Sunday, July 13, 2014

Leech Pre-fish (with bonus time on Woman Lake)

Woman Lake: 7:00-9:00AM
Conditions- Calm, sometimes sunny, sometimes cloudy

I got to fish today with my boater Jim "Smitty" Smith for the Bass Snatchers Leech Lake Tournament next week.  Jim is well known in MN bass tournament fishing community because he's been very successful and as I came to find out a really nice guy.  We hit Woman Lake first, checking it out for a tournament he's going to fish out there next Sunday.  We found some really nice smallmouth, but they didn't want to bite.  Jim caught 3 dinks and I didn't even get a bite.  I kind of had a brain freeze and forgot I had a rod with a Yabbie on it
Smitty with a quality Leech Lake largie

Leech Lake: 9:00AM-6:00PM
Conditions- Wind from light to fairly moderate out of the the SW alternating between cloudy and sunny with more sun late.

We put in at an area of the Lake I'd never been to before.  I got the first bite of the day out of some reeds on my brand new Snagproof Ish's Poppin' Phattie in black and yellow (Cali).

17" or so 
I missed one more good bite, then we switched area's.  In the new area I missed the first bite.  We went a little while and then Jim got two nice one's  in close proximity to one another out of the slop.  We got into an area with bullrushes, reeds, and pads and I got a 15" on a white Horny Toad.  Jim set the hook on a fish and his line broke.  I cast my toad into the area and ended up hooking his line with the fish still on it.  Jim grabbed the line and brought the fish in.  It was a quality 3lber.  In a tournament, who's fish would that be?

Jim was getting an occasional rock bass and I missed a couple of bites on a craw tube.  Jim lost a good one and I caught one that might have been 4lbs on the Horny toad.  We fished a lot of rice without getting any bites.  We pulled the boat out of the water and went to a different area of the lake.  Jim got a couple of nice one's including one on his last cast of the day and I got a 14" on a craw tube.

Over all Jim was disappointed we didn't get more fish.  I don't know why we didn't get more bites, conditions seemed to be perfect.  It was fun riding around in Smitty's sports car, a 19' Stratos with a 200hp motor.  Wind conditions will dictate what we do and where we go on tournament day.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

June 22nd B.B.S. Serpent Lake

My Boater Dave Branum from the Morning We Pre-fished

Conditions: Cloudy in the morning turning sunny then partly cloudy.  Wind from almost calm to about 10mph out of the S SE.  It did sprinkle for a little while.  I could have used less wind.

My Plan- I was really hoping the wind would stay low enough to allow me to fish topwater all day.  After the pre-fish I figured it was a plan that had a chance of winning the tournament.  Honestly, I usually don't fish thinking I am going to win a tournament, but that was my mind set on this one.

The Day- I believe we blasted off around 6:40AM and we got our starting spot.  Well one caveat to that statement.  We got our starting spot, which was a fairly big area, but there was a non-competitors boat fishing right in the middle of it.  We did get to start on the spot where we got the double and I got 2 smallies.  It took about 10 to 15 minutes, but I got a 15" largie on a Paycheck Baits Repo Man.  I think I missed a hit and noticed on a couple of casts I had fish following but not hitting.  So I took the Repo Man off and went to the KVD Dawg.  I got a 14.25" and a 15.25" on that.  Dave got 1 or two fish.  The other boat landed a few as well.  Eventually we moved on the other side of the other boat.  I had a nice pike blow up on the KVD.  Then it got calm for a little while.  I started throwing a gold Frenzy Popper and I got 13.75" and a 12.5" on that.  The other boat left and the wind came up.  We weren't getting bites so we left.

Our next spot was a weedline where we got a few pre-fishing including 1 nice smallie.  The wind was blowing here pretty good.  I started out throwing the KVD Dawg, then a Kelly J, then a Strike King Spinnerbait.  I got a hit right away on the spinnerbait, but it was a slimmer.  I did get a 10 bass and 13.25" bass on the Kelly J.

We moved to a sunken island with weeds and rocks.  I culled out my 2 smallest with a 15.25" and a 14" on the Repo Man.  Dave got himself a nice smallie (2-10) and lost a another better largemouth as he was bring it to the boat.  I decided to throw a Lake Fork Craw Tube for a little bit and was quickly rewarded with a 16.25" largie (1-15).  I started catching a bunch of rock bass as well.

Next we headed to our starting area.  The wind was blowing pretty good there.  I started experimenting with lipless cranks.  I was on my 4th one, a 3/4oz chart/red Red Eye Shad, when  I had a 15 to 16 inch largemouth hit it. It only had one hook and got off.  I then caught a hammer handle.  Then I got the fish I was looking for, a good smallmouth.  It hit on the end of a long cast and shot up out of the water trying to throw my bait.  It then swam towards the boat.  Reeling as fast as I could I was able to keep up with it.  I had it about 4 feet from the net when it tail walked and came off.  I would say it was 17" inch 3lb class fish.  I ended up catching a rock bass and a perch on the Red Eye as well.

We moved to a weedline that was protected from the wind.  I started throwing the Repo Man.  A 17" or so smallie jumped on it about 12 feet out from the boat.  It missed the bait and must have seen me because it didn't come back for it.  Dave got a largemouth, which helped him and then he dropped one that had to be at least 3 1/2 lbs, probably a bit more.

We went back to the island where Dave got the smallmouth. I don't remember if he caught anything but rock bass.  I got a couple of rock bass on the Red Eye.  We finished up on our starting spot.  I got a couple of rock bass on the craw tube.

Results-   My 6 fish weighed 9lbs 8ozs which put me in 24th Place with 26 anglers fishing. Dave's fish went 10lbs 15ozs and put him in 11th Place.  The winner was Darren Kiefer with 14lbs 5ozs and Lunker went to Bill Ludenia with a 4-1 largemouth, at least I think it was a largemouth.  Bill came in 2nd with 13-14.  Everyone got a limit.  Fishing was tougher than expected.

Thoughts-  Like I said in quick report  I had the bites to do well, Top 10 for sure, and my boater had the fish on to contend for the win, but our execution left something to be desired.  Part of my execution problem stems from the rod I was throwing the Red Eye Shad on.  The rod is a Lamiglas Excel 735.  Great for throwing a long cast, but not forgiving enough for playing the fish.  It's great a rod for frogs and dipper style swimbaits, but treble hook lures not so much..  On a softer rod I may have gotten both of the one's I lost.

I can't really do anything about a fish that misses my topwater lure.  I played that fish perfect, letting the topwater sit before starting it up again and then throwing a follow up lure.  That fish saw me and was gone.  The wind was such that I didn't get to throw topwater as much as I wanted too.

Next Tournament Leech Lake July 19th.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Serpent Lake Pre-fish June 13th

A double to start the morning

Conditions: Calm to a light wind, basically perfect topwater conditions.  Sunny with clouds moving in.

My boater Dave Branum and I were on the water and fishing by 7AM.  I had a fish hit my KVD Sexy Dawg on the 2nd cast, but it got off.  On my next cast, I had a fish hit it and not hook up.  I let the lure sit then started retrieving again and the fish either came back or another one hit it, but this time it stayed buttoned.  Dave brought in a largemouth at the same time.
My fish was a 15.5" smallie.  A couple of casts later I got a 17.5" smallie.  Next I got 15.5" and 16" largemouths and I switched to a Stanley Phantom.  I got a couple of small largies and a 14" on that, then I switched up to a KVD Dawg Jr.  I got  15.25, 10", and 14.25" largies on that.  Dave was catching fish in the same general size range as me as well, but he was fishing subsurface.  I got a 15.5 largie on a MegaBass Popmax.  We then switched locations and I got an 18.33 smallie on the same KVD Dawg as earlier.
 She either hadn't spawned yet or had a full belly.  I got two more 15" largemouth's on the Dawg, then I put it away.   The wind came up a little bit and  I got a couple of largies on a Lucky Craft Kelly J. I got a 17.75 smallie on a Rapala X-Rap Prop, along with a couple of small keeper largies.  I did throw a craw tube eventually and got a couple of pike on that and one bite off, along with a 14.75 largie.  Dave got the biggest bass of the day, a 19" plus largemouth.  I also had at least half a dozen other  fish that missed my topwater baits or got off.

Needless to say we were both feeling good about things.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

June 7th B.B.S. Lake Alexander

My Boater Chuck Johansen, 1991 MN B.A.S.S. Nation T.O.C. Winner 
The Weather- Calm, cool/cold and overcast in the morning, turning sunny with some wind out of the NW in the afternoon.

The Day- Thankfully, the rain had stopped by the time we blasted off around 6:45AM because we made a long run up to the NE corner of the lake to fish some reed beds, floating bogs, and docks.  The reeds hadn't started coming out of the water yet.  As we worked our way East I started out throwing a Pure Poison, but in the calm conditions quickly switched to the chart/firetiger Stanley Phantom.  I had what I'm 90% sure was a muskie come up and wake behind that.  Eventually I switched to a gold Frenzy Popper.  I made a long cast out to some reeds.  I'm not sure if I had a little over run that I started taking out or what, but a fish hit the Popper.  I quickly, set the hook but I couldn't reel in because the line was caught on my reel.  It felt like a good fish, but by the time I got my line out of the reel handle it had come off.   I managed to catch a 9" dink on the Popper and missed another one that swirled on it.  We went into some docks and passed by a decent smallmouth that was on a bed.  Next I got a rock bass and another 9" dink on a bubblegum Zoom Super Fluke.  Then Chuck got  the first keepers along the dock. We had to be at least an hour into the tournament when Chuck got the first keeper.  I finally got a 12" squeaker and we both got some that didn't measure and more rock bass as we worked our way along the bogs and docks.  Chuck got a couple of small keepers and  I got a 13.5" and a 13" off the docks, then we ran back to approximately where we started.  When we got close to the area where we had seen the smallmouth bed I threw my Fluke into the general vicinity and the fish crushed it.
  That was pretty much all we got on our 2nd pass except for a few dinks and rock bass.  We ended up hopscotching with a couple of boats on the docks on the East side of the lake.  We got down to the SE corner and there was a prime looking area of an old reed bed.  I took a 14.5" on the Fluke and then I missed a good fish that may or may not have been a bass up by shore.  Chuck thought maybe it was a dogfish.  We ended up pulling a double much to the dismay of Chuck Steinbauer who was fishing towards us.  Mine was a 15.75" largie.  Steinbauer left and we worked the water he had been fishing.  Then we made the call to go back over the area again.  I tied on a Zoom Horny Toad with a purple head and chart. legs.  I caught a 24 or so inch pike on that.  The wind came up more than it had been and the sun came out.  Chuck thought we should move, but I suggested we fish down to a pontoon boat.  My suggestion paid off for Chuck when he landed a quality fish just on the other side of the pontoon.  We decided to keep going and I think Chuck got another good fish off of a bog point that had the wind blowing on it and I missed what felt like a good fish on a green pumpkin Lake Fork Craw Tube.  I got a couple of rock bass and missed a couple of bites on the Craw Tube before connecting with a 14" fish that culled out my 12".  I think Chuck got another keeper as well.

Next we went a little to the West of the area we started in and headed West.  I culled a 13" for a 13" and caught some that didn't help as we worked our way through the reed stubble.  We started working some docks and we both got some that didn't help and some rock bass.  I had a good smallmouth follow my Fluke out from a dock.  I let the fluke drop when I saw her. It turned to swim away. I jigged the Fluke again, the fish whipped around, eyed it for a couple of seconds than took it.  I set the hook and landed my biggest fish of the day 16"/ 2lbs 3ozs and final keeper bite.  Got several more that didn't help including one on a Gambler Ninja Spin as well as several rock bass on the Craw Tube.  I think I missed 1 that would have helped at least a little bit on a Craw Tube.  Chuck got one last quality cull off of a dock.

The Results- My 6 fish weighed in at 10lbs 1ozs and put me in 19th Place out of 26 fishing.  Chuck's fish went 12lbs 4ozs and put him in 8th place.  Jim Smith won easily with 16lbs 5ozs, more than 2lbs over Guy who got 2nd Place.  Big Bass only weighed 3-8 and was caught by Dave Branum; I think it was a largemouth.  Only 1 guy failed to catch a limit and weights were up an average of around 2lbs per person over the last two tournaments on Alexander (6-25-06, 9-22-12)

My Thoughts-   Other than the first hour which was fairly slow, it was a fun day on the water with a lot of setting the hook.  Had I got all my bites I guess I would have had around 12lbs as well.  For neither of us getting to pre-fish I thought the day went pretty well.  Chuck was a great guy to fish with, very considerate, and asking for my input from time to time.

Next Tournament- Serpent Lake June 22nd

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sep. 17th 2013 B.B.S. Little Boy/Wabedo

Well better late than never on this tournament report. I've got nothing better to do on this snowy April Day.

I fished with Darren Kiefer as my boater.  This was the third time I've had the pleasure to share the boat with Darren.  He got a little spun out in this one.

Weather Conditions:  It was a cool September morning with a cold breeze blowing out of the NW when we blasted off at around 7:40AM.  The sun eventually came out and the breeze died down some and it got to 61°F.

The Day: Darren had gotten some good fish in the slop in the Access area when he pre-fished and it was pretty calm there, so that's where we started.  I had a hit on a yellow Horny Toad but missed it in the pads.  We worked his prime area back and forth but didn't come up with anything. Then we fished the small Island right by the access.  We got around to some reeds that had wind blowing on to them and I got my first and biggest fish (17") of the day on the Yellow Horny Toad.  We worked our way around the back side of the Island and I missed a fish in the pads.  Darren also missed something, probably a pike or a muskie in the pads as well.

Next we moved to the North Shore adjacent to the Island and worked the shoreline heading East. One of the two of us got a nice pike on the back side of a reed point.  We got into some pads and docks and I got my 2nd bass of the day (15.25") on the Horny Toad.  I missed a couple of hits in the pads.  We were working some seriously good looking water with pads, rice, and reeds, but not catching anything.  We went back to where we started on the North shore adjacent to the Island and headed East this time.  I landed a little 12.5" keeper on the Horny Toad out of the pads and a 12.75" off of some reeds just beyond a dock on a black T.T. Mad Maxx Frog.

Next we went around the point and got out in the wind.  I saw a muskie swimming with it's head out of the water like they do sometimes.  We went up and fished the windblown reeds of the other Island.  As we came around on the back side out of the wind again Darren had a monster bass miss his frog.

The sun started coming out so we ran up to the NW side of Little Boy and tried a weedline spot, but didn't get anything.  Next, we went into the reeds and I picked up a chunky 16.25" on a yellow Spro Frog.  I also lost a good one in the reeds on the end of a long cast.  Eventually, we gave up on the reeds and headed to Wabedo.

We started fishing some pads that had some wind blowing on them;  The wind was much lighter now.  We ended up getting into some reeds and I caught my keeper fish (15.25") on the Horny Toad.  I think I got 14.5" out on the weed flat just out from the reeds on the Horny Toad and a 15" even farther on the weed flat.  We worked back to the reeds and I got one or two that didn't help.

Next we ran South and worked some pads and rice.  I missed some, caught a couple that didn't help and finally got my final keeper of the day (15.25") all on the Horny Toad.

We ran back up into Little Boy and Darren lost one where that big one missed his bait earlier in the day.  We ended up fishing by the access again.  I got one last fish that didn't help me on the Horny Toad in the pads off the Island in general vicinity where I missed one in the morning.

The Results:  My 6 fish weighed 13lbs 1oz which put me in 7th place out of 26 fishermen.  This was my second best finish of the year. Apparently the Yabbie was working it's magic again as Mark Munson won his second consecutive tournament at these lake with a 18lb 4ozs bag.

My thoughts:  I really enjoyed fishing these lakes.  It was just like fishing Platte/ Sullivan. It's really to bad that big fish missed Darren's frog as the Lunker of the tournament was only 3lbs 12ozs.

This was the last tournament of the year and I think I went out on a good note.  I ended up finishing in 13th Place for the year.  I would have come in 15th place had I not caught that last second fish at Rush Lake.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Bass Snatchers Tentative 2014 Schedule

The #1 thing I wanted to see on this years schedule was a tournament on Leech Lake.  It looks like that will happen.  I am least enthusiastic about having a blind tournament again this year.  I would much prefer to start at 7AM, rather than at 8AM which the having it be a blind tournament requires.

I am excited about fishing Woman Lake, which the Bass Snatchers haven't done since I joined the club.  I also like the Serpent Lake and Pelican picks, but would prefer Pelican and Whitefish get switched so the smallmouth in Whitefish could be in play.