Monday, August 10, 2009
The Weather: Morning light fog with a 5 to 8 MPH breeze, fog lifted around 10:30AM but it was a heavy overcast until about 1PM when the skies cleared and the wind died.
Pelican is an 8,000 acre lake just a bit North of Brainerd MN and it has clear water. We launched out of a small bay on the SW corner of the lake. I was in the first boat out but we were making a long run North in one of the slowest boats in the tournament, so my boater Dennis was worried about possibly not being 1st to where he wanted to start. We had a total of 12 boats and 23 guys fishing. As it turns out his worries were unfounded. We started by what I think is a big sunken island where a sand flat met a breakline with some weeds. Dennis had found a good school here during prefish and was quite confident in the spot. It didn't take long and I got a bite on my smoke tube but the bass was not a keeper at just over 11 inches. I think Dennis then caught a rock bass and things slowed down, Dennis was kind of miffed the fish were not cooperating but he eventually did bring the first keeper into the boat.
I decided conditions were conducive to a topwater bite so I put on a gold Berkley Frenzy Popper. After about 5 minutes the popper was smashed by 21 inch pike. After fishing for about 10 minutes with nothing I tried a white Spook, but that hauled water and Dennis decided it was time to move to a new spot. We moved to a depression in a flat that had weeds in it. I started throwing a bullfrog Frenzy Popper thinking I might need a little brighter bait in the heavy overcast. I had a fish miss the popper but it came back for a second try and hooked up; It was a 14.5" bass, so I was on the board. A little while later I had a fish miss the Popper 3 or 4 times before it finally hooked up and I landed the 15.5 incher. I think Dennis caught a couple on a Texas rigged tube, so I went back to throwing the smoke tube and I caught 12.25" squeaker. Dennis had a nice bass follow a blue/black tube to the boat which got me thinking that maybe the fish would be willing to chase something swimming so I put on a black/blue Strike King Pure Poison chatterjig, however I didn't get anything on it at this spot.
Eventually Dennis decided to move and we went to a weed bed on the North side of an island where the wind was blowing in pretty good. I thought it was perfect conditions for the Pure Poison and I was right. I nailed a 15" on my second or third cast. A few casts later and I was reeling in 18.25 that just engulfed the Pure Poison. Dennis was not quite pleased that I pulled a big fish off one of his big fish spots, so he was giving me crap. A few minutes later I was hooked up with my limit fish which was a quality 15.25" largemouth. We worked back over the area a second time and I had a couple of bumps that didn't hook up and I think Dennis missed a bite too.
Next we were off to another one of Dennis' big fish spots but a pontoon was sitting right on it. The next two spots Dennis wanted to hit were covered up by Bass Snatcher boats and we ended up fishing a little ways from 3 Bass Snatcher Boats. I think Dennis got a fish on the next couple of stops while I caught nothing.
Eventually we ended up at our starting spot and I started chucking a gold Berkley Frenzy Popper. I believe Dennis filled his limit and started culling which gave me confidence fish were in the area, so I kept throwing the Popper. On one of the retrieves about 20 feet out from the boat I had a strike and was able to land the barely hooked fish that went a little over 15 inches, which got rid of my squeaker. At this point I was pretty pleased that I would be weighing a pretty good bag of fish. Things kind of got slow for me for a while.
Around 1PM the sun came out and it got calm. We quickly tried the area by the Island again before the pleasure boaters would start to show up, but we didn't get anything. Next it was back to one of the weedy depressions.
I got a fish that didn't help then I got another hit that didn't hook up so I threw right back to the same area. I got another hit and it was a good fish that just inhaled the smoke tube; this fish went 17.25 inches. A little while later I had another good hit from a bigger fish but it got off before I was able to see what it was, I think it might have been a pike. About 2 minutes later I had another hit on the tube and brought in a chunky 17.00 inch bass. Dennis thought I was probably 1 more quality fish away from winning. I did get a couple more fish that didn't help and it turns out Dennis was right on the needing 1 more good fish.
My 6 fish went 14 even which ended up putting me in 4th, just 3 ozs out of 3rd place. 1st Place was 15lbs 7ozs and 2nd was 15lbs 6ozs and they came from the same boat; They spent a lot of time in one of those depressions on water Dennis wanted to fish. My partner Dennis was not so unhappy about getting "back seated" when he found out his 12/11 put him right behind me in 5th place.
Analysis:I owe my success in this one to my boater Dennis who was on good fish and made good decisions about where we should be fishing and when. Dennis also kept me entertained all day with his curmudgeonish trash talk. It is possible that I had the bites to win with that one good fish getting off but I'll never know because I never did get a look at the one that got away.
I am now tied for 11th Place in the club standings (32 fisherman club) but I am 9th over all in terms of weight of fish caught for the season which I think is maybe a better barometer about how you actually fished for the season.