Thursday, February 28, 2008

Tackle Update: Stocking up for '08

Now that the 2007 season is all said and done, it is time to start planning and preparing for the upcoming tournament season. There is a lot of different things that I can do now so that when it's time to fish, I'll be sure to have more time on the water. First and foremost I have to make sure my boat is all ready to go. I'm so excited because this year I got a new boat! I've already had it in to be fully serviced by Frankie's Marine, now it's just a matter of getting the boat fully rigged. I just ordered two Lowrance sonar/GPS units, a Lowrance LCX 37 C for my console, and a Lowrance LCX 27 C for the deck. These units are very important because they are my eyes underwater. Not only are they a sonar but they have built in GPS to help navigate the water. A few companies offer mapping data chips for these units that will give you high definition mapping. I suggest either Lake Maps or Navionics. I am also looking into new batteries. These are real important. A matter of fact they cost me a great finish in a tournament last year. So you can imaging that is a priority to me to make sure my batteries are the best.

Lowrance LCX 27C Lowrance LCX 37C
**From left to right: Lowrance LCX 27C and a Lowrance LCX 37C

I also make sure to stock up on tackle and make sure to keep up with new products. During the course of a season a guy can go thru the tackle. I never truly know what I am going to use in a single day but I do have a good idea. The first thing I go threw is my "go-to" baits. These are the ones that I feel most comfortable with and use on a regular basis. Some of my every day tackle consists of the Ten K jig by 10000 Lakes Tackle, Net Bait's Paca Craw, or Lucky Craft's Sammy. There are many more baits that follow under this category and I want to make sure I am fully stocked on these before the season starts. Usually it's easier to get stocked up during the off season when I have more time on my hands but most importantly, I can find what I need. Way to often I will need something in a certain color and won't be able to find it anywhere because their more likely to be sold out in the middle of the season.

Another thing I take into importance is my terminal tackle. Lets be honest, it's not as fun to buy hooks as it is to buy some new Japanese crankbait, but it is more important. I make sure to stock up on things like fishing line such as P Line fluorocarbon, Power Pro braid, and Berkley Sensation for mono. I also stock up on Gamakatsu hooks for everything from trebles to Super Line to the drop shot. I also am a huge fan of the Reaction Innovations BMF hook for all my flippin'. Also I make sure I have a huge selection of Tru Tungsten Flippin' weights and Worm weights in all different sizes.

Probably the most fun I have is stocking up on new products. This year I am really excited to be using the new line of baits by Amp Lures. These Japanese influenced baits are sure to fool many bass this year. I'm especially excited for their Air Shot Jig matched with a High Low 5.5". I'm counting on this lethal match up to entice those finicky bites from a 6 pounder.

Amp lures Air Shot Jig Amp lures High Low 5.5 TEN K Jig TEN K Jig
**From left to right: Amp lures Air Shot Jig and the High Low 5.5" and 10,000 Lakes Tackle, TEN K Jigs

Also new is the one and only Basstrix Paddle Tail Tube. By far the most sought after bait on the market. This hollow belly swimbait has been silently cashing paychecks for pros for a few years now. Now let me assure you the cat has been let out of the bag. This lure is extremely hard to come by. There are alternatives that will do a great job such as Poor Boy Bait's Silly Rabbit or Berkley Power Bait's Hollow Belly. Although all are fantastic lures, in this case I tend to lean in favor of the Basstrix. Each one is hand made for the perfect presentation and it's hard to beat the original. Chatterbait used to be a "craze lure" until it became more accessible, now there are dozens of imitators. Some of them are real nice baits but I think Chatterbait is still number one.

Basstrix Paddle Tail Tube Basstrix USA Basstrix Paddle Tail Tube
**Basstrix Paddle Tail Tube Swimbaits.

Also I spend a lot of time studying maps of lakes I will be fishing. I try to figure out what the primary forage is and what the cover and structure are like. This usually helps me come up with a good idea of certain patterns that may work. From there I have an idea of the baits that I may want to stock up on as well. I better get going, I have some work to do!!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Weekend of Fishing and Watching the BASSMASTER CLASSIC!!

With the weather starting to show small signs of Spring, I got one last opportunity to get out and catch some smallies! Today is the last day of the fishing season here in Minnesota. Since bass season won't be reopening until May 24th, there will be a lot of time to practice in other areas. Coming up in the early part of April I have planned on spending some time on Grand Lake, in Northeastern Oklahoma. From there I will spend a lot of my time fishing the Mississippi River between Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa, but mainly concentrating on pools 4 thru 7. I will also spend some time preparing for early season tournaments on a few lakes in Wisconsin.

So needless to say I was ecstatic to be able to get one last time before the serious work begins! Both Pops and Matt accompanied me on this trip and after a quick trip to Cabela's, we arrived at our fishing destination to find that everyone else including their mothers decided to take the same opportunity as we did. IT WAS PACKED!! There were fisherman every where! Most were live bait fishing for walleye and catfish, but that really didn't matter. This area is extremely small and I had never seen it so busy. I guess with being the last day of the season and almost 40 degree's everyone was thinking fishing.

7lb WalleyeWe must have fished for around two or three hours and had very limited success. I caught 4, Matt caught 4, and Pops 2. I would have been pretty disappointed with my limited success except for two reasons. One, all four of my fish were nice ones all being two pounds or better and I caught my personal best walleye ever. The brute weighed in at 7 pounds! I know that there are people out there who have caught better, but I spend literally every available second fishing for bass, so to catch one of that size was pretty cool! I have to admit though, down deep a good portion of me wished it had been a 7 pound smallmouth! I was able to get a couple quick pictures and released her unharmed back to the waters for another angler to appreciate.

After fishing I was eager to get home and watch the final weigh in of the 2008 BASSMASTER Classic, at Lake Hartwell, SC. This Classic was holding up to all its hype! The weather was nasty and some of the top names made the top 25 cut. Most notable were Kevin VanDam, Aaron Martens, and Mike Iaconelli, although in the end Alton Jones, from Waco, TX, took home the most coveted trophy in our sport, with a nice 3 day total weight of 49-7 lbs. and claimed the winning check of $500,000.00 dollars!! Jones targeted bass in 25 to 30 feet, on the inside edge of the standing timber submerged in Lake Hartwell. Alton used three lures to catch his bass: a Booyah Pigskin jig and a Booyah AJ's Go-To jig, both rigged with a Yum trailer, and a Cotton Cordell CC Spoon.

As much as I look forward to watching the Classic every year, I can't help but dream of one day being there competing. Or better yet of being lucky enough to hold that trophy up in the air! God willing with endless days of hard work and practice, I'll be able to one day live up to my childhood dream.......Winning the Bassmaster Classic!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Give It Up for the 2008 BASSMASTER Classic Qualifiers from Minnesota

In just two very short weeks, the 2008 BASSMASTER Classic will be kicking off at South Carolina's, Lake Hartwell. Among the 50 star studded anglers that will be competing are two from my home state of Minnesota, Derek Remitz and Brent Haimes. Remitz, who now resides in Grant, Alabama will be fishing his second Classic in two consecutive years. Remitz is a former member of the Sunrise Bassmasters, a Minnesota BASS Federation Club. After spending just a few short years at the state level, Remitz went on to try his luck at the national level, fishing in the Bassmaster Opens. From there he qualified for his first Classic and earned a spot on the Bassmaster Elite Series. At the first event of the 2007 Elite Series Tour, Derek beat the whole field on Lake Amistad to earn his first Elite Series win. From there on he rode through his highs and lows and snatched the 2007 Bassmasters Rookie of the Year title.

How one goes about getting to that level of fishing can be done in numerous ways. Never easy though. Brent Haimes, from Mazeppa, MN, qualified for the 2008 Classic by succeeding so well through the grueling BASS Federation ladder. Haimes, a member of the Zumbro Valley Bassmasters, a Minnesota BASS Federation Club, started his road to the Classic in 2005, by qualifying through is club for the 2006 BASS Federation State Championship, held on Gull Lake, MN. At Gull, Brent went on to place 11th, and the top 12 advance on to the 2007 BASS Federation Northern Regional Championship, which was held on none other than Lake Erie. At this stage, the top place angler from their own state advance. Brent took 11th overall, but was first among the Minnesota anglers, advancing him onto the 2007 BASS Federation Championship on Florida's very own, Lake Tohopekaliga (Better known as Lake Toho). At this tournament it is all on the line. The top angler from each region goes onto fish the BASSMASTER CLASSIC! Brent worked extremely hard to take 7th overall, and 1st in his region, and qualified for his first Classic appearance!

Derek Remitz Brent Haimes

**From left to right: Derek Remitz, showing off his Lake Amistad catch and Brent Haimes, going to the Classic!

I recently went to a seminar hosted by Brent Haimes, at one of our Minnesota BASS Federation State meetings. His topic was very interesting in the fact that he shared with us his road to the Classic and all the ups and downs he went through. For me this was a great learning experiance. It is my life long goal to one day be lucky and good enough to qualify for the Elite Series and the Classic. To see and hear how one of my fellow Minnesota tournament anglers did it, I would have to say it was motivating to say the least. I personally wish both of these fine anglers the best of luck at the Classic. I know I will be watching from home and rooting them on the whole way! Stick 'Em Boys!!!!

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