Sunday, August 26, 2007

Fun fishing with my Uncle John

My uncle John Klinglehut was in town form D.C. and was eager to get out and do some Bassin'. Being a pretty avid fisherman himself, John had no problem adapting to Minnesota waters. Since he lived so close to the Potomac River I was eager to show him some of the big bass Minnesota has to offer. We headed out Wednesday afternoon and it started out slowly. This is one of my favorite lakes in the metro and being that the lake is so small and in such a relatively public place, I will leave it nameless. We started by throwing topwater frogs on the lily pads. In my mind there is no better way to show a person a good time than hauling giants out of the pads with frogs. The action can be amazing. The problem was that it wasn't. Well at least not yet. I decided after having very limited action that I would take us to a nice deep weedline that is usually very active with feeding bass. The area is perfect. The weedline starts in about 2 ft. of water and drops quickly to 15 ft. with nice green submerged vegetation all along it. I started John with a Rattle Trap lipless crankbait (sunfish bleeding bait series). I told him to throw it towards the shallow part of the ledge and rip it threw the vegetation to the deep end of the ledge. I started with a jigworm and caught a nice 2 lb. bass right away. John kept getting hits on his lipless crankbait but the fish kept coming unbuttoned. I said to John we should have him throw something with bigger hooks on it so these fish bite and can't let go. We tied up a Rapala lipless crankbait (bass) with some big trebles on it. On his next cast he caught a giant, and then another, and then another. I don't remember if he even caught one under 3 while we were on that spot. I cast my jigworm in the same spot and picked one up. After seeing the size of the bass John was bringing in I had to make a switch. The bass weren't shy they were aggressive. I tied up a Rad's Chatterbait (green pumpkin) and threaded on a 4 inch Roboworm (Aaron's Magic) as a trailer. After two casts I boated two at 3 lbs. a piece and another over 4. Once the bite slowed down we headed back to the pads. They were hungry now. After blowing them up in the pads we headed out. We made plans to go out again before John heads back to D.C.

We met up again on the same lake Sunday morning. Today wasn't as successful for John but I did have one heck of a good day. We pulled up to our same honey hole and I must have caught six or seven bass well over 3 lbs. One after another for about 15 minutes. I was throwing a Stick 'Em Lure Company 5" Salty Sinker (green pumpkin and baby bass) on a mojo rig. I would cast the Salty Sinker into about 7 feet of water and slowly drag and bounce the rig on the bottom threw the vegetation. I rigged John up with the same setup and he quickly had a big bass on the line. Unfortunately the fish got off and the bite shut down. Amazing how that works sometimes. Well we finished out our time on the water and John is headed back to D.C. I think I am going to try to fish a B.A.S.S. event down on the Potomac River this winter or spring. I told John if it worked out than I would head down there a week before the event and we can prefish together.

This week I will be real busy getting ready for my upcoming tournaments. On Saturday I will be heading up to Leech Lake for the Minnesota B.A.S.S. Federation Tournament of Champions. I will be up there until Friday, October 7th, than coming home just to head out again back down to Wabasha for the BASSMASTER Weekend Series on the Mississippi River (pools 4 and 5). Two real BIG tournaments that I am hoping to do very well in. I will post my results as soon as I get back! WISH ME LUCK!!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Gopher B.A.S.S. Federation Club Tournament

Mississippi River (pool 4) , Wabasha, MN

This tournament I drew partners with Rich Lindgren. We had pre fished pool 4 about 3 weeks back and found some real nice spots for both largemouths and smallmouths. We had decided to take a long run right away in the morning all the way up pool 4 to the mouth of Lake Pepin, were we had really blew up the smallmouths on some great topwater action. Rich and I started quick. We were throwing 14 and 15 inch fish back right away. Rich even threw back a 16 inch smallmouth banking on the fact that we would find the big ones. I caught a nice 15.5 inch smallmouth on a Lucky Craft Sammy (perch). Rich then caught a nice 17 inch largemouth on a Reaction Innovations Barely Legal Vixen (Bone). 10 minutes later I added a nice 3 pound smallmouth on the same Sammy.

After that spot died off, we decided to move on. Rich added 2 more nice ones before deciding we were going to go and hit some backwater slop areas he had found a couple weeks earlier. With about 30 minutes left in the tournament I caught a nice one just shy of 4 lbs working the slop with a Scum Frog (green pumpkin). As we headed back to the weigh in we arrived at the entrance to the ramp and still had a couple minutes. I instantly grabbed my go to rod, a 7'1" G Loomis GLX, and pitched a 5/16 oz. Jewell Jig (brown) to the bank and started pulling it back. Talk about last minute heroics, I caught my fourth fish a 2 lb. largemouth. Wow!! I weighed in at 11.5 pounds and took second place. Most importantly I finished 3rd my rookie season in the Angler of the Year standings and qualified for next years Federation State Tournament.

I should be busy this next few weeks. I have the B.A.S.S. Federation State Tournament coming up in early September on Leech Lake and I am also planning on fishing the BASSMASTER Weekend Series event on Sep. 9th back in Wabasha on the river. Hopefully my success there will hold up!

Congratulations to Rich Lindgren for his 1st place Angler of the Year finish!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Gopher B.A.S.S. Federation Club Tournament

Mississippi River (pool 5), Kellogg, MN

They said cold rain in the forecast and they couldn't of been more right. Knowing a cold front was coming in worried me right away. I wasn't sure how my area was going to hold up with the chill and rain. We ran to my spot right away. Once I got close I decided to troll in so I didn't disturb the fish. Throwing a Pop R (bone) I quickly caught a 15.5 inch smallmouth bass. The minimum to keep is 14 inches on the river. The other unique deal with the rules down there is this was a no cull tournament. Meaning once you establish a fish a keeper by putting them in your livewell you cannot trade the fish out for a bigger one later. Making it a gamble. Keep this fish in case my spot doesn't hold up or release him and hope? I decided with the weather to keep the fish. That may have turned out to be my mistake. Once we got to my spot I claimed a full limit of fish and was done fishing by 8:25 a.m. All were over 3 pounds except the smallmouth. My partner Frank was able to sit in the same spot and put together a real nice sack. Drenched and cold we took it to the scales. I was happy to see that I finished in 3rd with 15.6 lbs., got in the money, put myself in position for a run at Angler of the Year, and also put myself into contention to solidify my spot in the 2008 MN B.A.S.S. Federation State Championship held where else but on the Mississippi River pools 4 and 5. Wish me luck!

Congratulations to my tournament partner Frank for taking 1st place with 16.2 pounds and big fish with 4.8 lbs. Great Job! I told you we would hammer them!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Practice for the Mississippi River (pool 5)

I was able to get down to the river last Sunday for a few hours with my wife Bri. Pretty much we went down just to get a feel of the water there. We did catch some fish. But not what I was looking for so my buddy Matt and I decided to go back down and spend the day there. We got there about about 6:45 a.m. and hit the back canals right away. I started catching fish instantly on a Pop R (bone) on the main river inlets and canals. After exploring some of the deep back waters I found what seemed to be a sweet honey hole. It was a great spot. Everything was perfect and in four casts I boated three bass all over 3 lbs. I was throwing frogs onto the top of the pads and it wouldn't take but 10 seconds. I had fished a lot of other pads during the course of the day with limited success but those were different. I knew I had to get out of there and not hook anymore fish before the tournament. We worked all day exploring and catching nice fish. Leaving I was pretty confident. If the tournament would have been today I would have had at least 15 pounds. That would put me in contention. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Extream Team Bass Tournament

Lake Minnetonka , Wayzata, MN

Humbled is the only word to describe this tournament. This was a team event and I was fishing with a good buddy Chris Campbell. Lake Minnetonka is a lake I know very well. I have fished there more than any other lake. I was really looking forward to doing well here and taking home a nice paycheck. Although this year I had only been out there twice. I have been so busy pre fishing for upcoming events that I haven't really had much time to get out there. For any of those who don't know, Lake Minnetonka is a BIG fish lake. I knew it was going to take a big sack to be in contention. With limited time on the water to practice I still felt I would do real well. I went mostly to what worked well this time last year. Flippin' docks, working main lake points and islands. Following the deep side of the main lake weedline. My partner Chris knew one great deep hard bottom spot on the main lake that was right off a few islands. We started there and did well. Chris boated a couple of nice 2 pounders on a Carolina rigged senko in about 16 ft. of water. I then followed up with another nice one with a texas rigged Lake Fork Creature Bait (green candy). We then hit some nice channels and docks that have always been lunker spots and had no success. Worried we went back out to our hard bottom spot and I added one more 14 inch bass on a Berkley jig worm (motor oil) in about 14 feet of water. With about an hour to go we decided to go shallow and flip some docks. Chris added another from under a dock that went just over 2 lbs. We weighed in 4 fish for just over 7 lbs. Should have been five for just over 9 but some how we forgot one in livewell. Duh.... Anyway didn't matter we got crushed by the competition. I know there was a bass weighed in at 6.91 lbs. (That almost beat us alone) We finished in 49th place. Not what I was looking for. Lesson learned though.

Congrats to Rob Barrett and Tony Osborn for there strong finish! Way to go guys!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Practice for Lake Minnetonka

I was able to get out and do some fishing for about three hours today. I am fishing a Extream Team bass tournament on Lake Minnetonka on Friday. Lake Minnetonka has a reputation for some real big largemouths. Big lake with lots of cover. Since the lake is off limits until the tournament I decide to go to a small well known hog spot. I won't disclose the name of the lake because of how small it is. I had decided earlier that to place well I would have to catch some real big fish so today I worked on shallow heavy cover. A buddy and fellow Gopher Bassmasters member Rich Lindgren showed me the art of the snell knot. What a great knot for this type of fishing. I had 50 lb. Power Pro braid, a 3/0 Reaction Innovations BMF hook with a pegged 3/4 oz. Tru Tungsten Flippin' Weight and a Tru Tungsten force bead. I texas rigged a 5 in. black and blue pitchin' plastic. My technique was one that I learned in Florida. I targeted thick vegetation mats. I would simply flip the bait about 15 ft into the air so that it would fall hard enough to punch threw the mat. I knew that I wouldn't get a lot of bites but I would get quality bites. That I did. I managed to catch only two fish however one was 4 lbs. and the other was 4.5 lbs. Not bad. A bag of those on Friday and I should be a happy man. That snell knot hooked each fish hard right in the roof of their mouth. I highly recommend to everyone to get to know that knot. It will surely help you boat those big bass!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

BASSMASTER Weekend Series Tournament

Pokegama Lake, Grand Rapids, MN

Today did not start good. I was fishing a point with a Lucky Craft Sammy and on my second cast I noticed a smallmouth chasing some baitfish on the surface. I quickly reeled in my sammy, cocked back and attempted to fling the lure right to the action when on my back swing managed to stick the hook into my calf. Ouch! Those hooks are sharp. After 20 minutes of attempting to get a barbed hook out of my leg I attacked the reeds with my jig on the main lake, just like I had done so successfully Friday night. However it did not this time. I caught nothing but a couple of 10 inch bass. A matter a fact I caught nothing solid until about 9 am when I went to a main island point that dropped very rapidly from 4 ft to 30 ft. Right at about 8 to 20 ft there was a nice rock pile. I threw a mojo rigged Lake Fork plastic craw and let it slowly fall down the slope. That was all it took and I finally started setting some hooks. For the next two hours I managed to fill my limit of five fish and cull once. All smallmouths and one nice 4 pounder! I then went to the river and small weedy lakes that make up the chain and tried doing some flippin' and froggin' for a big largemouths to cull a smaller smallmouth. Unfortunately all I did was waste time. I had some success back in there during practice but I guess that pattern was pretty picked over by the other 120 some total anglers that fished this event. After about two hours with only one little largemouth that was to small to cull anyway, I went back to the main lake and tried another similar area to what I had done so well on. After only a few casts I set the hook, another descent smallmouth on a 5/16oz. Jewell Jig (brown) in about 12 ft of water right on the small rock pile. Soon after I boated another nice smallmouth about 3 lbs. on the same jig in the same spot. I knew I was sitting with about 14 pounds and new that wouldn't be enough and thought if I could cull one more for a bigger fish I would have a small chance. Unfortunately for me that never happened. After it was all said and done I finished with 14.18 lbs. Good enough for 18th place. A respectable finish.

No time to relax though I have a lot of tournaments coming up. August 10th I have a event on Lake Minnetonka. The lake is off limits so I will have to go to similar style lakes to get dialed in. I'm thinking a lot of jigs in the milfoil and skipping docks. We will see!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Pokegama Practice

I was able to get up to Grand Rapids and onto Pokegama Lake by 4 pm on Friday night. I was participating in the BASSMASTER Weekend Series Tournament that would be on Sunday, August 5th. I was a bit scrambled because I had never fished this lake before and didn't have much time to prepare. The first thing I noticed was how interesting this body of water was. One minute I would have a tiny little finesse dropshot on 8 lb. test working deep rocky structure for smallmouths and the next I would have a flipping stick, 65 lb. braid, flippin' for largemouths. I was able to get 4 hours in on Friday night. I caught some nice ones in the main lake reeds pitching a 3/8 oz. Tru Tungsten jigs. All were largemouths. I was never able to find smallmouths. On Saturday I got on the water at about 5:30 am. I was excited and nervous because I knew I only had until about 3 pm to fish because I had to be to registration by 4:30 pm. Right away I caught a descent smallmouth on a Lucky Craft Sammy (perch). Moments later I lost a real nice smallmouth on a dropshot rig. My practice partner and fellow Gopher Bassmaster member Rick Brenhoffer and I mostly worked and searched for deeper weed lines that were holding both largemouths and smallmouths. All in all we caught fish but nothing solid to make me feel to confident going into the tournament. We said if we fished mistake free we would have a chance. Well, we'll see. Wish me Luck!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Lake Minnewashta

Today was a hot one. I was supposed to have a guide trip but we canceled due to the heat. So instead I decided to get out and do some fun fishing. I wanted to try out my new Lowrance unit before this weekend. I upgraded from a X102c to a X510c. I use this unit on the deck of my boat. I have to say I was without it for one day and felt completely inadequate. Call me spoiled but I have no idea how they did it back before sonar and GPS. We weren't able to get to the lake until about 1 o'clock in the afternoon. Right after we launched I got right on my trolling motor. I was surrounded by fields of lily pads and it was mid afternoon. My first choice was my scum frog. I inserted a couple 1/16th oz. bull shot weights inside the lure and began fishing. After about 15 minutes with no blow ups I opted for a 3/8 oz. hand tied Tru Tungsten jig (green pumpkin/brown). I started flippin' the milfoil edge in front of the pads and caught my first bucketmouth. About 2.5 lbs. Then about 10 minutes later I picked up another 2 pounder doing the same on the jig. My long time friend Matt also had a blow up on his Sumo Frog (lime green) but the fished missed it all together. I saw a nice spot that had some milfoil, pads, and floating scum all on it. There was a real nice pocket right in the middle. I made a perfect cast with my scum frog just beyond the pocket, twitched it twice and pulled it into the open area and WHAM! Nice fish but he missed the frog all together. I threw back there a couple times and nothing. I decided I would give it 10 minutes and go back there with my jig and try to get that fish. After 10 minutes I positioned the boat perfectly, pitched my jig into the pocket and shook it on the bottom. It didn't take but 30 seconds and I had the nicest fish of the day, 4.5 lbs on the Tru Tungsten jig.

We then went out to the main lake were it was real windy. I picked up my fourth fish, a 3 pounder on a wind swept point with a 3/8 oz. Strike King Premier spinnerbait (white and blue). I remembered what a friend told me once, "when in the wind, white is right". Well I'm not sure that always worked but it did there. We started to work a nice weedline that started in 2 ft of water and dropped nicely into 20 ft. My buddy Matt quickly caught 4 nice ones between 1 lb. and 3 lbs. on a 1/8 oz. jig worm with a four inch Berkley Power Worm (motor oil). I then caught a descent fish on the same set up. On our way off the water we tried the pads once more and Matt caught his nicest of the day on the Sumo Frog, about 3.5 lbs. All in all it was a good day. It was fun to get out and just fish for bragging rights because now the work begins. On Sunday I am fishing in the BASSMASTER Weekend Series Tournament on Pokegama in Grand Rapids, MN. I will be heading up north Friday morning to get some practice in Friday and Saturday. I will update my practice and my tournament results as soon as I get back. I would like to wish everyone in the Gopher Bassmasters who is competing in this event the best of luck! Lets get 'em!

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