Overall, I had a pretty productive pre-practice and official practice, but there were days that I struggled and days that I really got good bites. With that being said, I could see scenarios in my mind where I bust big bags both days and where I struggle to put together a decent limit. Below are a few pictures of some good fish from official practice.
Got an early fish on Chart / Blue IMA Rock N vibe lipless crankbait
I tried to pull on this 19.25" doozer on Sunday, but would not let go of my Football Jig & Burton Craw
My day 1 boat draw was boat 30 and I headed to a 10-12 foot rock spot that I got some really nice bites on back to back casts in practice on Sunday. After a few casts, I hooked up on a nearly 3lb fish, but that fish jumped off about a boat length away. I then switched over to a 3/4oz Picasso Fantasy Football jig tipped with a Green Pumpkin Copper Flake Burton Craw. I boated a 3lb plus fish and another solid keeper pretty quick. My partner got a nice keeper on a drop shot. I got a few more bites on that, but they just weren't eating it. I then deadsticked a 4" Baby Ring fry on a mojo ring while I tied up a 1/2oz football jig . That small bait sitting dead still on the bottom was too much for a big ol' pig to resist and my partner helped me net what I thought was a nice solid 4.5lb plus beauty. I then put one more nice keeper in the boat on the mojo rig and decided to leave and conserve these fish for day 2. I ran a handful more deep spots, but got no more fish or bites. From there i dashed to some wind swept docks and put a nice 2.5lb fish in the boat on a Tru-Tungsten jig , that filled my limit. Feeling pretty good with my bag, I decided to make the long idle back into some of the darker water to fish more boat docks. During this long idle, I made a
. Long story short, we fished a bunch of shallow cover in the darker water, after catching lots of really small fish and my partner filling his limit, I finally got a couple good bites to give me two solid culls flipping a Beaver bait on a 1/2oz Tru-Tungsten flipping weight and MiHatchii 4/0 hook . We then decided to roll the dice and tried for some bigger fish in Maxwell and North Arm, that gamble did not pay off. I ended up the day in 1st place with 17.51lbs and 3rd biggest fish which ended up tipping the scales at 5.84lbs.
Fish on left was 5.84lbs, anchoring the 17.51lb bag
Overall my day 1, went pretty darn well and obviously pleased with my position after day 1, I tied up my lures at Lord Fletchers before I left, got home, ate some dinner, spent some time with family and fell asleep watching Vikes game againts Saints, mainly because i was up until after midnight the night before prepping tackle.
Day 2, i was boat 54, another boat in my flight started right next to me, I quickly caught a 2lb fish on that same football jig combo,but that was the only fish that spot coughed up and I spent a long time there with a bunch of different lures, trying to trigger some strikes. I then went to the wind swept docks of day 1, worked them harder and longer with beaver and TT jigs until I got my 5th fish. It was nice to have 5 fish, but in my mind these fish were only half the weight of day 1 and I in no way felt comfortable with that weight on Minnetonka. My partner on day 2, picked up 2 keepers on that stretch of docks as well. We bounced around trying a handful of things in that area, even revisiting the starting spot, still no go there. Well, I felt it was time to head to that dirty water again, I also updated my struggles on
in the channel on day 2. Right when I started flipping my beaver combo into some dirty milfoil, I got a nice 2lb fish, that got rid of my smallest keeper. I was thinking things may really go, but that was my only upgrade in the dirty water. With about 2 hours ago, I ran to the east side of the lake, fishing Wayzata, St. Albans and around big island and never got bite. As I idled into Fletchers from Crystal, I was feeling pretty bummed, as I was sure in my head that my weight was way too small to keep me in the top 12 and that I had a repeat disaster of last year's TOC.
Turns out my fish, actually weighed 10.26lbs, not the 8-9lbs I had in my head, which at the time actually put me in 1st place with more then half the field weighed in. I was actually shocked, that the field had struggled this much. Not long after this, the Tournament Director flagged me down and asked me to take a walk with him. I started to get an erie feeling, as this is not usually good news, well it was not, he informed me I was DQ'd for "non-emergency use of a communication device" for my Tweets that broadcasted to Facebook and were relayed to TD by a non-competitor Federation member. Super sick feeling as I had to inform all my fellow anglers of the news as they all came up to me with smiles to congratulate my efforts. Towards the end of the weigh-in, Nate Steinbauer of Baxter Bass Snatchers came in with a 17lb plus bag to match his first day catch and blow everybody's doors off. It was good to see somebody caught them like I figured every body would have on day 2. I hung around, chatted and watch all the top 12 anglers and teams get their awards before I left. It was also tough to watch the teams get their awards, as my club Gopher would have won the team title going away if it were not for my indiscretions.
In the end, tough lesson learned, but above is the X's & O's of my TOC, I may follow this up with a little more on the "Tweets" and the ruling, but we will keep that separate for now. Besides, that would have been my 3rd runner up at the TOC, I don't want to become the Aaron Martens of the
There is plenty of chatter on the internet about "TweetGate" if you want to find it already.
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