September 29th through October 3rd, my team tournament partner Steve Crotteau and I had our last big tournament of the year - the Wisconsin Bass Classic. There was 8 qualifying events leading up to this tournament, and 61 boats that made the journey to Minocqua, WI for the Classic.
The format of this tournament was all 61 boats fishing the Minocqua Chain on Thursday and Friday, October 1st and 2nd, then the top 40% of the field fishing Championship Bracket on the Minocqua Chain on Saturday October 3rd, and the rest of the field moving to Squirrel Lake for the Consolation Bracket. Tuesday and Wednesday were official practice days (Squirrel on Tuesday and Wednesday and Minocqua on Wednesday only).
On Thursday morning we woke up at 5am, to a 31 degree temperature and a heavy frost. Water temperature was on a serious downturn from practice and pre-practice and we knew fishing would be tough. We also knew this was the nicest day in the forecast for the next 3 days. We made the 30 minute run to our starting spot and the fish were cooperative early, but big fish were hard to come by. At the scales, we had 12.26 lbs of smallmouth for our 5 fish limit, but we did have a dead fish (the only dead fish weighed on day 1) for a net weight of 12.01 lbs - good enough for 2nd place.
Friday morning we woke up to 42 degree temperature, rain and steady 20 mph wind out of the east so we knew it would be tough, as many of our spots had full exposure to east winds. That being said, we caught 2 smallies early before the gusts to 30 mph became evident. We hit one of our key areas and were treated to 4' waves and an inability to hold the boat let alone feel the bait. With only 2 fish in the livewell at 2pm, and needing to be at the weigh in at 3pm, we tried our luck for largemouth and picked up a 2.25 lb almost immediately, and another that was just short of the 14" minimum size. At the scales this day, our 3 fish weighed 6.77 lbs and dropped us to 4th place, but we still made the Championship Bracket for Saturday.
Saturday morning there was once again rain and 43 degrees, but the wind speed was down to 7 mph and out of the north. This was much more conducive to correctly fish our spots. Our game plan was to hit as many waypoints as possible until we found active fish. We did catch our limit of smallmouth, but we were missing kicker fish. Our 5 bass limit hit the scales at 10.70 lbs and when it was said and done, put us in 5th place for the tournament.
First place went to Cory Hauk and Andy Bylander - they had an awesome year and deserved the win!
The host site for the Classic was The Pointe Hotel and Suites in Minocqua - they really rolled out the red carpet and made sure everyone had a good time. Weigh ins were held daily at the Yacht Club - another great establishment in the Minocqua area.
Once again, Bill, Karen and Bear Schutts of the Wisconsin Team Circuit put on an incredible event. The 2010 schedule has been announced and I would highly recommend anyone that is looking for a series to fish, to look them up!
We really important to thank the following sponsors - without their support, fishing tournaments would be virtually impossible - words alone cannot express what that support means!
A special thanks to all of our sponsors!!
Grafe Auction Company
Props Sports Bar and Grill
Hauck Power Sports
Skeeter Boat Center
Super K Jigs
A&J Landscape and Maintenance