Sunday, September 27, 2009

Brant Brothers Claim Top Spot!

Generally here at Josh Douglas Fishing I don't go to far out of my way to promote other anglers, it kind of defeats the overall purpose of a self promotion website. With that said I have always prided myself on giving credit where credit is due, especially when the credit goes to my team tournament partners and very close friends.

Ryan Brant and brother Corey Brant found themselves both in the number one spot of the Silverado Angler of the Year standings when the season ended on Lake Minnetonka earlier in the month and both got to fish together in the year end Shoot Out!

The season had lots of ups and downs but both managed to make all the right decisions and in the end where better than all the rest. "I don't think we could have scripted it any better", said Ryan on being paired with brother Corey for the Shoot Out. Ryan contributes his success to long hours on water that he wasn't all that familiar with. Corey, who fished on the Am side, gave his pro's the credit on finding good areas but also on the time he spent himself perfecting different patterns form the back of the boat. I personally have said this since the beginning of the year, it's hard to find a better Am to have in your boat than Corey and I guarantee any of his Pro's would say the same!

Hat's off gentleman!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Denny's Super 30 Shootout

Lake Minnetonka, Wayzata, MN

I hurried home from the river with just enough time to line up a few rods, get some baits prepared and get ready to take to Tonka for the year end Denny's Super 30 Shootout. After talking over the game plan with team tournament partner Ryan Brant, we came to a very specific pattern that we felt would give us the best shot at taking the two grand first place prize.

Tournament morning started slow with our first couple spots not producing anything. Even our third spot was getting a bit depressing until we came to a small isolated area that always looks good but never seems to produce for me. I even made a comment to Ryan that we never seem to catch anything off this when all of a sudden I get a nice bite. I quickly set the hook on a giant 4+ pound largemouth and as I was getting it to the net it just came off. I couldn't believe it! This has been a thorn in our side on this lake all season. If it isn't me than it's Ryan and if it's not Ryan dropping a big one than it's Corey. I'm sure it's starting to sound like a broken record but sadly it's true. I guess we should just chalk it up to a type of slump, like when a NFL running back gets a case of the fumbles, but believe me this is a slump that will end soon. We all put way to much effort into finding good schools of fish that we just CAN NOT drop the big ones when we hook up. If I sound a bit annoyed it's because I am, unfortunately this wasn't the only big one that we dropped in this tournament. Luckily though, before we could let it get us down Ryan hooked into a nice one that definitely got into the livewell. I managed a few smaller ones and before we knew it, we where well onto our way of filling a descent limit.

We caught fish through out the day making small culls here and there. As the day was starting to get long and the images of dropped fish haunting our thoughts, we decided to call an audible. I told Ryan that not far away was a spot that fishes small but produces good ones. In fact I've fished this area 10 to 12 times and only caught 2 fish of it but both where over 5 pounds. We worked the area and as we where about to leave Ryan sets on what ended up being big fish of the tournament at 5.05 lbs. In fact we made another nice cull like this within 20 minutes and where within sight of winning this thing.

Unfortunately time wasn't on our side and we weren't able to make any more culls to help our bag. We we're one of the first to weigh in our 8 fish limit which came to a solid 23.10 lbs. and landed us in third place with big fish honors when it was all said and done. We where both more than thrilled with the outcome. It was an up and down season but we where consistent enough all year to make the top 12 and in the end walked away with the much needed $1000 dollar pay day plus another $300 for big bass!

Now I'm planning to take a week or so off from fishing and start getting things ready for the upcoming Bassmaster Weekend Series Regional Championship held on Old Hickory Lake, just outside Nashville, TN. I've been doing all sorts of research trying to put together as much useful knowledge of the lake before I head down. Though it calls for an extremely hard bite, my anticipation level is through the roof. I really feel like this tournament could set up well for my strengths. I'll try to put up a prelude entry to the event before I go. Tennessee here we come!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

BASSMASTER Weekend Series Tournament

Mississippi River Pools 3, 4 & 5, Alma, WI

It was important going into this event for me to have a strong showing. There's multiple reasons for this, one being that because I missed the last tournament out of LaCrosse due to conflicting tournament schedules with the Silverado, I would have to have a strong finish to assure I made divisional's held on Old Hickory, in Hendersonville, TN. Before the LaCrosse tournament I was sitting strongly in 5th place in the Angler of the Year standings, but after I missed an entire event I dropped like a rock and was sitting in the low 40's.

Another reason I was looking for a strong finish was more of a personal one. I really like fishing the river and my favorite time of year to be down there is definitely during the fall. Although in the past the river hasn't been very accommodating to me during this time of year. Last year I put in lots of time preparing for the MN State Federation Championship held nearly at the same time. What ended up being one of the best practices of my life quickly turned into a nightmare on all sorts of different levels. Day one of the tournament my engine's impeller quit causing me to overheat before I could even get to my starting spot, eventually causing a DQ because I had to be trailered off, I never even made a cast. The next day after getting my engine fixed, we all sat due to fog, during this time I received a call from my wife Bri that our four year old rottweiler Kairo who had been diagnosed with lymphoma cancer a few weeks prior, had just taken a major turn for the worse. Then after the 3 1/2 hour fog delay I got to my spot and was able to finally start catching some good fish, on the way back to weigh in one of my injectors popped. So with this all said, it was personally real important to me to have a better outing down here this time around.

I spent almost all of my practice focusing on pool 5. After two solid days I was able to come up with what I felt was going to be a solid game plan and I had multiple spots that held both quality largemouth's and smallmouth's. I spent a few hours on pool 4, mainly finding areas that had potential for a good fish or two and where located close to the weigh in site, somewhere I could spend my last 45 minutes in the day. When I went to load my boat to get off the water I thought of an area much further north (30 minutes or so) that always has good smallies on it this time of year. I only had an hour before I had to be off the water for registration so I trailored my boat to the closest ramp and launched again. On my second cast I hooked into a 3 1/2 pound smallie and the best part was that shad was flickering all over the place, a key ingredient for this place to be on.

All night I rigged rods wondering what I should do, If I ran up river it would take 30 to 40 minutes in perfect conditions and then take at least 45 minutes to get to my second spot and that's if I could lock straight threw without waiting on a barge. After going round and round I finally came to a commitment that I would make the run, I mean I had to, I always live by the no risk no reward philosophy, it's just not always a bullet proof way of thinking though.

After a nice run, I made it to my first spot and on my second cast throwing a Amp Lures Pop (Parrot), I put a nice 3 pound smallmouth in the boat. The shad started blowing up everywhere but the problem was I couldn't get anymore bites. There was a nice school of smallies there but they where way more content chasing around real food and wouldn't commit to anything I was throwing. I did manage a few but they where all just an 1/8 of an inch short of the mandatory 14" size requirement. Finally afternoon was really starting to close in and I had to make a decision, I had managed one more 15" smallmouth, it was either stick out the day up here and maybe run to a couple more mediocre spots and scratch out a limit or make the run back down river and lock threw to pool 5. I decided it was time to go.

After the 45 minute run back to lock I was devastated to find three barges sitting at the lock. I come to find out that the lock has been down all day because a barge had broke down inside the lock. Being that I spent all practice in pool 5 I had to come up with a plan quick. I decided I would just slowly pick apart the area that I had planned on saving for the last 45 minutes and just spend 4 hours there and try scratching out a limit. After two hours quickly went by with nothing more that a few shorts, which I might add where again an 1/8 of an inch shy, I finally hooked up with a quality largemouth going about 4 pounds. This really put the fire under me because if I could manage to just fill a limit than I would have a nice day 1 sack and haven't even touched my stuff on pool 5. Although I gave it my all, the small area that I had to fish just didn't have the quantity or quality needed for me to put together a limit and I ended day 1 with 3 bass for roughly 9 pounds.

Going into Day 2, I had a slightly different agenda, I found myself way out of the money, but my day 2 Am partner Jeremiah, was sitting in 4th place after he had a successful day 1. My goal instead turned on making sure he got a check as well as showing face and putting together a nice limit of my own. After an up and down day, we where both able to catch fish and in the end Jeremiah was good enough for a solid 5th place finish. I myself ended in a tough 41st place, though with that said it was still a good enough showing to make divisionals, believe me when I say I can't wait to get to Old Hickory!!

No time to rest though, I'm off to Minnetonka tomorrow for the Denny's Super 30 Shootout Championship. Wish me luck!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Denny's Super 30

Lake Minnetonka, Wayzata, MN

The pressure was really on for this tournament largely because it was the 5th and final Super 30 of the year, with the exception being the top 12 in the AOY race will get to go at it next week in a one day year end Shootout. A no entry fee, 5 grand for first showdown between the best teams on Tonka. Corey and I found ourselves sitting in 13th place, one spot away. We figure we need to at least make the top 10 today if we where going to make post season play.

Our plan of attack was to go after big fish, we where truly looking for 8 good bites. We had a lot of water to run but figured we'd let the first few spots dictate how we fished out the rest of the day. Our first area worked well when I was able to boat a solid 4 pound largie within the first half hour. Area two was almost as good when I added a 3 pounder to our bag. Our third area proved most productive when things really started hitting the fan. Corey went back to back on two nice 3 pounders and I managed to ad a few small ones to round out our limit.

With an already good bag with only two hours down, we knew we had put ourselves in perfect contention to go for the win. We knew we need 2 more solid culls and we'd have a sack. Fishing started to slow a bit, which we knew would happen but we said we'd stay patient and look for those big bites. Finally Corey set into a donkey of a largemouth and as he was fighting the fish to the boat he switched sides with his rod and we managed to catch the rod into the landing net and the fish come undone. Not exactly the team work we had come accustom to and to make matters worse Corey got another big one caught up and unfortunately for us that one got off to.

We ran water the remainder of the day and both managed to make a few small culls, but still had a few small two pounders left when it came time to weigh. Our sack put the scales to 23.01 lbs. on a 8 fish limit and in the end we finished two spots from the money in a solid 10th place. Because of our effort we where able to move up one spot to take 12th in the Team of the Year race and hold the last spot in the Year End Shootout. It's going to be a blast!

Up next I'll be headed back down to the Alma, WI for the final Bassmaster Weekend Series two day event on the old Mississippi River. I am very much looking forward to this event, I really like fishing the river in the Fall. Wish me luck!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Silverado Pro Am Bass Tour

Lake Minnetonka, Wayzata, MN

I've been really excited about this tournament for some time now, that I did everything imaginable to get ready for it. I found time to practice and put in hard work 8 of the past 14 days. I knew that because of my 49th place disaster last month, I would have to finish at least in the top 3 to have a legitimate chance at making the shootout. Even more importantly, I consider Minnetonka my home lake and would love to notch a win here in such a big event. It would just mean a ton to me personally. I've only been fishing the lake for 3 years but since then I have put in my fair share. In my defense Minnetonka can be real addicting, it's got some really nice fish in it, four pounders are the norm here.

**From left to right: A few pics from practice of me rigging up some tackle.

At take off I was pretty confident. I had a good practice and was really on some nice fish. The fishing wasn't fast but the quality was there, when I'd get bit it was a good one. I was able to put together around 15 or so spots that where more than productive in the weeks heading in but the problem was that I couldn't pattern when they would be there. I would check them periodically through practice and found that one day they would bite in the morning and the next day not until late afternoon. So my plan was to milk run these spots and at least try to fish everything twice. The bad part was that I was on the move a lot but the good part was that every cast I made I knew I had a legitimate chance to catch a four pounder. It's not every tournament a guy gets that opportunity.

The tournament started out great with a quick limit and a nice nearly 4 pound largemouth hitting the livewell. I decided to go check a small isolated spot that I knew had great potential. It didn't take but a minute and I hooked into a solid 5 pound fish just to have it come to the surface and spit my bait. It got off!! Man, I can't even begin to explain how much that hurts when that happens.

As the afternoon wore on the fishing really started to slow and I just wasn't able to get enough of the big bites that I needed to put together a winning bag. In the end I weighed a limit of 6 bass for a total weight of 12.93 lbs and a disappointing 28th place finish. Although it wasn't the outcome I was looking for, I was still somewhat happy in that I worked very hard and was extremely prepared for this tournament. Frankly I just didn't get the bites needed, but I put myself in the best position to win. If I can continue to prepare for all my other tournaments like I did this one, I'll have a very highlighted future. It's going to take a ton of self determination, but that's the challenge I live for.

A sincere congratulations to my two real good buddies and my team tournament partners, Ryan and Corey Brant, who after a very successful year both found themselves on the top of the Angler of the Year points. Ryan finished 1st on the Pro side and Corey ran away with the honors on the Am side and now the brothers are paired together in next week's Shoot Out. Way to go guys!

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