Pueblo Open
By Patrick Mapes

October 3rd was my first entry into a competitive fishing tournament. I joined up with Denver Bassmaster member Brandon Genova to compete in the Pueblo Open, hosted by Denver Bassmasters.

 

I left Denver at 3:30 am and arrived in Pueblo around 5:15 am. After signing in and saying hello to some familiar faces, I started loading the boat and making sure all my gear was on board. Boats launched around 6:30 and the tournament was set to start at 7am. After listening to the National Anthem on the water, Brandon signaled for the first boat to take off and the other 25 teams followed out in order. Almost all the boats immediately hammered it and took off full speed across the reservoir. We decided to hang back and fish the area surrounding the marina. Fish caught in other tournaments are usually released close to this area after the weigh in. I started with a jighead/grub and Brandon was throwing topwater so we could figure out where and what the fish were hitting. Even though it was now daylight, it was still chilly and overcast. Any slight breeze made it even colder. The water temp was still high 60’s so we were hoping to find some active fish. I landed a nice smallmouth in about 5 minutes, but it was just under the required 15″ length. Brandon was getting constant action on the surface but nothing of any size. I hooked into what I thought was a nice bass but it ended up being a walleye. After working the area for awhile we had an idea what they were biting and decided to move out and hopefully find some bigger fish.

The sun came out and the clouds burned off so we started throwing shad colored crank baits around 10ft deep and had constant action on bass under 15″. We even caught a few more walleye. With no keepers in the boat we wondered if we should of entered the walleye tournament. Pueblo State Park has some amazing rock walls surrounding the reservoir. We stuck close to the shore line most of the day, but even being 10 feet away from the bank, it was still 20ft deep under the boat. We tried shallow flat areas, log jams, and the steep rock walls into the reservoir. Brandon switched to a crawdad and I switched to a wacky rig senko. We kept catching fish but no keepers. While letting the wacky rig sink the bottom I hooked into another monster fish, but unfortunately pulled up a 15lb carp. That lure must of fallen right in front of his face because I’ve never heard of anyone catching a carp on a senko.
We decided to head out to a rock point that dropped off deep in open water. I stuck with the senko and Brandon stayed on the squarebill crank bait. The wind and current was pushing the water into the front of the rock pile and we tried the side closest to the bank first. No bites, but we could see smallmouth chasing shad. As soon as we went around the rock pile to the side facing open water, BOOM!!! My first cast I hooked into a nice fish. With a quick flash I could see it was a bass and definitely a keeper. I don’t think we ever measured it because we were so excited but it weighed just under 3 lbs. With one fish in the live well we were hoping to at least have the biggest bass of the tournament. We worked the front of the rock pile for another hour with constant action and Brandon added a really nice smallmouth to the live well. We headed in 10 minutes before weigh in. We ended up in 4th place out of 25 teams. We had the heaviest 2 fish weigh in. 3rd place had 3 fish, 2nd place had 4 fish, and 1st place filled his live well with 5 keepers. It was a great day and an awesome experience. Pueblo Reservoir should be an amazing tournament in the next few years once all the 14″ fish make it over 15″.
Check out fishmasks.com for UV protectant face masks worn by the Urban Anglers USA crew. Light weight Urban Anglers USA hoodie shown in the pics is available on our online shop.

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