Close … AND A Cigar!

Rob Billingsley with some of our catch.

Team partner, Rob Billingsley, with some of our catch.

After a respectable 12th place finish out of 36 boats in the American Bass Anglers (ABA) Lake Piru Night Series tourney, my new team partner Rob Billingsley and I decided we couldn’t wait until the end of the month for another nocturnal go at it. So, we signed up for the U.S. Angler’s Choice (USAC) version, named Piru Summer Nights, this past Saturday evening.

The turnout wasn’t quite as robust as the ABA series. However, it still featured a bevy of top So Cal sticks, many of which were also in the competitor’s event two weeks ago. Eleven boats hit the water a little after 7pm, with us as the lead boat, and we immediately made tracks for an area that had been productive for us previously. We were hammering a bank when the sundowner breeze kicked up, prompting Rob to say “This is perfect for a spinnerbait bite.” Not 30 seconds later, he had a spinnerbait fish on … a nice three pound class fish. But, as the fish surfaced near the boat, he turned to make a run back down and the 15# braid simply popped. A hidden fray was apparently our undoing.

Our luck didn’t improve over the next 15 minutes as Rob had two more fish come unbuttoned. Finally, just after sunset, Rob connected on another spinnerbait fish – a 4.82 pound beast that turned out to be our biggest of the night. He followed that up with two more quick fish … a 1-7 rat and a nice 3 pound class fish.


Mark “Caveman” Avery with two of the keepers … and a surprised look!

Meanwhile, I couldn’t draw a strike no matter what I had in my hands. We made a couple of moves before we started fishing a wall leading up to a nice point. I saw some undercuts in the rock face that looked like fish holding spots, and began pitching a Senko into them. In the second cut, my cast settled gently into the water after deflecting off of the wall and was immediately sucked down by a nearly 3 pound battler that gave us our 4th fish. On my next cast the same thing occurred, but after a few seconds the fish (which appeared a bit larger) came unbuttoned.

Further up the lake, Rob scored our limit maker, a 2-7 keeper, on a Senko. With an hour to go in the tourney, I was able to land a 2-7 cull fish to help us upgrade by a pound. That was all we could manage before weigh-in.

We totaled a 15.72 sack, which ended up being good enough for 2nd place behind the 17 pound winner. We also missed Big Fish for the tourney by a mere 4/100ths of a pound! While our missed opportunities definitely cost us a shot at the top overall spot, we were very happy with our finish and thrilled to receive a nice check for our efforts. Needless to say, we are looking forward to our next event!

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