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
Super K Jigs
A&J Landscape and Maintenance