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It all started at last year's BFL super tournament when I picked up the 2014 schedule and looked it over, Falls Lake in July... oh swell. Now, I love Falls Lake 9 months out of the year, July isnt one of those 9. I knew for sure this event would be my biggest hurdle to overcome in my quest to qualify for the regional championship on the James River in October. In the weeks prior to the tournament I spent a few days out there practicing. I knew offshore structure fishing would be a major factor in this event so I dedicated about 2 and a 1/2 days to graphing and fishing points, ledges and other key places, results were terrible, I did catch a few keepers those days early on topwater and around rip rap. On the sunday afternoon of July 4th weekend I got fed up with my lack of success offshore, picked up my flipping stick the last hour of the day, went to a cut with 90 degree water, some shallow stumps and grass and watch one fish come off the stump and flash at it, also stuck a 3.5 lber in the grass. At that point I said "Man, (forget) that offshore (stuff), I am going back to fishing my way" The next weekend I went out and fished shallow, flipping and throwing topwater, I also found 2 bream beds which I got bit around. I had 6 or 7 keeper bites Saturday, not alot of bites but they were decent 2.5-3 lb fish. Sunday I caught 2 keepers first thing flipping grass, I noticed grass with enough water in it was getting scarce. One of the guys I network with, Paul, texted me said they were catching some good fish out on the ledges and got suckered into trying it again by noon and the rest of the day... with no success. By the end of Sunday I was feeling a little down as Paul and his buddy had around 23 lbs in their best 5 on the ledges, and my shallow bite seemed to be literally drying up. I started contemplating my game plan for my final practice day on Friday, and praying for rain (which I got a few days later). I came to the conclusion that I would go shallow as that is my strength and would be my best chance to get out of Falls without a zero and maintain my spot in the top 40. If I did get on anything offshore, I didnt have enough places to do it all day and if boats beat me to those few spots id be screwed.

Friday 7/18- The water had come up almost a foot and I knew there would be fish for me in the grass so I focused on exploring other possibilities and left them for Saturday. I spent the early morning running cuts looking for more bream beds and trying a few topwater spots. I had a 4 lber blast a popper right next to a stick up, my search for bream beds didnt go very well, either I had caught the tail end of the spawn the weekend before or I just couldnt see them as the water had come up. I shook one off on a shakeyhead near some rip rap, and shook off another around a patch of grass I had never fished. Throughout the day I spoke with 2 buddies who are very good offshore guys at Falls and they werent doing much, one said he was having trouble with boats on the places he wanted to fish (I knew that would happen:)). I fished until about 5, took out, grabbed a quick dinner and headed for the pairings meeting at Walmart in Wake Forest. Word on the street was fishing would be tough and the ramp would be a mess in the morning as Ledge Rock has limited parking and there arent any alternatives close by. Hearing the names being called out, there were alot of Falls lake ringers in the field. I ended up boat 77 out of 80. I was hoping for a late number as the 3rd flight ends up getting a few extra minutes to fish over the first flight and I didnt have any particular spot in mind to start on anyways. My co-angler was from Raleigh, exchanged info, and made arrangements to meet up in the morning. I told him realisticly I was looking to grind out 5-7 bites fishing shallow. Back to the house to prep my tackle. Good to sleep in my own bed instead of a motel for a change.

Saturday 7/19- I get to the Ledge Rock ramp about 4:15 AM as there is nothing I hate more than being rushed and waiting in line, it wasnt bad then. My co-angler showed up about 5ish, we went through boat check and spent some time BSing with some of my buddies. A word of pray, national anthem and blast off began, after a long wait, they called out 77 and off we went. I decided to run for the stick where I caught the 4 lber yesterday, someone beat me there, ran to another close by spot and threw topwater plugs, no dice. Went to flipping grass, about 30 minutes later I stuck my first keeper, about a 15" fish... whew... pressure is off... thank you lord. I catch one or two shorts in the next hour and we make a short move. I make several pitches at a stump with a little grass around it and about the 3rd pitch I catch a glimpse of a fish, pick up on my bait and he was there, keeper number 2 in the box. About 15 minutes later we are on some shallow grass that came far off the bank, I saw the grass twitch about 5 ft in and pitched to it and saw it twitch again, I set on a 3 lber, my 3rd keeper in the box at 9:15 and all decent keepers... if nothing else it was a good points day. We left out of there and ran to one of the cuts where I caught them around the bream beds. I catch one or two shorts in the adjacent grass and spend alot of time throwing a popper over the bed, no dice. My co caught a shellcracker. Make a run to a cut where I had 2 keeper bites last week, nothing. Hit another stretch of grass, by now the wind had picked up and the sun was starting to peek out. I pull out a spinnerbait and throw it a few casts and go back to flipping. I set on one, saw it flash and didnt get it, it was another solid fish. Went back to where I got 2 keepers and hit another area without a bite. By now I was thinking hard about going and trying some rip rap as if it worked I felt I could get 2 solid fish quick. 1 pm I pulled the plug on the grass bite and we ran to New Light road, co caught a short, ran to 98 with nothing. Made a quick stop on some grass on the way back to weigh in. We check in and the ramp was already a mess. I beached my boat, got a bag and weighed my fish. I crossed the stage with 3 fish for 7 lbs 15 oz. which put me in 12th place at the time. We decided to not even try to get out until the gridlock at the ramp settled down. Did alot of BSing, went back to the boat and sat for a while in the shade and enjoyed a snack and some more BS. Meanwhile I watched my buddy Paul who was in the 2nd flight still waiting for his trailer 45 minutes later. By about 4 things settled down and we took out. I was pleased with my day and had I got that fish I missed, I would have been in the money. On the way home, I got the text messages from FLW. I finished in 23rd place overall and moved from 34th in the standings to 20th. Needless to say I was tickled to death to have survived.

When the going got tough, I went against what everyone else was doing, fished my strengths and made it work.

fallsbfl.jpg
 

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Awesome job, Neil! Confidence is everything and fishing our strengths really pays off most times. Congrats! Our next one is on Norman again...the super. I'm looking forward to that one!
 

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fishing your strengths... key point there... awesome story... thanks for sharing... BTW, I've NEVER had good luck on Falls.. it must be the water :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Awesome job, Neil! Confidence is everything and fishing our strengths really pays off most times. Congrats! Our next one is on Norman again...the super. I'm looking forward to that one!
Our super tx is on Kerr towards the end of August. Traditionally that is a tough time but I made the day 2 cut in 2010 and have been on good fish that time of year before. I am looking forward to it.
 

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Our super tx is on Kerr towards the end of August. Traditionally that is a tough time but I made the day 2 cut in 2010 and have been on good fish that time of year before. I am looking forward to it.
Nice! I hope it goes as well for you this year, too! Ours is in September and should be ok...hopefully!
 

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Here is a newbie question for you. When you talk about fishing the grass are you talking fishing the various sedges and other emergent vegetation that grows around the edge of the lake or are you talking about some other type of submerged aquatic vegetation that is in a bit deeper water.

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I am no botanist so I dont know the exact name, buddies and I call it river grass and we know what we mean when comparing notes. I just happened to see this pic on Facebook just before reading this. That is the only kind of grass I am aware of in Falls Lake.

 
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