Saturday, October 09, 2010

Bass Snatcher Win!!! The 2010 Challenge Cup@ Sylvan Lake

The Challenge Cup is an annual bass tournament that pits 6 guys (3 boater, 3 non-boaters) from my bass club the Baxter Bass Snatchers vs. 6 guys the Range Bassmasters. I think the Brainerd Lakes Bassmasters have also fished in it in years past. Last year was the first time I got to fish it. This year it was held on Sylvan Lake which is just South of Gull Lake West of Brainerd, MN. This year I fished with Emmet Smith who was also my boater last year. Before blast off he was talking up what a great lake Sylvan is, but it really didn't show it on this day.

Conditions were phenomenal for October with air temps in the high 70's and a fairly light wind out of the East. Water temps were in the low to mid 60's.

Here's the run down:
Bass Snatchers 52lbs 3ozs
Range Bassmasters 47lbs 14oz

Tounament Winners
1st In-Fisherman's Steve Quinn with 10lbs ??? Range Bassmasters
2nd Place and 4lb 10oz Big Bass Dennis Lothspeich Bass Snatchers
3rd Chuck Steinbauer Bass Snatchers

Everyone caught a 5 fish limit.

My weight was 6lbs 12ozs and Emmet weighed 7lbs 6ozs, so we were pretty close. Last year he destroyed me. I was actually 11th out of the 12 anglers, but I beat 1 Range guy, so I pulled my weight sort of. I caught at least 9 keepers, culling 4 times and my big fish was a 14.5". It was my last fish of the day and it was caught on a blue shiner Berkley Frenzy Popper. I did catch several small bass at or below 12 inches that I didn't bother to measure.

I caught keepers on:
white single white Colorado blade spinnerbait
Bubblegum Zoom Super Fluke
blue/black jigNpig
blue shiner Berkley Frenzy Popper

We caught fish all day long and almost everywhere we went, Emmet and I just couldn't buy a quality bite, even our pike were small. We fished inside and outside weedlines, flats, and docks. Slop was totally unproductive.

Friday, October 08, 2010

2010 Challenge Cup Sylvan Lake Preview

Tomorrow I will fish in my second Challenge Cup which pits my bass club The Baxter Bass Snatchers vs. The Range Bassmasters. Last year the tournament was on Mission Lake and I didn't fair so hot. This year the tournament is on Lake Sylvan which is just South of Gull Lake. Once again my boater will be Emmet Smith of the Range squad. I have never fished Sylvan and I think the RB's fished it last year. I remember Emmet said they fished Sylvan and I had no clue about where it was located. The lake is only 803 acres and is made up of two basins connected by a fairly wide channel. Apparently one of the lakes is very clear and the other one is stained, not sure about the channel. We have been having warm stable weather this week and that will hold for tomorrow, so the bite should be good. Naturally I will be trying to make topwater happen, but having never seen the lake I don't know what we will be doing. I paired down to 7 rods because if Emmet has the same boat as last year, it really has limited room for a non-boaters rods.

Here's how my rods are rigged.
Zoom Horny Toad
Herb's Dilly Buzzbait
White Spinnerbait
Texas Rigged Crawtube (I only have one crawtube, so if it is demolished I will fish a Yum Wooly Bug next)
Texas Rigged Tube
Dock Rod: Zoom Super Fluke spinning gear
Misc topwater or crank rod (Norman speed clip)

I hope the bite is good and I finish above all of the Range non-boaters.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

B.B.S. Serpent Lake Tournament Oct. 2nd

Serpent was the 6th and final tournament of the 2010 Baxter Bass Snatcher Bass Club schedule.

Conditions: It was in the mid 30's at blast off, but I think it got into the high 50's by tournament end. It was mostly sunny with a few clouds. Water temps seemed to be in the high 50's.

My Day:
A little before blast off I asked my boater Tony where we were headed and he basically told me we were going to the same bay that I had fished so successfully with boater Mark Munson two years ago. Just after Tony told me, Mark pulls up next to us and says mostly in jest "you better stay off my spots." I informed Mark that I hadn't told Tony anything, which was the truth, and that we were going where Tony wanted and I had nothing to do with it. It turned out we stopped more to the West and they started more to the East and then we fished towards one another.

First thing in the morning I was casting with a white/silver Herb's Dilly Buzzbait and actually had a fish show behind it but not take it. Eventually I switched to a black/red spinnerbait with a large single Colorado blade. I put the first fish in the boat with it, and it was a pike. This is almost the exact same way the tournament on Serpent started two years ago. Mark and his boater 2010 Minnesota Federation Nation Tournament of Champions Champion Nate Steinbauer were approaching us when I got the fish. They were covering water quite a bit quicker than us and said they had one small bass and had caught a couple of pike as well. After they were well past us I was the first one to put a keeper bass in the boat with 13.5" fish. We were working our way East first on the deep weedline without success then we went to the inside weedline and Tony connected with a couple of keeper bass on a white spinnerbait. I switched to a white with white single Colorado blade spinnerbait and got a 14.5" largie and then a 13.25" largie on it. Just after my third bass of the day, Tony brought in a 14"+ smallmouth, which had to go back because they are now in a immediate catch and release season. Tony caught a nice bass off a dock. We worked our way back over the productive water but only caught pike and I missed a couple of bites. We worked our way back West to some docks and I dropped a small bass in front of one of them. Nothing happened after that so we moved to a weedline and some docks on the South East shore. The docks gave up nothing and we kept working down the weedline. I was casting out towards deeper water and bringing it shallow when I connected with a 16" bass on the white spinnerbait.

For a long time we fished a weed flat and picked up several pike, but the bass just were not on the flat. Eventually we went West to a point on the North shore. As we approached the point I flipped a junebug crawtube into some weeds on the break and I had a very bassy pick up. I set the hook and was disappointed that it was another pike. We started fishing the inside weedlines and docks going east. Tony picked up a dink (non-keeper) on a dock and I stuck keeper #5, which was a 13.5" largie on a bubblegum Zoom Super Fluke in front of a dock. Tony stuck a couple of more non-keepers. Eventually we ran out of docks and made the decision to run to where we got most of our fish, which was a good call. It wasn't long and Tony filled his limit. Soon after that I stuck a 14.5" largie on the white spinnerbait and had my tournament limit. Tony stuck a good 17"+ bass, but it turned out to be a smallmouth.

With my limit, I became totally fixated on topwater and got a 12" keeper that didn't help on a Paycheck Baits Repo Man. Not long after that the day ended with 7 keeper bass and 11 pike.

The Results:
Weigh in proved that the fishing was kind of tough and quite a bit of drama as well. My weight came to 9lbs 4ozs which put me right in the middle of the pack in 8th. I edged Peter Johnson by 1oz despite the fact that he had the days "Lunker" (4lbs 4ozs). Beating Peter was significant because it put me 2 points over Peter in the end of the year standings and helped me capture 6th Place in AOY. 6th Place in Angler of the Year is significant because it gets a plaque and traditionally is the last slot for the Club State Tournament Team. I am not a MN State Federation Nation member, so I am not eligible to go to State but still being in that position is an honor.

My boater Tony had 10/1 which put him in a tie for 4th Place with Chuck Steinbauer. Tony won the tie breaker with Chuck by 1oz on big fish and that 1oz cost Chuck the club Angler of the Year title (Mr. Bass). 5th Place put Chuck in a tie in end of the year points with Guy Henkensiefken for Mr. Bass, but Guy owned that tie breaker. Chuck was totally out of luck.

Analysis: Man was that a squeaker. I probably spent way to much time trying to make a topwater bite happen, but as it was I got lucky and it didn't cost me. The day was a bit of a thriller not getting my limit until the last hour. I think switching to that white spinnerbait was probably a key move. I could cast it farther than the black spinnerbait and a couple of my keepers came right at the start of the retrieve.

Note: Mark Munson who was my partner at Serpent in 2008 and came in 2nd at that tournament got his revenge and captured 1st Place with 11lbs 13ozs.

Next Tournament: Bass Snatchers vs. Range Bassmasters Challenge Cup at Sylvan Lake in South Cass County.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Bass Snatcher Serpent Lake Tournament Preview

Tomorrow morning I return to the scene of my best Baxter Bass Snatcher Club tournament finish (3rd), Serpent Lake out of Crosby, MN. That tournament was on Sept. 20 1998, so we are pretty darn close in terms of time of year. The weather has been pretty nice this week, but tonight it is forecast to get below freezing and temps are not suppose to get out of the low 50's tomorrow. Fortunately winds are suppose to be fairly light but it suppose to be sunny, which means cold front conditions.

The tournament two years had a morning topwater bite follwed by picking off fish here and there throughout the day on spinnerbaits and a jigNpig, with a 4+lb kicker caught from a dock with a Zoom Super Fluke. I will try and get away with a topwater bite tomorrow. The lakes maximum depth is 65 feet and it has a lot of water 15 feet or deeper, so one cold night probably won't effect the lake temps that much. If we are lucky the little extra bit of cold will turn the fish on. Besides topwater I have rods rigged for spinnerbaits, jigs, texas rigged crawtubes or beavers, and Flukes and am packing jerkbaits, rattlebaits, senko's and a few crankbaits.

My boater Tony is currently 12th in the standings, but hasn't had a particularly good year. His best finish this year was a 9th at the last tournament, Washburn Lake. I do not believe he got out pre-fishing and I'm not sure how much experience he has on the lake. He did fish the tournament 2 years ago and got 5 fish for just over 8lbs which put him in 14th out of 24. We only have 16 guys fishing, which translates into pretty good points no matter where I finish provided I catch a keeper, you get 0 points for a skunk. I will need a very strong finish to make my way into the coveted Top 6 for the year. There are 4 of us closely in contention for that 6th spot.