Friday, July 29, 2011

Mississippi River(Lum Park) Pre-fish

This post is a different more complete report than I am putting on Bass Pundit and the BP Tournament HQ at least for now. I don't think my fellow Bass Club members frequent this blog, so giving away the store isn't a big deal.

I met my boater Paul at the Lum Park a little after 7AM. He showed a bit late and I took a few casts from the park beach. I did get a bite on the Crawtube, but I didn't hook into anything.

Paul has the only Triton in the Baxter Bass Snatchers, almost all the other boats are Rangers.

Anyway Paul said we would start off by taking a tour and we ran up river a long way to Little Rabbit Lake. I was surprised by the clear water in Little Rabbit. We just looked and didn't do any fishing. We saw baitfish activity as the channel from the river entered Little Rabbit. As we were on our way out Paul wanted to take a side channel, but it was filled in with weeds, so we went back out to the river and entered the side channel from a different spot. It was a backwater with rice and pads that went back to a few docks and this is where we started fishing. Nothing.

Next we went back to the river and went to another back channel on the North side of the river. This channel had rice, pads, and a lot of duckweed. Paul pulled a nice bass out of the duckweed on a frog, but that was it. I was throwing a Strike King Rage Toad.

We went back out to the river and drove down aways to another backwater on the North side that's entrance was choked by rice. This was a long backwater with rice, pads, and duckweed. Paul missed a blow up on the frog. I was throwing the Rage Toad and a bubblegum Berkley Havoc Grass Pig. I had what I'm pretty sure was a pike swirl on the pig a couple of times. Paul tried to get it to hit his frog, but it wouldn't. After fishing quite aways in we went out under power of the big motor.

Next we started fishing by drifting along the rice on the main channel on the North shore. After drifting for a while Paul pulled a good bass that just smacked his Crawtube. Ron Lindner advised that I fish with cut off hooks, so I had put tubing over the hooks on some of my lures. I was fishing with a black/chart Terminator Jig with a green pumkin/chart Berkley Havoc Craw Fatty with the tubing on the hook. I thought it wouldn't hurt to stick a fish doing what we were doing because it would be unlikely to come across the same fish doing this in the tournament, so I took the tubing off. Well I got a bite and set into this 19.25" slobberknocker.

With this fish, Paul thought we should try the same thing on the South side of the river, but this time using the trolling motor to move up current. Almost right away Paul pulled a small keeper bass. I started pitching a junebug Crawtube. I did get a couple of bites, but they would only nibble a couple of times and let go. Paul had the same thing happen.

Eventually we moved into a backwater on the South side of the river. Once again it had rice, pads, and lots of duckweed. It looked phenomenal for bass and dogfish. I cycled through a few different things and I put on a gold Strike King Rage Shad. I was really digging working that bait. On one of my casts I got nailed by what I thought was a nice bass, I saw the fish hit. It was holding onto the bait, so I asked Paul if I should hit it and he said yes. Much to my surprise when I brought it in, I found a chunky 24" pike on the end of my line. We fished into this great looking backwater quite aways, but that was the only hit.

Next we moved out and went to a backwater on the North of the river. This one looked a bit different than the other backwaters we had been in. The water was clearer, there was good submergent vegetation, the rice had a good mix from thick to sparse with pads, no duckweed. We also saw quite a bit of baitfish activity. It looked like awesome dipper water, so I threw the Havoc Grass Pig in a couple of different colors. Paul missed a blow up on the frog. I was hauling water with the Grass Pig. A little later Paul pulled in a nice keeper bass on the frog. I decided to throw a spook that didn't have any hooks. The spook got hammered by a fish and we decided we had seen enough for the day and headed in around 1PM. It had been overcast the whole morning and only started to get hot and muggy around noon.

All in all it was a pretty productive pre-fish.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

B.B.S. Le Homme Dieu Chain July 16th

Weather: Fortunately the forecast for brutal heat was wrong. In the morning it was quite foggy with a very light drizzle, but it was over 70 degrees. It took a couple hours for the fog to go away, but it stayed overcast until around 2 when it would switch between mostly cloudy and mostly sunny. I don't think it got out of the lower 80's during the tournament day.

There was a bit of a breeze all day that would vacillate between about 3 and 10mph.

I arrived in Brainerd a bit before 5:30AM to meet my boater Dennis. My first question was if he had a life jacket for me, because I had forgotten mine. Luckily he did have one. Next thing Dennis informs me that he was given a spot to fish by one of the club members who had injured himself waterskiing and couldn't fish. The spot was supposed to hold a "super school." That sounded good.

The ride to the lake in the fog was uneventful thankfully. We didn't blast off until right around 8am, because one of the guys couldn't find the launch. We were suppose to have an idle only launch because of the fog, but some of the guys didn't get the memo and raced off. Because of this my boater Dennis decided to run to Alvin Lake. We got to Alvin in about 15 minutes and it looked fantastic. We started fishing pads, but it was dead. We pulled out on the weed flat and I got a little bass on the Repo Man. We spent about an hour and then left to go to the "super school".

We got to the spot, which was way off shore in Le Homme Dieu Lake. It was kind of a U shaped breakline with weeds. It didn't take long and Dennis had a couple of good keepers in the boat. My first bite was a rock bass on a black/blue Lake Fork Crawtube on a tube jig head. I think Dennis got had got a 3rd keeper when I put a 14" largie in the boat. Dennis told me, it was a quality keeper for the lake. Next I got a 13.75", then a 13.5" then a 12.10" before a pike broke me off. I stayed with the tube jig head but went with the color junebug instead. My first fish was a nice 15" and I got my limit with a 13.25". Around that time Dennis switched colors to one a guy in the club told him was working and on the first cast Dennis got a 3-13, which was his best fish of the day. I think I got a 14.10" on the junebug and then I tried a green pumpkin Lake Fork Crawtube that was Texas Rigged with a fairly heavy bullet sinker. I think I caught a couple of fish that didn't help, then we switched locations to one of Dennis' spots.

I culled up with a 14.50" and caught a pike, along with a few that didn't help on this spot. I believe Dennis upgraded a little bit. We worked this spot just one pass then headed to a hump in Carlos. I pulled a 16.5" that went 2-11 off the hump and Dennis missed a couple of fish. I tried a little topwater on the hump but that wasn't happening. We tried one other spot in Carlos before heading back to the super school.

At the super school I got a 15.25" to cull up some and I caught several fish that didn't help. Dennis knew he had a good bag, but probably not enough to win and the sun was starting to peak out a little bit, so he made the call to run back to Alvin. We couldn't get the big pad fish to go at all. On our way out of the lake Dennis got a small cull off of a dock as we were headed out of the lake.

It was straight back to the super school. When we arrived there was a speed boat parked right on top of one of the points/spots. We just moved over a little and started fishing. Having this boat out there served as a marker buoy for me and I was able to catch fish on 3 consecutive casts, but unfortunately none of the fish helped. We kept catching fish and I made a small cull with a 14.10 with a 14". We continued to catch fish, but they didn't help. I did miss one that might have helped me some, but it would have had to have helped me by over by 10ozs to catch the person who was in front of me. We headed to the weigh in in Bugaboo Bay at about 10 to 4PM.

Results: My weight was 10-8 and put me in 6th Place out of 22 fishermen. My boater Dennis came in 2nd with 13-4. 1st Place was Mark Munson with 14-10 and the 4-8 Big Bass.

Analysis- If I had it to do over again I think I may have only thrown the Texas rigged green pumpkin Lake Fork Craw tube as that got my 2 biggest fish. On the drive home Dennis said I was using a weight that was too heavy. He may be right as he did throw back a few fish that I could have used, although had I had those I still don't know if I would have moved up to catch 5th.

Next Bass Snatcher Tournament: July 31st Mississippi River Brainerd (Lum Park)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Shakopee & Mille Lacs

Today I had my ICD check and annual with my Cardiologist down in the cities in the morning. It was a scorcher in the cities in the mid 90's, as I came North there was a bit of cloud cover and I drove up Mille Lacs to Eddy's and down Shakopee Road. Wish I would have brought fishing rods as I was seeing fish at the Shakopee bridge. In the evening it was warm, humid, cloudy, and calm and I decided to head East around 7:20pm. First stop was the Shakopee bridge. I started with topwater and had a couple of hits that didn't hook up. Next I went to the exposed hook junebug CrawTube and caught 2 15" largies and missed one other good fish.

It was getting close to 8PM when I headed to Mille Lacs. It looked good with overcast and calm water, but all I got was 2 rock bass on the Berkley Frenzy Popper. Eventually the mosquito's drove me away.

Friday, July 15, 2011


My new St. Croix Legend Tournament Bass rod came through in the clutch tonight, sticking this 15.5" jumpin bullhead in the junk. It bit on a bubblegum Berkley Havoc Grass Pig.

When I arrived John W. was just leaving and he said he caught 5 or 6, which I knew didn't leave much for me. I actually did miss one under the South of the bridge that took the Yellow Magic popper. Those were my only 2 bites.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Small Night

I had to run an errand into Onamia tonight, so naturally I made a trip up to Eddy's Jetty on Mille Lacs. As I drove up the lake I was not encouraged by the North wind that was putting good sized waves on the West shore. The waves were basically big enough to wreck any hope of topwater. I started on the South Jetty and didn't get anything. I moved to the North Jetty and was chucking a Texas rigged green pumpkin Lake Fork Crawtube, when I thought I felt a hit but it let go right away. A couple of casts later I got another hit and this time it took it and I brought in this one eye'd 18.25" Mille Lacs Mule.

I fished for about another 45 minutes and gave up because I didn't think the wind was going to diminish.

Next I headed to Kathio State Park to see if the MN Government shutdown meant I could go and fish the dam on the Rum without having to pay to get into the park. There was a gate across the road so that was a no go.

Next I headed to the bridge over the Rum on the North End of Shakopee Lake. I went down to the SE side and cast a black/blue Lake Fork Crawtube on a tube jig. On the first cast I had a hit and brought in this 15.5" largie that wanted it.

I released the bass and cast back into the river and a fish just about ripped the rod out of my hand. First, I thought it was going to be a big pike, but then I saw it was a bass and by the way it was scrapping so hard I figured it had to be a smallmouth, which it was. Just like the one at Mille Lacs it went 18.25" but wasn't quite as chunky.

After a few more casts I missed a small bass, then I tried so topwater. I had a small pike hit a purple Berkley Frenzy Popper as I was lifting it to bring it in the fish came off and fell into the water at my feet. I could see the feathered treble still in it's mouth. The pike swam off before I could grab it. I thought maybe the split ring failed, but when I looked at the Popper the back end had cracked and given way, which sucks cause now that one is ruined. But better on a little pike than big bass in a tournament.

I threw the green pumpkin Crawtube and I think I missed a good hit with that or maybe I just got stuck in the rocks for a second, either way I didn't get anything. I went back to throwing the black/blue Crawtube and got one last small bass. I then went to see if I could fish the Rum at the South end of Lake Onamia, but once again people were already there, so I just went home. I decided not to hit the GOMH.

Morning Shore Singles and Theft

I woke up this morning at about 5:45AM, so I decided to head out to do some fishing. The sun was already up and there wasn't a cloud in the sky and no current was moving through at the GOMH. I worked the North side and didn't get a bite. I switched to the SE side because there was a guy fishing for orange bullheads on the SW side. He was getting a few and told me he caught quite a few nice bullheads there last week. I ended up getting a 13" jumpin bullhead on a black/blue Lake Fork Crawtube and that was it. Here's that fish:

Next I went to Jenny's where the deer flies were terrible. I made a long cast to a little open spot in the slop and this 14" jumped all over the Spro Frog.

Next I headed to our lake place for the first time this year. Right away I had a blow up in some thicker rice over toward our neighbor Jim's. I walked over closer so I could work the area a little better and was rewarded with this 16".

I went over and fished on Jim's dock and was quickly reminded why I don't think I can ever have enough hollow body frogs when a pike stole my Spro. I went and got a copperish colored Mad Maxx from the car, but that didn't get anything and then I was done for the morning. I fished for about 2 hours, not bad.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

FOM Club E&W Sylvia Bass Tounament July 9th

I couldn't resist the call of the lake that taught me to fish, so I signed up to fish the Fishers of Men Fishing Club (Twin Cities) Bass Tournament on East & West Sylvia in Wright County. My partner for the day would be Michael "Cyberfish" Thompson. I found out at the landing on tournament morning that Cyb hadn't paid his Club dues, so would be ineligible in the Club Tournament. Cyberfish didn't really care and was there to fish for fun anyway.

Tournament Rules: 3 biggest bass measured by half inches, with most total length winning. The Fishers of Men Club does "paper tournaments" so all fish are immediately released.

Conditions: Light Rain for the first 20 minutes or so with a pretty good breeze all day starting from the S SE switching to the S SW. It obviously was overcast early turning mostly cloudy around 10:30PM. It was a warm morning in the 70's and it got up to about 80 and it was pretty humid. The water on these lakes is very clear and the water was about as high as I've ever seen.

With the forecast calling for that South wind to be blowing by the time the tournament was underway I decided to start on a shallow rock reef on the back side of the island in West Sylvia. We ended up fishing West Sylvia all day. Mike caught a small bass right away, maybe on his first cast, on a slug. I think he got another small one and then I got a small one on a Herb's Dilly buzzbait. Mike caught 1 or 2 more smaller fish before we made a 2nd pass. The second pass was pretty much fruitless so we started drifting across the weed flat. Mike picked up a 15 on the slug. I was throwing a white Death Shimmer 2 spinnerbait and getting a few hits but nothing was hooking up. I know at least one of those bites was from a small pike as it came all the way to the boat. We drifted to a bullrush point and fished down the West side of that. I got a small pike on the Death Shimmer. Eventually we got into some pads and I got a 12.75" Larry on a bubblegum Berkley Havoc Lane's Grass Pig. We ended up fishing West along the shoreline where there were docks and some wood in the water. It looked awesome but all I got was a Sylvia Special (12") next to a dock. We rounded "Dink Point" and I got a 15.5" on the Grass Pig where there was trees overhanging and into the water. As you work the shoreline to the North a small point comes out before the lake opens to the main/biggest bay on West Sylvia. With the South wind this point was getting hit pretty good with the wind. I cast a black/blue Crawtube along the dropoff on the South side of the point (it drops pretty quick and I think there is a little zone of weeds there). I got hit and brought up a 15". I immediately checked the boat back into the wind to keep from blowing over the point as I thought there was a real possibility the fish might be stacked up here. Mike asked me what I was using and I showed him I was fishing a weighted Texas Rig, so he switched up to a green pumpkin jig. I think I just got done telling Mike all I needed was 1 really good fish and I would win the tournament, when Mike swung on that fish. Here it is:

It wasn't the fattest fish in the world, but it was 19" long which is an extremely good fish for Sylvia. I think I pulled a 12.75" on the Crawtube and Mike had a fish rip off the jig skirt and trailer on the hookset. That was all we would get so we headed North to the shoreline where my family's lake place used to be. Basically we worked an inside turn and then off the end of the point which was windblown. I caught a sunfish on the Death Shimmer 2 spinnerbait and had another bump or two. Eventually we worked ourselves in around the point where it was calm and there is a bunch of pads. This is an area I call the "Back Bay" as there is a man made boat channel that was on the back side of our old lake place. It was interesting to see that there is no longer an open boat lane and the Back Bay is overgrown with pads as nobody keeps a boat back there anymore. While fishing the mouth of the Back Bay I got a small bass on the Horny Toad and had another really good swirl close to the boat, but it didn't get the Toad. We worked a little ways into the Back Bay before it got too weed choked, but nothing was in there.

Next we headed to the NE corner of West Sylvia. It was interesting to see that a reedbed there had shrunk in size but cattails had grown close to shore. We fished the wind blown reeds/cattails and I missed a good hit on the Grass Pig, but it got into the reeds immediately. We got to "My Island" which used to feature an open spot behind reeds and rice. The rice is almost all gone and it's just reeds and cattails. I got a bite there from what was most likely a sunfish on a bed (I saw the sunny on the bed as we passed by). I pulled a Sylvia Special on a craw tube off the end of My Island point. We then fished into Turtle Bay. I told Mike that sometimes as you get here is "peanuts"/Sylvia Specials but sometimes there can be good fish too. We did get several peanuts, me on the Horny Toad, but I also did get a 15.5" on the Toad. It used to be that by late June Turtle Bay would be to weed choked so you couldn't fish into it very far, but now there are two docks with boats at the far back of the bay and there is a pretty good boat channel there. Combine that with the high water and I figured fish could be anywhere in the bay. The slop looked beautiful, but all we got were peanuts close to the boat channels, couldn't get anything deeper into the pads. As we worked our way back out it was dead and I got a bit frustrated as this water tends to be pretty good as you come back out of the Bay on the North side. We were almost out of the slop when I got a Sylvia Special out of the Cattails up by shore on the Grass Pig. We went out and worked a cabbage bed that was as in the wind as you can get and we didn't get a bite. We worked down "McGregor's" shore to the 2 docks. I missed a small bass in between 2 docks.

Next we moved to the "Sunkin Island" but we didn't get anything there, so we headed to "Lighthouse Point" with would be another wind blown point with a good drop off and weeds. I'm not sure I even had the trolling motor in the water yet and Mike was hooked up with a big fish and we knew it was a big bass because it jumped. He got it in and it was this nice 19.5" fish.

Needless to say we worked the point pretty good after that and we caught some fish but they were all Sylvia specials.

Next we moved into Flannery's Bay to the hump that I never knew existed until I got my Lakemaster Map. I pulled this 14.25" from there on a Crawtube, but that is all we would get.

Next we worked an inside turn and weedline in Flannery's and I picked up a few more fish on the Crawtube. I also missed several bites. There was about an hour left so we headed back to fish slop/pads in the Public Access Bay. By this time it was partly cloudy so there was quite a bit of sun. Right away I scored a 15.25" on the black Horny Toad. I caught several more Sylvia Specials including this one.

The tournament ended at 2PM. Mike's 53.5" destroyed everybody, but as that he was ineligible my 46" won the tournament. It was typical Sylvia in that everybody reported catching quite a few fish, but everything was small.

Analysis: What can I say but I love Sylvia/Twin and I know spots that have the potential to kick out better than your cookie cutter Sylvia Specials. I am a little surprised that I never made it to the channel between the lakes, but with the way the slop was going in Turtle Bay, I made the call to hit Lighthouse Point first and after that I didn't want to make the run across the big water in that wind. If you want to catch bigger than average fish in Sylvia, you might want to consider using a green/pumpkin bass jig.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Another GOMH Morning

After yesterday, you kind of had to figure that I would be at the Grumpy Old Man Hole again this morning. I actually slept all day yesterday until about 4:45AM this morning. I didn't get to the GOMH until about quarter to 6 and the sun was already up and no clouds. I started with the Think Tank Trigger Fish and then went to the Kelly J Jr. but the fish didn't want topwater. I switched to the craw tube and got this 14.00"

A couple of casts later I got a 15.75", which I didn't take a picture of for some reason. I then moved to the SW side and got a small one on the Kelly J Jr.. I cast the craw tube under the bridge, had a pick up and when I set the line broke. That was it for the morning. It was bright, humid and getting hot.

Thursday, July 07, 2011


Once again today I was up all night. I took the dog out for a walk around 5AM and it was kind of cloudy. I thought that might be good for fishing. So I grabbed a few rods and headed off to the Grumpy Old Man Hole. First lure on was the Think Tank Triggerfish and I think I missed one hit on that. Next I put on my new bluegill Lucky Craft Kelly J Jr. and right away I connected with this dude.

I was happy to catch anything and a couple of casts later I hooked into this 17.25"

I think I might have gotten one more small fish on the Kelly J Jr. and then the action stopped. I then picked up the Mad Maxx Frog and fished the slop for about half an hour without even one hit. There were sunfish active in the stuff but apparently no bullheads. I back close to the bridge and started throwing the Kelly J again and picked off about 3 small jumpin bullheads real quick and I missed a couple of other bites. I packed up to head to the South side, but then I realized I hadn't fished the craw tube around the bridge yet, so I put everything down and started casting that. Good call. I missed a good hit right away and a couple of casts later I hooked into this 20.75" toad.

This is the biggest bass I have caught in a few years. I cast back in and had to let out some line, when I reeled back up I was caught in the rocks and a fish had picked the craw tube up. I didn't get a good hookset and the fish jumped and got off. I then went to the South side of the bridge and caught a few small jumpin bullheads on the Kelly J. and a 14.25" on the craw tube. I also caught a toothy bullhead out of the slop with a Mad Maxx Frog.

Next I headed to Jenny's. I mostly threw a Snagproof Ish's Phat Frog on my St. Croix because of the casting distance I can get on that rod. I can throw the frog at least 20 feet further on this set up than I can with the Lamiglass Excel. I missed a small pike, caught a small pike, and had one other bite that didn't get the frog. Around 8:45AM I went home.

Eddy's Launch With Dad

Last night Dad thought it would be a nice night to go out on a launch on Mille Lacs and so I said OK and we headed over to Eddy's around 5PM. Being that we got to Eddy's early I brought rods to try for some smallies off the Jetty. As per usual this year, that was a bust. Dad and I went out on the Eddy's Flagship, which is the biggest launch on Mille Lacs Lake. Dad got me a spot on the back of the launch and he was one spot off to the side. I got us rigged up with beads and hooks. First we headed in the direction of Rocky Reef.

I drew first blood on the boat with a perch. The picture is actually my second one, because I didn't think to take a picture of the first. As we were out on this spot a kayaker went by heading much farther out in to the lake. Our first spot didn't give up any walleye in the first hour and a half, so we moved right out to where the kayaker was fishing. We did see the kayaker catch a few fish.
Anyway, at the new spot I got some bites right away, but it wouldn't take it. Other people on our launch started catching walleyes to big to keep and the action was pretty steady until it got dark. After shaking my bobber pretty good my bobber shot down, but when I set the hook the fish didn't hook up. As it was Dad got the first walleye for us.
I was beginning to think it wasn't going to be my night as everyone around me had caught a fish or two, but my bobber did go down and this time I hooked up. I thought it might be a keeper at first, but then it started fighting harder. It turned out to be this 19" fish being held here by our deck hand Jim.

Once it got to be about 9:30PM the bite shut down. The guy between me and Dad caught 4 eyes and the only keeper for the whole launch of 30+ people. However, some small eye's were thrown back. I think a total of 9 eyes were caught by the 4 of us off the back of the boat and I only got 1.

As you can see from the last picture there was a spectacular sunset, but I didn't really get to see it as I was facing the other way.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Morning Shore Trip

I couldn't fall asleep and it was about 6:30AM, so I decided to do some shore fishing. My first stop was Jenny's and I went 1 for 1 with the Spro Poppin Frog. It hit right after the cast landed. I then put on a Mad Maxx frog and once again my casting distance with the Lamiglass Excel Rod wasn't the greatest. However the rod was excellent for walking the frog. I didn't get any hits.

I then went to Rock lake, mostly to play with the Think Tank Lure Triggerfish I just got. It was getting hot and a family came to launch a couple of boats, so I left around 8AM.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Early Morning Mille Lacs

Today I decided that I would give Mille Lacs a try to see if I could get an early morning smallmouth bite. I arrived at Eddy's around 4:30AM and there was a fair amount of light at this time, especially in the East, but it was still dark. I set up on the North Jetty because you can cover more area there. I was kind of hoping there would have been a bit of a mayfly hatch, but there wasn't. I started out throwing my black Deps Buzzjet, but that didn't get anything. I switched to the Repo Man and didn't get anything on that. It was pretty calm and getting fairly light out so I put on a gold Berkley Frenzy Popper. I had a fish just barely take the BFP and it was only hooked for a couple of seconds. I don't think it was a very big fish. I kept moving down to the North and about 5 minutes later I landed this one. How big do you think it is?
That was the last action I would get on the BFP. I cycled through a number of baits. Around 7AM the sun was up and it was pretty bright out, so I tried a blue silver Lucky Craft Gunfish. A fish took a swipe at that but didn't hook up. I started switching lures and when I was using my Yellow Magic Popper a fish started swirling at something on the surface. I quickly reeled in and threw to the spot, but it didn't want it. I cycled through more baits with no more hits and left around 7:30AM. Not great, but better than a skunk.

Answer: The fish was 13.75"

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Last Cast

I put on my waders and headed out a little after 8PM. First I went to the GOMH but people were there, so I headed to the Bulldog Holy Family access, nothing. Then I went to Jenny's and that was dead. I figured I was going to get skunked, when on my last cast this fish boiled on my Spro Rojas Poppin' Frog.

I didn't even bother to throw anymore casts. I was happy.