Sunday, November 25, 2007

Exercising the Smallies

The forecast called for high skies and temps in the mid 40's. Days like this are going to be very limited for the next several months so needless to say I was off to take full advantage of it. Fellow Gopher Bassmaster and good friend Rich Lindgren joined me for some non stop smallmouth bass action on the Mississippi River. We made our first casts at about 11 am and it didn't take but a minute for us to start getting bit. This certain stretch of river has been very generous lately and Rich and I made a bold goal of 100 bass each. I have to say, by the way things started out it seemed like we were going to easily surpass that number. We decided that the challenge was not going to be how many but how big. I believe Rich's quote went something like "It's not the number of fish you catch it's the size that cash's the paychecks". Being that Rich and I are naturally very competitive, you could guess that a good old bet came into place rather quickly there after. We decided that whoever catch's the heaviest fish wins and the looser buys dinner. It wasn't long after that Rich sets into a nice smallie, unfortunately for him the fish got off right at his feet. We continued to catch fish but they were all pretty much under two pounds a piece. These are not the kinds of fish that are going to get either one of us a free dinner. No sooner did that thought come into my head then I got a nice bite right next to a laydown tree. A good fish, a real good fish but it managed to bury me up in the limbs and before I could do anything my line went slack. That hurt. It also didn't help that Rich found it very humorous and got a pretty solid chuckle out of it. It really stung when 20 minutes later Rich was fighting a nice one out of the same brush pile. This one was weighed and Rich posted the mark at 2 lbs. 14 ounces.

At about the half way point the count was 30 for Rich and 24 for myself. The bite slowed and we decided to head out and check another good stretch a couple miles down river. Knowing I needed to get a bigger bite I switched from a 3" YUM Tube (green pumpkin) to a 3.5" Strike King Coffee Tube (green pumpkin). I found a nice little drop that went from rock to sand and cast my lure right down the edge. I worked it very slow up the slope when I felt a subtle "tick" in the line. There she was, 3 lbs 13 oz.

We fished until dark and in the end Rich finished with 76 smallmouth bass to my 65. Not bad cosidering it was his first time fishing this area. He was just smoking them there for a while on a 3" Berkley Power Bait Finesse Tube (green pumpkin). He did have a couple of nice fish get off, but in the end I won the bet. Just for good measure my 65th fish weighed in at 3 lbs. 12 oz. I like my burger medium with american cheese please.

On the ride home we talked about other ways we could have caught them and think with some adjustments we could each get to 100. Sounds like a good time to me.

"It's not the number of fish you catch it's the size that cash's the paychecks." -Rich Lindgren

From left to right: Me with the winner 3.13 lbs., me with the runner up 3.12 lbs, Rich with a nice 2.14 lb (sorry about the bad picture), and my lure of choice, a 3.5 inch Strike King Coffee Tube (green pumpkin) with 1/8 oz. Kalin's Tube Jig.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

A day on the River Fishing with John from Mizzouu

About 6 months ago I met a good friend, John Sapp now nicknamed Pops. Being new to the Twin Cities, and looking for a good watering hole, he bellied up to my bar. For those that don't know I bartend in the evening. We got to talking and he showed a lot of interest in fishing. Needless to say I found a favorite regular pretty quick after that. We made plans to go fish my favorite stretch of river and of course Pops was all in. Pops, Matt, and I all met up for breakfast and then headed north. At breakfast Matt and I made a point that we were going to try to catch 100 smallmouth bass that day. We got out to one of my best spots and after a quick lesson (very quick I might add) we were on our way to 100.

We may have fished for about 4 hours and after it was all said and done we caught 93. I caught 45, Pops 17, and Matt 31. Although we did catch a few nice ones we really didn't get any hogs. I do have to admit though, Pops caught the biggest of the day. Not bad for a guy from Missouri. Which brings me to another point. We would have definitely cleared 100 if one of Pops's family members would not of called and left him a message stating that Mizzou lost to K St., that was a mean joke, because after hearing the message Pops stopped catching fish and started hooking rocks!!! Personally I thought it was pretty funny. Mizzou did win. Go Tigers!

The weather is starting to get nasty around here. Soon the lakes and rivers will be completely frozen over and my depression will kick in. However, I usually try to offset that by gearing up for next years tournament schedule. Nothing like buying a new rod or reel or both to cure the insanity. I have been adding in some new tackle and equipment to get ready for the season. Soon I will do a tackle update and go over some of 2008's upcoming products. Although I do have to say, hopefully in the next couple of years, Bri and I (and the dogs) will be moving back to Florida or possibly Tennessee. Anywhere that I can fish year round and be a little closer to the heart of bass fishing . Until then, Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

Congratulations to Rich Lindgren for earning a top 50 finish in the BASSMASTER Weekend Series National Championship on Clarks Hill!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Blastin' Bronzebacks

Mississippi River, MN

Today was a great day! My long time pal Matt and I headed up to the Mississippi River for some good ol' smallmouth bass fishing. I have to say this stretch of river is some of the most beautiful area I have ever been around and it is where I cut my teeth learning how to fish for smallies. For those of you that think Mississippi River and associate barges, wing dams, murky water, need to think again. I'm talking north of the Twin Cities area, where the river is only 300 yards wide, shallow, lined with rocks and boulders, and loaded with giant smallmouths. I'm generally way to busy to fish this area during the summer because of my tournament schedule, but when everybody heads up north to do some hunting, I head up with my 6'6" medium action spinning rod and some 8 lb. line. Over the last couple weeks I have been heading up there and fishing has been o.k. I have caught good numbers but no real big ones to boost my self esteem. Today was not one of those days.

Matt frequently joins me on these particular trips and we always have a good old fashioned gentleman's bet going on for who catches the most bass. The first few times this year it had been close, but I just keep barely edging him out. Today, I am happy to say was no different. We were only able to fish for about 3 1/2 hours. I ended the day with 34 and Matt with 20. The awesome thing was at least 20 of mine were over 3 lbs. We generally use all sorts of lures, jerkbaits, tubes, jigs, drop shot worms, and more. Although I have to say, most fish today definitely came on tubes. I was testing out some tubes I haven't used before, the new Strike King Coffee Tube (green pumpkin). It seemed to work great. At first when I heard of the Coffee Tube I wasn't impressed. Coffee scented?? I mean come on. Really?? But hey, I have to admit, it had great action and the fish obviously were in the mood for some caffeine. I also have to admit I prefer the smell of coffee over garlic crawfish any day. We would just cast out into the current and slowly bounce the tube of the rocks. Light line is the way to go, it really makes a 4 pound fish a challenge to land. Once on a school it was easy to activate them into biting one after another, however the second one broke you off, the game was over. Then we would just move along to the next eddy and start setting some hooks.

All said and done it was a fantastic day. These are the kind of days that got me hooked on bass fishing, and they are the kind that keep me hooked. Tournaments are great but there is something special about hanging with a good friend, talking some trash, and fighting some bull smallmouths! Well, at least until he beats me

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