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Docks key to Possum Kingdom kayak win

Docks key to Possum Kingdom kayak win

GRAFORD, Texas — Jason Isaacs hates fishing docks. But during the Bassmaster Kayak Series event at Possum Kingdom, he decided to target his least favorite piece of structure and it paid off in a big way.

With a five-bass limit measuring 101.25 inches, the angler from Columbus, Ohio, claimed the victory, earning the first-place prize of $10,000 in the weather-shortened event. Missouri’s Brandon Prince finished second with 96.75 inches and Mississippi’s Clint Pippen was third with 95.25.

“Once I caught that last 21-incher, I thought I had a shot here,” he said. “Then I was worried sick because half the field may not have had service and put their fish in yet. Some people sandbag and wait until the standings are turned off.”

Isaacs had never been to Possum Kingdom prior to this week, and after having “the worst practice of my life,” he did not anticipate catching a single bass on Day 1.

Heavy winds and the threat of severe weather forced a Saturday cancellation, which allowed him to make an adjustment to his game plan and follow a lead from his father Tim.

“I decided I was going to put in and fish where my dad was fishing, so I was fishing around him. There were probably 55 docks in the area I fished and I pounded those docks,” Isaacs said. “He only caught two bass in this area in practice, but that’s what we went with during the tournament.”

Isaacs pitched a 5-inch Z-Man FattyZ on a 1/8-ounce shaky-head to the walkways of floating docks, catching mostly postspawn largemouth. The majority of the bass he caught were in about 6 feet of stained water.

“I fished a number of ways between the docks,” Isaacs said. “If there was 3 or 4 feet of water I would throw a spinnerbait, just trying to pick a fish up in between and there was nothing. I threw the shaky-head on some big rocks, and there was nothing. They were all on the walkways of the docks.”

One particular dock yielded three of his bigger bass.

“I casted to the same spot three times because I knew there were fish there,” he explained. “The third cast I caught a 19, and then the fifth cast I caught a 21.75 and the sixth cast I caught a 21. All on the same dock post. It was insane.”

His biggest bass of the day was a 23.25 behemoth largemouth, which weighed in at over 9 pounds on his personal scale.

“I thought it was a catfish,” Isaacs said. “I set the hook and it just started digging. It just kept digging and digging and swam all the way around the boat. I was playing with it thinking it was a catfish and then it came up beside me and I was like, ‘Oh my god.’”

Prince, meanwhile, caught a mix of pre- and postspawn largemouth that were staging in standing timber leading into a spawning area. With the base of the timber in 15 to 20 feet of water, Prince used his forward-facing sonar to locate bass suspended in 10 to 12 feet of water under the branches.

“My last day of practice I switched ends of the lake and found some cruisers around standing timber. I pulled out a little with my LiveScope and found some bigger bass in the trees,” he said. “So today, I found those bass still sitting on the trees and threw everything I could at them.”

In practice, he used a glidebait to coax the bass out to see the size. When the tournament began, he could only get the bass to eat a weightless wacky rig.

“I caught all three of my 20-inchers in a 20-minute stretch,” he said. “It was pretty wild.”

All of his bass came in the first couple hours of the day, and with about four hours to go, Prince stumbled onto a spawning female he estimated to be close to 9 pounds. He spent the rest of the day trying to catch that bass, but came up just short.

“She was a giant,” Prince said. “She kept making smaller and smaller circles and I knew she would eventually lock on. With 30 minutes left, she started nosing down on my bait. Then with 5 minutes left, she picked it up and took off with it. I set the hook and she took the bait. She never had the hook in her mouth.

“I knew it was probably going to take that fish to win it.”

Pippen fished around shallow grass and brush in dirty water in one of the more popular areas of Possum Kingdom to claim his third-place finish.

“I found the fish I fished for today on Monday. The rest of practice I never found anything else. I came back today and they were still there,” Pippen said. “My first fish came 10 minutes into the day and I don’t think I caught anything after 10 a.m. I caught them quickly and then it slowed down.”

His top bait was a Snag Proof Zoo Pop, a newer frog-style popping bait. Pippen caught mostly postspawners, but his biggest bite of the day (a 22.75) was a largemouth he believed was likely still on bed.

“A lot of the schools of fry were in that grass and I think that's what was holding a lot of those bass in there,” he said.

New Mexico’s Matt Ramey caught a 24.25-inch largemouth, claiming Big Bass of the Tournament honors and a $500 prize.

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