Saturday, August 29, 2009

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

Lake Minnetonka, Twin Cities, MN

Tonka, Tonka, Tonka. In the next couple of weeks, I could be competing in four different derbies that will combine for a total first place earnings at 70 grand, all of which are being held on none other than Tonka itself. Needless to say that I jumped all over the chance to join my MN Federation Club, the Gopher Bassmaster, for a weekend throwdown.

It has been decided by the MN B.A.S.S. Federation that next years venue for the state Championship will also be held on Lake Minnetonka. This is an event I am extremely looking forward to. Since the tournament is local, I figure it gives me the best chance at advancing myself to divisionals and make a run at the BASSMASTER Classic.

Being that Minnetonka is only 15 minutes from my house, I've been spending every extra second out there, trying to put in my time and piece together a solid pattern before the Silverado lands there in two weeks.

I was out there both Thursday and Friday before the club tournaments and managed to locate good fish relatively quickly. Since the lake is being divided in half each day I spent most of Thursday on the east side and friday on the west. I checked a few spots that had help me secure a solid 7th place finish last year on Minnetonka for the Bassmaster Weekend Series, but more importantly I spent a vast majority of my day trying to locate new areas. All in all, I was very pleased with the outcome and was pretty excited to get out there Saturday morning and start filling up livewell.

Unfortunately, because of these big tournaments that are coming up in the next few weeks I really can't get into many details on what worked and what didn't. Saturday we awoke to our first cold night, touching the high 40's. Although the bite was really tough, I managed to use my patience to help me to a awesome 2nd place finish with a total of 5 bass weighing 12.59 lbs.

Sunday's Tournament, held on the lake's east side, started out even more chilly with overnight low's in the low 40's. Again I was able to put together a solid game plan and rode it to a very gratifying 1st place finish with a winning weight of 16.32 lbs.

Although I have lots of work to do, I can't help but to be excited.

Check back soon!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Denny's Super 30

Lake Minnetonka, Wayzata, MN

After a rough finish at Saturday's Silverado tournament at Lake Minnewaska, I was anxious to get out on Tonka and get that bad taste out of my mouth. Pairing up for this tournament was my buddy Corey Brant.

We managed to get out on Sunday to practice and found the fishing to be great. The big ones where biting and we didn't even fish any of our tried and true spots. Instead we searched new water and where able to find some nice areas holding good schools of fish.

Tournament morning went very slow and we left some of our best areas with not even a single bite. After fishing about three productive areas with nothing to show, I knew we needed a change. We've found that power fishing some of these areas proves to be most effective, but after these tactics weren't producing, we needed to scale back and throw a bit more finesse at them. Being that my boat was in the shop, I didn't have the proper tackle along so I made the suggestion to Corey who was obviously thinking the same thing. It wasn't two casts later and Corey sets the hook. We managed to put a small limit in the boat and things started turning for the better, so much better that Corey managed to get a solid 4 1/2 pounder safely in the boat after it was completely pinned down in the thickest milfoil and he was only using 8 lb. line!! It was sick. That's just not how it happens, but things started going our way.

We weighed in with 8 largemouth's going 23.10 pounds, good enough for a solid 9th place finish. Unfortunately they only paid out 8 spots, but we moved up from 20th to 13th place in the Angler of the Year points race and are only sitting one place outside the top twelve who all get invited to fish in the no entry shootout.

I'm excited because next week Bri and I are taking the dogs up to the cabin for a fun relaxing weekend. Then when I get back it'll be nothing but Minnetonka, with a lot of big events taking place there next month I need to be sure to be a top my game. I'm really looking forward to it.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Silverado Pro Am Bass Tour

Lake Minnewaska, Starbuck, MN

This whole tournament was a challenge for me literally from start to finish. Two weeks prior to the actual tournament I put aside a couple days to get out there and practice. Being that I had never even seen the lake before, I wanted to at least get out there for the weekend and check things out, get a good feel for the fish and more importantly get familiar with the lake itself. Unfortunately, an hour after I launched my trim went out completely on my motor and instead of figuring out the mystery of Lake Minnewaska, I was forced to limp back, load up and head back home to get things patched up.

Once tournament week came around I was charged up and ready to go. I got a new trim motor put in my Evinrude and it was running great. I was able to practice Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and it wasn't until mid afternoon Friday that I finally found a few good schools of fish. I didn't have a backup plan at all but if this pattern held up it could produce winners. I've never had this challenging of a practice and worse yet, had never felt this uncomfortable about my opportunities get a check.

Well to make a not so long story even shorter, my pattern definitely did not work out. After four straight days of sun, tournament day gave way to stormy and cloudy skies which definitely effected my fish. I struggled half the day to even coax a single bite and when I finally wised up and made the proper adjustments I dropped the few good fish needed to fill a nice limit. Instead I managed to only weigh in three bass for a total weight of 4.56 lbs. and took 49th place, dead last. I once said after winning the first event of the 2009 Bassmaster Weekend Series, that in order to actually win one of these tournaments everything has got to go right, from practice all the way to the the weigh in. The competition is just too stiff and someone ALWAYS manages to catch them. On the other hand, to finish last, most everything has got to go wrong.

Although very disappointing, I've still managed to learn a very important lesson that will make me an even better tournament fisherman. I've learned to be a bit more humble. In only my second season fishing at this level, I've been so fortunate to have had the success's that I have. I've done this by putting in my time and trusting my own decisions on the water. This tournament I didn't listen to the voices in my head telling me I needed to adjust, instead I was stubborn and didn't make the proper changes until it was to late and then panicked and didn't stick with the adjusted game plan long enough to make it work and it resulted in my worst performance by far. Someone once told me to be a true winner you must first learn what it's like to loose. Point taken....

Congrats to my good buddies Ryan and Corey Brant for their strong finishes, 3rd and 7th respectively. Hats off gentleman!

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