Bassmaster Open on the Red River LA 2013 with Mitch Kistner and his Phoenix Pop Up Camper
Hi Rob & Cari!
I got back from Louisiana on Sunday. I still think I’m recovering from the drive and long week of fishing!
I met my friend Patrick Spencer in Tucson April 18th and we hit the road running! With 2 boats in tow to the Red River, we were both excited to get there. So much so, that we drove a straight 20 hours. We finally made a stop in Lindale, TX, just east of Dallas, to sleep for a few hours in the camper. It was so great to be able to crawl into a full sized bed at a moments notice!
We finally got to Shreveport, Louisiana on April 19th and got settled into an RV site at Lake Bisitneau RV Park, about 15 miles from the Red River where we would be competing. The people of Louisiana were nothing but friendly and full of southern hospitality!!
I spent the next 5 days prefishing for this event, spending 10-12 hours on the water each day. The stretch of the Red River that we could fish in the tournament stretched over 60 miles long with countless backwaters, feeder creeks, stump fields, and grass mats to explore. I found a small area within a 2 mile long stump field that held good fish. Day 1 of the Bassmaster Central Open treated me well, I caught them really well in the morning and left them biting in hopes of saving some for Day 2. I was in 47th place out of 186 pros going into the second day of competition. I felt very confident going into Day 2 and making a run at making the top 12 cut for Day 3. Well, Day 2 brought me some surprises. A front rolled in over night, bringing in overcast skies. Unfortunately, I didn’t make the right adjustments and only caught 2 keepers. I ended up finishing in the middle of the pack in 87th place. The last fish I caught was within the last 20 minutes of the day and weighed just under 5 lbs, so that eased the pain a little! http://www.bassmaster.com/slideshow/open-day-two-weigh (photo 20)
The Camper is Roomy and Comfortable
All week I slept in the camper and I couldn’t believe how roomy and comfortable I was! It definitely felt like home! The first few nights the temperatures dipped into the 40′s. The heater kept me toasty warm all night. It was great to be able to wake up (around 4:30am) each morning and literally walk a few steps to my truck and hit the road to the launch ramp. The bed was so comfortable and I slept like a rock each night. Having the fridge in there was awesome! I was able to throw all my groceries in there before I even hit the road. I never once had to buy ice to keep food cold in a cooler, which was fantastic.
After the second day of the tournament, most the guys from Arizona went to find some fresh crawfish. We found a place called the Crawfish Hole #2, about 30 miles from camp. After enjoying 15 lbs of crawfish, potatoes, corn, hush puppies, and fried okra, a couple sat down next to us. They began asking if we were in town from for the tournament, probably based on our sunglass tans and out of town demeanor…We mentioned we were staying at Lake Bisistneau and they immediately asked if we were staying in the Phoenix Pop Up! They had seen me roll into town last week and had seen me set up at camp from the bridge passing over the lake. I couldn’t believe we ran into someone who had seen the setup 30 miles down the road in a different town.
Great Gas Milage
Overall, I had a great trip. It was disappointing to not make the top 12 after finding the right fish. However, it just makes me more eager and determined to make it happen on the Arkansas River out of Muskogee, Oklahoma in September.
Here is a photo of Day 2 launch while waiting for my boat number to be called:
http://www.bassmaster.com/slideshow/day-two-launch-red-river (photo 10)
I am also attaching some other photos I took along the way. The other rig in the camp photos are of my good friend Josh Bertrand’s setup. The photo of the boat lights are on the morning of the second Day of the tournament. All the lights in the photos are Rigid Industries LED Lighting and man are they bright! The lights on the camper worked wonderfully to fully light up my camp since there were not any lights at the facility.
Thanks for making such a great camper! Oh ya, and with the camper and boat hooked up, I was averaging 11 mpg! The camper is so light it only dropped it by 1 mpg from when I’m towing the boat. I couldn’t believe it!