Fresh off a win on Saturday, it was time to get back at it on Sunday. I had overtook first place in AOY for Gopher Bassmaters on Saturday, but i was fishing with my good buddy Josh Douglas who was hot on my heels on Lake O'Dowd. We both did a little prefishing independent of each other and Josh has put his time in on this little gem over the years.
It's always fun to fish with a good pal like Josh, but challenging at the same time, because he is a very talented fisherman and you can be certain we will be sharing each others fish all day. If you pit Josh around fish, he is going to catch his share.
We worked well together all day, taking turns running the boat, sharing the front deck a good majority of the time and running lots of productive water. We bounced back and forth between shallow & deep all day, the majority of our fish came shallow on weightless ring fry setups; but we also each weighed 2 key fish on deeper water. It was fun to register my first football jig fish of the year.
Fairly early in the day, I got a 4.23lb bite on a ring fry, other then that we spent all day trading blows with each other slinging fish in the 2-3 lbs class all day. It was humorous, as we were both sure the other one had more weight then the other all day.
In the end i weighed 16.01lbs, which was only good enough for 4th but I squeaked ahead of Josh by .3lbs, so I guess i retain slim bragging rights until next time. Hats of the the guys that weighed 17-18lb bags, we even had a 6.45lb fish weighed in our tournament, clearly post-spawn fish. Probably would have been 7lbs 2 weeks ago!
I retained my AOY lead and in a few weeks we head to MInnetonka for 2 tournaments. But in between, I will be concentrating on the Pan-O-Prog bass tournament on Lake Marion. Fun little tournament that is close to my heart, really want to get a win there this year!
We had a quick turnaround between Gopher Bassmaster club tournament weekends between late May and early June, but I did prefish both lakes for a few hours the weekend before; thanks to Simply Fishing Extreme Marine for getting me back on the water. I had an idea of the kinds of things that I wanted to do on this lake. New thing this year, I want to try to spend the first 20 minutes or so gambling for a bigger bite or two on each event, then worry about limit fish. With that being said, water temps were in the mid 60's to start and I had a couple small subtle points with grass and hard bottom hoping to intercept some staging fish early.
That did not pan out, so we ran into a couple of small boat canals. I caught 2 out of the first canal on a black 4" tube and another boat beat us into the other cut, so we killed a little time where I caught a fry guarder on a ring fry and then went in afterwards. I quickly caught a small 4th keeper on a tube and then I saw a couple good fish on a bed. While i worked those fish, my partner Rick caught 3 good keepers on a stick worm out the back of the boat. I finally tempted the smaller fish of the 2 nice fish on a white jig, and the bigger fish split.
We then headed to a section of docks, where we hooked a few shorts and lost one keeper and saw several cruising fish that we could not tempt. Shortly after that I caught 2 fry guarders on a drop shot setup, culling 2 of my 13" fish. Rick also picked up his 4th keeper out of some cattails.
Rick them took over and ran the trolling motor through a large reed and pad flat. He quickly put his 5th fish in the boat. A little bit alter, I hooked and landed a 4lb class fish blind casting a weightless ring fry. Not much longer, i see a really good fish just suspending about 10 feet from boat, I managed to get my ring fry in front of her without spooking and gobbled it right up and it was another 3lb plus fish in the boat. We kept pecking away in this reed flat, and i saw a good fish scoot around the boat, but I noticed it quick resettled on light spot behind the boat, so I asked Rick to hold the boat for a little bit. It only took me a few minutes to tempt this nearly 4lb fish with my tricked out white jig.
Working through the pads, Rick was able to get another 3lb fish and get rid of his one little one, so I ran to where I saw some big fish the week before. I quickly caught another 3lb fish around 1pm out of a boat lift on the ring fry. We ran around quite a bit after that, hitting lots of spots, catching a few fish that would not help us.
When the dust settled, I had 16.26lbs for 1st place even though my big fish was only 3.81lbs and Rick caught a nice bag of 13lbs, which got me the team bonus for the 2nd straight tournament. Its nice to get a good bag and win a tournament, but even more fulfilling when you can put your partner on a quality bag as well.
Pictured is my bed fishing setup, 1/2oz jig skirt trimmed to flair more, big rattle, with specially dyed chunk. I think the red contrast can trigger more bites from reluctant fish, plus when the red disappears, you know it is time to set the hook!
No rest for the weary, I had another tournament on Sunday, so it was time to get home and get my gear ready for Sunday.
I was able to get out for about 5 hours on Monday morning with my Dad. We hit a lake that we have a tournament coming up on in the metro area, although we would be fishing against each other, his boat was in the shop, I thought he should get a look at the lake and it's always good to get out with my dad. We don't fish as much now that we both have boats. It was pretty overcast, windy and misty when we started the day.
I started out with a swimbait in the main lake, looking for some big bites, after 20 minutes, that didn't really pan out, so we headed to look for some shallow fish around emerging vegetation. It did not take long to start putting bass in the boat, many of them were chunky 14-16" fish. We kept hopping around trying to expand on these fish and looking for a bigger bite. Well, we kept getting bit, but nothing over 3lbs for most of the day and all are fish came on light weight or weightless soft plastics fished really slow. I tried several reaction baits with no avail. Based on Saturday's trip and water temp, it was obvious that some fish would be spawning, but with the weather, trying to look at them would be near impossible.
Not long before we headed in, I did pop a 3lb 12oz pre-spawn fish on a beaver. My best 5 would have been 13-14lbs, not bad, but not great for this lake. Hoping to dial in a few more big bites come tournament time!
Overall we caught around 30 fish between us in a hald day of fishing!
Satruday finally came and now has went. Over all it was a good day, once I got boat back on trailer and put the plug in.... After the plug incident, club tourney partner Rick and I were fishing by 7am, early morning water temps were around 59 degrees. I started out throwing a 5" Optimum BLT Swimbait, I caught one decent fish on that and Rick picked one up on a spinnerbait.
My 3rd fish came on a 3/8oz jig, pictured below. Weighed 4lbs 3oz on my new handheld scale. Quite obvious she was still beautiful, fat and pre-spawn.
We kept hunting and pecking around, picking up a few fish here and there. Saw a few fish cruising and a few on beds, I did catch one of a bed, just to get a little practice in case some are still there during next week's tournament, I caught a 3-5 of a bed just to prove I could, the rest I kind of left alone.
We had lulls and stretches of good fishing, fish did seem to be grouped a little. I caught good fish tubes and ring frys as well. All in all, we caught about 20 fish or so and I capped the 5 hour day off with the 4-11 beauty below.
All in all a pretty good day, would've been fun to stay out for a few more hours, either way I feel good about next weekend's tournament. I hope to get out tomorrow morning as well. How did the rest of my fellow Minnesotans do this weekend?
Following up club tourney #1, the very next day we had our 2nd club tourney of 2011. We launched out of Colvill Park in Red Wing and we could fish all of Pool 4 and bottom of Pool 3. I had not fished this water since last year and never really fished with water has high as it was on tournament day. Based on my past experience and familiarity with the water closer to Wabasha, I decided to make the 25 mile run and just go fishing down there.
It did not take long for my partner Kory and I to start plucking fish from dead end cuts with rock and wood cover. We hopped around, checking spots that I thought would have the right stuff, most of them panned out, with each of catching a pretty decent 4 fish limit, bot having 1 kicker smallie to go with solid largemouth. I caught all mine on a 4" tube and a 3/8oz jig fished on 17-20lb fluorocarbon on heavy action Dobyns Rods, while Korey got all his on a Tube Craw.
The wind managed to kick up in the afternoon, making for an adventurous return to Red Wing and we drove right into a thunderstorm with driving rain and hail. We made it safely back to Colvill Marina, just in time to catch a few small keepers that we threw back.
In the end I took 2nd with 12.22lbs for 4 fish and Korey got 4th with 11.26lbs, my big smallie was 3.49lbs. We easily had the largest combined weight but a few guys found some really nice smallies up near Red Wing to beat us out. Still a decent tourney, but as Ricky Bobby says "if you are not first, you're last!"
After two tourneys, I am less then a .5lbs out of first in overall standings. I look to keep up the strong weights on my next 2 tourneys on Medicine & O'Dowd that will be first weekend in June. Learn more about Gopher Bassmaters @ www.GopherBass.com
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