During the summer months I spend the majority of my time fishing for largemouth bass. Almost every weekend during the summer I compete in Minnesota and Wisconsin bass fishing tournaments. For me, tournament fishing is a great way to fulfill my competitive nature and spend time with friends and family. The majority of my tournaments I fish with my Dad, which has strengthen our relationship and friendship, and I look forward to every minute we spend on the water together.
On June 6th, 2010, I experienced an improbable catch that I will remember for a lifetime. It was early morning, around 7 a.m., and I was fishing a bass tournament with the local Lakes Area Bassmasters. I was fishing in the same boat as my dad, and we were on a few bass in 8-10 feet of water. I was pitching a half ounce bullet sinker with a Texas rigged Berkley Chigger Craw. Tap, Tap. The much anticipated indication that a bass had picked up my bait. I set the hook and started to real in a keeper bass. As I was reeling in, I felt my fish get extremely heavy. "Sweet", I thought. This could be a big one.
Hoping for a big fish, I was taken aback when my fish came boatside. All that I saw was a huge muskie swimming gingerly alongside our Ranger. I quickly looked around and flagged down three guys who were obviously fishing for muskie. "I need some help! You guys have a muskie net?!" I yelled. They replied a quick "yes" and began to move towards us. I thought I had hooked into this muskie and I really didn't want him to break my line and take with him one of my go-to baits. I decided to play him out gently with the hopes of landing him.
The three guys pulled alongside our boat with the net ready. As I maneuvered this large beast, I noticed something extremely interesting. The only reason I had this muskie on the line was because he had my bass sideways in his mouth! All of us couldn't believe it and we were eager to land the fish, both of them.
As I brought the muskie and bass closer, the muskie unhooked his razor sharp teeth and released my bass. On instinct, I moved my bass in a figure 8 pattern and the muskie turned sharply around. For some reason I decided that I should now get my bass out of the water. As I lifted the 14" largemouth, the muskie jumped 2 feet out of the water and grabbed my bass again! He nearly pulled my pole from my hand so I gave the fish some line. I again muscled the fish towards the helpful boat and thankfully they were able to net both the bass and the muskie. Everyone was extremely excited and all were glad to have witnessed this event. Boy, do I wish I had this event on video!
I have to say "thank you" to the guys that helped us out. My little bass net would have been no match for this 42" muskie. Also, one of the guys took a picture of this fish for me and graciously emailed it to me, as of course I didn't have a camera.
What a day, what an event...This is why I fish.
Thanks for reading. To read more about my fishing tournaments and adventures, check out www.teambassackwards.com!
For Minnesota bass fisherman, the wait from ice out to the bass opener can be long and unbearable. While the neighboring Wisconsin fisherman are targeting bass on May 1st, us Minnesotans must wait almost a full month to cast our first lines for bass. As some of you may know, the Mississippi River at Pool 2 and below are open year round to catch bass and wet your appetite. Please keep in mind, however, that Pool 2 is catch-and-release only, so don't think about grilling any bass filets.
Recently, I have been fortunate to fish Pool 4 in Wabasha and also Pool 2 out of St. Paul Park. My keys to success has been finding backwaters with warmer water. These backwaters are perfect areas for bass to stage and prepare for their spawn. I like to start the day by casting crankbaits, swim jigs, and rattle baits to determine the activity level of the bass and to guage if the area I chose has active fish. Once I find a productive area, I will slow down using a jig or a creature bait with a weight of 1/4 to 1/2 ounce.
The river tends to be fairly murky and I have found that water clarity is about a foot. The colors I select are either bright colors, using yellows, oranges, and chartruesse, or I use dark colors such as black and blue. Pay attention while out on the water for colors that generate the most consistant bites. The fish will tell you what they want, so attention to details is necessary for success on the Mississippi.
If you are getting that itch to fish for bass, don't be hesitant to try out the "Mighty" Mississippi. It has been a relatively new body of water for me, but each time I get out, I get to experience great scenery and great fishing. For additional bass information and news about my tournaments, please visit www.teambassackwards.com.
There are two reasons why I would change or modify a lure; one, to change the presentation by changing the color or action of the lure, and two, to correct a manufacturer's defect. By changing the color, action, or sound a lure makes, one is able to take a standard lure and change it to fit their needs and applications. With regards to correcting a manufacturer's defect, I am talking about fixing a bait so it will run true with the correct "wobble" or action. Most baits are just fine out of the box, but sometimes they need a little "tweaking" in order for them to perform most effectively.
Below are a few examples of some basic lure modifications that I use to modify my lure presentations.
1.) Trimming the skirt and weedguard on my jigs. I typically thin out the standard weedguard by cutting about half of the guard off. There is still protection left to ward off weeds, and the thin guard allows for better hooksets in my opinion. I will also shorten the skirt to about even with the bottom of the hook. This will create a smaller profile so when the fish attacks the bait, they will most likely strike the hook instead of the excess skirt.
2.) Add a rattle inside a floating frog. When I bring a frog across an area thick with lily pads, I sometimes like to add a rattle to add more sound so the fish can locate the frog easier. I will use a small rattle that can be bought at a tackle shop and insert it into the frog where the hooks pertrude.
3.) Use dye to add color to my plastics, jig skirts, and crankbaits. Sometimes just adding a bit of color to the tail or end of the skirt will entice more bites. There are many different ways to apply color. There are dyes that worms and skirts can be dipped in, paint to be used with a brush, or markers that will work just as well.
These are just a few simples modifications to try. It is said that bass can become conditioned to the same lures being thrown over and over, so trying a few easy changes can potentially put more bass in your boat and a more enjoyable time on the water.