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.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
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.