Friday, January 28, 2011

Staying Warm and Alive in the Frigid Dead of Winter

With the weather forecast finally showing signs of slight compassion, I was extremely eager to get out and take advantage of the rare mid thirty temps by exercising some dormant smallies. Luckily for me, I know just the place.

Yesterday was more of a challenge to get bit and the size wasn't all fantastic either though the methods employed to catch them made it all worth the trip. I managed to catch around twenty-five smallies and for the majority of them I leaned on soft plastics to produce, though all my big bites came on a Real Prey Alewife Swimbait. The six and a half inch bait put in work on some real nice fish and the viciousness of the bite was mind numbing, numbing because no matter what, I couldn't put the bait down. The more methodical the cast and retrieve the better the results. I'm telling you, I'm really starting to break the possibilities of these large swimbaits wide open here in Minnesota. Fair warning.....I'm learning.

Dave Cindrich, who originally introduced me to Real Prey's line of swimbaits also used the exact same bait and had a fantastic time himself. Heck, not only did he introduce me to this swimbait, he introduced me to all swimbaits. I really got to give Dave the credit, if it wasn't for him I wouldn't be the believer I am today, which also means when he calls me to tip me off on a bait that is secretly stacking giant stringers, I shut up and listen.

This day we were throwing matching Real Prey Swimbaits but I had the perch and he was using some sort of shad color. Needless to say they both produced and though the day was slow and the big ones were few and far between, it speaks volumes when one bait caught all the big ones that day, the same fish that passed on the small plastics. See the key to these baits is that they are large but they're just large enough to perfectly imitate the largest forage. As a man, do you want a 6 oz. petite steak or a 14 oz. Porterhouse? Enough said.

Besides the baits perfect "match the hatch" profile, it's balance is my favorite feature. I can slow roll it or speed it up at any depth and the bait doesn't roll on itself at all. I also look at the cost vs. durability factor, I mean for a 30 year old aspiring professional bass fisherman, money can not be spent foolishly. These baits are so strong that I have yet to loose one and they all still look like the day I bought them with the tiny exception for one or two battle scars, scars that I'm honored to tell the story of. These baits are so well put together that I plan to be throwing them on my upcoming trip to California's, Diamond Valley Lake. Can you just imagine a chunky 13 pounder with a Real Prey choked in her throat? I'm literally loosing sleep.

Switching gears to today and the results were completely different as to were the patterns for success. They were snapping today man and a tube as well as a dropshot is what me and my buddy Chris Campbell were using first thing in the morning. The smallies were far more predictable and I was able to pattern them early by attacking the river break lines. Really it was simple, the bass were active today and were eager to jump on whatever was on the move. I just worked small soft plastics through those natural eddy areas were the smallmouth were stacked up in schools hoarding whatever came down river.

Finally after the bite slowed down a bit, I took some early morning advice from my buddy Andy Young who was fishing in a different area and was catching good ones on a crankbait. I followed suite and it was like I was never there earlier whacking on them. They jumped on it. Good ones too. In the end, I ended with somewhere around 50 fish and my buddy Chris finished somewhere around 30. The size was nice to with most lying right around the 3 pound mark and a couple real nice ones sitting in the 4 pound range.

All in all it was a great couple days, just the thing to temporarily relieve my premature spring fever. Hopefully the weather cooperates a bit better in February and provides for a few more highly anticipated trips. Stay tuned..

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Plans for 2011 and Beyond

Now that the New Year has come and passed, I'm excited to say that the future is looking very bright! I've been busy putting together plans for the upcoming 2011 season which, in a nutshell, is preparation for 2012 and on.

With the tournament situation here in Minnesota and Wisconsin taking a dramatic downturn for lots of different reasons, it's giving me the added motivation to jump in head first into the upper echelons of professional bass fishing. I'm truly not being a negative nelly, it's just that since there isn't a lot of professional level tournaments here in my area especially ones that have the potential to qualify a guy into the highest levels, it's time I get where the getting is good and head south to start making a name for myself on some more well known tournament waters.

This is a move that both my wife Bri and myself have been waiting in anticipation for some time. Though not exactly sure on the location just yet we do know we like the Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia areas and being that they're so centrally located to most the tour venues, this is a big advantage. Add in the fact that I'll be able to fish year round and will be able to save thousands of dollars every year in gas money instead of trying to fish these events traveling all the way from Minnesota.

I also want to live right next to a major waterway that suits my style yet exposes me to other methods of fishing that I haven't yet got the chance to master. Ideally the Tennessee Valley lakes are where we'll end up. These reservoirs offers all styles of fishing but the biggest is that they offer true ledge fishing, something unheard of hear in the north country. To be able to live minutes from a lake like Chickamauga and still just be a couple hours from Guntersville, Pickwick, Kentucky and Old Hickory is a huge advantage in sharpening my learning curve and aiding me in my campaign at fishing and winning on the highest levels.

Now there's still a lot of work to be done before we join the birds and migrate south so the time frame for our move is anytime between Spring and Fall of 2012 as this will be the year I pony up and jump into the Bassmaster Opens and FLW Opens and test myself against the best. This is something that I know may take some time to be competitive fishing against guys on their home water, but I've never been one to turn down a challenge and actually loose sleep at night chomping at the bit in anticipation. Understand this is what I've wanted since I was a little kid and how can something that feels so right be wrong?

As far as 2011 goes I plan to join in on a lot of tournaments and cash some needed checks as well as take on a lot of guide trips, when your planning a big move like we are additional money can never hurt. To be honest, I'm really looking forward to this season even though the tournament scene kinda took a downturn. I look at it as a good thing as it'll give me more time to hang with my boys, do some fun fishing yet at the same time prepare for the road ahead.

On a another subject, I mentioned in a previous post that there is something big in the works coming soon for my main sponsor Biovex. It's still a bit premature to throw out but I'm telling you I'm getting very excited. In March, Bri and I will be heading out west to southern California to attend the Fred Hall Fishing Show and do some fishing on SoCal's jewel, Diamond Valley Lake. I'll be meeting and fishing with the top dogs of Biovex who will be flying in from Japan. I assure you I'll have much more information for you as soon as I get back.

All for now. Check back soon.

Wait, one more thing, another reason I'm excited to move, I just looked at the temperature outside here in Minneapolis and it's sitting at a bone chilling temp of -12 degrees Fahrenheit and with the wind chill it's supposed to be -30F. Where's the Uhaul truck?

Friday, January 7, 2011

I'm Not a Ice Fisherman but I'm Still Catching 'Em!

Most would assume that here in Minnesota die hard fisherman like myself resort to drilling holes holes in the ice to get our fix. If that's your assumption I'm eager to inform you that you couldn't be more wrong.

First off, I'm not a fisherman, I'm a die hard bass fisherman. I don't have anything against ice fishing, but it's just not for me. With that said, I still fish open water here in Minnesota all through the winter, you just got to know what your looking for.

So far this winter it's been more catching than fishing and my last trip was as good as it's been in years. On a recent trip with buddies Andy Young and Timmy Kuzy we put in work. Odd enough it was weird weather too. Never in my life have I fished in Minnesota and had it down pouring the entire time in the middle of the winter. This must have triggered the smallmouth cause it was one after another for hours. We caught some good ones too. I really think the rain helped aid us in our venture as well. It seemed the smallies had a bit more spunk than usual.

We used a few different tactics to catch them but in the end the tube was the magic ticket. I was disappointed because I forgot my swimbait rod at home and on my last trip I really had some good luck on the Huddleston Shad. On that trip my buddy Eric Aske also put in work on the 6 inch Huddleston if you can believe that? I promise you it's true, they would just jack it up too, down their throats!

With the weather so brutally cold the next few days I don't have much planned fishing wise besides sharpening up on my pitching skills around the house. Tomorrow I'll be out at Warner's Dock in New Richmond, WI for their open house. Mike Mcclelland and Dion Hibdon will be there doing seminars. Mcclelland is one of my favorite anglers and in my opinion he's the best structure fisherman this country has to offer. If you don't have anything going on stop out and check it out, they even feed you a free lunch.

All for now, check back soon and STAY WARM!

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