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.