Saturday, September 15, 2018

B.B.S. Birch Lake

I drove up to Snatcher Darren's Place and rode up with him.  When we arrived at Leech it was blowing to beat the band out of the NNE when we arrived at 6:30AM.  Not a good thing when we were launching out of Horseshoe Bay.  The wind didn't die down and the tournament director switched us to the alternate lake at about ten to 8:00AM.  So off we went to Birch Lake.  My boater Alan had only fished the lake twice when the club fished here for the first tournament of the year in 2016.  I fished the lake twice in 2016 and twice in 2011 when we fished there on Oct 1st.

The Day:
I think we blasted off by 8:40AM.  Alan and I were boat number 1.  Alan made the decision that we would run to the farthest west bay in the lake; It's a pad lined slop bay.  Al got two quick small bass in the boat; One kept, one short.  I missed a bite in the pads and had a pike hook up on the frog over open water where I saw a fish bust.  We got into the open area in the bay.  I hooked up with a bass near a pad patch that was out in the open on a black/red Terminator Frog.  Immediately after I set the hook so did Al so we got a double.  My bass was my biggest of the day (2/10) and Al's was just a keeper.  I think Al got 2 more keepers in there.  We then went across to an adjacent point and didn't get anything.  So we headed a little farther East and tried some docks and wood on the north shoreline.  I got a pike on a dock.  We worked our way out on a point and I got a 2lber there on a green pumpkin Jackhammer.  Other than a couple pike that was all we got.  Next, we headed to the south end of the western basin and started working the weed flat.  I put on a junebug Jackhammer and was quickly rewarded with a small keeper.  We went up and worked the pads for a little bit and tried some reeds to the west not getting anything but a few pike.  I then suggested we try the channel between the lake.  I got a very small keeper out of the reeds on the southeast shoreline.  We didn't get anything in the channel.

Next, we headed to where the river goes to Ten Mile Lake.  I had a fish hit, hook up, hang me in some cabbage and get off.  As I was reeling in I saw a 2lber following my Jackhammer so I killed it and the fish smashed it.  I didn't get another bite until we were across the other side of the bay when a 14-incher hit my bone Sprinker Frog in some reeds.  That was my last landed bass of the day.  We went back to the bay we started in and Al got his biggest bass off the day in the pads.  We worked around the southside pads of the little island. I had a couple of fish hit my Terminator Frog, but I didn't hook up.  Probably just small bass like Al was catching.   Then we tried the south side of the big island and all I could get was pike.  And just like that, the day was over.

My fish weighed 10lbs 1oz which put me in 14th Place out of 18 anglers.  Al had 2 more ounces than me and finished 13th.  Keith Tuma won it 19/3 and had a 4/04 for the tournament "Lunker".  Dwight Hammermeister, who was in Tuma's boat, came in 2nd and won the Co-Angler Challenge.

This finish makes me finishing in the club Super 6 highly unlikely, but I'm pretty much guaranteed I will reach my goal of finishing in the Top 10

My Thoughts:
My mental state wasn't optimal.  I hadn't fished since Monday and I was 100% sure we were going to be fishing Leech Lake and had prepared myself for a tough bite there.  My head just wasn't in the game like it needed to be.  It didn't help that the fish never really clued us in.  It didn't help that I didn't have rods and tackle along that would have diversified my fishing options.  I think we probably should have tried a few more docks and definitely fished the eastern basin.


Saturday, August 25, 2018

B.B.S. Pelican Lake

The sun rises over a surprisingly fogless Pelican Lake 
Conditions: 60-73℉, Cloudy for most of the day, Light Wind WSW
Water Temp: 76℉ maybe
1st Fish of the Day Caught on a Jackhammer
The Day:  The first spot we stopped at was at a hump offshore somewhere where Dwight caught a good one while pre-fishing.  We both started out throwing topwaters, but with there being a bit of a breeze I quickly put the popper I was throwing down in favor of a junebug color Evergreen Jackhammer.  On about my 5th cast, it was fish on.  I could tell it was a good fish, but it wasn't exactly fighting like a bass.  Turns out it was a nice walleye, maybe 23-inches long.  About 5 minutes later I got a pike.  That was it for the starting spot.  We tried briefly aways off of a point, not getting anything.  Then we tried close to some reeds.  No bites there.  Then we headed out to where I had the big bass miss my topwater in pre-fish. 

On my very first cast with the same smoke colored tube I used to catch some fish on my first ever tournament on Pelican Lake in 2009 I got the skunk out of the boat for myself with a 1.75lb bass.  That was the only bite we got out there.  Next, we went to the reeds on the South side of the island.  Dwight had we thought was a 2lb smallmouth hit at his lure, but not get it.  We then briefly fished off a point and on the north side of the island not getting anything.  Next, we headed to the reeds on the south side of the entrance to Breezy Point Bay.  I had a good fish take my Hack Attack Jig, but it came off as I tried to bring him through the reeds.  Pretty quickly after that Dwight got the skunk out of the boat with a nice one.  Dwight then added a small keeper after missing a couple of bites.  I had a fish hit the Jig, but I swung and missed.  I pitched right back to the spot and got a small keeper.

Next, we were gonna fish some other reeds, but another tournament boat was fishing out in front of them, so we fished a sunken island instead.  Pretty sure this was the spot Dennis started us on back in 2009.  It was calm, so I got out the good old bullfrog color Frenzy Popper I used to catch some fish on back in 2009.  Sure enough, I had a fish hit it, but not hook up.  I threw back to spot missing it by several yards.  A bass that was just over a pound and a half was on it.  Not sure if it was the same fish or not, but that was the only bite I got on the popper for the day.  We next went and tried the reeds, but Dwight didn't like them and we quickly left for a cabbage area somewhere on the eastern side of the lake.  There was a bit of a chop and I elected to throw a swimbait and was quickly rewarded with a small keeper.  Next, we went back to the area where I got my first keeper and I got a 2lber there on the swimbait.  We tried running South, then back to the starting spot.  With about an hour left we went back to the reeds where we caught fish.   They now had the wind blowing on them and we didn't get any bites.  With about a half hour left we ran some docks.  Dwight got a small keeper and a short.  He also had a what was probably a small keeper come off.  With 10 minutes left, we were getting over towards a large swimming area when we came to a dock that was right on the break.  Dwight got a good keeper.  I then briefly had a fish on.  A few casts later I got a 2lber on a green pumpkin Jackhammer.  I was pretty pumped.  My last bite of the day was a nice pike that hit the junebug Jackhammer.  And then time was up.     

Results: My limit weighed 10lbs 4ozs and put me in 10th Place out of 21 anglers fishing. 
Dennis Lothspeich won with 19/2.  Chuck Steinbauer had "Lunker" with a 4/12 largemouth.  Beau Bacon was the Co-Angler Challenge Winner with a 18/6 bag, which was 2nd Place for the tournament.

My thoughts:  There were only 8 limits caught of which mine was the smallest.  I am pretty darn proud that I managed to catch a limit.  With two tournaments remaining I still have a shot at finishing in the Club Super 6, but it's an outside shot with 4 guys ahead of me right now for the 6th Spot.  One more finish in the Top 8 should pretty much guarantee I reach my goal of finishing in the Top 10 for the year.

Full Results:

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

B.B.S. Lake Minnewawa

1st Place my boater Keith Tuma 19lbs 11ozs
The Plan:  Hope that the rice fish were going and that we wouldn't have too much company.

The Day: We blasted off right around 7:30AM and Keith beelined for the SW rice bay.  He was shocked that we were the only boat to come into the bay.  Several boats stopped in the cane and rice outside of the bay.  Keith wondered if we had missed something.  Seeing how nobody else came into the bay, we didn't head right to Breanne's Secret Spot.  We started on a point with arrowhead pads just inside the bay.  Keith had a good bass in the boat in less than 5 minutes of fishing out of the arrowheads.  I had a fish strike at my new just out of the package Bluegrass Mad Maxx and not get it.  Keith put the Power Poles down.  The fish struck at me again but didn't get it.  Several more casts with nothing and the Power Poles came up.  I made a couple casts back and finally the fish committed and it was a solid 2lber (2.62lbs).  We then didn't get a hit for about 20 minutes.  We went in by a dock and Keith got a couple of dinks.  I had a fish hit me in the rice, but not get it.  On about the fourth try the fish nailed Maxx and stole it. Damn pike.
I don't think we got another bite for about half an hour.  As we were in that lull I went to make a cast, but my line got caught in the hook keeper and I slammed Maxx straight down resulting in a catastrophic overrun.  I decided to just switch Maxx onto my X-Heavy Frog Rod, not switch rods and reels.   We came into an area that really held some big fish on Keith's first-day pre-fishing.  The wind made presenting frogs difficult, but Keith got himself a good one.  After he brought that fish in he decided to switch out reel handles on the Revo Rocket.  We then got to an area where we had access to the bank.  Keith got a couple of small bass and I had a couple of fish hit, but not get the frog.  We then got into an area with a little more rice.  I got a couple of dinks on a Yum Dinger, before getting a 1.47lber on Maxx.  I also missed some hits on the Dinger.  We came up to another big bank of rice and Keith got himself another quality fish.  Unfortunately, that was the only one we could raise.  I tried pitching a craw tube and got a couple of pike.

Right around noon, we got to Breanne's Spot.  It wasn't but one or two casts and Keith is bringing in a good one.  It jumped and I'm thinking 5lber.  I got it in the net and we high fived.  A couple minutes later and Keith make a good cull.  I missed a couple of hits from fish that didn't get the frog.  Keith got a couple that didn't help.  I ended up getting a line burner, a few shorts, dropping a decent one that got me in the arrowheads and missing another one in the arrowheads in Breanne's Spot.  I should of had my limit when we left.  We headed back to the first big fish area.  Keith got a couple that didn't help and I got a pike or two.  We were working our way out of the bay when I got another line burner out of the rice on the Frog.  With about 2 Hours left, we left the Rice Bay for some slop on the eastern side of the lake.  Keith got a couple of dinks on docks.

For the last 45 minutes or so we worked docks in the public access bay.  I got lucky and got my big fish (3/11) on a bubblegum Zoom Super Fluke off of a dock.  I got a couple pike as well.  And then time ran out.

Results: My 5 bass weighed 10lbs and put me in 6th Place.  Keith blew everyone away with 19lb 11oz, putting him 5/11 over Nate Steinbauer in 2nd Place.  Keith's big bass went 4/14.  The club really struggled in this one and only 4 limits were brought in.  I'm pretty sure

My Thoughts:  I kind of blew it.  I had the ideal partner for getting a top 3 finish and was on water that held big fish and I just couldn't make it happen.  I didn't even get a limit for goodness sakes.  If only it was a little warmer and the wind was half of what it was I'm pretty sure I would have had a pretty good sack.  The tournament was a day late for that to happen as the weather was ideal on Saturday.  Me deciding not to switch a working reel onto my favorite frog rod was a mistake.

Well, on to the Lake Edward.

Saturday, June 02, 2018

B.B.S. Bay Lake

Photo credit: SarahJean Fishing Bay Lake 6/2/18

Conditions: 47-64℉, Cloudy with fog for several hours, light and heavy rain after the first couple of hours, Windy ESE.

The Day:
The guys weren't in a big rush to launch the boats on this blustery foggy morning.  I think we blasted off a minute or two after 7AM.  Chuck took me to his starting spot where a couple of loons were milling around.  Chuck got a couple of small keepers in the boat and a pike or two and a rock bass. I think I got a pike and missed a couple of bites.  After fishing the area for around half an hour or so we moved on.  Chuck got a little turned around in the fog for a second, but quickly got back on track.

We next went to a large weed flat where Tuma and Sarah were fishing.  Chuck said they were on the juice.  I got a couple of pike to start things off on the Pure Poison and Chuck landed a couple of small keepers and a pike or two.  It was pretty clear to me at this point that the bass were not in a chasing mood, so I went to the craw tube.  It wasn't that long and I had my first keeper in the boat, a solid 2.18lb fish.  I quickly followed that up with a 1.71lb bass.  Then it was a pike fest for a while and Chuck filled out his limit with little keepers.  Tuma left.  I noticed a fish swirl on the surface.  I picked up a white Pure Poison/RaZor Shad and got a 1.14lb keeper on it.  We got a few more pike and it started to rain.

We headed South to try some docks.  Chuck got a rock bass.  We headed back North.  I got pike on three consecutive casts on the Pure Poison/Craw Fatty.  I also got 1.21lb and .88lb squeaker along with a few more pike.  We fished along Malkerson Island and got some more pike and a rock bass or two.  We went back to the large weed flat where Bailey/Herman were now fishing. I think Chuck got a couple of bass that didn't help and I got a few pike and missed some bites.  I also had a pike bite off my Texas Rig, so I downsized to 3/16oz sinker from 3/8th.

It started to rain harder just as we headed South and West.  We were fishing an offshore point.  Chuck and I both quickly got a small keeper.  Chuck invited me up to the front deck to fish next to him.  I had a fish pick up my Texas rig, but when I set the hook the fish had dropped it and the rig flew out of the water with the sinker nailing Chuck right in the eye.  I saw the whole thing as it happened, quite scary.  Chuck was in quite a bit of pain for a couple of minutes, but then he recovered fairly quickly after that.  I was a gun shy for a little while after that and missed some bites due to a poor hook-set because of it.

We moved back into the central part of the lake and I got some pike on a Whopper Plopper and Chuck got a small bass off of a dock.  We then went back up to the Northern part of the lake to try the starting spot getting nothing,  Chuck asked me if I had any ideas and I did, which paid off in me getting 2.50lber, my biggest of the day during the heaviest downpour.

We went back to work the large weed flat again.  I missed several fish as they bit on the upswing of my jigging motion.  Also caught a few more pike.

We tried a spot over by Chuck's starting spot and I got a very minor cull along with a rock bass and a pike or two.  We tried his starting spot one last time and then the day was done.  It quit raining during the last hour or so.

The Results:
My Fish weighted 10lbs 1ozs, which put me in 14th Place out of 28 anglers.  I jumped 2 places due to some anglers getting to the weigh-in a bit late.  Chuck had 9/14 and finished right behind me in 15th. Jim Smith won with 13/10 and Dave Branum caught a 5/01 hawg for "Lunker".

Thoughts: Both Chuck and I just didn't put enough two-pound fish in the boat.  One more 2lber would have jumped me into the top 10 and another one probably Top 6.

Final Results:


Sunday, October 08, 2017

Challenge Cup South Long Lake

The View from the Public Access this morning
The Challenge Cup is a tournament that pits the three Brainerd lakes area bass clubs against one another.  Each team gets 3 Boaters and 3 Non-Boaters
8:00-4:00PM Lower South Long Lake
Conditions: 50-62℉, Partly Cloudy to Mostly Sunny,  Pretty calm in the morning turning breezy out of the NNW by 11AM.  Water Level High and rising
Water Temp: Low 60's I think
3.17lb/3lbs 7ozs Piranha/Craw Fatty
Before the Tournament:
When I was putting stuff in the car somehow my sunglasses fell off my head.  I didn't realize it until I was half way to South Long.  I had an extra pair in the car, so there was no need to go back.  I found out when I got home that I had backed over the pair that fell off my head; My favorite pair of Fitovers.
Daggum it!
I was kind of surprised that most boats were in the water when I arrived.  Range Bassmasters Bill Bongs, who was my boater, boat was parked just to the left of the ramp (first boat in the picture).  Bill Bongs is really good fisherman and even better guy.

The Day:
I think we were the 8th boat of 9 to launch.  We headed to weedline just off of the reeds/cane in the North middle section of the lake.  About 5 minutes into the day Bill put the first keeper in the boat on a spinnerbait.  We both had several fish bump our lures and not hook up.  I think we had just started to work our way back over the water we had just fished when I got my big bass of the day (3.17lb) on the junebug colored D & M Baits Piranha with blue/black Craw Fatty trailer. I think we both then caught a pike.  Bill got himself another keeper just after I had a bass flash at the Piranha and not get it.  I threw back to the area with a junebug Lake Fork Craw Tube and had 2.04lber get it.  I think Bill got one more pike and we got out of there.

We headed up to the NE end of the lake.  I'm pretty sure we were fishing the same spot Chuck and I fished on Tuesday where I caught one on the Piranha.  I elected to start out throwing the craw tube and that was a good call because almost immediately it was fish on for me (2.05).  I then lost a really good one on the way to the boat.  I was just thinking in my head it could be a 4lber when it came off.  I then got a 2.46lber, before Bill finally got in on the action.  He had himself a little flurry and I got my limit fish (2.49lb).  Bill noticed a guy fishing in a white Nitro, not one of tournament guys, down the way a hundred yards or so pull in several bass including a really nice one.  I caught a couple more bass that didn't help me and I think Bill filled out his limit and maybe culled a time or two before we left.  But  I could be wrong on that.  The wind came up before we left.

We next headed to the South side of the large reed island in the middle South of the lake.  Bill got the first fish and I got one that didn't help on the Piranha.  I got one that didn't help on the Craw Tube.  Bill started whacking them on a jig.  I couldn't get bit for the longest time.  When I finally did it didn't help.  We finally got out of that wind and Bill headed us to the SW end right to the area where Chuck and I got into them on Tuesday.  Nothing was home.  We moved in closer to the reeds and Bill caught one on a spinnerbait.  I had us go in and try the pads.  We spooked a pretty good size fish that didn't seem to be relating to anything.  Maybe it was a fish that followed one of our baits into the open, who knows.

We then headed back towards our starting spot, but there were boats in the area so we just headed up to our second spot.  We put down off to the South of the point.  We had just started fishing when Snatcher Chuck showed up and started fishing right on the point.  But nobody was home.  We worked our way North along the weedline toward the spot where the Nitro was.  Chuck left.  I don't remember who got the first fish, but we found a pod of them.  I culled twice with a 1.86lber then a 2.66lber on the Craw Tube.  Bill got himself a really good cull or two as well.  I think I caught a dink for my final fish of the day.

Snatcher Keith Tuma 1st Place & The Challenge Cup Trophy
1st Place Bass Snatchers & Keith Tuma
2nd Place Range Bassmasters & Bill Bongs
3rd Brainerd Lakes & Snatcher Chuck
I heard that the Range Team was given to much weight and the Brainerd Lakes Bassmasters not enough.  I don't know of that is the case or not.  What I do know is that the Snatchers Won and Snatcher Keith Tuma caught a heck of a bag for that lake (20/10) and Big Bass (4/7).  I came in 5th Place out of 18 anglers.  

My Thoughts:
I reached my goal of being the top non-boater in the field with 15/12.  That is in no small part due to the unselfish nature of Bill Bongs who seemed perfectly delighted I was catching good fish.  Who knows if that one  I lost was a big as I thought it might be, I had shot at big bass and placing in the Top 3.  A great way to end my tournament season. 

Saturday, September 23, 2017

B.B.S. Little Boy/Wabedo

2/13 Hack Jig/Craw Fatty
Conditions: 63-66℉, Cloudy to Mostly Cloudy some light rain, Light Wind SSW to WNW.  I think the water level had come up some from the day we pre-fished.
Water Temp: Mid 60's

The Day:  For the last part of my drive up it was thunder and rain.  I loaded my stuff in the boat in the rain.  I believe the rain quit by the time we blasted off.  We headed North to the inlet.  Within the first 15 minutes we both had a two plus pound keeper in the boat.  I got mine throwing a 1oz Hack Attack Jig along the thick inner reed wall.  The fish really smacked it.  I think Alan then got a fish he culled out later in the sparser reeds.  I had a fish hit my frog and not get it along a cattail wall.  I kept casting back with a black blue Lake Fork Craw Tube and eventually a 1.63lb bass hit it.  I then got a 1.38lb pitching the 1oz Hack Jig in the deeper reeds.  We got over by the closest dock.  I pitched the Hack Jig into the boat lift and caught my biggest bass of the day (2/13).  I had to play it up and over the boat lift frame.  It was barely hooked in it's upper lip.

We then moved to the West side of the upper lake to some reeds, pads, and rice.  While I was putting together my Double Magnum Fluke Alan caught two quality fish on a spinnerbait.  I was fishing again and Alan got at least two more fish before I got bit again.  Alan had just caught a fish in a boat lane.  I cast my Terminator Frog across the boat lane and a 2lber grabbed it.  I then rolled two small fish on the hookset.  I got a 1.78lb fish on the Frog.  I missed a couple of bites.  who knows if they would have helped.  We started  working our way South.  I culled my two smallest with a 2.53 and a 2.31 on the frog.  Alan caught his big bass (4/10) in the pads and reeds on a swimbait.  I thought it was only a high 3lb fish.  I caught a fish or two that didn't help me on the frog.  We got over to where Chuck and Nate were fishing and got out of there.

I think we then went farther south to an area where we got some fish during pre-fish.  Same kind of stuff: reeds, pads, and rice.  I think Alan got maybe one that helped himself and I got one or two that didn't and missed a coupe of hits on the frog.  I think the one's I missed were probably pike.

We went to a weedline spot off of some reeds.  I missed a bite, before getting one that didn't help me on the Craw Tube.  I then missed a couple of bites.  The second one I got a great hookset on and it felt like a really good fish and then it just came off.  The same thing then happened to Alan a couple of times.

We then went back and re-fished our second spot.  I think Alan got one or two more culls and I got one that didn't help.  There was now just a couple hours left.  We went to make a move and the starting battery didn't have enough juice and Alan couldn't get it to jump.  While Al was messing around with the batteries I missed a hit on the craw tube.  We decided to throw traps over the large weed flat/point we were on.  Alan had a big something get off and caught a small bass and I got a pike.  We then headed off at full speed for Little Boy Resort.
   It started to sprinkle a little bit.  We fished a little bit along the way.  Alan picked up a small smallie of a dock.  I think that was the last fish landed for the day.
Alan with the 1st Place "Wood_
Results: My fish weighed 14bs 7ozs, which put me in 10th Place out of 21 anglers. Alan's fish weighed 19/06, which put him easily in 1st Place.  2nd Place was Keith Tuma with 16/3 and Darrin Kiefer got 3rd with 15/14 beating Bill Ludenia on the tie breaker by an ounce on his big fish.   Tyler Czech had a 5lb Lunker.
What my scale said I had.

Thoughts:  With the weights packed so tightly above me losing the last couple of hours because of the dead battery probably cost me a higher finish.  After the way the last couple of years ended for me I can't complain too much though.  At least I was culling fish and I got a front row seat to see how it was won.

To make the Top 10 in Angler of the Year I needed to finish in 2nd Place.  I ended up in 13th Place for the year.  I fished much better this year and got to fish with 4 boaters I'd never fished with before.  All in all it was a good year for me even if I didn't reach any of my goals in terms of finishes.  I had the smallmouth on at the Mississippi that would have gotten me "wood" had I landed it.  Oh well, those are the breaks.  On to next year.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

B.B.S. Gull Lake

Conditions: 52-76℉, Sunny to partly cloudy, Calm or very light E wind
Water Temp: 72-76℉

The Day:  
Not sure exactly what time we blasted off at.  We didn't run very far.  I started off throwing the Whopper Plopper.  After about 15 minutes my boater Mick got himself a decent bass on a craw tube.  I immediately put down the Plopper because there hadn't been a hint of activity on the surface and picked up the Legend Xtreme with a blue/black Chigger Craw on it.  About 5 minutes later I had my first bass in the boat, a 13.3 incher.  Mick then got another decent one and I got a 13.5".  Mick then caught 17 incher and a couple more good one's in pretty short order.  I got a dink next to a dock as we worked our way back over where we had fished.  My blue/black Chigger Craw was trashed so I put on a breen one.  There started to be some surface activity so I started  throwing the Plopper again.  Mick caught his limit fish about an hour and 20 minutes in.  I put the Plopper back down pretty quickly.  I think Mick culled once and I got my big fish of the day, a 15.25"on the Chigger Craw.  I was throwing both the Chigger Craw and a craw tube as well.  I had several fish pick them up and drop it immediately.  Also plenty of bites from sunfish.  The area seemed to go dead, so we headed North to his big fish area.

There were lots of sunfish swimming around, so tried the LiveTarget Sunfish Wake bait.  I saw some boils on the surface so I also tried a bluegill Shower Blows 105 for a while.  Mick started catching some bass but they didn't help him, maybe he culled once or twice.

Mick gave me a red shad craw tube.  I threw it for about 10 minutes without a hit and went to a black/red fleck Chigger Craw.  Mick caught another bass and asked me why I wasn't throwing the craw tube.  He had a good point.  I switched from a 3/8 to 3/16 weight with the craw tube.  While I was fishing the Chigger Craw and the craw tube once again I was having fish pick it up and drop it.  I tried letting it sit or giggling it in place, but they wouldn't come back for it.

It was now a little after 11AM and we headed South.  I don't know which bay we were in but Bill Bailey and Alan Steinbauer were both fishing really close to where we pulled in.  Mick had a small keeper on before I even had my line in the water.  Alan's boat left pretty quickly and we headed that way.  Mick caught another bass that didn't help him.  We went right into the thick coontail and Mick was showing me how he fishes for them in the Fall.  He pulled in a small keeper on his first or second drop.  He then caught another one pretty quickly.  I think I then missed a hit and Mick caught another one.  I missed a couple more bites, but finally hooked up on won just over 13 inches.  Mick sat down and ate a sandwich.  I think I missed one more hit, before me left for the next spot.

The next spot was reed island.  I had a fish just hammer the craw tube after it landed, but when I set the hook there was nothing there.  Might have been a pike.  We fished the area for about half an hour and didn't get anything, so off we headed to what must be eastern most southern bay and fished off of a point.  I got my last fish of the day (13.75) there and missed a couple of hits as well.

We went in and tried some docks.  Didn't get anything.  With about 40 minutes left we headed back to our starting spot and didn't get anything.

Results:  My 5 fish weighed 7lbs 6ozs, which put me in 18th Place out of 22 anglers. Mick's fished weighed 14/1 and put him in 7th Place.  Keith Tuma won his second in a row with 18/11.  Chuck Steinbauer had a 4/5 big bass.

My Thoughts:  Mick probably caught 4 fish to my one.  He had me around fish all day and even gave me the color that was working.  By the time I figured out I needed to grind with craw tube it was too late.  My mental focus was good all day.  Disappointing to not get a limit, but I had a good time.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

B.B.S. North Long Lake

1lb 10ozs Lake Fork Craw Tube (Grn Pumkin/Brown)
6:45-2:50PM North Long Lake we fished all 3 Bays
Conditions: 60-83℉, Partly to Mostly Sunny, Wind All Day out of multiple directions

I came into this tournament without a care in the world.  I was not prepared mentally for how difficult catching fish might prove.  After the pre-fish I was sure we were gonna catch a limit a piece.  Boy was I wrong.  Normally, I am content to let my boater call all the shots for the day and am loathe to offer suggestions.  I need to recognize instances where I need to be more assertive.  This tournament was probably one of those instances, but I can't say with any confidence that the results would have been much different.

The Day:
I had thought to myself that starting where we caught multiple fish and then quickly left in 371 Bay should be our start spot.  Checkbook suggested we start in the reeds where we got fish in Merrifield Bay.  No problem.  Fish for 30 minutes, if we don't get a bite get out of there and go to 371.  That is pretty much the way it played out.

When we got to 371 Bay a boat was anchored maybe 50 yards to the NE of the juice.  We were there maybe 15 minutes and Checkbook got bit off.  I don't remember if I had gone to the front of the boat or not when I caught my only bass of the day on a Lake Fork Craw Tube.  I threw out a marker buoy and went and got the fish weighed and put a cull tag in.  By the time I was ready to fish again Checkbook was retied and back on the trolling motor.  Over the next hour or so I missed a couple of hits and got a pike.  I think Checkbook caught a pike.  The boat that was anchored finally left.  Checkbook wanted to leave as well.  I thought we should fish toward where the boat was anchored, but didn't speak up.

We went to the reeds in 371 that I had a blow up in during pre-fish.  Checkbook got his lone keeper there on a jig.

Next we headed to the main lake.  We apparently just missed fishing a spot that had a bunch of small keepers on it.  We didn't find the weeds.  I suggested we try some docks.  We went to either a resort or marina not sure which.  Didn't get anything there.  We fished some reeds nothing.  Tried another spot close by. Nothing.  We headed back to Merrifield Bay and fished the steep break on the North Shore narrows into the bay.  A good looking spot, but we didn't get a hit other than me getting bit off once.

Next we tried some reeds on the South shoreline, nothing.  We tried some docks.  I think Checkbook got a rock bass.  We tried some more reeds and some great looking shallow slop along the cattail shoreline.  Not a sign of a fish.  It was now about 2PM and both us were pretty frustrated.  I think I pulled the plug on where we were fishing maybe a bit to quickly as we were approaching some good looking water with some cain and thicker reeds, but I really wanted to get back to that weedline spot on 371 and that is where we went and  spent the rest of the day.  We caught several pike there and both got bit off in the final hour.  I also missed a few hits that might have been bass.  I later learned that a lot of the bass bites felt like panfish and you really had to coax them into taking it.  Or it could be that panfish were playing with a bait until a bass came to investigate.  Whatever, the day was over and we didn't figure that part of the puzzle out.

Results: My fish weighed 1lb 10ozs, which put me in 23rd Place out of 24 anglers with Checkbook  taking last.  Keith Tuma won by more than a pound and a half with 17/09 and with 4/05 Lunker.

My Thoughts:  I didn't really get spun out.  It's just that everything we tried didn't work.  If anything I was to casual believing we would eventually find and catch some bass. Looking back at my tournament results in July I haven't caught a limit in the month since 2012, ouch.  This finish pretty much forces my hand.  If I want any shot at making the Super 6 at the end of the year I'm going to have to fish Thunder Lake and miss my oldest brothers wedding ceremony.  A disaster on this level next month at Gull will make that decision a moot point.

Next Tournament: Gull Lake August 12th 


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Snatchers at Zebulon Pike Res. Mississippi River

A Top 5 Finish for Swannie and I.
8:00-4:00PM Zebulon Pike Res. Mississippi River
Conditions: 58-68℉, Mostly Cloudy, Windy NW

The Day:
We ended up starting right before 8AM, thanks to a Snatcher who never showed up.  The wind was blowing on our starting spot pretty good and there were a lot of trees so I didn't start with the Plopper like I planed.  Instead I think I opted for the buzzbait and spinnerbait.  I got my first hit on the spinnerbait but it was a pike.  I then got a rock bass and then another pike.  About an hour in we went back and started over just a little before where we started the first time.  I went to the dreaded Texas Rig.  Within the first 10 minutes and before we reached our starting spot Swannie landed the first keeper of the day.  I ended up getting the Chigger Craw bit off by a pike.  I never did attempt to throw the Texas rig again.  Swannie ended up having to break off his swim jig.  We were just about to move when I got a 15" smallie on the spinnerbait.  About 5 minutes later I overshot my cast and had to break the spinnerbait off.

We ended up moving to our second area and not getting a hit there.

Off the spot #3, a shallow flat with rocks, around 11AM.  Swannie was surprized the only boat fishing there was Tim Benson who I think was 1 fish short of a limit at that time.  Swannie put on a lipless crank and caught 3 quick smallies, 2 keepers and 1 dink that had to go back.  He also caught a walleye around the same spot he got one in pre-fish.  I tried to make topwater work, but the fish weren't having it.  Swannie caught another keeper.  I had seen enough and switched to a red craw 1/2oz Berkley Frenzy lipless that I have had success with in the past in rivers.  I caught a 13 incher.  I think Swannie then caught a catfish and Tim lost a big smallie.  I got my big fish of the day, a 17 incher.

Shortly after getting that fish I cast out the Frenzy and the line broke at the spool.  Just great.  All I had left was a 1/4oz red craw Frenzy lipless.  I put a cast up by shore and got a 13.25" smallie.  Swannie got his fifth keeper then lost a good one on a swim jig.  I had a good smallie on, it would have been my second biggest of the day, and fought it to the boat.  I thought I was going to get it in the net and horsed it a bit to much and it came off.  Totally my mistake.  Losing that fish cost me 3rd Place.

With about 2 hours left we headed back down river.  I got my fifth fish, a 13.5", out of our our starting area where the wind was just pounding with about 40 minutes left in the day.  Eventually we opted to move to the western shore to get out of the wind.  I had the spinnerbait get hit by a couple of small fish, but didn't have another shot at #6.

Results:  My 5 fished weighed 7 and a half pounds, with a 2/04 big fish, which put me in 4th Place.  As you can see I beat Swannie by an ounce. Tim Benson kicked everyone's butt getting 1st with 14/06 and the 3/11 Lunker.  Fishing was tough with only two limits weighed in. Ouch!

Thoughts:  I didn't know we were going to fish that shallow flat as we barely went on to it during pre-fish.  I only had the two lipless cranks with me.  I wish I had more of them and some square bills as well.  Both Swannie and I should of had our limits.  Swannie was a great draw.  Neither of us had a clue fishing was going to be so tough.

 I am off to my best start ever as a Snatcher, so there is that.  If I can just finish middle of the pack from here on out I should reach my goal of being in the Top 10 at the end of the year.  A couple more Top 10 finishes and I should have a great shot at making the clubs Super 6 and thus make this years Challenge Cup Team.

Next Tournament: North Long on July 15th.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

6/3/17 Snatchers Platte/Sullivan

Getting Ready For Blast Off
7:45AM-3:50PM Platte Lake
Conditions: 54-84℉, Partly to Mostly Cloudy, 3 to 15MPH WSWNW Winds, Water Level getting low

There was a surprise at the ramp this morning when we learned a bass club with 7 boats would also be fishing Platte/Sullivan today.  They blasted off at 7AM even though all their boats weren't in the water yet.  Thankfully they only went until noon, so there was no conflict over weigh in and take out.

I think we blasted off around 7:45AM and we went right to what I will now forever call Chuck's Point.  It is a reed point with some cabbage mixed in with rice up by shore and a slop bay to the West.  I think Chuck got a 15" right away on a swimbait or swim jig.  I made a cast out of the reeds into the slop with the Horny Toad.   A fish slapped, but didn't get it.  I cast back and it got it this time, but it hung me up in the reeds.  It really wasn't happening at this spot so we went to one of my spots in the NW corner.  I think Chuck got a small keeper and I whiffed when a fish hit Maxx.  That darn J-Braid 8 wrapped itself around my rod good.  I eventually had to cut it.

We then went to Double Maidencaine Point.  I got a pike there.  Carp were active, but we couldn't raise a bass.  Next we headed to some docks on the South shoreline.  That didn't pay off with anything.  We were making our way out of the rice when I had something show up behind my frog.  I let it sit for a couple of seconds and when I moved it again a 17.75" bass blasted it.

Chuck was intent on getting to some docks, so we didn't fish the area to see if anything else was there.  Chuck came in a little too close to the South side of the small island and he hit bottom with his motor.  Thankfully he didn't seem to do any damage.  We didn't get anything on the docks.

We then headed to the point across from the Platte Lake access and the fish were active there.  Chuck got the first couple of fish.  Then I got a 13.3," 14.25" and a 17" on a Bass Pro Speed Shad.  I lost a 15-16 on the Shower Blows Knock off.  I think Chuck filled out his limit and maybe culled once.

Next we headed back to Chuck's point.  Chuck got a fish right away again and was back to culling.  I caught a 12" line burner on a craw tube which I put in the well.  Almost immediately I had another bite as did Chuck.  They were both good fish.  Chuck's got off, but I landed mine and it was my big fish of the day 18.5" 3/07, so she was spawned out.  I then got a 16.5" fish on the craw tube to get rid of the line burner.  I switched to the Horny Toad and quickly got a skinny 16" fish on that.  Then the bite quit on Chuck's Point.

We ran into my bay, but everything was either covered up or kids were swimming there.  We ran back to the point across from the access.  I may have caught my final cull here, a 16.5 on the Speed Shad.

The sun came out.  We tried some docks on the Platte Access shoreline.  Didn't get anything.  We went back to Chuck's point.  I had a really good fish hit the Horny Toad, unfortunately after having it on for about 4 seconds it buried me in the reeds.  If it was a bass, and I think it was, it probably would have been my big fish.  That hurt me because I couldn't get rid of that skinny 16 incher.

We tried the slop to the East of the GOMH.  Both Chuck and I had hits but couldn't hook the fish.  We went back to Chuck's point to end the day.  He got a solid cull and lost a good one while I got several fish that didn't help me.  And the day was done.

Chuck had me believing we had  me believing that our weights were fairly similar.  They weren't.

Results:  My fish weighed 15/8, which put me in 7th Place.  Whew, I finally made a Top 10.  Chuck came in 3rd Place with 17/4 and he had Lunker with a 4/2.  Mark Munson won with 17/12.  I'm a little surprised no one caught an 18lb bag as the fish were really biting.

My Thoughts: Finally a half way decent tournament day for me. I would have been really disappointed had I come in with anything under 14lbs.  There are just so many 15.5-17" fish in the system right now.  Can I keep the momentum?


Saturday, October 08, 2016

Mini Bucks at Rabbit Lakes

Guy with the Lunker that Dwight Caught
9:00AM-3:00PM Rabbit Lakes
Conditions: 53-36 degrees, Alternating between Mostly Sunny to Mostly Cloudy throughout the day,  Wind out of the WNW 8-2MPH less wind towards the end.

I was asked to fish the annual Snatchers Mini Bucks Tournament by Charles Steinbauer because Nate, his usual partner, wasn't able to make it this year.  The lakes were divided into 5 holes, one for each boat. Holes 1,2,4 and 5 were in the lake and the pit was a hole #3.  We would get an hour and 10 minutes in each hole with  I drew for us to start in Hole 4, which meant we got an extra 10 minutes to fish the pit.

In Hole #4 we didn't get anything on our first two spots.  I caught a 14" keeper on our 3rd stop on a bluegill D & M Baits Piranha Swim Jig.

In Hole #5 (The northern most quarter of the lake) Chuck got 14" right away and I got a 12 incher on breen Crazy Legs Chigger Craw.  I think Chuck got another 12 incher and then got a quality 17+ fish off a dock.

Hole #1 (The farthest SW quarter of the lake) Chuck got another quality 17+ bass.  It hit like a pike and I got 13"on a Craw Tube along a reed point to cull out the smallest fish.  This is the hole the Lunker for the tournament came out of in the Slop in the far western bay.

Hole #2 I got a 13" fish culled out our other dink on the Horny Toad in the reeds.
17.15" Craw Tube brown/grn pumpkin

Hole #3 (The Pit).  I think my 17'er was the first fish we got in the Pit providing a good upgrade.  Chuck got a couple of fish that didn't help and I got 1 that didn't on the craw tube.  With about 15 minutes left I got 14" that was a small up grade.
   When we went to take off to go in, we didn't have enough juice to start the motor.  We had been having trouble with the electronics all day.  I was eventually able to get a hold of Guy who came and towed us in.
Waiting to see what Guy and Dwight brought in.
 Dwight and Guy won the tournament and got lunker.  We got 3rd.  Here are the results.

Baits I'm Thinking of for this years Tournaments

Birch Lake- Buzzbaits,  Walking Baits, Chatter Jigs, Jerkbaits, Flukes, Whopper Plopper, Gunfish 117, Horny Toad, HB Frogs, Lizards, Swim Jigs, Traps, spinnerbaits, Grass Pigs both sizes, Craw Fatty, Wake baits, Trick Worm

1 .Tatula Rod: Frog
2. Carolina Rig: Horny Toad
3. Dock Rod: Fluke/Senko
4. Xtreme: Chigger Craw/Senko
5. Avid 7Hvy: Craw Tube/Craw Fatty/Lizard
6. Mojo 7'MH: Poison/Piranha/Crank/Lipless/Topwater/Jerkbait
7. Mojo 7'4": Poison/Piranha/Crank/Lipless/Topwater
8. Crucial: Spinnerbait

South Long- Punching, Buzzbait, HT, Swim Jig, Chatter Jigs, Flukes, HB Frogs, Spooks, Gunfish 117, Trick Worm

1.  Tatula Frog++++++++++++
2. Mojo 7'4"???????????????????????
3. Avid 7 Heavy+++++++++++
4. Lamiglass???????????????????????
5. Dock+++++++++++++++++
6. Avid 6'8" Fire ????????????????????-------
7. Swim Jig LTB????????????????????
8. Mojo 7'?????????????????????????--------

1. Tatula
2. Avid 7' H
3. Xtreme 6'8"
4. Dock
5. Horny Toad
6. Lamiglass
7. Mojo Crankster
8. Spinnerbait

Fishhook Lake- Whopper Plopper, Frog, Horny Toad,
1. Tatula
2. Mojo Crankster
3. Mojo Crank
4. Avid 6'8" Armilo
5. Dock
6. Avid 7' H
7. Xtreme


1. Chigger Craw Xtreme
2. Craw Tube Avid 7 H
3. Dock
4. Mojo 7'
5. Tatula with Jig
6. Avid 6'8"
7. Swim Jig
8. Spinnerbait

Whitefish Chain
1. Craw Tube
2. Chigger Craw
3. Dock
4. Dinger
5. Mojo
6. Mojo
7. Buzzbait
8. Spinnerbait

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Whitefish Chain BBS

I didn't take any pictures.
7:45AM-3:50PM Lower Whitefish, Big Trout, Lower Hay
Conditions: Low 60's, Cloudy with light drizzle in the morning, Wind to Very Windy ESE

The Day:
I missed the only bite right at the boat on Mark's starting spot on a Piranha with a Chigger Craw trailer.  I don't think Mark got anything.  Next we went somewhere on lower Whitefish where a point comes out.  I got a 14.66" bass there on the Piranha and had multiple claws get bit off as well.  Next we went to a close by protected shoreline.  I got 3 pike pretty quickly on a white Booyah Spinnerbait, but the 3rd fish stole the lure. I think Mark got a rock bass off of a dock.

We next went to Big Trout to fish docks.  Mark finally got his first keeper.  I managed to get two keepers on a Yum Dinger.  My lunker (2/1) came off of a pontoon boat lift with a pontoon on it.  That was my last keeper of the day.  I also missed a fish that felt good when it hung me up on a wave runner lift on a craw tube.  I also got a pike on a weedline on the Craw Tube.  Shortly after I got the pike Mark had a nice bass get off as it dove into the weeds.

We went back to Mark's starting spot and got nothing again.  We spent the rest of the day in Lower Hay.   Mark also caught a dink off of dock then had another good fish get off in the weeds on the same dock.  Then the docks went dead.  I caught a 10" dink out over the weeds and Mark caught his 5th and last keeper with about 10 minutes left over shallow weeds.

My 3 fish weighed 5lbs 4ozs which put me in 14th Place out of 18 anglers.  Mark had 5 fish for 8/13 which put him in 11th Place.  The winner was Mick Ziebell with 17/1.  Lunker was a 3/9 caught by Swannie.  Whitefish fished tough and only 7 limits were caught.

I ended up finishing in 12th Place for the year, behind two guys that didn't fish in two tournaments. smh

 Not catching fish sucks. For some reason the fish were tucked up well under the docks and the wind made making good presentations difficult even with Mark putting down the Power-Pole.  The day seemed to fly by as well.  Only caught two limits out of the six tournaments and weighed 26 fish out of a possible 36.  By far the worst fishing I've done as a Snatcher.  I didn't reach a single one of my goals for 2016 as a Snatcher.  But I did have a good time despite the poor fishing I encountered.

Congratulations to Chuck Steinbauer on his 12th Baxter Bass Snatchers Mr. Bass title.