Cuda Bowl Results/Our Fishing
The Cuda Bowl finished up last week, and as usual I fished with John Benvenuto. We were joined by Kat, who I was happy to have on our team (even though we would technically be competing against one another). John and I have had a great run in the tournament over the years, and fishing with Kat seemed like a great opportunity to share some bow time and have a good time in what is probably the most fun event in the tournament calendar.
John and I prefished for a day leading up to the first day of competition, and had a few bites in the morning. We’ve always tried to shy away from catching too many on the day before it matters, and we did a good job of going slack when the fish bit. After a few bites we moved on, confident that we had something to take a look at the next day. We looked for a while without finding anything else, and then came across another group of fish we thought would be worth a visit the following day.
As the day wore on we were able to piece together a few more places that we felt were worth fishing in when it counted, and a few that we felt would be worth bypassing. While the fishing was never amazing, we were confident that we had pieced together enough places that held fish to make a day out of.
The first tournament day we started early, hoping to get a few bites before the sun got higher and we were able to sight fish. Kat took the bow for a while in the early light but was unable to coax a bite, and then I got a bite from a fish that didn’t work out. I had another one a short time later, and it looked like the fishing we’d found the day before would hold. It didn’t, and after an hour looking for the fish that had populated the white spots the day before we moved on. Kat was up again, and when John spotted a large fish high up on the flat we had time to get into position for a feeding. Kat executed a long cast and a speed up perfectly, and the giant made a mistake and wrapped its teeth around the Mylar. Kat set the hook and the fish turned away from the boat, but things went south for us when the fish rattled loose on a head shake before we could do much else. I had another follow from a fish that didn’t open up, and in the afternoon we left to where we had found some larger packs of wolves the day prior. We had a few opportunities, though as the wind slacked off the fish became surly and we never got one to play. We finished the day nearby, looking for a fish or two to start the party with, but never came tight before we had to run to make it back in time.
At the dock we found we were effectively out of the running, as both Justin Rea and John Chinuntdet as well as Pete Heydon and Jim Knowles had maxed out with three fish each. Joe Rodriguez and John Holt had two, and Matt Fitzgerald and Joe Skrumbellos (of recent Del Brown repeat fame) had the largest on fly, a large 46.5 inch fish that was going to be a hard bar to raise. We talked about what our plan for the following day should be, and decided that our efforts would be best spent working on getting a monster to attempt to steal the large fish award from Joe and Matt.
Our last day of fishing was harder than the first. We fished around where we had the day before, discarding those places we had found few and looking in some new ones for more. We found some large fish that didn’t want to play with us, and were slightly frustrated by the lack of compliance. We found plenty of fish that appeared large enough to make something happen with, though each time were foiled by various iterations of sadness. We finished the day without a grab, and went to check in to congratulate the winners.
In the end, it was Pete Heydon and Jim Knowles that maintained their lead from day one and took the fly division grand champion honors. Justin Rea and John Chinuntdet were runners-up, and in third was Joe Rodriguez and John Holt. Biggest on fly went to Matt Fitzgerald and Joe Skrumbellos. In the spin division, top honors were secured by Aaron Snell and Heidi Andrews, who also (obviously) won the ladies division also. Second was Ted Margo with John O’Hearn, and biggest was Tom Del Bosque with Jim McKillip. Third was Albert Ponzoa and Wade Mayberry. Team award was also secured by John O’Hearn, Ted Margo and Drew Delashmit.
It’s been a great run for us in this tournament, and I’d like to give a very heartfelt nod of the head to both Pete and Jim, who earned their fly division victory with an incredibly solid scorecard on both days of fishing.
Next year I may be back at it again, but until that time I’ve got lots to focus on. Up next is the March Merkin, for which I start preparing tomorrow. Reports will follow.