet everywhere. I even hooked myself once or twice. Finally we got our picture, had to high tail it back to the boat ramp, and rush in to the marina before the awards ceremony began. Lucky for us our gamble on the weather had paid off as it was smooth sailing all the way back. We didn't even hit a traffic jamb at the boat ramp.



To the untrained eye, this boat may look like the one we had been fishing in all day. In fact it is not. This is the grand prize of the trout derby. Andrew's fish was good enough to win the whole derby. We are both in the clouds. Partly because we are exhausted, but mostly because we won a brand new boat, motor and trailer.

Great story and even better outcome.
Nice shot of the TP on the chair:)
Is that a 12 foot and what size outboard?
Great report :) The new boat will bring less "headaches" for your next tourney WIN :)
Congrats on a hand well played !!
It is a 1436 smoker craft with a 9.9 Honda. Andrew is probably going to upgrade to at least a 1448, but it sounds like he may just get the 13' smoker Alaskan Deluxe that he really wants. The place that donated the boat is happy to work with him on trading up too which is very helpful. After all the time we've spent in my smoker 1644 I can't see ever being happy with the 1436. We'll see what he ends up with. Maybe I'll get a picture of the setup later this week when he makes up his mind. You should have seen us out there in our boat surrounded by $20-30k North Rivers. I don't remember if it was in the story or not, but there were something like 24 total fish caught for the whole derby.

Latest posts