Gregg Kizewski

Gregg Kizewski is a licensed guide, lure manufacturer and bass tournament angler from northwest Wisconsin.

Tournament # 10 - Long Lake Fall Classic

Posted by: Gregg Kizewski Updated: September 14, 2009 - 10:55 AM
On Sunday, September 13th, my tournament partner Steve Crotteau and I fished an open tournament on Long Lake in Washburn County Wisconsin. The Long Lake Fall Classic is limited to 40 boats and is a very popular event that has been held for many years.

I can honestly say that this was the first time of the year that I saw water temperatures exceeding 70 degrees when launching the boat in the morning on our northern lakes. Maybe summer is finally here!

Pre-fishing was tough for us for this event, and reports from other fisherman were consistent with our findings - the bite was off.

We were boat 16 in the first flight and took off at 6:30 am. We got to our first spot and on the second cast caught a 2.5 lb largemouth followed quickly by a 3.5 lb and 2.25 lb smallmouth. At 6:42 am we had 3 keepers in the boat and were feeling pretty good. Then depression set in! In the next hour we caught several short fish and rock bass but no more keepers.

The next 3 hours we hopped around to 10+ waypoints but just could not get the laremouth going. At noon we committed to smallmouth and started fished our smallie spots on deeper, off-shore rock. We picked up 3 more smallmouth in the next 2.5 hours of hump jumping and we also had a 2.5 lb smallmouth come unbuttoned at the boat.

As we headed back to Props Sports Bar and Grill for weigh in, we noticed some boats were loading prior to the first flight check-in of 2:30 pm which would indicate a tough day.

At the tanks, our 6 fish (2 fish short of the tournament limit of 8 fish) weighed 13.66 lbs. When it was all said and done, we ended up finishing in 7th place and we did cash a check.

With a dead calm, sunny, 80 degree day, we maybe should have abandoned the largemouth bite earlier, but we felt that with the number of spots we had out there, any one of them could have been stacked with fish and it is hard to let go of that mentality. Too often a bite is slow on several spots and you get to a spot that is stacked with the mother load of good fish.

We were happy to leave with a top 10 and a check for our efforts.

Bait choices for this tournament were:
Super K football jigs in 1/2 ounce
Super K K-Plunk jigs in 1/2 ounce
Carolina Rigged soft plastics
Drop-shot rigs with soft plastics.

A special thanks to all of our sponsors!!
Grafe Auction Company
Props Sports Bar and Grill
Hauck Power Sports
Skeeter Boat Center
Crotteau Chiropractic
Super K Jigs
A&J Landscape and Maintenance
Miller Lite
Humminbird/MinnKota
Quantum

When Does Color Matter?

Posted by: Gregg Kizewski Updated: August 28, 2009 - 8:44 AM
I am sure that most people have been on the water on days that any bait or color will work for catching great numbers of fish. I am primarily a bass fisherman, and my experiences chasing bass are what I base this blog on, but it is adjustable for any number of species of fish.

Like many fishing fanatics, I carry many different colors of plastics and hard baits in my boat. Last fall when I emptied my gear out of the boat I actually weighed all of my Plano boxes and found that I carried 287 pounds of artificial baits in my boat! I tried to trim that down significantly this year, but I think it is actually easier to lose body weight - there is no such thing as Slim Fast for a boat.

That being said, I really think the wake-up call revolves around those that use live bait. Why do most fish prefer life bait? There are 3 major reasons:
  • Action - baits that wiggle and move are easy visual attractors, as well as sensory attractors to a fish's lateral line.
  • Color
  • Taste/smell
In a nutshell, those 3 reasons mean 1 thing to a fish - it is natural.

There will always be a number of fish that will give you a reaction bite - all that they need is the "Action" reason to hit a bait.

If we can mimic a natural action and color of a preferred forage we will catch more positive and neutral fish and significantly increase our chances on negative fish.

As fishermen, we have so many bait choices that it teeters on absurd. The key to bait selection is to match the hatch. If you see minnows, small bluegills, crawfish, etc., in the area you are fishing, you are unlocking pieces of that color puzzle. Better yet, if you catch a fish and they cough up a crawfish pincher, minnow, or other forage on the deck of your boat, that fish has just handed you the key to a great day on the water - pay very close attention to the color and size of that forage and match it as closely as possible.

I keep a fishing log of EVERY day I spend on the water, and here are the colors that turn up most often in my log.
  1. Green pumpkin - hard to beat it! Keep a bottle of red and chartreuse Spike-It handy and you have a color that is good for 50% of your applications.
  2. Bluegill/sunfish - enough said!
  3. Black/blue - so many things that swim and crawl in the water have dark variations
  4. Browns - very versatile - throw in a little purple (PBJ) or red and it is a great crawfish imitator for many lakes and rivers - did you ever see what happens to the road and sidewalks when it rains? Worms and nightcrawlers on the bank end up in the water just like they end up on your sidewalk.
  5. White - a great match for minnows and shad variations.
  6. Watermellon - another very natural must have color.
Some basic tips:

If you are a jig fisherman, make your subtle color adjustments with your trailer - you will be surprised how close of a match you can come up with when you play with the color of your jig trailer.

In clear water (over 3' of visibility) use more translucent colors to match forage - fish are going to get a better look at what you are throwing so make them work at seeing the bait! Long casts are also key.

In stained water 1' to 3' of visibility, green pumpkin or brown is a great base color to start with until the fish tell you different.

In muddy water, some chartreuse never hurts.

So my question to myself is "why do I carry 287 lbs of jusk with me when I really could get by with 10 lbs?" I guess I will need to work on that problem.

Tournament # 9 - Long Lake, Washburn County

Posted by: Gregg Kizewski Updated: August 15, 2009 - 9:45 PM
Saturday, August 15th, was the 4th and final stop in the East Division of the Wisconsin Team Circuit on Long Lake in Washburn County, Wisconsin. A full field of 48 boats participated in this tournament. A few weeks ago, as luck would have it, we drew boat number 47 out of 48 for take off order for this tournament.

My tournament partner Steve Crotteau and myself spent a cumulative total of 4 days pre-fishing for this event. We entered this tournament 2nd in points in the division, with 328.64 points - the first place team of Pat Schlapper and Rob Yule had 334.19 points. Since we had a terrible boat draw, our pre-fishing hours were spent looking for new, subtle areas/spots that would hopefully yield a good bag of fish, without having a ton of competitor boat pressure. We came up with 30 plus waypoints to develop a milk run. We tried to spend time on the water in a variety of weather conditions so we could have a plan "B".

During pre-fishing, the smallmouth bite was nothing less than spectacular. More than 20 of our waypoints were smallmouth spots, with the remainder of our spots being for largemouth in a variety of depths and cover.

On tournament day we started on a smallouth spot that was actually and off-shore point that covered depths of 7' to 22' of water. We only caught 2 keepers on that spot in 1 hour and 15 minutes, and those keepers were 14" and 15.5". Spot numbers 2 and 3 were also smallmouth spots, and we caught on more smallmouth (16") and a largemouth 15.5". At this point (8:45 am) we felt that the smallmouth were not exactly on fire, and we decided to check a largemouth spot.

Over the next 1.5 hours we caught numerous keeper largemouth and we figured that we had a 14 lb 5 bass limit in the livewell. - we then started to check some smallmouth spots that did not hold numerous fish, but the quality on those spots had been phenomenal. Unfortunately, for us anyway, the smallmouth bite was off. This may have proved to be a blessing in disguise however, as it pushed us to fish for largemouth once again, and we were able to significantly improve on our limit.

Although we did catch some nice largemouth on wood, the key to our day was fishing clean sand patches approximately 6' in diameter in heavy, deep weedbeds.

Weigh-in began at 3pm at Props Sports Bar and Grill on Long Lake, which is one of our sponsors, and our total 5 fish limit weighed 15.69 lbs, which was good enough for 2nd place in this tournament. We fished clean with no lost fish and made good deciaions. More importantly we took over the points lead by approximately 10 points and were named the Top Team of the WTC East Division.

Full tournament results will be available soon by clicking Here.

Bait choices for this tournament were:
Super K football jigs in 1/4 to 1/2 ounce weights
Super K K-Plunk jigs in 1/2 ounce
Carolina Rigged soft plastics
Drop-shot rigs with soft plastics.

A special thanks to all of our sponsors!!
Grafe Auction Company
Props Sports Bar and Grill
Hauck Power Sports
Skeeter Boat Center
Crotteau Chiropractic
Super K Jigs
A&J Landscape and Maintenance
Miller Lite
Humminbird/MinnKota
Quantum

Tournament # 8 - Balsam Lake

Posted by: Gregg Kizewski Updated: August 10, 2009 - 12:00 PM
Saturday August 8th was the 4th and last stop in the West Division of the Wisconsin Team Circuit on Balsam Lake in Balsam Lake, Wisconsin. Going into this event, my tournament partner Steve Crotteau and I were sitting 4th in points in the West Division with 309.31 points which had us already qualified for the Wisconsin Bass Classic. The point leaders in the division had 336.03 points which would give us only a mathematical chance of winning the points title.

That being said, we made the decision to only invest in 1 pre-fishing day for this tournament and pre-fish hard for the 4th tournament in the East Division where we are in 2nd in points (5 points out of 1st). That tournament will be held on Saturday, August 15th on Long Lake in Washburn County, WI.

Even with minimal pre-fishing time on Balsam, we did have quality fish going deep on Super K football head jigs. Our choice was to swing for the fence and stick with those deep fish.

On tournament day, we were boat 23 out of 38 in take off order, and when we arrived at our first spot at 7:10 am it was available for us to fish. The weathermen missed the mark (believe it or not), and we were greeted with rain that was not supposed to be there, and 15 to 25 mph winds (that were forecasted to be 6mph). We caught 2 short fish immediately, followed by 1, 15" largemouth that inhaled the football jig. We hung around the starting spot for 1.5 hours and all we caught after that keeper was short fish. That was the order of the day on the next 5 or 6 deep spots - 12" to 13.5" fish, all short of the 14" minimum size limit.

At 10am we tried 1 shallower weed bed in 7' of water and caught 10+ short fish before we had the highlight of our day. A bolt of lightening, complete with a load crack of thunder hit right next to the boat. We both immediately hit the deck and gathered our composure - it is moments like that where you appreciate being alive. For the next 15 minutes, we continued to fish, but with a much lower profile in the boat, using roll cast techniques - another bolt of lightening like that and I'd have been looking for underwear instead of rain gear.

We moved back out to our deep spots around 11am, and stayed deep until 1:45pm. Several times earlier we discussed fishing shallow, but most of the other boats were shallow, and a lot of those folks were fishing hard to get in the Classic, so we felt it best to stay out of the way.

At 2:15pb we found some lily pads in a bay that nobody was fishing and we worked the perimeter with Super K swim jigs. We caught 15 to 20 short fish before a 2.8 lb largemouth hit a dragonfly colored swim jig. With a 3pm weigh-in, that was our last fish of the day.

We weighed in our 2 fish for 4.56 lbs, and believe it or not, it was good for 17th place which was a shocker. It was good timing to have our worst tournament of the year, as when it was all said and done, we still finished 4th in points in the West Division.

Bill, Karen and Bear Schutts of the Wisconsin Team Circuit run a first class tournament series - the comradery and competition of the WTC are second to none!

Bait choices for this tournament were:
Super K football jigs
Super K swim jigs'
Carolina Rigged soft plastics
Drop-shot rigs with soft plastics.

A special thanks to all of our sponsors!!
Grafe Auction Company
Props Sports Bar and Grill
Hauck Power Sports
Skeeter Boat Center
Crotteau Chiropractic
Super K Jigs
A&J Landscape and Maintenance
Miller Lite
Humminbird/MinnKota
Quantum

Pre-fishing - Balsam Lake

Posted by: Gregg Kizewski Updated: August 1, 2009 - 11:12 PM

On Friday, July 31st I took time away from making jigs to do some pre-fishing for an upcoming Wisconsin Team Circuit tournament. It has been a couple of years since I have been on Balsam, and I am far from well versed on the lake, since I have only fished it twice in my life. My guest for the day on the water was Troy Razim from Chetek, Wisconsin.

Since Steve Crotteau (my team tournament partner) and I had already drawn a middle of the pack boat position for Balsam Lake, it was necessary to try and find some less than obvious fishing areas.

Troy and I spent more time actually side-imaging the lake with my Humminbird 997 SI than actually fishing. I was trying to find areas that suit my fishing strength, which is off shore deep water structure. After making a pass around the lake at 6.5 miles an hour with the Humminbird recording, we were ready to start fishing. I had waypointed 23 spots that I felt had potential.

We spent 15 to 30 minutes on each area, using a variety of Super K football head jigs an Carolina rigged soft plastics in the deep areas (22' to 31' of water), and Super K K-Plunk (1/2 and 3/4 ounce) and Super K swim jigs (3/8 to 3/4 ounce) in the shallower weed flats of 6' to 10' of water.

When it was all said and done, 16 of the original 23 waypoints made the cut for tournament day stops, but 3 areas had better potential then the rest. We did find that the fish were very size and color specific in regards to the bait choice. I think it would be a true statement to say that this summer of 50 degree mornings has these fish seeking stable conditions.

Pictured is the big fish of the day caught by Troy - 5 of these would be awesome on tournament day!!

A special thanks to all of our sponsors!!
Grafe Auction Company
Props Sports Bar and Grill
Hauck Power Sports
Skeeter Boat Center
Crotteau Chiropractic
Super K Jigs
A&J Landscape and Maintenance
Miller Lite
Humminbird/MinnKota
Quantum

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