Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Bass Snatcher Win!!! The 2011 Challenge Cup@ Fishtrap Lake

(Bill Ludenia, Mark Munson, Dennis Lothspeich, Charles Steinbauer, and me. (Missing is Tony Bauer)

Well Team Baxter Bass Snatchers has done it again and won the Challenge Cup Tournament that pits the Brainerd area bass fishing clubs against one another. I fished the Challenge Cup Tournament in 2009 on Mission Lakes and 2010 on Sylvan Lake, and we won the Cup those years as well. Previously when I fished it was only the Snatchers and Range Bassmasters fishing against one another, but this year the Brainerd Lakes Bassmasters showed up to fish. The Brainerd Lakes Bassmasters had the Challenge Cup Trophy so I had never seen it before; As you can see in the picture, it's quite large.

Here is how it went down:
Baxter Bass Snatchers 66-5
Range Bassmasters 60-8
Brainerd Lakes Bassmasters 53-12

Normally each club provides 6 anglers to fish and the Challenge Cup winner is decided by the the best total team weight, but one of the other clubs was a person short; Because of that only the 5 best weights for a team counted towards each teams weight total this year. We went by the Range Bassmaster Club's rules this year and that meant a 5 fish limit. I had the Bass Snatchers worst bag, so my limit didn't count towards our winning total.

1st Place was taken by Snatcher Chuck Steinbauer with 14-14
2nd Place was Ranger Kevin Tengwall with 14-12
3rd Place was Snatcher Dennis Lothspeich with 14-8

Big Bass was 4-9.5 and caught by Ranger Mandy Uhrich who was in Brainerd Lakes Jim Eide's boat. She caught the fish around 9:30am on these Chompers Tubes:Mandy bought the tubes the day before at Gander Mountain just for this tournament. She had never used these tubes before but thought they looked good. I don't know if it was her instincts or training as a biologist but she obviously made the right call.

My Day:
The forecast was for clouds, showers and possible thunderstorms with 10-15mph winds out of the SE and temps starting in the mid-50's and getting above 70. Temps were on the money, and we had showers and clouds in the morning but around 11:30am the sun came out and never left. Wind speeds were about right, but out of the NE for most of the day.

I was suppose to be paired with Ranger Boater Brian Smude, but he dropped out so I fished with Ranger Jeremy Bjorgaard in his boat. While his boat wasn't much to look at it was actually really nice to fish out of as a non-boater. Jeremy was a really good guy and he went out of his way to try and make sure I caught fish. Still he kicked my butt pretty good with a black/blue Lake Fork Crawtube.

Jeremy had pre-fished and was pretty confident we would be on quality and numbers. Our first spot, actually the very same first spot I fished the only other time I had been on Fishtrap Lake in the Fall of 2007, was a bullrush Island on the South end of the lake. We went around the whole thing keeping our distance and Jeremy got the first keeper in the boat on a spinnerbait. After we got around the whole thing once we moved in closer so we could pitch with a vertical presentation. Jeremy confessed that he thought we would both have a limit after one pass. I started throwing a green pumpkin jig with a orange crawdad Yum Wooly Bug trailer and was rewarded with a nice 15.25 fish. That was the last fish we got on the bullrush Island. Next we went to a reed bed off the end of a point. Jeremy caught a small keeper on a blue/black crawtube which he immediately threw back. I had my green pumpkin crawtube get bit off by a pike.

Next we went to some reeds that were around an Island. I got a 14.5" bass on the jig with Wooly Bug. I missed a hit on a Herb's Dilly Buzzbait and Jeremy got a nice bass on the back side of the Island on a spinnerbait.

Next we went to another Island to an inside turn that went to a reed point. Jeremy proceeded to whack the fish, while all I could muster was a dink and 12.25" swimmer. It was kind of ugly as Jeremy must have gotten 10 good fish to my 2 and we were both throwing black/blue crawtubes.

Next we went to a weedline where Jeremy had gotten a couple of good fish in pre-fish. We were working our way up the side of a point where I told Jeremy we had caught fish the last time I was on the lake. Just about a minute later I had a hit on my spinnerbait and brought in a 12.5" swimmer. Jeremy said I pretty much called my shot.

Next we went back to our starting spot. I finished off my limit with a 14.5" on a spinnerbait and I had my green pumpkin jig bit off by a pike. I suggested we work the near by weed flat with the wind blowing on it. We were throwing spinnerbaits and I starting catching pike including a nice one we both thought was a bass at first. Jeremy got the first bass and then a couple of minutes later I got a 15.75", which was my big fish of the day. We worked up to another tournament boat and they said they hadn't gotten any bass on blades. At that point the sun came out and we headed to a weedline where Jeremy got quality fish in his pre-fish. It was dead.

We went to another weedline on the North end and that was pretty dead until we got to an inside turn and Jeremy pulled two fish in quick succession, but then that was it.

Next we headed to a saddle with a reed island. The wind was blowing in on it and it just looked prime. I got a 14.75 on a spinnerbait and I was very glad to have the 12 inchers out of the boat. On the back side of the reed island Jeremy pulled his big fish of the day on the crawtube. We worked along the back side of the saddle but nothing was home.

We went to another weedline where I missed a couple of bites on the crawtube.

Our last stop was the inside turn where Jeremy whacked them earlier in the day. I missed a bite that hit almost the second the crawtube hit the water. I decided to throw the Repo Man and I had a fish smack it, but not hook up. I threw back with a crawtube and got bit but I pooched it and that was it for the day. I think I had 9-12 or 9-14, which was on the small side for this day. Jeremy beat me by a little over 3 pounds.

As I said my weight got tossed and we won, so it's all good.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Great Night at the GOMH

It has been very warm the last few days and so I wanted to get out. Couldn't last night with Dad getting home from the hospital. Today I had to go to the chiropractor again (I went yesterday) and then had to organize tackle for the Fishers of Men Fall Outing. I wasn't able to head out until well after 5PM, so I didn't take to boat but went to the GOMH with the intention of fishing there and at Jenny's.

I decided to start on the SW side and I noticed the water level was now down to about normal high. We haven't had any rain in more than a month. On my very first cast with a watermelon/red Tonka Tackle Halo Crawtube I knocked out this 15.5 jumpin bullhead.

I kept casting and on a cast across out from the bridge I had a pick up and brought in a 15" jumpin bullhead. Quite aways out on the edge of the slop something got blown up on. I thought maybe I could cast there with the Mad Maxx Frog on the Lamiglas Excel set up, but there was a bit of an incoming wind and I would have needed a tail wind to get it that far. I started casting "Big Sexy" about. On a cast across to some matted weeds I had a wake and then eruption. Nice!

It was regular big headed, but skinny 19" bullhead. It jumped several times, so I knew it was big. To bad it was so skinny. Probably went about 3.50lbs.
I went over to the SE side and tried a Zoom Horny Toad and had a big pike jump out of the water at it. I didn't want to lose the toad, so I didn't cast back.

Next I went to the NE side and started slinging the Crawtube. It took a few casts but I was rewarded with a 14.75" jumpin bullhead, then a 16" jumpin bullhead. I made a cast across to the rip rap and something took it right away. I set into a good fish.
I didn't realise how good it was until I had it out of the water. It was a filled out 19.75" and easily over 4.50lbs. Yes Derby Fish!!!

I proceeded to catch another 16" and a 14.25". I tried working a frog down the road but didn't get any hits. It might have gotten too dark.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Trophy Night

It was a warm day and I needed to make sure the Trophy was running for the Fishers of Men Fall Outing this weekend, so I headed out a bit after 3PM. I stopped at the GOMH and I think I missed a couple of hits. I wasn't on the water until a little after 4PM. My original plan was to run docks in the big West bay but there were not many docks left in the lake.

At the first dock, I thought the Fluke got picked up but I set into nothing. No follow up bite. I worked in-between docks with a spinnerbait and Stanley Phantom (spook). At the second dock I had something boil on the Fluke but it didn't get it. I think it might have been a pike as I couldn't get a follow up. The 3rd Dock didn't give up anything. I was working to the next dock with the Phantom when this 18" blew it up.

It was a solid fish and I was off to a great start. The next dock had a pontoon boat on a lift and I casted underneath the side of the pontoon. I felt pressure and set the hook into something that felt good but then I got hung up. I had to break off.

Next I went into a field of pads and pulled out a nice 17.25" on a White Zoom Horny Toad. After that I think I got bit off by a pike and I switched to black and white swirl Horny Toad. I worked out on to the weed flat to some reeds and then back to a single dock. I pulled a 17.5" off the dock with the Horny Toad. The action hadn't been fast and furious, but these were nice fish and I wasn't even to prime time yet. I worked my way West and had a couple of nice follows from who knows what. I caught a small pike and on the last dock I pulled 3 bass from 11" to 14". I worked some of the most awesome looking rice, reeds, and pads but nothing was going. I worked my way out to where I saw a good swirl earlier, but nothing was home. It was getting dark and the skeeters sucked. I made a beeline for the standing weeds in the middle of the bay. I did well around that stuff late in the day last fall. As I was working my way around I had a swirl that didn't connect with the Phantom. I cast back and slowly worked the bait and it punched it. I think it was a nice bass, but it came off. That was the last bite.

As I was heading out in the dark I shut the cooler lid on one of my Shimano Crucial rod tips and broke it off. No warranty coverage from Shimano for that suck! Should have bought a St. Croix instead. And later the same night I just missed getting an awesome deal on St. Croix Avid Pearl 6'8". $80 shipped, are you kidding!!!!

Saturday, October 01, 2011

B.B.S. Birch(Hackensack) Oct. 1st.

Conditions: Cool and clear Morning with moderate wind out of the SE growing to 15-20mph throughout the day.

We blasted everybody off as we were last boat out and we went right to our planned starting spot, which was the weed flat to the SW of the public access. Nobody else went that way. I put on a Paycheck Baits Repo Man "drag stripper" and within the first 10 minutes I had 15" bass in the boat. Within the next 10 minutes I had number two in the boat. My boater Owen then quickly caught 2 on a spinnerbait and we thought we were on to something, but it just died. Maybe we moved off the best area a little to quick. Unfortunately the two fish I pulled from this spot in pre-fish were both 16.5".

Next we headed into the West basin to the spot where Owen got his hawg in pre-fish. I saw a lot of baitfish, but we came up empty. We worked up to the other point and I had a hit on a crawtube, but didn't hook up. I cast back and got another quick pick up and drop. The crawtube had a pretty good rip in it, so it was probably a pike. As we were working down the point along the reed line. Owen brought in a small keeper bass and then so did I (12.5")on a black spinnerbait.

Next we headed to a point farther South where I wanted to go in and work the slop. We started along the point and I pulled a pike on the spinnerbait. Owen caught a bass a few minutes later out of about the same spot. We got down into the start of the slop and there were some reeds on both sides of the boat. I made a cast with a Zoom Horny Toad out into the lake and had a fish nail it right before I was out of the reeds. Wouldn't you know it but it got hung up. I watched the fish struggling back and forth and then it pulled free. I really should have muscled that one more. It wasn't a huge bass but it was a quality one probably around 2lbs or more. I was really hoping the slop would go, but it was dead. We worked some awesome looking stuff with wind blowing on it, but there was nothing there. On a long cast out across the weed flat with the spinnerbait I had a hit and brought in one just over 14". We then worked down in the wind along the weeds. I did have a nice bass that I could have used nip at a Cordell Spot and I got a couple of pike on the spinnerbait.

We got down around the big Island and I made a cast up by a buoy and got nailed by a 14.5". It seemed like a spot were a school might stack up, but that was the only one there. As we worked back around the island I had another bass that I could have used nip at the spinnerbait and not hook up. We got around the Island to where it was calm and I started throwing the Repo Man, but there was so much debris in the water that I kept getting hung up. We got a little past the debris field and I caught a small pike, then a 12.5" squeeker bass. I was glad to have a limit.

We only had a couple of hours left and with those topwater bites I thought maybe our starting spot would go, so we went there. I worked through several topwaters and couldn't get a hit. Finally Owen pulled a quality bass on a spinnerbait and I switched. I caught a 10 inch pike. We drifted along and I had one last good hit, but it got off about half way in.

Results: I thought I had 9 something, but my fish only went 8-12, which put me in 15th which was my worst finish of the year. Owen only had 5 for 7-00 which put him in 17th place. The winner had 15-8 and a little over half the field had 10lbs or better. Obviously we missed the quality fish.

Top 6 Race- Bill Ludenia placed 6th which tied us for 6th place in end of the year points (best 5 of 6 tournaments). Bill owned the tie breaker, so I dropped to 7th and out of "the wood". It's my bad as had I not counted that live fish as dead at Cullen I would have been in 6th free and clear. Also if all 6 tournaments counted than I had one more point, one more fish, and .88lbs more than Bill, so I actually had the better year statistically. I know I deserved 6th Place and I get to fish on the Bass Snatcher Challenge Cup Team, so it's all good.

Analysis- I don't think I was necessarily doing the wrong things in this tournament. We just spent far to much time on bad water. Some of that water I don't regret trying because it really seemed fishy. Our bites were just so random that there was nothing to key on. I am still flabbergasted that I was unable to pull a few fish on topwater at the end of the day. Between tournament day and pre-fish we may have just sucked that flat dry.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Gomh and Jenny Sept 28th

I don't remember this trip very well because I am blogging it a week later than I went. It was a good trip. I started at the Grumpy Old Man Hole around 6PM and there was no current and there was algae scum on the waters surface on both sides of the bridge but not everywhere. It had been a warm day and was calm by the time I fished. I think there were light winds that day. It was basically a trip to get my mind off Dad's by-pass surgery which would be the next day.

I started on the NE side per usual and I got this 14" jumpin bullhead on a watermelon/red flake Big Bite Baits Bio Bait Crawtube.
I think it was 14"
I think I might have gotten one more fish on the NE side and missed a couple of hits.

I then went to the SW side and pounded out 5 jumpin bullheads Crawtube from 12" to 14.75". I missed a few bites too.

The action died and I still had sunlight so I headed off to Jenny's. On my very first cast I had a hit on an orange and brown Zoom Horny Toad, but I missed it. I cast right back and it smoked it again. It was this fish:
I think it went 15". The toad came off, so instead of digging out a new bait I switched rods to a Mad Maxx "Big Sexy". I proceeded to pull a 14"+ from the same general area. I went over to Jenny's neighbors and popped a 16"+ that was in kind of close to shore. I think I missed one hit and also a pike try.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

GOMH & Jenny's

I headed out fishing around 4:30pm today. My first stop was the GOMH it was cloudy and windy out of the S SW. Around 5:30pm it started to sprinkle then light rain and the wind really came up for about 10 minutes. It then sprinkled off and on for the rest of the night with a pretty good wind.

I started on the NE side and the first lure I tossed was the bubblegum Ebay Chatterjig and I got a 12" jumpin bullhead on that.

I fished on the SW side and broke off a toothy bullhead that hit a grass craw Tonka Tackle Halo Craw Tube. I went back to the NE side and rigged up another grass craw Crawtube and got a 11.5" jumpin bullhead on that.

I casted around with a "big sexy" Mad Maxx Frog but didn't get any hits on that. I then switched up to a yellow nose/black River2Sea Bully Wa frog and got this 15.25" jumpin bullhead on that out of the pads.
I did have another hit in the same area but it didn't hook up. I started working East casting from the road and that is when it got rainy and windy. I traveled down the road quite a ways fishing in the various openings and it all looked good because there is no rice there this year. It's just sporadic pads turning into a big field of pads at the last and biggest opening to the East. I had one slap at it and missed one good hit at the end of a long cast. I don't know why I haven't fished this stuff earlier as it looks good.

I got to Jenny's about a quarter to 7PM. Over at her neighbors I had a pike go loco over a Zoom Horny Toad but it didn't get it. The pike jumped out of the water at it 3 times. I then went to the Bully Wa and got 2 nice bass on that out of the rice on long casts. I left around a quarter after 7PM.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Erskine, Bulldog, Jenny's Not Much

After getting skunked at the Grumpy Old Man Hole last night I figured I would change it up for this evenings shore fishing excursion, so I headed to Erskine. I arrived at about a quarter to 7PM and started out throwing a brown/orange Zoom Horny Toad. On about my third cast the Pike in the picture hit it. Well I wasn't going to be skunked two nights in a row. A few casts later I had a very small pike or bass hit the toad. When I set the hook the fish went skipping along the lilly pads and came off. That was it for Erskine.

I tried Bulldog, nothing.

Last stop was Jenny's. First I tried the Horny Toad, nothing. Next I threw a white Berkley Havoc Lane's Grass Pig. I did get a hit on that but when I set the hook it came up empty. As it was starting to get dark I went with the Mad Maxx Frog. I made a cast over by where I got the hit and sure enough a pike went airborne while missing the frog. That was the extent of the action.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Kathio State Park Dam

There is a dam on the Rum River on the South end of Ogechie Lake in Kathio State Park. I've known this dam exists, but have never tried to fish it because I didn't feel like paying the fee to get into the park. However this year with the success I have had at the Shakopee Lake bridge over the Rum I figured I better check out what I have been missing. It's $5 for a day pass and $25 for a 1 year pass; Your first $5 day pass can be applied to a year pass.

Today was cold and windy, so I wasn't going to take the boat out to Platte/Sullivan, so I figured today would be as good a day as any to check out the dam. I arrived at Kathio around 1:30PM and after paying my dues and one wrong turn I made it to the proper parking lot. It's about an 1/10th of a mile hike from the parking lot to the dam. Thanks to looking at Google Earth I was aware of this and had packed my tackle into my small bag. I brought 6 rods with me.

The wind was out of the NW which meant the dam was sort of protected a bit. The water is on the high side and flowing fast. I started out throwing topwaters but didn't get any hits. Next I put on a Strike King Pure Poison with a Berkley Havoc Craw Fatty trailer. On my very first cast I had a good fish on. What would it be? Smallie? Largie? Pike? Muskie? Walleye? Carp? Dogfish? It kind of got caught up in some grass by shore, but I was able to pull it through and it was a nice largie.

It was a hefty 18.25" and with that being the 1st cast I thought I might be in for a whackfest. However I soon discovered there were not a bunch of fish stacked up and waiting to bite. Eventually I lost the Pure Poison to a snag. I cycled through a bunch of lures over the next couple of hours without a hit. Eventually I put on a pink chatterbait knock off that I bought on Ebay a couple of years ago. I made a long cast across the river and got hit by this little pike.
A little while later it started to sprinkle and then rain, so I went and stood under a tree as I didn't have raingear with me. After about 15 minutes the rain stopped and I went back to fishing. After about 10 minutes a guy showed up to fish. Unfortunately this was his first time fishing there, so he couldn't give me any information about how the spot fishes throughout the season. After about 10 minutes it started raining bb to pea sized hail. That lasted about 5 minutes then it rained for a couple of minutes and quit. At that point I had enough as I was wet and getting cold. I left around 5PM.

On the way in and out I hit the Shakopee bridge, but it was dead except for a hit from a very small pike.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Good Night At the GOMH

I headed out of the house a little before 7PM and my first stop was the Grumpy Old Man Hole. The wind was blowing pretty good out of the South. Per usual I set up on the NE side. I started out throwing something new; A watermelon/red Big Bite Baits Bio Bait Crawtube. The BBB Crawtube is made of a biodegradable plastic that has "Bio Bait" scent which is slimy and stinks. They are on sale at Tackle Warehouse for $1.99 a pack and since I was getting some other things I couldn't resist picking up a few packs at that price plus a 15% discount for Labor Day. They are 4" just like a Lake Fork Crawtube, but they are more compact and less bulky than a Lake Fork CT.

Crawtubes have been my #1 bass catcher this season and obviously I was hoping these inexpensive baits would be fish catchers. I fished for about 10 minutes without a sniff and then on a cast to the middle of the channel just out from the bridge something nailed it, but when I set the hook nothing was there. I kind of figured it was a pike, but I kept casting to the area anyway. On about the 7 cast back something picked it up and this time I hooked it and it was a good fish.

She went 18.5". GOM Willard drove up just as I was taking pictures. He congratulated me on the nice fish and told me he had gotten a couple of jumpin bullheads yesterday, but nothing that big. I let her go and resumed fishing. A couple minutes later I had another hit and brought a 14"+ jumpin bullhead in. I offered it to Willard, but he didn't want it. A couple of casts later I got an 11" jumpin bullhead. After about 5 more minutes with nothing I headed to the South side. I got a couple of nibbles, but nothing to set the hook into. By the time I got back to the NE side it was getting dark pretty quick. I decided to throw a frog and on about the 3rd cast it got belted good up in the rice. It was obviously another good fish.

Choked the "Big Sexy" Mad Maxx

This one went 18.75"

I did get one more hit on the frog in the pads, but I think it was a pike. It got dark fast and I left a little after 8PM.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Rooster, Turkey, Duck, Geese, Dogs

Got out before the sun rise this morning. First stop was the Bulldog PA. No Luck even though on a long cast I was able to get close to a spot where a fish came up. Next I went to Erskine. I started throwing a Zoom Horny Toad. There was a rooster crowing for a while, then I was joined by a turkey and ducks started quacking from the same direction as the rooster.. I had a couple of hits on a black/yellow River2Sea Bully Wa frog but I couldn't convert. A bunch of geese flew over me fairly low. I caught a pike on a white Berkley Havoc Lane's Grass Pig off the dock. Right after that I had a small bass on that got off. On the next cast to the exact same spot I got a bigger bass, but it came up and tailwalked and spit the hook. Soon after that a pug showed up and I could see a boxer over by the houses. The turkey followed me around. Didn't get anymore hits.

I went to Rock, nothing.

I went to Jenny's, nothing even though there was some fish activity.

Got home a little after 9AM.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Morning Froggin'

Yesterday I got my replacement rod from St. Croix for the frog rod I broke in July (I didn't mail it until the end of last week). So this morning I wanted to go out and throw a few casts to break it in. I decided the reel I'm putting on this St. Croix Legend Tournament Bass Carolina Rig Rod is better suited to a weighted hook with a dipper rather than an unweighted Zoom Horny Toad, so that is what I rigged it up with. My older LTB Carolina Rig Rod was rigged with the Horny Toad.

A little after 7AM I headed out to Jenny's. Nothing doing on the Berkley Havoc Lane's Grass Pig and the Horny Toad. The lure of last resort was a Mad Maxx Frog which I can throw out quite a bit further than the 1st two lures I tried. Getting out farther was the trick and I had a blow up which I missed. I cast out to the same general area and something exploded on it again and this time I hooked up.

It was a chunky 15.5". I did manage to get a couple of other weak hits, but didn't hook up with them. I think I left around 9AM

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Small GOMH

Headed out to the Grumpy Old Man Hole. Water is down just a bit but still really high even though we haven't had any rain in the past couple weeks. First order of business was testing a new topwater lure called a Ball Frog from Balsley Lure Company. Didn't get anything on that. Went through a battery of baits before catching this 10" jumpin bullhead on a Tonka Tackle Halo Crawtube.

This was all I caught. It seems that the fish may have vacated the GOMH for the year. I can't say I've ever done well there in the Fall.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

B.B.S. Fish Hook Lake August 27th

If this sounds like whining it is: It really bites when your best bag of the year is only good enough to be equal with your worst finish place wise of the season. The boys caught em' good in this one. New Baxter Bass Snatcher Club tournament record for average size of bags weighed (13.20lbs).

Here's how the day went.

Conditions: Mix of sun and clouds with overcast for the last couple of hours. Light winds. Cool in the morning warming up to the mid to high 70's.

The plan to start the day was to hit some docks that I pulled a 3+lber off of one of them in pre-fish. These docks had reeds around them that were sometimes thick and sometimes sparse. In one of the sparse area's I made a cast up by some weeds that were in the reeds and I had a pick up on my bubblegum Zoom Super Fluke, which turned out to be a 15.5" largie. In another thick area of reeds I had a fish which I'm 90% sure was a pike smack a white Berkley Havoc Grass Pig. The docks were a bust and we soon headed off to a weedline spot.

Right away at the weedline I brought in a nice 15.25" bass on a rusty Craw Tonka Tackle Halo Craw Tube. I was off to a pretty good start. As we were working our way down my boater Chuck got his first fish, which was in the same general size range of my two. I got bit off by a pike and decided to try a little lighter weight on my Texas rig Craw Tube. I got a 13.25" on that. Chuck also got another fish. With the calm to light ripple I decided to try a Berkley Frenzy Popper. That wasn't happening and while I was fooling around with that, Chuck caught his best fish of the day. Pretty soon Chuck was encouraging me, mocking me really, to keep throwing the topwater. Eventually I put down the topwater and tried a crankbait, as Chuck brought in a couple more fish. Eventually I did get back to the Crawtube but didn't get any more bites in this area.

After we fished through the area 3 times, we headed off to try some more docks, which was a bust. Eventually we got into some reeds where I think Chuck picked up his limit fish and one that went back and I got a 14.5" bass on a "big sexy" Mad Maxx Frog.

I think our next stop was Chuck's honey hole from the last club tournament on Fish Hook. I think Chuck got a rock bass. Next we headed to another weedline where I think got bit off so I changed to a black/red fleck Lake Fork Crawtube with which I had gotten some good fish in pre-fish. I stayed with the lighter bullet sinker. I got a 13.5" bass and a pike. We headed back to the first weedline we hit and I got a pike and maybe Chuck picked up a bass or two. We talked to one of the club boats, which was up working the reeds and Mark said it was slow, but he had a limit.

Next thing we did was go to the reeds. I threw a frog while Chuck threw a jig and maybe a Crawtube as well. We worked the reeds for quite a while and I don't remember if Chuck got a fish or not. I think he might have missed a bite or two. We got to an area where there was an open pocket back in the reeds and Chuck asked me if I wanted to go back in there. I said why not and so we did. I made a cast toward the far end of the pocket and a fish just lit up Mad Maxx. It jumped and we saw it was a big fish. I got it in and it had choked the frog. Here she is:
Chuck thought it might go 5. I measured it and it was something over 19 inches, but I'm not sure how long as the measuring board ended at 18inches. Turns out the fish only went 4-5, but this fish was huge for me and probably bumped me 5-7 places in the standings. That was it in those reeds.

It was sunny out so we went and re-tried the 2nd set of docks, but that was a bust again. We went back and re-hit a weedline spot that we had trouble getting on the first time because of another tournament boat. I pulled up a pike on the Crawtube and then Chuck landed several bass most of which didn't help him, but would have helped me. I think I got a 13" that didn't help me. Eventually we got up on this point and pitched into the holes in the grass that we could see, Chuck got a couple more that didn't help him.

It started to cloud up and we headed to either a marina or resort of something where there were 2 docks with lots of boats. On the very last boat on the 1st dock Chuck pulled a fish and I got a 14" on the bubblegum Super Fluke which culled the 13.25". I don't think we got anything on the 2nd dock.

Chuck remembered a reed and slop spot so we headed there next. We worked ourselves into the inside edge of the reeds and then there was a little open area before a big field of pads started. As we worked along Chuck fished the reeds with a jig or a frog and I threw my frog to the pads. Chuck pulled a fish out of the reeds, so I started working them too. I made a cast and something moved, so I just worked the frog in place for about a minute. Just as I was about to reel it in, a fish sucked in the frog and it was a 14.5". I couldn't remember if I wrote down my last cull or not, so I wasn't sure which was my smallest fish. I pulled out the two proper colored ropes and looked at the fish. They looked to be about the same size, so I threw back the one on the yellow cull tag thinking I had indeed forgotten to write down my last cull. I put the new fish in the box, then measured the fish on the orange cull tag, so I could write down the length. I was shocked to discover this fish was only 13.5" and was the one I should have culled out. It's hard to say if this error cost me because I needed 3 more ozs to move up and when I compared the 2 fish, they looked pretty even to me. Should have used Chuck's cull beam to be sure. Anyway Chuck got a good cull out of the reeds on a frog.

I think there was about an hour left and so we headed for the reeds where I had gotten my big one. I had several fish boil on the Mad Maxx, but only 1 took it and that was a small fish that I waterskied on the hookeset and it came off. Unfortunately most of the missed bites couldn't be followed up with another lure as they were at the end of long casts or in reeds to thick for anything but the frog. With about 20 minutes to go we took a 3rd pass on a certain set of docks, but they were worthless again and that was the end of our day.

Results: My 6 fish went 13-7, which put me in 12th place out of 22 anglers, which was actually a bit of a relief when I saw the official standings as I thought I was going to be 13th or 14th. The winning bag was 19-1 and big bass was 5-5. Chuck had 15-7, which only got him 6th Place.

Top 6 Race: In the race for the Top 6 at the end of the year, which was a 3 way race for the final 2 spots going into this tournament (Mark M., Bill L, and I), basically Mark guaranteed he will be there with a 3rd Place finish. I finished 4 spots in front of Bill and both of us tied our worst finishes of the year (we throw the worst tournament out so 5 of 6 count). A surprise was that another guy (Barry M.) moved into the race with his 8th Place Finish. Going into the last tournament I have 5 places on Barry and 6 places on Bill, so my lead more than doubled, but I really blew a chance to effectively close the door.

Analysis- Coming into the tournament I really wanted a Top 8 finish as I had a very good partner draw. I thought a 13lb bag would put me right there. As it turned out Fish Hook produced some of the best fishing the club has ever seen. There were four 13lb bags and mine was the lightest of them. I didn't even finish in the top half of the field. I can't be too disappointed as things could have gone far worse had I not caught the big one I did, but then again with the big fish a more competitive bag was well within reach. Chuck out fished me pretty bad in terms of number of bass caught; It was pretty close to 2-1 if not more.

One thing I'm left to wonder about is going lighter on my Texas Rig sinker with the Crawtube. The change produced a smaller grade of fish then what I got in pre-fish and my biggest Crawtube bass of the day came with the heavier weight. There were also several instances where fish picked up the Crawtube and dropped it quickly and wouldn't pick it back up again. The only fish that did that and picked it up again was a pike. The black red fleck Lake Fork Crawtube that gave me 3 nice bass in pre-fish was a bust, even though light conditions were close to the same. I never did throw a Yum Wooly Bug, which is something that produced 14.5-15.5 bass in pre-fish. I also never threw a jig.

Next Bass Snatcher Tournament: October 1st @Birch (Hackensack)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Fishing with Turkey's

Pete was still around today, so we went fishing around 4PM. First we hit Bulldog at Holy Family and got nothing. Pete then suggested we try Erskine and so we went there. I didn't realize the Erskine public access is actually worth fishing. It has some nice pads right out from shore and there is quite a bit of area to fish. Anyway while we were fishing some domesticated turkeys came along and sat down right behind me. Pete was amused by this and took pictures. While the Turkeys were there I had a fish hit at my white Berkley Havoc Grass Pig twice. Somehow I didn't hook up either time. Eventually we left with the turkeys still wanting to follow us.

Next we went to Rock where Pete had 2 bites on his pink spinnerbait. The second fish got caught in the reeds and Pete's line broke. I think I had one hit on the Crawtube, but it dropped it before I could set. It started to rain.

Next we headed to Jenny's where we amazingly couldn't get hit.

Next we headed to our Lake Place where I got a 15"+ on the River2Sea Frog by a clump of pads up by shore. Didn't have the camera with. I had another fish show at the frog, but I couldn't get it to hit a second time. I think it might have been a dogfish.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Kelly J Don's Dock

Pete is still here for one more night. We got out of the house at about a quarter to 8 and headed right to Don's. When we arrived Don was out on his dock per usual. He had been getting a few gills. I started out with a Crawtube, but quickly switched to a Repo Man. There was very little wind and a slight ripple on the water. Don got 2 more nice gills. I switched to a bluegill color Lucky Craft Kelly J and this bass blasted it.

I would say it was about 15.5". That was the only hit and about 5 minutes more fishing and we left cause of skeeters.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Fishing with Pete & Gordy at Camp Lebanon

Pete talked me into heading out to fish with Gordy today. I think we arrived at Cedar Lake in SW Morrison County a little after 4PM. The lake has fairly clear water water and it was sunny. We fished shallow in some reeds where I got this 13" largie on a big sexy color Mad Maxx frog.
We then fished up shallow along the South shore in the shade of overhanging trees. I made a good cast and was distracted by something. I felt a tug immediately looked up saw my Mad Maxx frog was gone, so I set in this 14"+ fish.

A little ways down we came to a dock where Gordy got 2 bass yesterday and he pulled out this dude on a Senko.

Gordy had a couple more bites but was unable to land the fish. I think I had a fish pick my Crawtube but before I could set it dropped it. Gordy had to go in to head home at about 6PM.

Pete and I went to the GOMH and got nothing, then to Jenny's and got nothing, then to Don's Dock where Pete got a nice 15"+ bass and small pike on his pink spinnerbait. I didn't get a hit on the Crawtube and I really wished I would have brought my topwater stuff down as it was dead calm.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Pete & Don on Don's Dock

I had all my gear packed for tomorrows tournament, so I just brought a rod to throw some 2nd tier topwater stuff. Don got that 1 Crappie and Pete caught a pike and that bass and sunfish. I was skunked, there was more ripple on the water than I would have liked for the topwater.

Night on Don's Dock with Don & Pete

Went over to Don's after 7PM last night. I stuck first blood with a pike, that I thought we were giving to Don, so I put it up in his yard. Turns out Don, didn't want it, so Pete took it. Will it get cleaned or not? That is the question. Don caught a few gills and Pete got skunked. There was a nice sunset with rays coming through the clouds.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mad Maxx Strikes

Went to the GOMH a bit after 7PM. Willard was there. It was pretty dead, but I did manage this fish on a big sexy Mad Maxx Frog just out from the rice lining the West side of the North GOMH channel. I also had a toothy bullhead hit my crawtube; it came off at the rocks.

Water is very high!

Monday, August 22, 2011

2 Trips 2 Days 3 Fish

Yesterday I headed to the Grumpy Old Man Hole around 3PM. GOM Willard was there along with another older guy. There was couple fishing the SW side and the NW side they both has a few nice orange bullheads and the guy on the NW side said he got a jumpin bullhead. I couldn't get anything. I thought I might have had something pick up the Crawtube way under the bridge, but it let go right away. The others left and I kept trying. A young lady all by herself showed up and started fishing. Neither of us got anything. I tried the SW side and there was a Rattlin Rap sitting there. I went up to the North side and asked if it was the lady's, but she said no. That is when I noticed it was cracked. No action on the South side, so I headed up to the car and started long casting to the slop from the road. The lady I gave a jumpin bullhead to the previous night showed up so I went and talked to her. She said after I left she had several bullheads bite, but was unable to catch any. She said the fish I gave her was good. Then she told me the story of "the Demon Fish" she encountered out there last year. Me and the young lady got a kick out of her story. From the description it sounded like either a pike or a dogfish. Tonight Willard told me it was a dogfish. Anyway I left and headed to Jenny's.

At Jenny's I was just about to leave when I had a blow up on "Big Sexy"

That is a Mad Maxx Frog big sexy color.

After that I headed to the Rock Dock. I was fishing a Crawtube when I got a hit and caught this little dude.

And that was it for the night.

Tonight I headed out to the GOMH a little after 7PM. As I was getting my stuff out of the truck GOM Willard showed up. The lady from the last couple of days was there as was another guy and his son fishing on the N side of the bridge. The lady says she caught a big fish last night. At first I thought it was a jumpin bullhead and I was bummed she kept it, but then it became clear it was a toothy bullhead instead, so I didn't care. I went down to the SW side, which was dead. After about half and hour I headed to the NE side. As I did the lady had a fish putting a serious bend in her pole, it ended up breaking her off. The older kid said it was a toothy bullhead. Willard came down by me and spotted a bobber that was under the water. I tried casting to it but the bobber disappeared, probably that lady's fish. We saw what we thought might be a dogfish surfacing out by the channel pads, It may also have been that lady's fish with the line stuck in the weeds causing the fish to swim at the surface. Whatever I couldn't get it to bite. I was pitching right in front of me when I had a hit on the grass craw Tonka Tackle Halo Crawtube. I set hard, but into nothing as a pike had obviously shredded my line and stole that Trokar Flippen Hook. Now I'm down to 2 hooks.

Not wanting to go back to the car to retie I started throwing the bubblegum Zoom Super Fluke. One time I pitched it out to the hole right out in front of me when something grabbed it. I thought it was going to be that pike, but when I set the hook I immediately saw it was a big bass. It stripped drag and almost got into the pads but I was just able to keep it out with the 14lb Fireline. I pulled it in to the kid who was down on the rocks and he lipped it. I figured this was the same fish I caught 2 days ago and sure enough it was the same length at 19.5"

This was the only fish I caught.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

GOMH Derby Fluke

This afternoon I wanted to get out to throw a Zoom Super Fluke and get more experience with the Trokar Flippen Hook. I headed out to the GOMH at about 5PM and started on the NE side. My first offering was the bubblegum Zoom Super Fluke and I caught a 12" jumpin bullhead right away. A little bit after that I missed a bite, which tore the nose up on the Fluke, so I had to go to the car to get another. I then started throwing up under the bridge and missed a couple of hits. Finally on the 3rd try I hooked up and it was a good one.

She went 19.5". Unfortunately when I pulled the hook out I stuck myself pretty good in the finger and started bleeding pretty good. I had to run up to the car to see if I could find a band aid or napkin. While I was doing that a lady showed up to fish. Before I could get back to fishing two boats also went under the bridge. The lady was after sunfish and she fished off to the NW side so I was still able to cast under the bridge. Unfortunately I think the boats spooked the fish I think that were there. Eventually I did pull a 14" jumpin bullhead. I tried the Crawtube and missed one hit. Then I worked the pads and slop with a Grass Pig and Mad Maxx, but didn't get anything. The lady hooked into a 13" class bass and was bringing it up onto the bridge when her line broke and the fish got away. I went and fished the SE side and got a 13" on the Fluke which I gave to the lady. I missed another hit. A thunderstorm started moving in so I left around 7PM.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Escape The Skunk

I was up at 7AM and I decided to hit the GOMH. Yesterday I broke down and bought a pack of 5/0 Trokar Flippen Hooks because they were 50% off at Mills Fleet Farm and I wanted to test them out.

I get to the GOMH and got nothing on the Think Tank Triggerfish. No big deal. I then went right to the Lake Fork Crawtube with the Trokar Hook. Nothing. I went to the SW side and couldn't get a bite there either. I went back to the NE side and on my first cast this jumpin bullhead picked it up.
I was pleased not to be skunked. I made a cast way under the bridge and got hung up. Had to break off. Went to get another Trokar Hook and discovered there were only 4 in the pack.

I started pitching to the pads and my line jumped and I caught a toothy bullhead and that was it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

GOMH Morning Fun

I got out to the Grumpy Old Man Hole about 6:30AM and no current was moving. The water is even higher than last week and there is a sign as you go into Sullivan that asks for No Wake in Sullivan. I don't know if the lakes are all No Wake now or not. I started out fishing with a Think Tank Triggerfish on the NE side and I got this 14.75".

That was the only one I could get on topwater and really it wasn't a topwater fish as I caught it working the bait sub-surface. I then switched to a green pumpkin Lake Fork Crawtube and got a couple of more jumpin bullheads. I went to the SW side and got a jumpin bullhead on the Strike King Pure Poison and a couple on the Crawtube. I then went back to the NW side and didn't get anything. I went to the NE side and made a couple of casts with a Zoom Horny Toad to guage my distance. I then switched reels and gained 10 to 15 feet. On one of my casts this 15.5" just smoked the Horny Toad.

A few casts later I broke my line on the cast. I tied on a yellow Horny Toad. I threw some casts with the Mad Maxx Frog and even had a good hit, but I didn't hook up.

I then went to Jenny's and caught a small pike on the Horny Toad. I think I have caught every hit I've had on the Horny Toad with the 7'3"MH St. Criox Legend Tournament Bass Carolina Rig Rod and now that I'm getting better casting distance, this is a combo I'm thinking about for the rod replacement I'll be doing.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Fuego GOMH

I couldn't resist bidding on a couple of Team Daiwa Fuego reels that were spelled Diawa in there listings. The sellers error was my gain as I picked them up for an excellent price. I was the only bidder on both. They arrived yesterday and I had to try them out this morning.

Yes the new reels performed well and I landed some jumpin bullheads

I got 6x 14's"
4x 13's"
2x 12's"
1x 11.5"

3 were caught on a black/blue Strike King Pure Poison with beat up black/blue Berkley Havoc Craw Fatty trailer.
The other 10 went to a green pumpkin Lake Fork Crawtube, pushing the Crawtube into the #1 spot for my bass catchers this year.

I got fish on the South and North sides. I missed a few hits as well.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

GOMH Morning Trip

I was up so I hit the GOMH a little after 6AM. The water has come way up again, about as high as it's been all year. I started out with topwater on the NE side but that was a bust. I threw out the green pumpkin Crawtube and my first hit was this toothy bullhead.

A few casts later and I pulled in this 13" jumpin bullhead.

I got one more 13" and missed a couple more bullheads (jumpin & toothy)

I did get a couple bites on a small Gander Mtn. Beaver, but didn't hook up. I tried the South side, but didn't get any bites. I left at around 7:30am.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Last Stop Saved From Skunk

Tonight I wanted to try hitting a new spot, but first it was old one's. I was under way just after 7PM.

GOMH-People there fishing, didn't stop.

Jenny's- Skunk

Bulldog- Skunk

Whitefish Outlet Culvert- Skunk

Whitefish Outlet at 169 Bridge- Skunk

Shakopee Bridge- People fishing so I went to Subway.

When I got done eating my Subway it was getting dark fast. I elected to try back at the Shakopee Bridge. I got chewed by mosquito's, but my Crawtube also got chewed by this 16.5" largie.

I did have a couple of other hits that didn't hook up. After it got sufficiently dark I decided to leave. I decided not to hit Eddy's Jetty as the skeeters probably would have been pretty bad there too and I didn't have a headlamp.