Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wading Bust

I got to thinking that wading to the East of the Grumpy Old Man Hole on Platte might be productive with the high water. I didn't get up until about 6PM today and didn't make up my mind to go fishing until about a quarter to 8PM. Since it was getting to be so late I didn't hit Jenny's and went right to the GOMH. I had the Lamiglas Excel rigged with a Spro Rojas Poppin Frog and my 2 St. Croix frog rods were rigged with a Horny Toad and Ish's Phat Frog. I decided to start at the bridge and move East. I started with the Horny Toad which didn't get anything. Next I went to the Poppin Frog and noticed right away that I wasn't getting incredible distance on my casts. I am not sure if the Poppin Frog doesn't throw as good as other frogs or maybe it's the Excel rod or a combination of both. I had a big blow up pretty close in, but it didn't get the frog. I don't know if it was a pike or bass. It was unwilling to hit again. I started going East and popped this one on the Poppin Frog.
I had one more blow up that didn't hook up before I reached the end of the rip rap.

At the end of the rip rap I waded into the water towing my float tube which I was using for a rod carrier. I almost lost the Ish's Phat Frog in a tree. I broke it off at the not and it dropped into the branches of a tree that was closer to the water. I was looking for the frog in the water. I got under the branch I was stuck on, looked up and there was the frog on this other tree branch, amazing. I waded about a total of 50-60 yards before the mosquito's got to be to bad and I hadn't gotten a single hit while wading. I'm kind of thinking that wading farther to the East probably isn't worth my time at least not until I would get as far to the East as I could wade which is about another 120 yards or so.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Jenny's and Bulldog

Tonight I headed out of the house a bit after 7PM, it was cloudy warm and humid and conditions seemed right for the fish to be on. My first stop was Jenny's. Right away I got a bite but didn't hook up off to the right. I threw back and it boiled on it again. 3rd time was the charm and I brought in this skinny 16" class fish.
I thought this was going to be a much smaller fish from the way it had attacked the Horny Toad. Off to the left I got a couple of similar bites, where I let the fish take the toad and it was there, but when I set the hook I got nothing. Right before I left I had a boil to the right.

I hit Bulldog with the float tube around a quarter to 8 from the access and headed South. All I threw was the Horny Toad and it was pretty dead. I caught a 11.5" and 12.75" bass and missed a few more unimpressive hits. The fish just are not in less than 3 feet of water in the rice and pads. I went around to the big pad bed again. I made my way back fairly quick and had enought time to hit Jenny's again, but that was a bust.

You would think with the high water the shallows would be supercharged, but that is not what I am finding. I think I'm going to have to put the float tube away.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Floating Rock

Tonight I made a last minute decision to head over to Rock Lake for a little float tube fishing. I was probably on the water by 8:25PM. Today was mostly cloudy and a little warmer than it's been, but the sun came out around 8PM. Naturally I headed North to the reeds. I started off with a 12" largie pretty quickly on the Big Bite Baits Cane Thumper. I also brought out a rod with the Death Shimmer spinnerbait, but that wasn't working so hot with to much rice around. I ended up wishing I brought the Horny Toad or slop frog rod instead.

Just a little later I got a 14"+ bass and I was off to a good start. I had a good bite in the thick reeds and executed pretty well, but it buried me in the reeds immediately after the hookset. That was my last bite for the night. I made it out past the reeds and then made my way back. It was sort of a disappointment after how things started and went the last time I did this.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Jenny's Skunk and The Dog

I slept most of the day, but when I got up I thought about going fishing. It was overcast with a bit of a wind out of the West (wind has been out of the East for last several days with precipitation). I got the float tube and gear ready, put on my waders and headed out around 7PM just as the sun came out. Jenny's was dead, so by 7:35 I was at Bulldog. I headed South from the access where I had my success last week. It started real slow at Bulldog other than something big waking at my Big Bite Baits Cane Thumper. It got the lure within 10 feet of me and was coming towards me. I waited to feel something but almost as soon as I did the fish let go and was gone. I was throwing the Thumper and Ish's Phat frog and getting nothing. The water was up some more with the recent rain, but the fish were not at the bank. My first fish was this little guy on the Cane Thumper.

Next fish was a small pike on the thumper.

I had a couple of bites on the Ish's Phat Frog but couldn't hook up. Maybe hollow body frogs are not the best float tube baits, because it's hard to put the wicked into the hookset. I got all the way around to where a big pad field comes out and got a 14"+ bass out of the pads right before the big field.

Behind the field up by shore I missed a bite on the Ish and nothing was going in the pads and the mosquito's were starting to some out, so I turned around. I was throwing the Ish and had a really good blow up, but I didn't hook it. That was the last of the action for the night.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

B.B.S. Tournament Cullen Chain June 19th

Oh Man, where do I start.

I really thought this tournament was lining up just right for me to do really well and it almost did. We blasted off around a quarter to 7AM in calm overcast conditions with a slight fog and drizzle. We were 2nd boat out and 2nd boat to reach the channel from Lower Cullen to Middle Cullen. The boat that was in front of us didn't quite take the right path into the channel and ran aground. We passed them and were first into Middle. On the way up to Upper Cullen the boat that got stuck bypassed us about half way down the lake and they were first into the Upper Lake. We were 2nd into the Upper Lake channel. While we just got under way in the Upper lake, we watched the non-boater in the other boat catch a fish.

We headed straight to our starting area and there were two boats not in the tournament in the general area, but they were not up in the thick junk that we wanted to fish. Our starting area was moderately thick to thick pencil reeds with some pads and a little bit of rice and some other submergent weeds. I started off throwing a black Horny Toad in the seriously overcast conditions. I was the first to get a strike but it didn't get the Toad. I threw back and it took it again and it was a bass. I got it about half way back to the boat when it buried in the reeds and got off. This experience would happen far to often. After throwing the Horny Toad for a while and not getting anymore bites I switched up to a blue/black Berkley Havoc Lane's Grass Pig. I think I missed one bite on that before I put the first fish of the morning in the boat. It was a nice 15" bass. As I was putting on the culling tag my boater went to turn on the livewell pump and got nothing. Not Good! My boaters Ranger is a tiller boat with one big livewell and a baitwell. The baitwell pump was working so I put the fish in there.

We kept working the area and I had a 16.5" take the Grass Pig right by the boat. It helps if you don't have to fight a fish through the reeds. We moved out of our initial area and I think I caught a pike and missed a few bites. On one of the misses I threw back with a black/blue Lake Fork Craw Tube. The fish picked it up, but I pooched the hookset and it was gone. We got to an area where there was more rice laying down in the reeds and the wind was at our back, so I started throwing the Horny Toad again. I had a pike bite off most of the legs on my Horny Toad, but I continued to fish the bait without the legs. I had a bite from a good fish, 16 inch class at least (it jumped so I saw it). I got it about half way back to the boat and it buried me in the reeds and got off. I was miffed; It's one thing to have the fish bury you right away and get off, but quite another to have them moving towards you well and then get off. As we moved along the Horny Toad provided a 14.75", 14.5", before I lost the one with no legs. I put another Toad on and got a 14.25", and 12.5" and I got the limit monkey off my back. I also put these last couple of fish in the big livewell and had to use an ice cream bucket to scoop in water. The first cull came quick with a 14". At this point I think my boater only had one bass in the boat and had missed a few bites as well. I think he got his first fish on a blue/black Grass Pig that I gave him.

I think it was shortly after that 14" that we made a move to a deep reed bed in the lake where we had a double in pre-fish. In the deep reed bed my boater landed a small keeper and I caught a nice pike. After about an hour of that we headed back to our starting area. I upgraded with 15, but I can't remember what I caught it on. I think I caught a fish or two that didn't help as well as a pike or two. We got into an area that we didn't hit on our first pass that looked really good. I was bringing the Horny Toad in when either a big bass or dogfish purposed hard on the Toad. I laid the wood, but it buried me instantly and was gone. If that wasn't a dogfish, it was a game changer and I was quite bummed by missing it. A little ways down I got a bass that didn't help and another nice pike.

We made a run back to the deep reed bed and I pulled a 15.5" on a blue/black Craw Tube and also caught a couple that didn't help me. We worked this reed area, longer this time. After pulling out a backlash for about 15 minutes, my boater landed one that just barely made the 12 inch minimum size.

For a 3rd time we went back to our starting area, but we started a little farther South than we ever had. I put on a bubblegum Grass Pig and started throwing that. There were some really thick reeds, so I started throwing a brown Ish's Phat Frog and had a fish swirl on it fairly close to the boat. I threw back with the Craw Tube. On about the 4th pitch the fish picked it up and I laid the wood. It was a nice 16" class bass. I almost had it in when it jumped and spit the hook. I was like, What?!!!! GRRRRRRRRRRR! A little later on I made a long cast throwing the Phat frog up past the reeds into some shallow pads when I had a blow up and brought in a 16" into the boat. Those double hooked hollow body frogs are great for keeping a bass pegged if they choke it. In addition it helps when you can hook up where the cover isn't as dense and get them moving at you, at least usually. Today I was losing fish I had moving to me all to frequently. I had a few more swirls on the Ish's Phat Frog and a couple of bites on the bubblegum Pig that I couldn't convert. It was around this time that I noticed one of my fish was in trouble and I spent a while trying to revive it, but that was a waste of time. A couple of other fish started showing signs of distress, so I had to work for a while putting fresher water in the well.

My boater switched to a yellowish white Sizmic Toad and nailed a couple of fish, including a nice fish that was quite a bit bigger than anything I had. I switched the bubblegum pig to a albino Big Bite Baits Cane Thumper because the color and size were close to that Sizmic Toad and got a pike and couple of bass that didn't help. At this point in the day it was still cloudy, but it had warmed up into the mid 70's and my boater thought it would be good for our fish if we got out of the shallow warming water and got some water from out deeper in the lake. I think we hit the deeper reeds one more time then left the Upper Lake.

When we stopped in the Middle Lake I went back on water duty, but didn't check the bait well which was on automatic. That mistake allowed another one of my fish to get distressed and eventually expire. Anyway we were fishing down a reed lined point with a steep drop off. I tossed out a bluegill Megabass Pop Max and got a 14" that didn't help. I think my boater might have pulled a fish that helped him off this spot. We hit another point and that was when I noticed I had a second fish in trouble. Nothing at that point and with a little less than an hour left to go, we headed to the lower lake.

We got into the lower lake and there was a boat on the spot my boater wanted to go, so we hit another deep cabbage weed point and weedline. I started throwing the "Drag Stripper" Paycheck Baits Repo Man I got my big fish in pre-fish on. I was hoping this might be the bait to pull up a big smallmouth. I had a couple of swirls from seemed like a smaller fish, but didn't hook up. As we were working down the weedline I had a good bass that would have culled take a shot at the Repo Man, but it didn't hook up and it didn't come back for seconds. GRRRRRRRR! My boater landed a fish that was another good cull.

With about 10 minutes to go before check in, we closed her down and went to head in but the motor wouldn't start. Fortunately another tournament boat was close and came over. We were about a 1/4 mile from check in. My boater had some special hook ups for jumping the between batteries in the boat, but he couldn't find it. The other boat gave us their jumper cables and my boater worked furiously to get his batteries connected. He did and the motor started and we got back with pretty much, no time to spare.

The story doesn't end here, however. We got the boat pulled out of the water and started bagging our fish. There were 4 fish in the bait well, 3 of which had expired, two of which were mine. I handed my boaters dead fish to him, but somehow it registered with me that it was a 3rd expired fish for me. When I weighed my fish I said there were 3 alive instead of 4. When I dumped the fish in the lake and only had two dead one's to take back with me, I realized my mistake. At that point my weight was in the book and I was out of luck. Ouch!

My weight before dead fish penalties was 11lbs 6ozs. Each dead fish is a 2oz penalty, so my official weight was 11lbs even. Third Place (last to "get wood") was 11lbs 2ozs. Even if I would not have screwed up by an extra 2ozs, I would have lost on the big fish tie breaker as my biggest fish was a modest 2-4. However another angler had 11-1, so I dropped an extra place in the standings to 5th out of 26 guys fishing. If it were not for another guys dead fish penalty I would have dropped to 6th. Everyone caught their limit and 11 of us were stacked between 11-2 and 10-1. 2 Bags were less than 8lbs. My boater came in 13th with 10-1 (1 dead fish) and his big fish was only 2-15; I thought it was a 3lber for sure.

Analysis- What can I say? Had I had a bit better luck I probably would have won the tournament as the winning weight was only 12-13, although the winner was fishing thick junk too (we fished some of the same water) and I would assume he dumped a fish or two that would have helped his bag as well.

For the second tournament in a row my fish had to be post-spawners that were on the skinny side. Going in to weigh in I figured I had right about 12lbs. Frankly I'm surprised my fish weighed even less than at Platte/Sullivan because my average length here was a bit better (in fact it was one full inch more in total) and the fish didn't seem thin to me. Still I can't complain to much. I screwed up on that extra dead fish and losing fish in pencil reeds is just an unfortunate fact of life, but some of the fish I missed were really bad breaks.

Next Bass Snatcher Tournament: Le Homme Dieu on July 16th
I think I am going to try and get in on the Fishers of Men Club Twin
Cities Tournament for bass on Sylvia/Twin on July 9th. Sylvia/Twin is the lake I learned to fish on.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Jenny's and Rock (Short Trip)

Tonight I wasn't off until after 7:30PM and my first stop was at Jenny's. Right away I nailed this 14.5" on a white Berkley Havoc Grass Pig. It took it off the surface. I let the fish take it down and felt it holding the bait, then I gave it the surge set and I had to fight it through some reeds to get it in. The Lamiglas Excel performed well on this one. I got one more weak bite at Jenny's that really didn't hold the Grass Pig, so I wasn't surprised when I set and nothing was there.

At about 8PM I headed over to Bulldog, but there were people at the access and a truck and trailer and I didn't want to launch at the Bingo access, so I decided to head to Rock. When I got to rock I decided to throw some casts from the Rock Dock. On one of the casts as I was getting close to the dock a fish grabbed the Grass Pig and bit off the tail. The bait actually had a pretty good walk the dog, flukish action minus the tail, but I decided to put on another Grass Pig.

I got in the float tube and headed North. I was into the reeds when I got my first bite. I set and the Grass Pig was gone, no fish. That sucked. At that point I put on a Gambler Big EZ swimbait. A couple of minutes later I got a 14.5 bass then a pike. I got beyond the reed bed and caught another pike, then a nice 15" class bass then a pike that broke me off right in front of the float tube. I rigged up with a different bigger hook with a smaller lead weight and another EZ. I went as far as I was going to go a little ways into the narrows of the Platte River Outlet. My next fish was another pike, then I got a bass that was 14" or so. I was casting back into the reeds when I had a good hit. I felt for the fish a while before setting the hook and when I did I seemingly didn't hook into anything. I cast back over the area a few times and on one of the casts after I had cleared the reeds and was in open water almost to the float tube I had a good bite. I figured it was a pike and didn't give it the best surge set. I was surprised when a big bass came up and tail walked about 10 feet in front of me. It then bulldoged down then shot straight up, jumped and came off about 6 feet in front of me. I was like, ohh man that was Derby fish for sure; It was in the 17-19" class. Right about this time the mosquito's started getting really bad, so I quickened my pace, but did manage to land one more 14" class bass that took the EZ off the surface as it was coming through the rice and reeds. Shortly after that the mosquito's got to be to much and I stopped casting and moved as quick as I could. I think I was off the water around 9:40PM. I didn't throw a frog at all.

Although I wasn't catching everything that was biting, I came away impressed with the Lamiglas Excel Bass rod. I had to catch several fish through pencil reeds tonight and it had the power to do it. The rod is also pretty sensitive and soft enough not to take the dipper away from the fish for the most part. Maybe tomorrow I will get out and use the rod from the boat, to see how that goes.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

New To Me Rod, Jenny's and Bulldog

Today I was pleasantly surprised to receive the Lamiglas Excel Bass 735C I got on Ebay (7'3"MH). I wasn't sure when it was shipped and I didn't know if I'd have it in time for Sunday's Bass Snatcher tournament. The rod is designed for frogs and small swimbaits. At this point I want to get a feel for how it works for "Dipper Fishing," since I broke the rod I really like for that and won't replace it until next month. The Excel is not as soft as that Croix LTB or the Rapala Long Cast I was now using for the Dippers. The Excel, however, is not as stiff as my 7'3" Croix Avid MH's that I like for frogs, but not dippers. So tonight I went to test it out.

I didn't get out of the house until after 7:15PM and I made Jenny's on Platte Lake my first stop. The thing is that the rice is now up and matted at Jenny's so it isn't the best place for dipper fishing. I gave it a try, but when I didn't get any hits right away I switched to a Snagproof Ish's Phat Frog.

I got this skinny 16.5" and a much more healthy 16", as well as missing a few hits. The mosquito's were bad and I wasn't getting to use the Excel, so I decided to bounce over to Bulldog a little after 8PM. I put the float tube in at the Public Access and headed South just like on Monday night. It turned out to be an OK decision because I got a few bites on the black Berkley Havoc Grass Pig on the Excel rod. First fish was a 14" bass and then a 12" bass. I made a cast up next to shore and as soon as the Grass Pig hit the water a fish nailed it and I landed this fat 17.5"

After that action I caught another 12incher and a nice pike. I had another good bass on that got off, half way in to the tube. The mosquito's started getting really bad, so I started to head back throwing the frog. I think I had a couple of fish slap at the frog, but nothing pounded it. I think I was done fishing by 9:20PM.

So far my impressions of the Excel for Dippers is positive, but the jury is still out at this point.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

More Float Tubing Bulldog & Quick Hitter at Jenny's

Tonight I was out on Bulldog about 1/2 an hour longer than yesterday and caught 9 less fish. I started at the Holy Family Bingo Palace launch. I fished a little to the South, but mostly went North. I got my first fish, which was a 13.5 bass on the brown Ish's Phat Frog casting into the reeds to the South of the Access. I had a few fish hit the frog but they weren't really taking it. Follow up with the black Berkley Havoc Grass Pig was mostly unproductive. I saw a dogfish. At around 8:30PM I had a little flurry of action before a front came through and it started raining. I got a 14" and 12" bass on the Grass Pig and missed a few bites on the GP and Phat Frog. The wind came up with the front and I decided I had gone as far as I wanted to go, which really wasn't that far I actually covered more water last night.

Here is the 14":

There was a little light left when I got back to the car and the wind was out of the S SE, so I thought I would give Jenny's a try real quick. That was a good call as I got this 16"

and another that went 15.5" on the Phat Frog. I also had a couple of other blow ups. It got dark pretty quick and the skeeters were bad, so I headed out around 9:15PM

Monday, June 13, 2011

Float Tubing Bulldog

My last pair of waders leaked badly so I hadn't been out in my float tube for a couple of years. I got a new pair of waders this winter and so I'll be doing some float tubing this year and tonight was the first trip and I chose to go to Bulldog Lake. Bulldog is 141 acres and has a dirt access with limited trailer parking and only a few cabins on the lake. It's pretty much lined with slop almost all the way around (rice,reeds,pads). The lake kicked out a legit 8lb bass around 5 years ago. The lake doesn't get a whole lot of pressure, but I've been told by a guy who has a place on the lake that it isn't as good for bass as it used to be. Tonight there actually was a truck and trailer at the access when I arrived about a quarter after 7PM.

Conditions were overcast with a little light rain as I first started out, but it cleared up around 9PM. There was a light breeze blowing out of the SE.

The public access is on the SW shore and I decided to head South. I brought a rod rigged with a brown Snagproof Ish's Phat Frog and a rod rigged with a black Berkley Havoc Lane's Grass Pig. I casted for a while at the access without luck so I got in the float tube and started off. I can't even believe I got the first fish I did. By far the smallest hollow body frog fish I've ever caught.
Down a little ways I had a fish boil at the frog, but not take it. I followed up with the Grass Pig. I was just about to switch back to the frog when I got a hit. I set the hook and it was a good one.

It went 18.5 and was a total pig. Great way to start the trip. I mostly threw the frog, but I caught more fish on the Grass Pig and the 3 biggest. My biggest 6 fish were 18.5", 15.25",15",14",14",13". I caught a total of 11 bass and my last fish was a small pike on the Grass Pig. I fished until the mosquito's started getting bad, which was a bit later than usual because of the breeze.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Cullen Chain Pre-Fish And More From Shore

Next Sunday is my 2nd Baxter Bass Snatcher tournament of the year being held on the Cullen Chain near Nisswa MN. I had the good fortune to draw Bill Bailey for my boater as he has a good history with these lakes. Bill was kind enough to agree to take me out for a day of fishing, so I could get a feel for these lakes that I had never seen before. I am extremely glad Bill took me out, because in a lot of ways it wasn't what I expected.

The Cullen Chain has pretty good to excellent water clarity and has diverse aquatic vegetation, but seemingly none of the troublesome invasive weeds. I really like the Chain as it has elements of Sylvia/Twin and Platte/Sullivan. Bill has a smaller boat so we are able to fish in all 3 lakes. I don't think guys with bigger boats can get into the upper most lake because of a narrow culvert with little headroom. Getting out of the lower most lake where we will launch is also a challenge. Bill had to get out of the boat this morning because we didn't take the right approach into the boat channel and ran aground.

I was pleasantly surprised by the fish size we discovered, although my first fish of the day didn't show it.

Shortly after this fish, I watched a 3lb+ largie engulf my lure. I couldn't make up my mind if I wanted to set the hook or not because I got such a good look at the fish as did Bill. I think the fish kind of stuck itself and I had it on for a few seconds before it got off. I got another good take shortly after that.

Next we went to a weedline and I experimented with a bait, but that was a bust. After that we ran to the Upper Lake, which turned into a pike fest for me. Bill had a follow from a big dogfish. I tried to catch it, but just spooked it. A little later on we were getting close to one of the clubs more mercurial club members and we saw him catch a fish. I thought it was a nice bass, but he told us it was a dogfish. I'm not sure I believe that.

Anyway we found some productive water and ended our time in the upper lake with a quality double. This was my fish (I think it was probably 16).

Next we went back to the middle lake. It was cloudy with a light breeze and I thought in that clear water topwater might go, so I started throwing a Paycheck Baits Repo Man. We fished some good looking stuff without so much as a sniff for either us, but I just kept chucking the topwater. Eventually I was rewarded with this 18"+ pig that just annihilated the Repo Man.

It was awesome. I knew it was a big fish immediately because it tail walked then jumped a couple of times. I was worried it was going to bury me in the weeds and get off, but it was hooked well and I was able to pull it out of the salad. Man I was jacked after this fish.

We fished a little while longer and I added one more quality bass to my day on something that not get any play on tournament day, but the color will.

Overall it was a very successful pre-fish. I was impressed with the size we discovered and it's a fun lake to fish with lots of options. My boater Bill is probably going to get out for one more trip.

I made a few stops on my way home. I jacked this 14.25" fish at Bulldog Lake.

And I jacked this 13" fish at Jenny's on Platte.

I had one more really good bite at Jenny's but I choked.

I did try the GOMH, but was blanked. John W. was there and told me he caught a very big jumpin bullhead from under the bridge the other day. Maybe I need to get a clue and start throwing stuff under the bridge like John does.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Quick Morning Shore Trip

I was up all night, so I decided to give things a try at first light. My first stop was at Bulldog. I got a 13.5" on a Lucky Craft Gunfish.

I had a fish bite off the tail of my Big Bite Baits Cane Thumper, so I put on a Berkley Havoc Lane's Grass Pig that had been soaked in Powerbait Bass Formula. I got this 13.25" on that and a pike.

Next I headed to the GOMH where I got two little jumpin bullheads on the Lucky Craft Kelly J Jr. and one on the Gunfish.

I also tried Rock and Bulldog a second time, but didn't get anything.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Mille Lacs Bust- Shakopee Action

Tonight I fished Eddy's Jetty at Mille Lacs. The wind was blowing out of the SE pretty good. It's been windy out of the East for 3 days now. Not even a hit. Heard from one of the Eddy's guys that someone caught a 19" smallie off the Jetty either last week or early this week when it was warm.

Next I headed to the bridge over the Rum River just North of Shakopee Lake. I started tying into little largie bass on a Berkley Havoc Deuce on the SE side of the bridge, I put on the Lucky Craft Kelly Jordan Jr. and got a small bass and pike. I got a little bigger pike on a Lucky Craft Gunfish. I went to the NW side and pulled this 15" from next to the Catails.

I also tried where the Rum flows out of Onamia Lake, but there were two kids fishing so I didn't get prime water.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Eddy's Launch Mille Lacs w/Dad and Don

Dad, Don W. and I went out on an Eddy's Mille Lacs Launch on a cool and blustery night. Hard to believe it was almost 100 degrees just a day before. Temps during the launch were in the low to mid 60's. When we arrived at Eddy's just after 5:30PM the Flagship (Eddy's biggest boat) was already gone and there was a long line of people waiting to pay. Usually that early there is just a couple of people or no wait at all.

Anyway, we were among the 1st to be assigned to Boat #6 and we were able to get the back of the boat. I got Dad and I rigged up and we were off, just after 6PM. We headed North just SW of Indian Point in about 11 feet of water. First stop was dead so we moved closer to Indian Point within about an 1/8 of a mile West of Rainbow Island. Don had a fish on here and lost it. The anchor didn't hold in the wind and we soon moved back towards the general area we started in. That was dead so we moved again and then again. On the next stop Dad got a fish immediately before I had a chance to set his depth. I thought maybe he snagged in the rocks, but it was a fish. Unfortunately his line broke up by the rod.

In this spot a lady brought the first fish in, a keeper walleye. Then Don caught a keeper walleye. I had seen enough and switched to a yellow bead similar to what Don and Dad had. Dad missed a bite. A little later I got a keeper then missed two bites. A lady caught a smallie. I caught a cigar eye that I threw back and Dad caught a nice keeper eye and that was it. Once it got kind of dark the bite shut off.

It's always a good trip when you get fish. We gave ours to Don.

Also of note this trip was that there was a loud foul mouthed obnoxious woman who was putting down a few beers and almost never shut up.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Snatchers Platte/Sullivan

The first Baxter Bass Snatcher Club tournament of the year was held on Platte and Sullivan lakes in Central Minnesota. In case you are not aware Platte/Sullivan have been my home lakes since 2003. I lived on Platte Lake from 2003 to 2005. Previous to this event I had fished 4 bass tournaments on the lake, doing terrible in 2 of them. I can't say that I was feeling any pressure, but I definitely wanted to put in a good finish.

We blasted off in Platte at around a quarter to 8AM and my boater Peter and I headed straight to the "Grumpy Old Man Hole"/ the bridge that separates Platte and Sullivan. We were going to start there and actually waved a couple of boats past us so they could head into Sullivan. I was worried someone would be fishing from shore because there was earlier in the morning, but they were gone. However, there was a boat with a couple of young teenage kids fishing in the general vicinity.

Once we got into the area that I consider money, I had a good hit on a black/blue Strike King Pure Poison with black/blue Berkley Havoc Lane's Craw Fatty trailer. I thought the day was starting out fantastic until I saw it was a nice pike. I think it was shortly after this that Pete landed the first bass of the day. Unfortunately the bass were not stacked up. We ran North quite a ways then came back for a 2nd pass on which Pete landed, what I think was his big bass of the day, a 17+ incher. I think I caught another small pike and I was satisfied it wasn't going to happen, so we headed under the bridge and took off for the Platte River Mouth.

As we were heading toward the river mouth another tournament boat was coming up the SW shore and headed straight for the river. This forced us to take the North shore. Both boats arrived at the river mouth around the same time. I think Pete, I, and Darren, the guy in the front of the other boat, all hooked up around the same time. My fish was a keeper at 13" that I think bit a Big Bite Baits Cane Thumper (dipper) and went in the well (12" minimum). At that point Darren made a bit of a mistake by not holding up and milking the spot. Pete and I slowed down and Darren kept moving on right into the river. We went back over where Darren had just come from and I landed a 13" and 14.25 on a black/blue Lake Fork Craw Tube and Pete brought in a fish too and I think he missed one as well. When we were satisfied the river mouth had nothing else to give we headed into the river as Darren was coming back out. I don't think they got a bite in the river.

We worked quite a ways into the river and I think all we had to show for it was one missed swirl on my purple Berkley Frenzy Popper. Once we got through with what I consider the most productive water. We fired her up and headed in closer to the "dam", which really isn't a dam. We worked the stretch leading to the dam and didn't get a thing. However, once we got close to the dam I fired a cast up by the West wall and had a spawned out 16" blow up on the Frenzy Popper. I then got a 13" and 12.75" behind the dam to fill my limit on the popper. I quickly got my first cull with a 13.25" on the Cane Thumper. I think I also caught a couple that didn't help and maybe Pete got a fish as well. Pete had the idea to go downstream beyond the dam. As we were drifting I put a cast up by shore and a good fish blew up on the Frenzy Popper; It was barely hooked, but I landed the spawned out 17.25" largie.

I think further down the river Pete caught his limit bass and a couple of pike. I got a bass or two that didn't help. We went as far as we could then fired up the big motor to get us back to the dam. There weren't any fish there and we fished our way back up river. As we were fishing water we bypassed the first time down I pulled in a 15.25" and Pete got another good fish that I think was in the 16" class. I think that one might have been the last of our river fish. We fished back out to the mouth were I got a bass that didn't help and I think Pete got bit off. Pete also broke a rod while we were still in the river.

We then started working the flat that I call the PRO. I got a 14.25" on the Cane Thumper and a 14.50" and a few fish that didn't help and maybe a pike or two. Pete was getting an occasional fish as well. We worked our way along the North shore to where the docks start. We had just gone past a dock that was underwater when I saw a fish following the Cane Thumper. I let it drop and a big bass took it, turned and started swimming away. I set the hook and got nothing, my line broke inexplicably. I was more than a little bummed. This was at least a 4lb class fish, if not bigger and I'm 99% sure it was a bass because I got a pretty good look at it. 

We worked our way to the East shore, then headed back for a second pass. I think we got a couple fish that didn't help and I broke a rod. Eventually we got to the area where I missed the big one and I threw a bubblegum Zoom Super Fluke. The Fluke disappeared I set the hook, a fish was on for a couple of seconds then gone. I blew it again, although it may or may not have been the big fish it was in the same spot. On the next dock down I pulled a 14.5" from under a pontoon. This would be my last cull of the day.

We tried doubling back one more time, but the big fish spot didn't produce any bites with a craw tube.

We headed back into Platte and fished the GOMH without success. There were some shore anglers who said they caught a few small bass and had lost a nice one. Next we hit up a reed point that is a really good spot. I had a very good bite on the Cane Thumper and it was a good fish, but it buried me in the reed stalks and got off. I was quite disappointed I let that happen because I was using a heavy rod. I did get one bass that didn't help on the craw tube.

Next we headed to Loon Sex Point, which had the wind blowing on it. Pete got a small pike and that was it. Very disappointing. Next we tried working along the North shore of Loon Sex Bay and that was a bust except one fish for Pete. We gave Loon Sex Point another pass with nothing to show for it, then we headed North with about an hour to go. To be honest I was physically beat at this point. We worked ourselves into Platte River Inlet Bay. I got a pike on a spinnerbait and the bass were nowhere to be found. We were in the wind and having trouble with junk fouling our lures. I suggested we make a move West and North and that paid off with a couple of last hour culls for Pete. That turned out to be a very good thing for Pete who had been culling the wrong fish. He did get a good cull up when he figured it out.

As that I was beat I suggested we head in about 10 minutes early to get a good shore spot, which we did.

First thing we weigh is our big fish and when I heard the 17.25" only went 2-10; I was not a happy camper. Then my total weight came to 11lbs 8ozs and I was very disappointed. I figured I had made my goal of getting over 12lbs and coming in short of that on fish that should have gone at least 12 sucked. In the final standings I came in 12th. Pete weighed 13-12 which put him in 7th. As a pair we had the 2nd best combined weight.

Analysis- I'm not gonna say I choked, but I sure had some bad luck that kept me from doing much better. Final bag was 17.25", 16", 15.25", 14.5", 14.5" and 14.25" and somehow that wasn't even close to being over 12lbs, that's sad!!! I've kind of noticed this spring that the bass have not been their usual Platte/Sullivan chunky selves. Breaking my line on that big dog was what really killed me, honestly I just don't understand how it happened. A pike must have frayed up the line really good and I didn't notice.

Platte/Sullivan showed out well taking almost 16 to win (15-15), 8 bags over 13lbs, and 21 limits. Big Bass was 4-06 with I think a total of 4 that were over 4 and another 3 that were up close to 4lbs.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Platte/Sullivan Pre-Fish with Video

Today was the final day I could pre-fish Platte/Sullivan before the lakes go off limits. Unfortunately I didn't get out until around 5PM. It looks like we are going to have sun for tournament day and today was sunny, so it would have been nice to have a bit more time in under those conditions. I put in at the Platte Lake Public Access and headed East.

At my first stop I hit 3 docks and pulled a 14" off a boat lift with a "California" Havoc Pit Boss. I moved a little South onto the juice and fish were there. I got 3 OK bass and a pike, plus I shook off a few more hits on the Big Bite Baits Cane Thumper. I think it's an area I can count on for something come Saturday. I did a little by sight recon and didn't see anything so it was on to spot #2, the reeds off the South End of the big Island and the reeds behind the big Island. That was unproductive.

Next I headed North right to some docks. I pulled the beat up 16.5" off the second one with a red shad Zoom Super Fluke. Two docks down I got 14.75" on the orange crawdad Yum Wooly Bug. That was the end of my dock fishing as I'd seen enough.

I shook off two that felt like good fish in an area that usually holds a couple. I lost the tail of the Cane Thumper on the first shake off. Then I went out farther into the lake and got a 14.75 on the Gambler EZ. I got a couple more bites on that and had the whole rig go bye bye when I set the hook on one. Not sure if it was a pike or damage I had done to the line on a previous bite that I'm sure was a pike.

I tied on a new Moaner Hook and tried a Yum Money Minnow. It got to be 8PM and I headed to Loon Sex Bay to work an area I didn't get to the other night. I threw the Money Minnow and Stanley Phantom. I think the Money Minnow was a mistake because it just wasn't drawing strikes. I did have a couple of possible hits, but they were just bumps. I pulled a little pike off Loon Sex Point. I moved into an area that at least should have been holding pike and finally I switched off the Money Minnow for a Gambler EZ. The EZ produced a bass and 2 pike pretty quick. It was getting dark and the mosquito's were coming out so I called it a night.