I hooked up with Southern Utah Bass Anglers and fished with them on their final bass fishing tournament of the year on Sand Hollow Reservoir. I was impressed with the group, and the solid total weights of the bass everyone brought in. Everyone caught fish which made for a really fun time. I went down and pre-fished Sand Hollow on Friday before the tournament Saturday. My dad and I put together a solid plan and caught a lot of fish, but didn’t make into the top. Here is what we used, where we fished, and the in’s and outs of how the tournament shook out.
Pre – Fishing:
I was excited for the Sand Hollow bass fishing tournament. We had a really good day of fishing on Friday before the big day. We covered a lot of water, and tried a bunch of different things. When we caught fish, we quickly moved from the area to hopefully crush a few more on the day of the tournament. We caught about 12 – 15 bass, and a couple were pretty decent. It was a fun day of fishing. I felt like we had a couple decent patterns dialed which could produce some good fish.
The patterns and what used:
We found two really good patterns to put together a 15 bass day. We caught fish all day long. In the morning we found throwing jigs around the rocks produced some decent fish. In the afternoon we moved out deep to 30 – 35 ft of water, and caught a lot of fish using a drop shot rig. We tried a lot of other stuff, but those two methods were how we caught almost all of the fish. Here is a list of the top two producing baits, and how we fished them.
1. Strike King Tour Grade Football Jig – The best color was texas craw in the 1/2 oz weight. It has a little streak of chartreuse the bass seem to like. I attached a Summer Crawdad Berkley Havoc Pit Boss on the hook for a trailer. This bait worked the best in the rocks. I seemed to get the most hits while really shaking my rod as the bait was falling. I was almost swimming it along the bottom, but letting it pause every once in a while.
2. Jackall Cross Tail Shad – Green pumpkin was the color I used. I tied it up on a drop shot rig. I hooked the bait right through the nose. This seemed to work the best for those deep water fish. I was throwing it in 30 – 38 ft of water. Cast it out. Let it sink to the bottom. Then pull your bait off the bottom, and shake your rod. Always try and leave the weight of the drop shot on the bottom the best you can. You will get crushed!
Where we fished:
Here is a map of where we caught fish. We focused on the rock and the 3o ft depth range because it was where we seemed to pick up the most fish.
View Sand Hollow November Bass Fishing in a larger map
The tournament was fun. It was put on by Southern Utah Bass Anglers. They do tournaments regularly on this body of water, and the cost was reasonable per person. If you want to get into tournament fishing, I felt like it was a good way to start. Here is the link to their site with all the information about their up and coming events: Southern Utah Bass Anglers
The rules were pretty simple. You can only keep two fish over 12 inches. They have two different times to bring in your two best fish to weigh them. One at 11:00am and the other at 3:30pm. The winner was determined by who had the most weight at the end of both weigh ins. Here is the play by play of how my first tournament experience went down.
7 – 9:30am:
We started off as the fourth boat out of the gates, and we headed straight to the rocky outcroppings where we did well the day before on football jigs. We started throwing those same jigs. It took us a minute, but we finally hooked up one little guy. We then moved over to the damn on the north side of the lake.
About 15 yards along the damn my dad and I both hung up our jigs in the rocks. His broke off and mine came free, so I made a cast parellel along the damn, and after a couple twitches boom! Stuck one! I was stoked to have at least two fish in the boat. Then I threw back to the same spot again and got a another one! I made one more cast with nothing, and I decided to throw back in that same hole again. After a few twitches of the rod, another one smacked me. 3 bass in 4 casts! Each one got bigger in size too. We were feeling good.
Then a little further down the damn right by the pipe I got smacked again, and this guy didn’t want to come up. I knew he was a toad. My heart was pounding fast. It felt like the longest fight ever. We landed him quickly and I had to sit down because of all the adrenaline. For my first tournament I couldn’t believe how much more intense each fish seemed. He wound up hitting the scales at 3.10 lbs. We released the “Kraken” on some bass!
9:30 – 11:00am:
We moved out deep before we had to come in for the first weigh in. My dad owned the show and caught all the fish. After a couple small ones, he landed a decent 2+ lbs bass to tip the scales more in our favor. Then it was time to head in to the scales.
Morning Weigh in:
I was amazed at all the good bass caught in the morning. There were a couple of guys sitting at 7 lbs with their two fish. Our bag came in at 5.49 lbs. We were sitting pretty good. We had high expectations for the afternoon.
11:30am – 1:30pm:
We pulled up to our first 30 ft deep hole, and my dad caught one more keeper pretty quick. I struggled. My drop shot that had worked so good wasn’t getting bit. I started throwing all kinds of other stuff trying to get a bite. We only caught the one bass.
1:30pm – 3:30pm
Finally, at about 3:00pm we caught another bass. I went back to the drop shot and was stoked to convinced one to bite. We at least had 2 fish to bring to the scales. They were both 1+ lbs. keepers. I don’t think I’ve ever switched up baits more in my life. I probably should of been more patient, but at the same time you never know. We stayed out deep the whole time in and around the 30ft mark. I noticed the fish were suspending because of how warm it was. We probably should have come in a little shallower to see what we could find.
Final Weigh in:
We were a little unclear about timing of when we needed to be back at the dock, so as a result we were 1 minute late. We were penalized 2lbs. We just let both our fish go which would’ve put us at a total weight of 7lbs. The winners of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place all had a total of 10 lbs. Even though we got docked and ended up in almost last place, it was a stellar time. Even with our 2 fish we still wouldn’t have been in the top 3. We pulled a classic “rookie” mistake, literally.
Everyone was friendly after the tournament, and we all swapped stories of how we caught fish. I appreciated them reaching out to me and introducing themselves as it was my first time at an event like this. The tournament director did a great job of making us feel welcome.
What a great time on the water. Sand Hollow once again didn’t let me down. There are a lot of good bass to be caught in the lake. Special thanks to Southern Utah Bass Anglers letting me compete in their tournament. Can’t say enough about all the hard work they put into it, and the comradery I felt participating with them. Plus, an additional thanks to my father for fishing with me in his sweet bass boat. He is such a stud.
Sounds like a great time! Congrats!