Friday, December 21, 2007

The Best Christmas Present Ever - I Got to Go Fishing!!!

Today the weather was cold but good enough for me. Matt and I got to our stretch of river at about 1:00 in the afternoon. It was cold and snowing a little. The temp was 23 degrees but there wasn't much for wind. We trampled through about two feet of snow until we got to our favorite spot. On my very first cast I caught my biggest of the day, a 4 pound smallmouth. I caught her on a YUM 3" tube (green pumpkin). I casted out to a underwater rock pile that always has fish on it. As soon as the tube hit the bottom my rod almost fell out of my hands. That's how bad the fish wanted it. It was on from there. The smallmouth action was pretty intense. We didn't catch a crazy number of them but definitely the size was there. Matt even caught two walleyes, one was his personal best, 6 lbs!! Both the walleyes bit on a 3" YUM tube (green pumpkin) as well.

As the afternoon wore on the fishing seemed to slow down a bit. The stretch of river is very rocky so snags are extremely common. It's nothing for use to each have to retie a dozen or more times in just a couple of hours. I have to be honest though. When your hands are frozen like ice cycles, it is very hard and time consuming to get your fingers to work for you. So needless to say we had to take a couple defrosting breaks. However it is definitely all worth it. To me there is nothing in the world more enjoyable than feeling a fish fight on the end of your line. It can make 20 degrees feel like 80 in no time. It started getting to dark and windy a little before 5 o'clock, so we decided to end our day. I finished with 19 smallies and Matt with 15. The awesome thing about it is 8 to 10 of mine were all over 2.5 pounds. Awesome!!

The forecast doesn't look to great in the near future with highs in the mid teens. The bass season doesn't end until the end of February so hopefully there will still be a dozen or so days to get the line wet. My wife Bri and I are headed out to Colorado for the New Year. We're leaving the day after Christmas and coming home on New Years Day. We're planning on spending some alone time in Denver and then meeting up with my Dad. My Dad and Step Mom Judy live in the mountains about an hour outside Denver. I know we have planned on going to watch the Colorado Avalanche take on the Detroit Red Wings, we are also planning on watching the one and only Minnesota Vikings take on the Denver Broncos. My Dad swears he is still a Viking fan but I don't believe him for a second. Hopefully the Vikes get a big win and prance their way into the playoffs!! I also have planned on stopping by Bass Pro Shops in both Council Bluffs, IA and Denver, CO. I'm going there just to look.....right?? We'll just have to see.

Until next year, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and GO VIKES!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tackle Update: Swimming and Crankin'

The weather has taken a turn for the worse around here and with the high temp averaging 15 degree's the fishing has been impossible. Not being one to settle for ice fishing I just have to sit and wait until the temps get back into the 30's. Then at least my line won't freeze up instantly on me. Next winter I'm planning on competing in some national tournaments to get me out of the frozen winters around here and to help me climb the ladder of professional fishing. So until then, this means I have some time on my hands. I decided I would add an entry devoted to some of the new tackle I have been adding to get ready for next season.

Lately I have been stocking up on my swimbait selection. This is unusual for me since I rarely if ever throw a swimbait. I have always been weary to throw such gigantic, awkward looking lures, at our northern bass. Originally I thought that swimbaits where for other areas such as California, Mexico, or even Texas. I am quickly realizing that may not be the case. Steve Kennedy fished a hitch colored Basstrix Paddle tail tube on Lake Onondaga, in New York, during a BASSMASTER Elite Series event, and caught a crazy limit of fish to claim a close second place finish. Onondaga is a similar natural lake to what we have in Minnesota. It really got me thinking. It is almost unheard of to throw a swimbait around here. If I can manage a way to effectively make this a part of my arsenal it can only help me become more of a diverse angler.

Lately I have been scouring through my latest editions of BASSWEST USA magazine researching all the different makes and models of swimbaits. BASSWEST USA is out of California and the west coast is responsible for the blow up of the swimbait. After much reading I came to a conclusion that soft plastic swimbaits would probably be my best choice for the conditions I will be facing in my upcoming tournaments. For one they are generally less expensive than their more durable counter parts. With all the toothy critters around here, the thought of loosing a $60 dollar bait on a two pound pike isn't that tempting to me. Sure their teeth can tear up the soft plastic body of the bait however there is a new "must have" product available called Mend-It. Mend-It is the first non-sticky, no mess soft plastic bonding system of it's kind. Not only will it repair your expensive swimbaits but it will patch up your last Gambler Cane Toad in a quick hurry as well, possibly saving a tournament for you. Here is a list of some of the hottest soft bodied swimbaits on the market:

1. Basstrix Paddle Tail Tube
2. 3:16 Mighty Minnow
3. Huddleston Deluxe Shad
4. California Swimbabies Baby E
5. Poor Boy's Baits Silly Rabbit

Also I have been stocking up on my deep crankbaits as well. Towards the end of last season I started really having some good success crankin' deep structure for big bass. It made me realize how much more I could develop this to give me more confidence and better my odds of doing well in tournaments all over the country. This technique catches some of the biggest bass literally all over the U.S. and yet it is probably one of the least used techniques. I decided to get a couple rods that I will devote to this style of fishing all year long. I went with a 7'0" Lamiglas XCF 705 R for my deep crankin' and a 7'0" Lamiglas XC 704 C for all my mid range crankin'. For crankbaits I opted for a vast range of styles but a small range of colors. Instead of getting all caught up with the color possibilities, I am going to concentrate more on the area I am fishing and my retrieve, than on the color of the bait. I'm sticking with the four colors that have always proven successful for different conditions. Colors such as Chartreuse Blue, Red (craw colored), shad, and natural. Murky water I'll go with more my vibrant colors, clear water would call for natural colors, and any where that shad is dominate I would go with shad imitators. Here is some of the crankbaits I have added recently:

1. Strike King Pro Model Series 5 and 6 (Sexy Shad)
2. Lucky Craft Flat CB D-12 and D-20 (Green Apple, Mad Craw, Chartreuse Shad)
3. Jackall Lures Muscle Deep 15+ (Purple Chartreuse, Chartreuse Shad)
4. Jackall Lures DD Cherry 48 and 55 (Chartreuse Shad, Crawfish)
5. Rapala DT-6, DT-10, and DT-16 (Parrot, Red Crawdad)

Well the good news is that the 10 day forecast is giving the possibility of 30 degree weather towards next week. I'm really hoping that will actually hold up and I can get out for some pre Christmas fishing. Until then I'll keep my fingers crossed!

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