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U.S.C.A.T.S.
Saturday June 8, 2002
Mississippi River – Quincy

     20 boats showed up to fish the Pro Tournament on the ever rising Mississippi River. The weather could not have been better. Clear and sunny with not too much of a breeze. Vince and Willie got there early Friday afternoon only to find out the river was much higher than expected.
      New strategy and new technique. With all the water flowing through the dam it was obvious that the fish would not be there. Even if they were, they would be hard to catch. If the fish were active they would be holding on the front of the wing dams, and believe me there is plenty of them on this stretch of river. If no luck there, our only other option was to fish all the chutes we could find and again in this area there are plenty of them too. If no luck there, tunnel edges on the edge of current breaks was the only option we had left.
     We left the boat ramp with one thing in mind, find fish and find them quick. There was a lot of rain in Iowa and the water was coming our way. Willie hooked the first fish at 7:45AM. On the front side of a wing dam. They were hitting shad. No surprise, we had shrimp and green sunfish to go with that. 8:00AM hit on the sunfish. Willie learned a valuable lesson this time. Wait on the fish. He let the fish play with that thing for 20 minutes and thought he had lost the bait. When he reeled it in, to bait it up again, we found out something we didn’t know. All the scales had been removed from the bait. The sunfish was still alive. Quickly, he put fresh bait on and slung her out there again. We missed our chance.
    8:30AM another hit on shad, got antsie and missed one. 8:50 hit on shad and fish on. 2 in the boat and we are looking good. 9:20AM hit on shad and fish on. Nice one this time 7 pounds. If we could get 5 or 6 more this size we would be real happy. Still, waiting for on Vinny to get a bite.
    9:50 big hit and a drop. Willie waited and waited. Next big hit he’s taking him. BOOM! and he missed. This time he cussed to who wouldn’t have it and finally came to the conclusion that he was just to damn fast for our own good.
    About this time here comes all of this trash down the river. River is on the rise. We moved to the back side of the wing dam. We figured we were wasting time so we moved to the chutes. Got a couple of bites (even Vinny) but nothing to brag about. Time to move. Next stop current break. No fish active there. By this time it was noon and we were lost.
    We tried mouths of feeder steams and creeks, more wing dams and still no luck. By this time there was more trash coming down the river than we had seen in awhile. We even tried dip bait, which is usually good for a few small ones, no luck. The fish had shut down, so we started making our way back to the weigh-in.
    The weigh-in wasn’t that spectacular either. Big fish was a nice 20lb. plus bluecat, the team that caught it didn’t have much to go with it but good enough for 1st place. First place was around 39 pounds and 4th place was around 21 pounds. We came in 6th with around 11 pounds.
    So goes the luck of Team Whiskers. Next Pro stop, Milford Lake, Kansas. Dan and Willie are going to hit the Illinois River at Chillicothe for an I.C.A. tournament before then, so we are hoping it will be our turn to cash. Tony and Willie will be fishing a local tournament before that and only God knows what will happen there.

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