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(May 16, 2003)

The Diary of Douglas Detherow and Blake Ellison Prefishing and Competing on Northeastern Oklahoma Lakes

By: Douglas Detherow

“We are just a couple of young fishermen limited mostly by our equipment, on a limited budget, with limited amounts of time, but the only limits we really care about are limits of bass!!!”

We have been invited by Greg to start keeping a diary of our exploits on the water this year fishing tournaments around the state.  I will be writing an article after every event describing, in detail, how we approached each lake. Both the pre-fishing strategies, and of course the play by play action of tournament day, whether we win or we blank.  The intent of this series is to hopefully give you a better idea of what or what not to do when faced with similar conditions during your outings on the water here in Northeastern Oklahoma.  We just wanted to get more acquainted with all of you, so I wrote this introduction piece to say HI, and to let you all know who you’re really in the boat with.

Volume 1 of the series will feature Lake Hudson during pre spawn.  We actually catch several fish and I think you will really enjoy it.  That article will be available online early next week.

My name is Douglas Detherow and I am a married, 27 year old father of two.  I have been working in the petroleum industry for the past eight years as a design engineering technician.  I raise Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, and fish every chance I get.  My partner Blake Ellison is a 21 year old, single college student with full intentions of becoming a fireman, at least until his professional bass fishing career takes off.   We are young, very young, compared to many off the most consistent anglers in the area. Combined, we only have a total of 51/2 years experience fishing the many lakes and rivers to be found in this part of the state; for bass anyway.   What we’ve discovered we lack in experience and tricks we’ve decided to make up for with plain old hard work and youthful tenacity.

We’ve heard all the stories of the 20+ pound stringers; but can’t imagine that they are true, as we never fished competitively before the virus.  This has worked to our advantage tremendously as I believe everyone has had to re-learn how to fish water they’ve been on for years.  None of the reliable holes are working the way they had been.  Kinda the old dog new trick syndrome if you will.  We didn’t know any different and just went fishing trying to get a bite instead of worrying about a string of 4 pounders.  In 2001 a limit of bass, any size bass, would get you a real nice check.  We got 3rd on Ft. Gibson in 2 day tournament with 5 fish that weighed 11.83. (We blanked the first day but adjusted and caught a limit on the second) We also won big bass with a whopper weighing 3.28.  The year before, on the same lake, a man by himself won the Mid America tournament, (3 fish limit), with over 21 pounds!

I have been on these waters my whole life, chasing every fish on the Oklahoma Fishes I.D. chart.  My dad, a bass fisherman in his early years has since converted into a die hard sand-basser.  He however was never too picky about to what was stretching his line as long as it was getting stretched, so we usually just fished to be fishing.   Most of these outings were from the bank.  We had a scamp, but there were 3 of us boys and to avoid the hassle and arguing dad would usually go it alone.

We also had a large pond at home that I cut my teeth on so to speak, when it comes to catching bass.

There, I learned the thump and run of a plastic worm bite, and how to close my eyes when a big bass exploded on a jitterbug not setting the hook until I felt him pull the rod down.  Every one of these little lessons learned long ago has paid big dividends in recent times fishing tournaments.   I may only have a few years under my belt when it comes to competitive angling, but I have been fishing since I can remember.

Blake is a different story entirely.  He never touched a fishing pole until after he was twelve years old.  His dad was not a fisherman.  He owned a small business and spent seemingly every free minute maintaining it.  When we are setting around the camp fire at night and I’m telling him fishing and camping stories from my past, he always says that he went to work with his dad on Saturdays.

Well, his family moved out into the country near his grandfather’s farm, and he met a neighbor boy who was around his age that took him fishing.  Blake says that they were throwing weightless plastic worms on Zebco 33s.   He tells me that they must have caught 150 bass that day out of a pond near his house.

He’s been hooked every since.  That boy is the most devoted student of bass fishing I have ever known.  His room is papered with the lake maps we are going to fish, he has a rack bigger than the one at the gas station crammed full of probably over 1000 bass fishing magazines.  If he isn’t in school, at work, or actually fishing, he is reading or watching a how-to-tape on fishing.  When he’s tired of reading and watching, he calls people to talk about fishing.  I think by now you get my drift; this cat in on the verge of needing a 12 step program for his bassahol problem.  As his partner, don’t really see this as an issue.  In fact I aspire to be as dedicated as he is.  Of course he hasn’t had to climb the real job, wife and kid’s mountain yet. That sometimes beats a bit of that spunk outta ya for a while.

We’ve been fishing together for the past three years qualifying for the State Tournament every year.  It is hard to find a good partner that you really “click” with.  A partner that is willing to pre-fish in a thunderstorm, make brush piles in January, and study maps for hours looking for that one cut that may produce another keeper.  None of these things are always fun, but have to be done when your competing against teams that have been fishing longer than you’ve been alive.

We started out fishing very different styles.  I was more of a flipper/ finesse fisherman and he was a run and gun spinner bait bandit.   Both very effective means of catching bass, but hard to do at the same time out of one boat.  We struggled at first, but have evolved into a very efficient team creating a style all our own.  He’s taught me plenty and I’ve tried to show him a thing or two along the way as we meshed our two games into one. We don’t really even have to talk in the boat anymore, one of us knows what the other is thinking and everything just sort of falls into place.

Well, that’s us. I just wanted to introduce our team and invite you into the boat with us as we keep a diary of our pre-fishing and competition days.  We are fishing the Skeeter and Tulsa Metro team trails this year on Grand, Hudson, Eufaula, Keystone, and the Arkansas River.  Hopefully we can provide you with a little insight into how we approach the different lakes during the different times of the year and try to catch some fish.  You will be in the boat with us through the good times and the bad, forgotten plugs and all. (Blake said he put it in!!)  We are just a couple of young fishermen limited mostly by our equipment, on a limited budget, with limited amounts of time, but the only limits we really care about are limits of bass!!!  Come go fishin with us!