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2600 miles, 150 gallons of gas, and 8 hours of fishing to make it all worth it…this is the WSU bass team. We’ve got 30-something rods innovatively packed in a massive concrete forming tube, cradled between the seats of our 7-person rental van fittingly named “The Coug-Cruiser”. Needless to say… ITS ON. Our crew consists of Zack, Kipp, Huy, James, myself (Chris), and Sarah (to make sure she keeps the guys from getting out of hand), and one heck of a dad who has put in some serious time and gear to get us going. We’ll be the basis for three Wazzu teams, and the ONLY three teams fishing for the state of Washington. We understand that our “purple and gold” counterparts just aren’t up for the challenge….but that’s ok! We’re doubtful whether those huskies can even spell “FLW”…
Fresh out of the Palouse, optimism is already fuming from the Coug-Cruiser. The drive proved to be the perfect opportunity for 22 hours of intense strategizing, organizing, and prophesizing…team bonding at its best. Sprinkle a nap or two and a few driver-swaps in and you’ve got yourself a full blown road trip! Considering our curiously close proximity, we faired the cramped jaunt remarkably well. Rollin’ out of the Palouse at 4pm Thursday, we caught our first glimpse of Lake Roosevelt in Arizona’s cactus-laden desert around noon on Friday…

Our sunny 70 degree afternoon at Lake Roosevelt started off with a swing by the Stren-series weigh in. This professional tour overlaps our tourney, from which . The news: tough fishin‘... A recent cold front has cooled off previously hot fishing, and a 13-16” slot limit seems to be protecting the overwhelming majority of the fish caught. Fret not- were here, and we’ve got the rest of the night to rig up all of our gear, and plan our strategy for attack…

4:30 comes fast when you’ve been nervously awaiting this morning all week. Lights on, and in no time the gang is up stirring about in our hotel room. At first thought, one hotel room with 2 beds and a fold out hide-a-bed that resembles a dusty old rug reinforced with rebar, doesn’t seem nearly adequate. Going back to the previous night, this hotel room seemed like the Taj Mahal compared to the cramped spaces and contorted positions required for “successful” sleeping in the Coug-cruiser. Kinked necks, unknown feet strewn about, and constant squabbling from those of us who found sleeping on the road to be an unobtainable miracle made us thankful for the space we had! With the cruiser loaded down with our gear and rods, we were finally making our way to the take-off…
Uneasy stomachs and anxious nerves were an indisputable reminder of what was about to go down… We pulled in and were greeted by the sight of an elaborate stage, tour leaders, volunteer pro‘s, and dozens of other college kids scrambling about to get ready for the epic adventure to come. Once checked in with the gear unloaded, we waited for the word. A speech, a prayer, and the national anthem briefed us for the day ahead- with a southern accent that seemed only fitting for a fishing tournament like this. It wasn’t long before we filed down to the water to meet our pro’s and climb aboard our boat for the day.
After finding our pro’s and hopping aboard with rods and tackle in hand, we awaited our timed take off and away we went! The lake itself was a vast expanse of bays and flooded brush and timber, and was extremely intimidating at the least…but no doubt it had us drooling for most of the weekend! The club fished long and hard, throwing everything in our tackle boxes and catching decent amounts of fish…but in the end we fell victim to the infamous lake Roosevelt slot limit… Our top team ended up 14th place out of 30 teams, which isn’t terrible, but it definitely leaves us room for our quest for the top slots! Nobody was disappointed, in fact, regardless of how the final weights turned out…everyone was more than happy just to have the chance to experience this world-class fishery. The knowledge and professional advice we gained were well worth the trip in itself… Speaking of which, merely an hour after check-in, it was already time to put the “road” back in “road-trip”. After soaking up the weigh in and final words from our new friends, we piled everything back into the ‘cruiser and away we went…

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Comment by Spencer Durand on December 31, 2009 at 7:40pm
Great post, that is fantastic. I would love to be put aboard a club like your's. Especially going around the west coast fishing the FLW tour. Roosevelt, Castaic, Shasta all fantastic fisheries. Wow, what a time that would be. Good luck on further tournaments.

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