Thursday, October 09, 2008

Bass Snatchers Mission Lake Oct. 4, 2008

I had one goal going into this tournament and that was to catch my 6 fish limit so I would have caught a limit in all 6 tournaments on the schedule. Accomplishing this goal would be a mark of distinction especially fishing from the back of the boat. Up until this year in the 31-year history of the Baxter Bass Snatcher Club, a total of only 7 different anglers had ever caught a limit in every tournament in a season and those 7 did it only 16 times. I was pretty hungry to achieve this goal and at 1pm with only 2 keepers in the well, I began to feel the pressure. Did I rally or fall flat? Read On

On my way to the lake in the morning, I missed a right turn and was headed North on the wrong road. I kind of sensed something may be wrong and I kept looking for a sign to tell me if I was on 3 or not. I finally got to a road identification sign and I was on 4, not 3. I immediately turned around and sped back the way I had come. When I got to 3 there were two bass boats that pulled in just in front of me and sure enough, they were Bass Snatchers, so I got to the access without any more problems. I met my partner Dennis Lothspeich and got my rods and tackle loaded into his boat. Dennis and I got the boat launched into a fairly heavy fog. It had gotten down below freezing this morning and that combined with the warm water made a world of white.

Due to the fog, Dennis decided to start on a weed point right at our blast off point in front of the public access on Upper Mission. As we were waiting for blast off the Lowrance was marking fish activity on the point. I thought maybe blastoff would be delayed because of the fog, but Dennis said: "not in this club." Before blastoff they made the announcement that it was idle speed only until the fog cleared. The boats had to gather closer in for the blast off.

I think Dennis just put the trolling motor in the water and started moving us toward the weed point. By the time it was our turn we were pretty much on the spot and started casting. On his second cast, Dennis tied into a good fish on a jignpig. He got her up and into the net and it was the days big bass at 4lbs3ozs. Dennis had an awesome head start on sewing up the title "Mr. Bass", which goes to the top placing fisherman for the year. Another boat started just to the East of us and they landed a fish right away too. I was throwing a black single Colorado blade spinnerbait at first but then switched to a black/blue jignpig. I don't remember if Dennis got one more fish off the spot or not, but I didn't get anything.

After about 45 minutes of working the weed point the fog had cleared a little and so Dennis ran us to the spot we would have started on if not for the fog. This spot was on the East side of a lake and was a weedline outside of some reeds and adjacent to a weed flat. It didn't take long and Dennis landed another keeper. Shortly after that, I got my first keeper on the black spinnerbait. I believe Dennis landed another keeper. I switched my jignpig to green pumpkin like his and also tried some topwater because we did see some activity on the surface. I did miss a hit on the Jignpig and on the spinnerbait. Eventually, we worked our way South onto the weed flat and Dennis picked up two good fish on a white spinnerbait. I got a little discouraged because my spinnerbait didn't come up with anything.

The fog was totally gone now and we had been fishing this second area for about an hour, so we headed back to our first spot. I think Dennis picked up his limit fish quickly on the weed point and I got my second keeper on the green pumpkin JigNpig. I was very glad at this point to see that I could come up with a jignpig fish. We worked our way West to towards an area where another boat (Chuck Steinbauer my North Long Partner) started. I believe Dennis picked up a couple more keepers along the way. As we approached the spot Dennis was really high on Mark Munson my Serpent Lake Partner beat us to it. I did catch a pike in front of them.

It was around 10:30am and so Dennis made a planned run down to Lower Mission Lake. Dennis had a stretch of water he was quite confident in and so we went there. I had something bump the spinnerbait good but not hook up. A little while later I caught a pike. Dennis was a little discouraged that we didn't get a bass on the first pass and took us back the way we came on a second pass, still no bass.

Next, we headed to a sunken island that has some awesome looking coontail clumps on it. The book says that bass and coontail in the Fall go together like pigs and mud. As we were just getting started on this spot Dennis told me that this area didn't hold any bass for him in prefishing but it was full of pike. Almost immediately after he said that I picked up my 3rd pike, and it was a nice one, on the black spinnerbait. We worked the whole sunken island with the beautiful coontail and came up with nothing.

Dennis made the decision around 11:30 to head back to Upper Mission. The first spot we went to was by another club boat. They were working the reeds and we saw them catch a fish. Dennis had us work the outside weedline but we came up with nothing. It was sunny and around noon when Dennis pulled up and went back to the 2nd spot we went to in the morning.

I believe Dennis landed a pike then had a couple of bite offs. I may have caught a pike to, but don't remember. Dennis did get a bass or two on the jignpig before we moved up on the flat. With the sun up Dennis figured the flat would turn on but it didn't. I tried the black spinnerbait, a Red Eye Shad, Rattletraps, Baby Minus Ones, Spro shallow runners all to no avail. It was now about 12:30pm and I only had those two fish in the box so I was off the pace to get my limit for the day and I could feel the pressure start. We worked a long way down the flat when Dennis finally hooked up with a spinnerbait fish. I took the front of the boat when he went to cull and immediately hooked up with a 12inch squeaker that barely made the line. Another boat came along and told us that the fish were biting in the reeds. We decided to work our way back North on the flat and I threw a buzzbait but it just was not happening. We headed back to our starting spot.

As we worked the weed point I got a thump on the jignpig and landed a solid bass. We started working our way West and I was rewarded with 2 more keeper bass on the black spinnerbait, so I did have my limit by about 1:30pm and I was relieved, though I did want to get rid of that 12incher just in case. It didn't take long and the 12 incher was gone in favor of a totally safe 13inch fish.

We moved to a spot that Dennis said used to hold big fish but doesn't anymore, but still usually holds fish. I got one bass on the black spinnerbait that culled up slightly, then Dennis got a bass on the jig. I got another hit and the bass came up to jump, when it did my line went slack and I reeled in with nothing but the knot. Apparently, my spinnerbait must have broken in two. I did have one more spinnerbait just like the one I broke so I tied it on.

As we both had our limits and were in need of bigger fish Dennis decided to head back to the lower lake on the area that he had confidence in. Once again we did nothing on this spot, not even a bite. We then went up and worked some docks, reeds, and pads. Dennis saw a 2lber swimming around in the reeds but we didn't get any bass. I had a good strike on the 1/2oz black spinnerbait and it was a pike that was over 5lbs. Instead of having Dennis net it I was going to try and handle it boat side which was a mistake because I ended up with the spinnerbait breaking in two. That was my last 1/2oz black spinnerbait. I put on a 3/8oz black spinnerbait.

We stopped working the shore we were on and tried the area close to the channel on the North side of Lower Mission. I got a couple of keepers that didn't help and I think Dennis got a pike and one that didn't help.

Next, we worked the reeds on the West end of Upper Long. My 3/8oz spinnerbait was not heavy enough to work in these thick reeds so I switched to a double Colorado blade 1/2oz spinnerbait. While I was getting it unstuck from some reeds the top blade and swivel came off of the wire. I then switched up to a jignpig, then a Zoom Horny Toad. I got another keeper that didn't help on the Horny Toad. Soon we came to a weed flat without reeds and I switched back to the black spinnerbait. I got a fish but I don't remember if it was a pike or a little bass.

Time was now running short, so we headed back to the reed line just West of the access. We worked that for a while with no success so we called it quits.

My 6 fish weighed 10lbs 3ozs which was only good enough for 20th out of 25, but I didn't care because I got that limit. Dennis ended up with 15lbs 4ozs and came in 3rd place thus winning Mr. Bass honors with ease. Even so, Dennis did not get a limit in all 6 tournaments, missing a limit at Serpent by one fish. There were 23 limits caught by the 25 anglers and the top two weights came from the same boat, 19lbs12ozs, and 15lbs 6ozs. So everyone pretty much got clobbered by Jake Hughes. Four other anglers this year caught a limit in all 6 tournaments, so the five of us that did it set a new club record for # of guys doing it in one year.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bass Snatcher Serpant Lake 9/20/2008

When I arrived at Serpent Lake just after 7AM my partner Mark already has his boat in the water. I loaded up my gear and then we waited for the 8am blast off. When I was at the dock Bill Ludenia told me bass were on the flats biting on jig and pigs. When I was in the boat with Mark he talked about throwing spinnerbaits on the flats. I asked him if he was considering throwing a buzzbait at all and he showed me that he had one tied on. On the West end of the lake by the public access there was just a light breeze blowing and there was a slight haze, but not enough to call it overcast.

At blast off we were boat #11 out of 12 and when it was our turn we headed East down the lake as fast as the boat would go and that was pretty fast. We ended up stopping on the Eastern Edge of a weed flat on the North side of the lake where Mark had gotten a big bass once upon a time, as we were getting into position another Bass Snatcher boat came into the same general area.

I started off throwing a pumpkinseed swim jig with a Zoom Speed Craw trailer and I was quickly rewarded with a fish on. It turned out to be the first of many pike that I would catch this day. Mark started out with a spinnerbait but quickly put that down for a buzzbait in the calm conditions we were in. It didn't take long until Mark was rewarded with a nice bass. I switched to a white single spin Colorado blade spinnerbait and caught a rock bass, then a pike, then a 11 inch bass. As we worked our way west on the flat Mark caught another nice bass on the buzzbait. That was enought to convince me to go to topwater and I put on a Purple Berkley Frenzy Popper. I think Mark got another nice bass and shortly after that I caught my first keeper of the day which was a solid 16" fish. Conditions just seemed to be perfect for topwater and anticipation of a strike was high. Mark caught a couple of more fish on the buzzbait to my nothing, so I was thinking maybe they wanted a more active bait, so I switched to a white spook. The fish did seem to like the spook better than the popper. I had a pike launch itself after the spook and miss it. Then a couple of casts later something hit at the spook and missed, then hit at it again and missed, I paused the bait then started it up again and this time the fish got it and I was rewarded with another 16" bass. Mark caught a couple of more bass on the buzzbait and reached his 6 fish limit. I caught a couple of short bass which was a bit frustrating cause a spook is supposed to be a big fish bait. After much walking the dog I did get a 14" keeper.

The wind came up and the surface bite died. Mark started throwing a white spinnerbait and started getting a few bass and pike. I tried the swim jig and the white spinnerbait. I backlashed and broke my line at the spool sending the white spinnerbait into the distance. Easy come, easy Go! I tied on another white single Colorado blade spinnerbait and got back after it. That was not getting any hits so I decided to tie on a black spinnerbait with a much bigger Colorado blade. I caught a pike very quickly on that.

We headed back across the flat to our starting spot and I nailed a couple more pike on the black spinnerbait and also had a couple of hits that did not hook up. We were working the middle of the flat and I was throwing out to deeper water when I got a solid hook up which turned out to be a nice 16" bass. A little while later doing the same thing I nailed yet another nice 16" largemouth. Things seemed to shut down after that and I was not even getting bit by pike anymore. Still the good fish I got on the black spinnerbait gave me a lot of confidence to keep throwing it and persistance paid off as I landed my limit fish sometime around 11am. My limit fish was just a 13 incher. It was really nice to have a limit since my partner Mark's expectations coming in were quite low.

Things stayed kind of slow on another pass across the flat. Mark switched up to a jig and pig and got a bass on that. I think I landed a pike or two and then switched up to a jig and pig to give my back a break from the relentless casting and retrieving. I had a solid pick up on the jig and landed a 14" inch fish so I culled up a little. Not long after catching that fish Mark suggested that we hit some docks in search of a kicker.

We started off on some of the docks on the flat that we had been fishing all morning. As we were moving along we came to a short wooden single dock that looked like nothing. Mark casted at the dock and got a strike but didn't hook up. I made a cast at the front of the dock and saw the bass that Mark missed swim away from the dock then start to circle back in the direction of my Super Fluke. While I couldn't tell completely it looked like the fish picked up the Fluke and so I set the hook and sure enough the rod doubled up. I didn't realize it when I saw it swimming, but as soon as I hooked up it became apparent this was a bigger fish. It put up a good fight and didn't go into the net easy, but I did land the 4lb 2oz beauty which turned out to be the tournament big bass by an ounce. Sometimes you just get a bit lucky and things go your way. This success motivated us to run the lake and hit docks for a while.

We got a few keepers and several shorts on docks, but nothing that would help. Eventually we moved to the South side of the lake and started hitting docks there. The South side docks were pretty dead and we eventually headed out over a flat. I got a small pike, then tied into a good fish that I was hoping was a bass. It was a bass but not as big a fish as the fight it put up. The fish was 15.25 and I ended up throwing it back, which was a mistake because I still had a 14" fish in the well but I could not find it thanks to the fact that I got mixed up when a couple of my clip on cull tags came off of the fish. Mark has a walleye boat with one main non-divided livewell, so with 11 fish in there it was easy for me to not come up with the 14 incher after a bit of a search. I figured I had just measured wrong but at the end of the day sorting it was pretty obvious I had a 14" fish.

We headed back to the flat we started on and I caught yet another 15" bass that would have helped, but once again I did not find that 14" fish and so I let a bigger fish go. We worked the flat and caught a few more pike. With about 30 minutes left we headed back to the launch area and tried a weedy point but didn't get anything. We headed in about 10 minutes early.

Mark thought I had his bag beat by 2-4lbs, but it turned out that he beat me by 10ozs, so I ended up in 3rd place overall at 14lbs 6ozs. First place was 17lbs 6ozs. I got plaques for Lunker and 3rd Place. It's hard to say whether or not my culling screw up cost me 2nd place or not, Mark figured it probably did. Oh well, one place is no big deal, I am just glad it was me that got the big one.

The other rookie in the club this year did not fish for his second tournament in a row, so I locked up rookie of the year honors by just showing up.

Our last tournament is Oct 4th on Upper and Lower Mission lakes in Crow Wing County. Mark says they are great bass fisheries.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Bass Snatchers Club North Long 8/23/08

Just a bit of frustration is starting to sink in.

It was still pretty dark when I arrived at the public access a little before 6AM. It was cloudy, cool but not cold, and quite windy, which had everyone a bit put off a bit. I brought a raincoat but didn't have a bib. I was surprised that my partner Chuck's boat is one of the smaller tiller model Rangers. I had just assumed being the hardcore bass fisherman that this guy is that he would have a pretty good sized rocket ship. When we got out on the water we discovered his aerator pump wasn't working, so he kept his fish in the bait well and I had to continuously scoop fresh water into the main livewell where my fish were throughout the day. It worked out as all my fish were alive at weigh in. The boat has a non-divided main live well and a bait well, so it is actually more of a walleye rig. The tournament blast off was at 7AM and we headed for the big water in the middle basin of North Long. North Long runs pretty much East to West and has 3 pretty round bays and is not small with almost 6000 acres of water. The way the wind was blowing I thought it would be much rougher once we got into the middle basin but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

We started on a mid-lake hump where my partner had found a school of big fish. Neither of us got a bite. We then moved to another hump close by that already had a boat on it. We saw them land one fish as they were drifting their way slowly with the anchor down. We didn't get anything but weeds.

Next we headed to a fairly protected shoreline to try some reeds. Almost right away I lost a small fish on a swim jig and that was all we got there. Next we moved out to the weedline and on our second stop started getting some action with the noise of Brainerd International Raceway in the background. I got my first fish on a pumpkinseed Monsoor swim jig with Zoom Speed Craw Trailer. I think I next caught one or two shorts. My partner was landing keepers on a texas rigged craw tube and I made the switch to a black/blue JigNpig. I caught two nice keepers on my first two casts. After that the fish seemed to shut off. The wind seemed to increase while we were on that weedline. I would say it was gusting over 30.

We then hit a couple of weedline spots on the North End of the middle basin. My partner filled out his limit and I got two more keepers plus about 4 shorts on the swim jig.

Next we headed out to the humps we started on. The clouds had started to break up and the wind came down to about 15mph instead of 20-30mph. My partner landed his best fish of the day on the first hump, but that was it. Eventually I filled my limit and got my first cull. We then ran back to the weedline where we had caught the bulk of our fish, but didn't get anything except one short for me. I don't remember where we went next, but we got nothing there. We then headed to a cabbage weed bed on the southern part of the middle basin. I caught a couple of shorts on the swim jig and Chuck got his craw tube bit off by a pike.

With about an hour left with the sun completely out and the wind dying down we tried a nice looking steep break on the North end of the middle basin without any luck. Next we headed into Merrifield Bay (the east basin) and went dock fishing. My partner was skipping a jigNpig under the docks with a baitcaster and he was sure good at it with extremely accurate casts. Meanwhile I was struggling to get accustomed to my new St. Croix Avid Spinning rod rigged with bass tube jig. Chuck managed to cull up slightly a couple of times and caught a couple of fish that would have helped me. On one of the docks I made a bad cast got hung up and broke off. This allowed me to switch up to a bubblegum Zoom Super Fluke which I am much more comfortable throwing around docks because the hook is not exposed. Chuck let me get first crack at a likely looking spot and I caught yet another short. We kept moving around hitting docks. We came to a spot where there was a boat lift about 35 feet out from the end of a dock. Chuck had a fish pick up his bait and spit it, while I was casting into the shadow made by the lift. After a couple of jerks of the Fluke I had on a 16.5" which was my big fish of the day. It was also the last fish of the day for us.

My partner weighed a respectable 13-7 which was only good enough for 7th. My partner had won the two previous club tournaments at North Long in 2006 and 2004 with weights in the 14's. The winning weight on this day was 15-11 with 2 other bags in the 15's and 2 bags in the high 14's.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear 11lbs 01oz with a big fish of 2lbs 9ozs. I thought I had somewhere just under 10lbs. From past history I figured that 11lbs would get me a solid finish in the middle of the pack, instead on this day it was only good enough for 17th out of 24.

As I said before this is starting to get a little bit frustrating. I am catching fish from the back of the boat, but the size of fish I am catching just isn't cutting it compared to everyone else. This tournament I caught all but 1 fish on a bass jig which is known to be a bigger fish bait, but I caught my big fish of the day on a Super Fluke.

I now have a 15th, 16th, 17th, and 23rd place finishes. This tournament moved me ahead of the other club rookie, who didn't fish North Long. I am currently in 17th place and well back of 16th place and that is out of 22 people that have fished a minimum of 3 out of the 4 tournaments. (Place is figured out with the lowest score thrown out so only 3 tournaments at this point count for a persons points.)

Our 5th tournament is not until September 20th at Serpent Lake and the last tournament of the year is October 4 at Mission.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bass Snatchers Pokegama

I had a close call with a deer on the North end of Mille Lacs lake on my way North to Grand Rapids, no harm no foul. I got to Grand Rapids a little quicker than I thought I would but that was OK as my partner Bill and some of the other guys were already out in the motel parking lot. I got my gear into Bill's boat and then spent probably an hour shooting the breeze before we left.

The access we went out of is on the NW end of the lake and we headquartered out of a public beach just North of there that is right by where the Mississippi flows into Pokegama lake. Our plan was to head up the river and try to catch some big fish, but if that wasn't working to go back down into the lake and fish cabbage.

We were boat #2 out of the gate and boat #2 heading into the river. By the time we got to the spot where you can run the river at full speed we were the #1 boat. We ran all the way past the Hwy 6 bridge to a spot Bill calls "Dogfish Corner". We started out pitching jigs and I got messed with by a small pike. I also threw some slop frogs and Zoom Horny Toads having a small pike strike on the toad. We got nothing on this spot and so we headed up river some more to another great looking area with rice, rushes, and wood, but we could not get anything. We then made our way back down the river. The story from all the river boats was slow fishing. A few guys had some small fish. We stopped at the Hwy 6 bridge and I caught a small pike there.

Bill got his first bass in some reeds on Jay Gould Lake (at least I think that is where we were). We then headed into the lake to fish weedline/weedbeds. Bill quickly landed two keepers before I got number 1 on a watermelon tube. I don't remember if I got another keeper bass on the tube before I had a pike break it off. I put on what turned out to be a grey tube, I thought these tubes were watermelon too, but it was just the green packaging. I may have got 1 more bass off of this first spot in the lake.

Next we hit some reeds and I missed a couple of hits on topwater. We then went to another cabbage weedline spot and Bill filled out his limit while I got to fish #4. It started to sprinkle while we were on this spot and it continued to lightly rain until the last half hour of the tournament. We headed in to try some slop and I got #5 on a Snagproof Bobby's Perfect frog. Next we worked some rushes and reeds and I got my limit fish on the Bobby's perfect frog.

Now with two limits in the well it was decision time and we decided that our best shot for kickers was in the river and so we made our way back there. We started working the Power Plant area and I missed a bite that I probably should have caught on the Horny Toad as that I saw the fish wake towards the bait before it hit. It could have been a dogfish though. We turned a corner and started working into the wind. After quite a while of fishing Bill landed a nice dark mid 3lb fish. A little while later he got some pike. Bill was pitching a jig into the weed edge and I was casting out the front of the boat parallel with the weed edge. A fish showed itself and so I was careful to cover the spot and I was rewarded with a 17.5" largemouth. We worked our way down the stretch several hundred more yards, then we turned around to hit it again. Now with the wind at my back I was really able to cover the water. I was distracted by a boat running the river and took my eye off the Horny Toad and I missed a hit. A little while later I got a solid strike and landed another 17.5" in largemouth. That was the last fish of the day. I think if we would have gotten another hour in the river I could have caught some more nice fish.

I ended up with my best weight of the year so far with 6 fish for 12lbs 8ozs. I tied with a guy for weight and big fish and lost the coin flip tie break, so I ended up in 15th out of 25 guys. My partner Bill was 13th with 13lbs 5 ozs. Winning weight was 20lbs 3ozs and he spent the whole day in the river and didn't catch his limit fish until the last 1/2 hour. The guy in 2nd also fished the river all day. Big fish was 5lbs 10oz and there was one other 5lber caught.

Overall I had a really enjoyable time. It was nice that the cool overcast and rain kept the horse and deer flies away, because I hear they can get quite bad in the river.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Bass Snatchers Big Birch (Grey Eagle)

This tournament had a late start at 8am, but I still was up before 5am and out the door before a quarter after. I drove to Little Falls to meet up with Barry and his Son-in-law Joe to carpool to Big Birch. Conditions were sunny and warm enough with a NW breeze blowin about 7mph. It stayed sunny to partly cloudy throughout the day but the wind kicked up to 15-20mph at times.

We started in the West lake around an Island where Barry had found a bunch of bedding smallmouth a few days ago. I started with topwater and right away had a fish show behind the bait but it never committed. This happened twice in the first 5 minutes. The smallies had vacated the beds in this area and so we moved a little farther North on the Island. Barry caught a nice fish on a crank, but that was all we got. Next we headed to the Upper East lake to Barry's "Honey Hole." It was a weed patch where Barry found a school of good fish pre-fishing. Barry managed to get two smaller fish on a tube.

Next we worked a thickly weeded bullrush island. I went to use my telescoping 7'3" St. Criox Avid Flippen stick, but I had a hard time getting the rod to pull out. As I eventually got it to move a couple of maggots came up with the blank. Apparently a fly got in there and laid some eggs making the two parts of the rod blank stick together. I did get the rod extended but didn't catch a thing.

We moved across the lake to a point with some reeds on the inside turn and I got a 13.25" and a pumpkin Monsoor swim jig with pumpkin Zoom Speed Craw trailer. From there we moved back to the West lake Island where we started and where Barry got his first fish. I got a 13.25" largemouth on a white X-Rap and jumped off a fish that was a bit bigger and also had a follow from a good fish (smallmouth???). We switched to the Island Barry's Son-in-law Joe was fishing and fished around it. We kind of wandered into the other boats hot area where Barry and I both caught a fish. The fish for me was yet another 13.25" on the white X-Rap.

Next we fished the Eastern edge of the Island we started on. This spot featured bullrushes and reeds along a steep drop. Barry had seen lots of fish cruising this run while prefishing. I fished the area with the swim jig and started off by catching a dink and having a few small fish pull on the speed craw. As we were going along Barry got a couple of dinks and a couple of Rock Bass. I saw a largemouth that was at least two pounds pull the speed craw right off the jig, bummer.

Next I think we went back into the East lake and didn't get a thing but one for me that was 11.75." We went back to the West lake and fished around Joe's Island maybe catching a rock bass or two. We then headed to a weedline spot where Barry jerked up 2 keepers and then I got a 12.25" on a white Strike King Zero (Senko) fished on a mushroom head jig. We drifted the spot again with Barry getting another keeper and me landing one that was 14.25" on the Zero. We did another couple of passes but only got Rock Bass. From there we went to fish another similar weedline but another boat was on it. The days big bass, 4lbs 1oz, was caught by that boat on that spot.

Once again we headed to Joe's Island and tried to fish deep. I caught a rock bass. From there we went to the East side of our starting Island where the bullrushes and reeds were. We just about had fished the whole stretch when I got my limit fish, a 14.50" largie on the swim jig by reeds and rocks.

It was getting to be late in the day and we headed back to the East lake to try the "Honey Hole" one last time. We bounced around a couple of new spots then hit the reed patch by the Rock Tavern where we were going to have the weigh in. The reeds were a perfect match for a Horny Toad, so I started throwing it. I had a little fish hit it and managed to resist the urge to set the hook. I was working the toad through the reeds when I had a solid blow up from another 13.25" that culled out my 12 incher. I got one more good blow up on the Toad but failed to hook up and that was the end of our day. I was pleased to have gotten a limit, even if it was small.

I ended up with 7lbs 8ozs with a big fish of 1lb 9ozs which stuck me in 23rd out of 24 anglers. The only guy I beat was my Farm Island partner Herman who only brought in 3 fish. My partner Barry came in 20th, which shows me that our area's were holding below average fish this day.

The winner had a 15lb 6oz bag of smallmouth that he pretty much sight fished near shallow rocks. Our boat didn't land a single smallie all day, but Barry might have jumped one off near the end of the day. A couple of people reported catching dozens and dozens of 12-14 inch largemouth so the fish were schooled up in some places. Unfortunately the schools that were on Barry's spots moved. Overall I had a fun day and the heat didn't get to be to bad.

After the tournament we went to the Rock Tavern where I got to know Joe who grew up in Little Falls and sounds like he is a die hard Mississippi smallmouth angler. He showed me a couple of his smallmouth tricks.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Bass Snatchers Farm Island Lake

Saturday June 7, 2008

I met my partner Herman a little before 5:30PM in Pine Center. Pine Center is only about 10 miles straight North of the house and it was cool that Hermen met me somewhere familiar. We loaded my gear into his 20.5" Ranger Dual Console and were off. I soon learned that Herman was about the nicest guy you would ever want to meet. This is his 27th year as a Bass Snatcher so he told me lots of things about the club. He used to be heavily involved in the Minnesota Federation before it was the Federation Nation and had lot of stories to tell from his involvement. He fishes the club for fun and fun is what we had.

I think we were boat #4 on take off and we were the first one's to head South on Farm Island Lake. We ended up starting on the SE shore of Farm Island. It was a sandy area with some weedgrowth towards shore. It was calm so I went with the Zoom Super Fluke. As we were working the shore line Herman had a good fish take his spinnerbait but throw it half way to the boat. Just after that I had a swirl on the Fluke but my hookset came up empty. This was my first time throwing the Fluke this year and I didn't use it much last summer when I hardly fished at all, so I was a bit rusty. Not long after this the Fluke disappeared and I set into a 11inch fish. We have a 12inch minimum. I caught another 11" off the end of a dock. We worked the whole East shore of Farm Island but didn't have a keeper to show for it.

From Farm Island we headed West a little ways and went to a protected shoreline. I think Herman said there were normally reeds in this area but just like Sullivan Lake, the reeds in Farm Island are almost non-existant this year. The area was sandy bottom with some weeds. Something came to the surface and left some bubbles. Herman had me cast over there with the Fluke. I worked it slow and sure enough my big bass of the day picked it up and I got her in. A little ways down the line Herman got on the board. We eventually worked ourselves out of the weeds so we headed farther West. We were going to fish some emergent weeds at the mouth of a slop bay East to West. As we pulled in another Bass Snatcher boat pulled up to the West thus cutting us off from fishing the shoreline unless we wanted to fish used water. We worked the emergent vegetation which looked perfect for the Horny Toad. Herman got his 2nd keeper here but that was all we got on two passes.

We went somewhere to the North and I lost a Fluke to a Pike.

From there we went back to our starting spot and I started catching some dink bass on the Fluke. There was a 13"-14"keeper up on a bed but I could not get it to go. We then pulled out a little deeper and I got my 2nd keeper on a Blue/Black Monsoor Swim Jig with Junebug Zoom Ultravibe Speed Craw trailer. I got the fish jigging the lure, not swimming it. We fished a cabbage bed without any luck. Before we were off to the North end of the lake Herman made me a sandwich.

We headed to the access bay and fished some emergent vegetation where I got my 3rd keeper. We moved off the emergent veg. and onto a flat with docks. I think I got 2 more keepers on this stretch and Herman got his final keeper of the day.

I am not sure where on the lake we went next but it was a good looking area where there were the remnemnts of a pencil reed bed. We had zero luck in the old reeds, but we really were fishing it wrong with horizontal presentations instead of pitching a jigNpig. We worked out way onto a weed flat and I broke a fish off at the knot, so it may not have been a pike.

Next we headed to the best looking water of the day. It is a bay where emergent vegetation lines water with some depth leading to a weed flat with rice and pads. We worked the sweet looking emergent vegetation but only drew fish in one spot. I got my limit fish on the Fluke and Herman caught two shorts. Eventually we got to the flat which had wind blowing in on it and I switched to the Blue swim jig. I got 2 fish to cull and missed one real good fish. We worked our way off the flat to where there was an old ugly orange runabout that had been half sunk in the previous days heavy winds. The motor was fully submerged and the left front of the boat was up on the dock damaging both. The scene was quite a mess.

Time was running short so we ran into the access bay and worked more of the emergent vegetation off which I had got 1 keeper earlier. We got a few dinks on the stretch and I think Herman might of missed a keeper on a jigNpig. At the end of the emergent vegetation there was a pretty good size chunk of wood in the water and I told Herman to try that. He didn't get anything but I noticed a smaller piece of wood quite a bit further in towards shore so I casted my swim jig at it. Sure enough I got my last bass of the day, a fat 12.25" that didn't help me. We worked out way back a little on the emergent vegetation than called it a day.

I caught my 6 Fish limit for 9lbs 8ozs which put me in 16th out of 28 anglers. My big fish was 2lbs 7oz. The winner was our club President with 14lbs15oz and big bass was only 3lbs 8ozs. Herman finished 27th. 20 limits were caught.