Monday, June 21, 2010

Denny's Super 30

Lake Minnetonka, Wayzata, MN

After a solid practice it was clear to see that Tonka was on fire. Corey and I in the 5 days leading up to this event managed to really find some good fish. 4 and 5 pounders were definitely eating and the 3 pounders are definitely starting to school up for the summer.

I used a lot of my practice time putting my new Humminbird Side Imaging unit to good use. I tried to stay away from all my good water and instead use my time to find new areas. By using my 2010 Navionics North Chips along with my Side Imaging features I was able to locate new off shore structure that was holding good bass. I'm telling you there's no denying that the combination of my Humminbird 998 along with my two Lowrance Units (LCX 27C and LCX 37C) are making me better at finding schools of fish and in a timely manner, something very important to a tournament angler.

With a good practice Corey and I knew we had a lot of water to fish and was confident every single area had the potential to cough up a good bass. The morning started out a bit slow with our first few spots not producing, finally I was able to get a nice bite off a deeper area that I had put in a lot of time in practice getting to know and the result was a nice 4 pound largie.

After not getting another bite we ran a few more spots and Corey and i each put a few more in the boat, but nothing to really get the heart pumping. In fact a lot of our areas throughout the morning really weren't producing like we thought they would. Most of practice it was hot and sunny and of course this day started cloudy, not sure if that makes a difference in this case or not but something wasn't right.

Finally half way through the day and we got on a spot that was holding a school of fish and started quickly upgrading our limit. Unfortunately though, we were again upgrading ounces instead of pounds. Finally with about an hour or so to go in the tournament I was able to quickly boat two good ones back to back. We knew we were getting within striking distance and needed at least one more big cull and we would be in the thick of it. With three 4 pounders in the boat, we still had a 2.1 lb. baby in the boat and a couple of mid 2 pounders that we knew we had to get rid of in a quick hurry.

We ran around like crazy, looking for that big bite and just came up empty handed in the end. We weighed in 8 fish for 22.9 lbs., a solid finish but only good enough for 19th place. Disappointed because we didn't cash a check but happy to see that another consistent finish and we are currently sitting 12th in the Angler of the Year race, with the top 12 making the end of the year Shoot Out. This is good news because last year we were sitting much lower at this point and were still able to make the year end Shoot Out and ride that to a 3rd place finish. Next up will be the brothers Ryan and Corey, hopefully after we all put in another hard practice we should be ripe for a top 5 finish!

Now it's time to party! My 30th (Golden) Birthday party is this Saturday on the docks of where else, Lake Minnetonka!

See you all on the water!!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Throwing Frogs with my Good Buddy Parker!

What an awesome change of pace, today I took the morning off of tournament practice to hit one of my favorite little lakes with my good buddy Parker! It may sound a bit odd to hear, in fact I never thought I'd say this in the past, I am so lucky to be able to fish as much as I do, though with that said, it's work. It takes a different breed to devote this much time into chasing around little green fish. Getting up at 4 am every morning no matter if it's 80 and sunny or 35 and sleeting, it takes extreme love for the sport. I grew this obsession for bass fishing when I was just a kid and owe some pretty key individuals for introducing me to what I'd grow to covet more than almost anything else life has to offer.

Anyone whom knows me can easily attest that I love to compete but with any competition comes stress, anxiety and both a physical and a mental toll. I've come to really cherish any opportunity I can get to get away from the rigors of tournament fishing and be able to go out and just go fishing with friends and family, there's really nothing better.

This trip I got to get out with my 6th grade buddy Parker who is already a little outdoor veteran. An active waterfowl hunter, fisherman and a great shot with a bow and arrow, carp beware!

I picked him up at his dock at 6 am sharp and first things first we had a much needed baitcasting lesson. I've never seen anyone pick it up so fast! Before I knew it he was throwing a topwater frog across the pads like he'd been doing it for years and could even pick out his own backlashes.

Fishing was slow for us but we still managed to boat a couple and Parker landed the very first bass that pasted his frog. I felt the boat rock when he set the hook not to mention he caught the biggest bass of the day. Who's the pro now?

I'm lucky to have a buddy like Parker to go fishing with, though I might want to be careful, I think he's going to be beating all of us in no time! Keep up the good work Parker!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Silverado Pro Tour

Le Homme Dieu Chain, Alexandria, MN

I can't even begin to tell you how excited I was to get to Alexandria and kick off the first stop of the Silverado Tour. I felt I had a lot to prove to myself after last year. I've been very fortunate to have had a lot of early success in my fishing career though all winter I've had a horrible taste in my mouth with how I faired last year when it came to the Silverado Tour. I started out strong with a 14th place finish on Green lake, just to do poorly in the last 3 events. I can't point to any one reason, in fact it was multiple reasons that resulted in poor performances, ineffective practices, boat issues, bad boat draws and dropped fish all took their toll on my fishing.

A good finish on Le Homme Dieu to start the season could really set the tone for the remainder of the year. I was excited to see that they set Le Homme Dieu to be the first stop, two years ago I fished here at this exact same time of year in a Bassmaster Weekend Series Tournament and took a solid 6th place finish. I really felt that I had some good water and could expand and hopefully come in with an even better finish.

Bri and I where able to get out to Alexandria early Wednesday morning and with three full days of practice I split up the lake and decided to fish different areas each day. Throughout the three days I had no problem finding fish though size was a definite issue. I was catching them both shallow and deep but for every 2 1/2 to 3 pound fish i was catching 30 rats. I knew this was typical for Le Homme Dieu but still it's an uneasy feeling.

At the end of practice I did feel confident that if I kept with my water that I would be able to sort through the fish and end up with a good limit in the end. As usual with the Silverado I drew a late boat draw and knew my first spot would not be an option, so instead I decided to stay close to the ramp and fish some water that me and my Am Cody had seen some good fish on. We where able to box a limit within the first hour but you'd have to look really hard in the livewell to see them.

We were catching them both shallow and deep but just weren't getting any quality fish. We did manage to cull all day but for ounces at a time and in this event to cash a check you need to be culling pounds not ounces.

In the end I finished with a low weight of 6 fish for only 9.91 lbs. and finished in a very disappointing 32nd place. Looking back I wish I would have played it safe and fished more weedlines where there was more schools of fish, instead I rolled the dice, fished more shallow water than I should have looking for solo "good" fish that historically wins on this lake, which is also the way I finished so well 2 years back in the Bassmaster event. Coulda, shoulda, woulda.

Now unfortunately I have to play catch up the rest of the season to get myself in the Tournament of Champions, lucky for me, I'm up to the challenge. Hard work and a one tournament at a time mentality and I'll be there. Wish me luck!!

P.S. Bri my love, I had an awesome time camping with you. Looking forward to Minnewaska, especially since the caterpillars will have turned to butterfly's and it can't possibly rain that much again, right?!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Minnetonka Bass Classic

Lake Minnetonka, Mound, MN

This was my first time fishing the Minnetonka Classic and was really eager to finally be able to get out and test myself against the lake this time of year. After having a pretty good finish a few days prior at the Denny's Super 30 I had a lot to work from during practice.

Overall I found the bite descent although finding big ones was more than a challenge. My team tournament partner Ryan Brant was also finding the same so we instead focused on finding good numbers of average size fish.

We found that the fish where scattered all over the lake from depths of 1 foot all the way out to 20. They where for the most part in a hard post spawn funk and I think most the quality females where still rehabilitating themselves after the spawn.

Tournament day went well overall, we were able to fill a limit rather quickly and was culling before no time, the size wasn't fantastic but we kept focused and slowly where able to box up some 3 pounders.

In the end we ended with 8 fish for 21.80 lbs. good enough for a solid 14th place out of 125 boats and cashed us a nice paycheck just in time for the upcoming first stop of the Silverado Pro Bass Tour on the Le Homme Dieu Chain.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Denny's Super 30

Lake Minnetonka, Wayzata, MN

Man have I been busy! Sorry about the length in my last post but I've been fishing from sun up to sun down almost everyday! I have two big tournaments back to back on Lake Minnetonka, the first event of the Denny's Super 30 and the Minnetonka Classic. Usually I would feel comfortable with only a day or two of solid practice on Minnetonka as I know the lake better than any other, though historically I don't fish out here in the Spring. I'm not really sure why, this is my fourth year of competitive fishing and prior to this year I've only been on the lake once before late June.

I really excel on Tonka in the summer and fall but my three man team of myself, Ryan and Corey Brant decided two switch things up this year. Usually Ryan and Corey fish the first one since a couple years back they sacked them up nice and cashed a paycheck right away in the season, though last year they struggled a bit and we all had to work like crazy throughout the rest of the year to make the Shoot Out.

This year it was Ryan and I that got the nod to start things out and I can easily admit it was a very humbling practice. We manage to catch a couple decent fish but when we'd return the next day they'd all be long gone. The fish were scattered and I was catching them out of anywhere from 1 foot to 16, patterning them was tough and honestly if it wasn't for a spot that Corey found while practicing it may have taken us even longer to start to pattern good fish.

As you know, I'm always real hesitant to get into details on how we caught them on Minnetonka as I have a half dozen other big events there this season and I have two other team partners to always be thinking about. To be vague, we moved a lot of water and unfortunately fished the good with the bad. Ryan and I filled a limit rather quickly but nothing that made us feel confident and we continued to slowly cull fish after fish. Of course it wouldn't be a Tonka tournament without us dropping one or two toads that would have really excelled us up the leader board, but I'm sure it happens to everyone. Minnetonka is known as a power fisherman's lake, one big reason Ryan and I seem to finish strong there, though finesse was our dominate pattern. Corey is definitely rock solid in the finesse department and if not for some of his advice we may never had done what we did.

In the end we weighed in at 20.3 lbs. just good enough for a solid 14th place. We landed just outside the money but in the end we got what we were after, we're high in the points after the first tourney and have a lot of confidence going forward! In fact, I can't wait for Tonka to change over in the next couple weeks! I love it!!

Up next is the Minnetonka Classic, another event that I've never fished before and after that it's off to Le Homme Dieu for the first stop of the Silverado Pro Tour! See you on the water!

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