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Interview with Jim Carnell and Dan Mahaffey
Winners of the 2003
Jimmy Houston Outdoors
Tournament Trail
Championship


By: Douglas Detherow


OBF:
Congratulations Gentlemen, Please describe for me, your last couple of days on Lake Tenkiller. How did you manage to catch two nice limits of fish on this lake that everyone has been saying is so tough?


Jim and Dan-
Well, yesterday we caught several keepers and actually culled a few fish. The bite was really on and we just made the best of it.
We started both mornings on one particular log that had been giving up at least on keeper per visit. You know confidence fish. You get that first keeper in the boat, especially a good solid over, and that really gets your blood pumping and sets a positive pace for the rest of the day.

Today was a different story entirely. We went to our go to log, and caught two solid keepers to start the morning and that was it. We really had to put our heads down and stay after them today trying to fill out our limit. We hardly had any bites at all today, but thankfully the ones we got were solid fish that we were able to take advantage of.

OBF:
So how were you fishing them?? I hear a lot about the great top water bite with the Smallies down here on Tenkiller. Did you catch any on top?? Or were you flipping them out?

Jim and Dan-
We never caught a single top water fish all weekend. Most of our bass came on soft plastics or jigs with an occasional rig fish.

OBF:
Docks and Brush piles type fishing??


Jim and Dan-
Yeah sometimes it was like that. There were so few bites to be had…one here, one there. You would catch them in one place on wood, and the next place the fish would be positioned on rock. You really had to keep an open mind and just go fishing.

OBF:
Did you notice the fish suspending around or above the brush with the lake being so far down? Or were they positioned down in the stuff and you just had to go in after them??


Jim and Dan-
Well a few of the fish yesterday seemed to be suspended towards the top of the cover, or on the outer edges, but today they were more down underneath it.

OBF:
How deep were you getting most of your bites??

Jim and Dan-
Most of our fish came out of fifteen to twenty five feet of water.

OBF:
What part of the lake were you guys fishing?? Up in the river?? Down Lake??

Jim and Dan-
All of our water was actually in the mid lake area.

OBF:
Main lake stuff or were the fish more migrating back in the creeks??


Jim and Dan-
We caught fish in both areas, probably a 50-50 split. It was really tough and you couldn’t count on any one particular pattern to produce. If it was there, you had to fish it all trying to get bit.

OBF:
Did you see a lot of bait in the water?? Did your bites seem to depend on a lot of forage being in the area?


Jim and Dan-
Tenkiller has always had a lot of bait in it. Actually it seems like it has had a lot more bait than bass lately!!!

Thanks for the great interview guys and congratulations again on your outstanding performance considering the brutally tough conditions.

 


 

 

 

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