Saturday, July 30, 2005

Team Bass @N.& S.Center July 30, 2005

As that this report is written on 5/8/06 I don't remember much about this forgettable tournament.

Pre-fish: The plan was to hit South Center early to mid morning than pre-fish with Dave Smiddle in the later afternoon. I didn't get to the lake until after 5PM and Smiddle got off early and had been fishing out of his boat for most of the afternoon. He took me around to show me his spots then we fished for a little while before he had to leave. I then proceeded to look for some stuff on my own catching a few quality fish. I stayed over night at the access and did pre-fishing for a second day on South Center. I tried all sorts of things and caught fish here and there with nothing great but enough for a good feeling heading into the tournament as I headed home.

Tournament Day: Since the culvert between the two lakes was under construction we had the option of fishing either lake with two separate weigh ins. Naturally I chose South Center as that is where my pre-fishing was concentrated.

Conditions: The weather was partly sunny to overcast with a bit of a southern breeze.

Blast off came and I headed to my starting area, nothing. Secondary spot nothing, Third spot nothing, Fourth area nothing. Tried some docks, nothing. Tried some slop, nothing. It was now late morning and I had nothing to show for it. I then went inside a shallow bay to an isolated spot where I thought I would be able to get at least my first keeper, nothing. Finally some time after noon I got my first keeper in some pads, I worked the area and got a second fish and that was it. I did try and work a couple of Smiddles spots with only a bite off and a couple of crappies on a drop shot to show for it.

As if the day wasn't frustrating enough, at the end of the day I got harassed and threatened by a dock owner for fishing to close to his boat and dock. If my cell phone still worked I would have recorded his every word and took the time to turn the guy in. As it turns out he harassed a couple other of our guys.

All and all a second year in a row with a miserable showing at N&S Center. 2 fish for 2lbs15ozs and 19th place out of 22 Teams.
For Sylvia/Twin
TLA: .000
LCP: .000
FWA: 1.47lbs
BBP: .000
TDWA: 2.94lbs

After Thoughts: Can't believe what I caught was all I caught, tough day and I'm embarrassed on a pretty good bass fishery.

Mistakes: I think I was fishing just too fast. Mike Daloia , 8th place, said he caught lots of fish, plus tied for big fish senko fishing docks and pads slowly.

I didn't stay positive and fish to the best of my abilities. At the end of the day I was just frustrated and going through the motions.

Drop shotting: What was I thinking? In that stained water a texas rig should have been the way to go.

Final Thought: It was just one of those days, N&S Center kicked my butt for the second year in a row. Maybe next year.

Next Tournament: Sauk Lake

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Team Bass Horseshoe Chain-July 9th 2005

Pre-fish: I just could not get my act together even with leaving GEM Camp directly from Black Water Lake. I slept in and then putzed around getting ready. I was not onto "the chain" until 7:30PM, not much for Pre-Fishing time. I headed to a row of docks and got nothing, I then went to my starting area from last year and popped a couple of fish and figured all the stuff I've had success on in the past was good to go. I then went to GPS the entrance to the "river section" and went to a bay I've wanted to try on Horseshoe where I caught 1 fish but that was it. Went back to the landing and read through the New Bassmasters Magazine and then set up the boat for bed.

The boat was not nearly as comfortable as at Lobster. It was too humid and dank under the boat cover and I could not sleep. When I opened the cover mosquitoes were buzzing me. My alarm clock was ahead by about 2 hours and so at 3am I thought it was 5am and I figured I'd just stay up until the tournament started. Man it took a long time for it to get light as I finished off reading the Bassmaster and waited, I even got a bit of sleep in the truck before people started pulling in.

Pre-fish Analysis: Not enough sleep bad, bad, bad! I wished I hadn't come for pre-fishing at all.

Tournament Day:
I made a morning day decision to start at "the starting point" rather than in "Tracy's Channel." I did get one fat 13incher out from under one little tree on a jig but that was it. I made my way down the way to Tracy's Channel getting nothing. A boat was in the Channel and they said nothing was in there and they were not kidding. I didn't even get a bite and there were no carp or sunnies really and that place is normally full of life and worth a limit. I then headed around to "the carp cut" area around to "Break Off Point." I luckily managed to land a good bass on a fluke off a tree on the point even though I was out of position when it hit.

I went into the next cut and got nothing off the entry docks. I went back further into the cut and found a school of fish holding under slop along a retaining wall. I worked the whole area and filled my limit.

Onto the next cut and it's docks where I got nothing. I went to the other side and flipped trees and culled up just a little bit and missed a couple. All the fish seemed to be about 13-14inches which is weak for the Chain. I then headed to "Kicker Missed Cut" and got my last cull fish. Headed to the cut across the way and the day was over. I had my worst Horseshoe bag yet for a Team Bass tournament and a worse bag than on Lobster for goodness sake. Normally I've had a limit with a nice fish pretty early in the day, but it was tough to get bites on this hot and hazy day. I figured I was headed for a dismal finish in the mid to high teens.

I hung out at the weigh in and the weights were way down this year. My bag of 10lbs15ozs was good enough for an 8th Place finish (tie for my best Horseshoe finish last year when I had a couple of more pounds)
For Horseshoe
TLA: 1.000
LCP: 1.000
FWA: 1.82lbs
BBP: .000
TDWA: 10.94lbs

For Season
TLA: .750
LCP: .826
FWA: 2.21lbs
BBP: .053
TDWA: 10.52lbs
(TLA-Tournament Limit Average, LCP-Limit Catch Percentage, FWA-Fish Weight Average, BBP-Big Bass Percentage, TDWA-Total Daily Weight Average)

After Thoughts: What's with the shoe? All it took to win was 17-1 which is quite low for Team Bass, but the real story is the low average of weights. My 8th Place weight of last year 13-12 was good enough to make the money this year. I guess I am happy with my finish as that it could have been far far worse. I lucked out in that Craig and Roger, the winners at Koronis, were one short of limit when I was 10oz's in front of them.

Mistakes: I could have used more sleep. Fatigue did become a factor for me in that hot weather and the lack of sleep made focusing a conscious struggle. I did amazingly well at keeping my focus but I would say I fished at about 85% of what I would have done rested.

Otherwise I fished alright and nothing comes to mind.

Parting Thoughts: Even though I was worn out I decided I wanted to check out some more of the chain and so I headed out after the tournament. I ran into this guy, who's name I don't recall, who was pre-fishing for the Midwest Sportsman Bass Tournament and he said he just got out but had been pre-fishing a few days during the week. He bragged about how he had and been catching nice fish left and right in his pre-fish and he went on to brag about how great this Midwest Sportsman Trail is and how good their fisherman are and how it was gonna take 20lbs with a 5 bass limit to win next week; He was off by about 5.5lbs and there is no way their top team would have beaten the Team Bass top team if they could have brought in a 6 fish limit. Sure their average weight per fish was maybe a bit better than what Team Bass as a group had, but we were a week closer to Post Spawn and they fished a different day, a day on which Team Bass guys and gals were whacking 20lb stringers on Maple Lake. My guess is that we fished the tougher day.

I guess there is something in fisherman and tournament fisherman in particular that makes us prone to want to brag and be the one's who are catching the most and biggest. The great thing about the end of the tournament day is that "the scale" don't tell very big lies, if it lies at all.

Next Tournament: Team Bass Guy/Gal on Sylvia/Twin.

Team Bass Lobster Lake June 25th

Pre-Fish June 24th- My research indicated that this was a Sylvia/Twin like fishery with clear water, lots of bass, but difficult to catch bass with any size. I got a late start and was not on the water until about 10am. Talked with Jack Kiffe briefly at the ramp.

Started out by running around the whole lake for a quick look at everything. The lake reminded me a lot of Clearwater in Wright County with lots of reed beds and bullrushes along with some good dock runs, and slop, there is also some good wood in the water. The day started out sunny and hot with only a little bit of wind. I started out by putting a tube through matted weeds and getting fish, mostly 12's except for a 4lb dogfish. Was observing lots of sunnies and carp.

I then went to Fluke weed flats and inside weedlines. I got a couple of nicer fish. I threw a topwater popper and got lots of little dudes. Threw in the slop and got a couple of blow ups. Started pitching a jig on rushes, reeds, slop and wood and got more bites mostly small. At some point it started clouding up pretty good. I hit some dock areas and got more dinks mostly. Ran into, Koronis partner, Nick Graupe and John Larson for some small talk as it was sprinkling a little bit. They reported lots of dinks deep or shallow.

A little while after talking with Nick and John, I found a little something by catching 3 quality mid 2 to almost 3lb fish in as many casts and went up to figure out why they were there and there WAS a reason. I just wish I hadn't hooked em to find this out. I decided this would be my starting spot.

I then went to check a similar area and had a muskie or pike steal a topwater frog but there wasn't much here except little bass. As the sun went down I did some fun fishing with the popper and some topwater frogs in the reeds. I had a quality bass jump me off in the reeds. As it got dark I went back to the launch and set up the boat which was my motel room and that worked out great.

Pre-fish Analysis- I like the lake and Sylvia/Twin knowledge experience would be a definite advantage. The key would not be just getting a limit (getting a limit would be easy, I succeeded at catching keepers every way I fished) or needing a BIG limit (getting a 3lb plus average probably is a very long shot), but finding a limit of 2lb fish and finding any fish 3lbs or more would be a big deal.

Tournament Day:
Think I had a take-off number in the low teens. Not that it mattered even with boat 1 my run was long enough that almost any boat was gonna beat me to my starting spot if they wanted. I was happy to see that no one was anywhere near that part of the bay where my "something" was. I started out catching fish immediately on flukes and a popper. Within 15 minutes I had 5 fish in the well but they were all disappointing 12-13.5 inchers. Finally I got a solid hit on a jig but it turned out to be a 2.5lb pike that only fought like a solid bass. I hadn't even seen a pike the day before and so I was disappointed. Left this spot with 5 dinks in the well.

I then headed for quick stab at a reed point, nothing. Then to where I lost the big one in the reeds, nothing. On to the far east side, tried this good looking deal but it didn't have anything. Fluked an inside weedline and filled my limit also had a walleye follow of all things. Decided to keep on the inside weedline in the other direction and I ended up missing a solid fish somehow, but I changed to the "Smoke" fluke and luckily I think I hooked it, a 15"er. I didn't get anymore and headed to the outlet were I got a bunch of little one's.

I then headed back to my morning spot and culled up 2 fish with 1 being another quality fish at or around 2lbs. I stopped by some wood in the slop and missed an opportunity for something that MAY have been a good fish because I wasn't paying attention like I should have been while pitching a tube into holes. I then tried around some docks and wood but didn't get anything there.

I then went to area I pitched mats and tried that but nothing really was going on. I did eventually manage a couple of culls with on 14+ fish off some slop. When into the last 2 hours I headed back to my starting spot and got another quality 14+ fish. I then ran for the NE "Claw" but screwed up and was in NW "Claw" so I decided to run that slop quickly and managed to luck into a 14+ bass. I got another solid strike which turned out to be a 4lb pike, doggone it. I then headed to the NE "Claw" which looked awesome with the wind blowing in stained water and carp playing playing but all I managed was few dinks. I then spotted something that I had not noticed in my lake scouting. Time was running short and I wanted to get back to my starting spot one more time and so I didn't have a chance to explore. I ran to my morning spot and got yet another good cull out of it. I had to quickly head off to the weigh in spot on the East side. I figured I had the 2lb average I wanted and had a solid shot at fishing in the money, I figured I was 1 quality 3lb+ bite out of the win.

I was disappointed that my cookie cutter bag of 14.5 to 15.75" limit was only good for 11lbs 5ozs. I thought I was much closer to 12lbs than that or even over 12lbs, Damn skinny fish! My big bass 15.75inches was only like 2-6. I ended up in 7th Place just 2lbs even out of 1st, 14oz's out of 2nd, and 7oz's out of the money in 4th. Dropping to 7th place was an Ouch! cause I thought my bag was better.

After the tournament I decided to check out that little deal I spotted there at the end. It took a bit of effort on my part to figure it out but when I did immediately I was greeted by my first 3lb Lobster bass and then another and then another within 12 casts. If I had found this in pre-fish, I would have won going away, darn it. I ended up with 4 at least as big as anything I had in the tournament and a shot at a big dogfish too. If only...

I guess one can only hope that Lobster is drawn as a TOC lake and the two things that I have there hold up as that they are not quite the same but similar.

After Thoughts: Frustration! On my starting spot, I burned some of it's better fish in finding it and not thoroughly scouting enough left a gold mine untapped when I really should have found it. I could have had a 15+lb limit, but that's the way it goes.

Looks like Clearwater, fishes like Sylvia Twin.

#1: Missing what I missed in my pre-tournament and pre-fish scouting.
#2: Lack of concentration and good technique for a moment that may have cost me a good fish.
#3: Catching that 3rd fish in a row in the same spot pre-fishing, two in a row should have told me something was up and I should have checked it out a little closer.

Stats: Lobster Lake
TLA: 1.000
LCP: 1.000
FWA: 1.89Lbs
BBP: .000
TDWA: 11.31Lbs

For Season Stats and Next Tournament See Horseshoe Chain Above...

(TLA-Tournament Limit Average, LCP-Limit Catch Percentage, FWA-Fish Weight Average, BBP-Big Bass Percentage, TDWA-Total Daily Weight Average)

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Team Bass Guy/Gal @ Sylvia/Twin July 23rd

Note: Report done 3-27-2006
Pre-fish: None do to not taking this tournament seriously and my familiarity with the lake. I would have loved to pre-fish but it just wasn't in the offing.

Tournament Day: Note my Gal was sister in-law/sponsor Erin Sutter-Maas
I arrived at the lake far before Erin and I's agreed meeting time. I headed out to do a little early morning fun fishing and did get into a bunch of small bass. Technically I think this was against the rules but it's the guy/gal tournament and so I didn't think it mattered. I wasn't pre-fishing. I knew this spot holds bass in the early morning and that I would not visit the spot in the tourney, and probably nobody else would as well.

Eventually it was time to meet Erin and Jeff. We got squared away and headed to the check in. There were 12 other teams.

Conditions: Warm and becoming more overcast, maybe a slight wind but I don't remember.

At Blast Off we made our way past the starter mansion that sits on the families old property and headed to "My Island" and "Turtle Bay." After a quick lesson on frog fishing in the slop, Erin and I were casting away. The bass were in the area but we were having a hard time hooking up. The size of the fish was OK but not great. We fished the general area for a long time. Getting a blow up ever now and again with a fish every once and a while. Just before the thunderstorm hit, I got the best fish of the day, a solid 2lber, down towards McGregor's towards the end of the rice. Conditions got perfect just before the storm hit and I think I landed our 4th bass at that time.

The Storm hit and we went across to the 1st Dock inside "My Island" to wait it out. It rained, it poured, it blew, and it thundered. We were protected pretty good from the wind, but it rained cats and dogs. The Storm must have lasted a good hour. FYI the guy/gal tournament fishing hours are shortened, so an hour or more off the water is a big deal. Finally the storm slowed a bit and we headed back out covering the same area, I think I missed a couple of opportunities and didn't catch anymore.

We then headed to the channel. It was starting to clear up at this point and we were into post frontal conditions. We started fishing around the Twin Channel entrance and around "Bullhead Bay" At some point I think it was Erin that caught our limit fish and I think she got another that didn't keep, while I caught a few more smallish one. I think she got her fish on a spinnerbait. I had and missed a solid blow up on a frog, through persistance I managed to catch what was another quality 2lber (maybe this was our big fish). At some point the wind started really whipping up out of the South. We fished along the North shore of the channel and across the channel flat over to the camps beach.

We headed over to the Sylvia channel entrance point and braved the waves. I think I manged to catch a cull fish off the wind beaten point. We fished into the lee and then quickly went over and finished up at the pads where the channel turns North towards the camp. Erin had a quality blow up that we just didn't land there. At this point it was time to go and so we headed to the weigh in.

We had a 6 fish limit for 9lbs 13ozs which was good enough for 2nd place. 1st Place went to Jack and Mary Kiffe @ 10-11. Erin got the trophy and I got the $100. I didn't know they paid out in this tournament so that was a nice surprize. Over all Erin and I had a good time and got very wet.

For Sylvia/Twin
TLA: 1.000
LCP: 1.000
FWA: 1.63lbs
BBP: .000
TDWA: 9.81lbs

After Thoughts: Wish we could have had a full day as that I definitely didn't get to all my spots. Erin kept in good spirits despite the drenching and she was able to contribute at least 1 fish to the bag which is good. I pretty much stuck to my plan and we had an OK day. We were just one solid fish out of first place. Things did get tough after the storm passed.

Next Tournament: North and South Center