Thursday, January 13, 2005

2004 Wisconsin Tournament Review.

Come on it's Czecheslovakia. We zip in we pick them up we zip right out again. We'renot going to Moscow. It's Czecheslovakia. It's like going into Wisconsin.

Click to hear the quote, do you know what movie it's from?

Anyway here is a review of the two Team Bass Wisconsin Tourneys I fished last year.

Deer Lake-9th Place Tie Weight 0-00
What can I say, the pre-fishing psyched me out. I had two "good days" for pre-fishing; sunny and calm and so I knew that keeper bass would not be easy to come by. I consider myself pretty good on the pre-spawn fish and they just were not there to be had. By tourney day I was not looking foreword to it and really wished we would have been on another lake. Deer is clearly on a down cycle as far a largemouth, but maybe in a couple of years it will be better; I caught a lot of 8-11" bass on the days I pre-fished. I also landed several Ski's pre-fishing which was cool and saw a bunch more. At one point during pre-fishing I went down a row of docks and there was musky at each one for 5 docks in a row.

The tournament day was cloudy and cool with a bit of wind, the weather cleared and warmed up for about the last hour or so. All I got tourney day was one nice crappie, I don't think I even got one short bass during the tourney; the day before I caught a bunch of shorts. All but 8 of the 23 teams skunked and nobody got a limit which is unheard of for Team Bass. After the tournament was over I stayed and fished, actually getting into a bunch of shorts and maybe a keeper or two. I then headed to Bone and had a blast catching bass on topwater at dusk.

Winning weight: 3Fish 12lb3oz BB:4lb10oz

Bone Lake-1st Place and Big Bass Weight:13lb14oz BB:4lb1oz
What can I say, but I like this lake. The tourney day started out terrible, however, as I took a spill while launching the boat and my right side was soaked. I had to put on different shoes without socks for fishing. I pre-fished the lake and felt much better than I did going into Deer. As it turned out, my plan A was a winner thanks to a little luck. Another boat got into the area I wanted first, but they didn't get anything and moved out quick.

I then went in and worked the area as methodically as I could and the fish were there. The rest is history.

Here is a longer recounting of my win on Bone:

I guess being Team 7 was my lucky number as that was the cut off for me to go to my #1 spot over #2. The water in this #1 area was the warmest in the lake I could find and probably among the murkiest. As it turns out drawing #7 wasn't good enough for me to be first to it so I stopped short of the area to give the boat ahead of me a chance to work the area first. In the meantime I caught a couple of short fish off of some docks on a Super Fluke. By the time I was getting to the last dock on the stretch, the other boat was on it's way out of the area I wanted to fish and they hadn't had any luck.

However, they were in and out quickly so I thought maybe they were fishing it to fast and my slow methodical approach would pull a fish or two that I figured had to be in there. The week before the area yielded 3 solid keepers for a club tournament winner.

Note on that- I wanted to fish and would have fished this area regardless of seeing the club guys in there catch fish. The week before, after the Deer lake tournament, I went to Bone to pre-fish and this was pretty much the first area I went into, catching a nice fish missing 4 others and it was loaded with panfish and there were at least 4 muskies there. The next day I also pre-fished Bone and nabbed a 3.5 and missed several fish yet again. I also learned that I better pay more attention to my casting angles and hooksets. The next week when I saw the club guys in there catching fish 1st thing in the morning it just confirmed that the area should be my first spot if I could get it. Those club guys got the fish on Zoom Baby Brush Hogs, a lure that I do not own and was not willing to go out and buy. As it turns out between me and the 2nd place boat this area proved it was a lot better than the 3 fish those club guys pulled the week before or the area just got plain might have gotten better.

Anyway back to catching the fish. In the first stretch of water I thought something hit my Super Fluke, but there was nothing there. A couple of minutes later I got a 10incher which I took as a good sign. A bit farther down by a clump of Lilly pads and pontoon I had a good swirl, hookset and thought I had my first keeper, but it was just shy of 14." I then cast by some other nearby pads and got one just over 14".

Just after that I noticed a fin come out of the water I was sure belonged to a good sized female bass spawning. The first cast two the spot something tipped the fluke but didn't take it. On the next cast I got a 10" male. A couple more casts to the exact spot gave nothing. I then cast down the shore, and when the Fluke got to the pocket just beyond the area where I saw the fin a nice bass came out and just crushed it. I got a good set but didn't stick the fish. I was a bit dejected that I blew that opportunity. However I did learn that the fish may be spawning and I went back and worked the area where I caught that male just under 14 and all around the pontoon and pads where I got the 1st keeper in the hopes that female might have been passed over; No luck.

About minutes had passed after missing that good fish and so I pitched the Fluke back to the same pocket . To my surprise something boiled on it and I stuck her this time, a one eyed mid three lb 17incher full of eggs. "Ole One eye" tends to miss baits which may have been the case with the first miss and also i think they tend to be more aggressive than your average bass because of the one eye.

I then slowed down even more and tried to work as precisely as I could so as not to miss any females I might come across. As I moved down a bit further I caught a couple more shorts on the fluke and then up close to the shore I saw some signs of fish movement. I repeatedly cast the fluke to the spot without any results. I then switched up to a jig n pig. On the very first pitch the line jumped and I set into a solid 15inch bulging female. I kept the jig on and about 3 pitches later the line jumped again and I got another female that was just over 15inches.

By this time another boat had come into the area and I watched them get a couple of keepers in behind where I had been but had worked over thoroughly or so I had thought. I kept working the jig for a while but no more luck so I went back to the fluke. I got to the pontoon where prefishing I had gotten a mid 3lb fish. I made a solid cast way underneath and I felt some pressure. I reared back and made a solid set and the days Big Bass came out from under the pontoon and I had her in the net in no time. I now had my limit with one dink, two solid keepers, and two really nice fish. I was elated and relieved to have a limit after skunking at Deer.

A few minutes later I had a solid take on the fluke where I saw the flash of the fish and set into what I thought was going to be another big bass; that was until the fish came up and I saw the shape of of a missile. Instead of a good bass it was a 3 to 4lb Pike. Yes it was a pike and not a ski.

I was coming to the end of the area when I had another good boil on the fluke and I set the hook hard but had broken my line or so I thought. I was kicking myself for not retying after I got the pike, I gave the line a good look over but figured I missed something and it cost me the fish. Then I reeled in and discovered that my hook was still there; the fish must have only had the back of the fluke and it ripped right off on the hookset. I decided however that it was time to retie anyway.

After retying, I thought that a fluke would not be the best choice to go back after the fish with. On a whim I put on a black Snag Proof tournament frog and casted beyond the spot of the boil and into the bulrushes along shore. I then worked the frog slowly out and over the spot. I gave the frog a twitch and she nailed it. I put the hammer down on the set and had her speeding into the boat, another solid 15inch female and I culled out the one just over 14. I worked what was left of the area and got a couple of shorts and then headed back toward the other boat. After not getting anything for a while I decided to head out to one of my deeper spots. As I passed the other boat we compared notes, and they had four with two solid fish. They were pretty sure there were some more good fish in the area and if they could catch them after the way I worked the area then I would have to give them props.

I headed out to my deep-water spot and fished it with cranks, a jignpig, and drop-shot. I missed a good hit with the jig and got a short. I had panfish hit the drop-shot and set the hook a couple of times but no bass. I got a muskie follow and 14.75" bass on the crank. After battling the wind and mist I decided to head into some calmer water and try and nail a kicker on a good flat with a buzzbait and Storm Swimbait. I got a short on the buzzbait and had a muskie follow the Swimbait. With about an hour left I decided to head back to the area I had gotten the fish. The other guys were still there and said they filled their limit and got a bunch of fish culling several times but hadn't really added that much weight in the process. I caught one about 14.5" and couple of shorts, but no more big females and then it was time to go in.

I figured I had between 11 and 13 pounds and was hoping just to be in the money. I was surprised that my big one was over 4lbs as that I measured her at 18.5". I must have got her at her pre-spawn zenith in weight. After last years big bags I thought I really needed one more 3plus pound fish to even have any shot at all. Amazingly enough my weight held and I won one of these things and I know that ain't easy in Team Bass.

Special Thanks to Jeff and Erin Sutter-Maas my main sponsors and my boat sponsor G.E.M. Camp (Great Expectations Ministries).

Sunday, January 09, 2005

The BP Tourny HQ is now Open

This blog is part of the Bass Pundit Blog Franchise Empire which are offshoots of the Blog Bass Pundit.

The purpose of this blog is to keep track of the BP's personal tournament experiences, and photographs.