Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Indee Bass Club Sweeps Iowa Bass Nation Youth State Tournament

 

The Indee Bass Club had an awesome showing this year at the Iowa Youth Bass Nation State Championship which was held on Pool 10 of the Mississippi River near Marquette, Iowa.  The tournament is divided into two different divisions, the Junior Division, for all teams in 7th/8th grade and the High School division for the older students.  Forty-Nine teams in total gathered for this annual event hosted by the Iowa Youth Bass Nation and President Shanda Heath.  The Indee Bass Club won the Junior Division, the High School Division and captured the Big Bass of the Tournament.

Many anglers took to the water on a cold, wet and windy Saturday to try and find locations that the river bass were feeding.  Largemouth and Smallmouth bass can be weighed in during this event, with the goal of each team to have 5 keeper (14 inches or more) bass to weigh-in.  Each team of two students can fish anywhere on the river they want, as long as they are back by the check-in time at the weigh-in site.  A captain, or adult is in each boat to drive and to keep the kids safe as well as coach them throughout the long day.  Saturday afternoon was the annual meeting for this event, it was great to see all 49 teams and about 100 kids all excited for the tournament day, even though they were stuck under a pavilion as the rain continued.  Boat numbers were handed out, some goodie bags for all participants and some brief reminders about the rules.  The meeting concluded and anglers set off to a night of nervous sleep before the biggest event of the year.  

Sunday morning rolled around, and the weather was much improved, no rain and partly cloudy was the forecast, a very nice September day on the Mississippi River.  Anglers, Captains and boats were put into the river to wait the takeoff well before dark and the anticipation was growing.  The event would last about nine hours with a start time of 6:30am and most anglers having to check back in by 3:30pm.  Captains drove the boats in all different directions once the tournament started, there is roughly 30,000 acres of water on Pool 10 of the Mississippi River so there was plenty of room to spread out the 50 boats for the students to fish.  When anglers and captains came to the big river on this particular weekend, they found the water levels a bit below normal.  This is typically a good thing in the fall as it can concentrate groups of bass into small areas on the river.  Once you find one bass this time of year, you are sure to find several more not that far away.  However, this was not a usual middle of September weather pattern, which threw the Mississippi Bass for a loop.  A big cold front swept in Friday evening dropping daytime highs of mid-80s to daytime highs of mid-50s, the first of such a cold front this fall.  It certainly did not make fishing easy for these young anglers, as the weigh-in would show.
Captain Andy Sommerfelt/Gable Eddy/Jackson Beatty

The Junior Division, which consisted of 13 teams started the weigh-in process at 3:15pm.  As mentioned, each team, or pair of anglers is allowed to bring their five biggest bass to the scale, while making the 14-inch minimum length limit for each bass.  The 2022 Junior Championship went to the Indee Bass Club anglers of Jackson Beatty and Gable Eddy, along with their captain Andy Sommerfelt.  This duo of 8th Graders brought in a limit of five bass that weighed 12.17 pounds.  The champions reported catching about 10 keepers on the day around sandy points.  They used topwater baits, crankbaits and soft plastic lures to catch their winning fish.  Colton Cameron and Carter Eddy with their captain Cyrus Butters also competed, however they were not able to bring a keeper to the scale.

The High School Division included 36 teams of anglers.  The Indee Bass Club was represented very well as five different teams took part, all bringing bass to the weigh-in.   Placing in 21st Place was Cam Wilson and Kyle Beatty with Captain Dave Wilson.  They were able catch their fish using topwater baits near sand drops and rocky shoreline to bring two keepers to the scale that weighed 3.41 pounds.  Hitting the top half was Cal Sweeney and Remy Ressler, they placed 16th with three keeper bass weighing in at 6.10 pounds.  Coming in at 14th was the family team of Hunter Weepie, Logan Weepie and their Captain Chris Weepie.  They had three keeper bass that weighed 6.15 pounds.  The team of Ranger Reed and Carter Cameron placed 6th with three keepers weighing 7.94 pounds.  This team also captured the Big Bass Award for the tournament as Carter brought in a 3.84 pound Largemouth Bass to the scale.  Swim jigs, crankbaits and spinnerbaits were the key around rocky shorelines for this pair of Freshman. Finally, the 2022 Iowa Bass Nation High School Champions; the team of Justin Schmadeke and Hunter Patton, captained by Eric Johnston.  This Indee Bass Club team brought in a limit of five keeper bass that weighed 12.18 pounds.  They concentrated on fishing weeds in the current with swim jigs and frogs.  They also caught a few later in the day with lipless crankbaits above the weed lines.  This duo also won the State Junior Championship in 2018.

Justin Schmadeke/Hunter Patton and Captain Eric Johnston

The Iowa Youth Bass Nation sends the top two teams from each division to the Bass Nation National Youth Tournament.  This tournament will take place next summer.  It is quite an accomplishment to fish against this many teams and come out at the top of the list, congratulations to the teams of the Indee Bass Club, as they will have the opportunity to represent the state of Iowa at the 2023 Bass Nation Youth National Tournament.   

The Indee Bass Club is made possible by the many great sponsors it has; Buchanan County Wildlife Association, Colony Plumbing, Heating and Cooling, Bank Iowa, Klever Concrete, Cedar Falls Scheels, Hank's Bait and Tackle, Hot Rod Baits Bass Series, The Rod Glove, X-Zone Lures, and Quantum Rods/Reels.  Many more pictures and details can be found on Facebook, Instagram and the bass club website: INDEE BASS CLUB

Carter Cameron: BIG BASS 3.84#


2022 Iowa Bass Nation Youth State Championship


Each year for the past couple of decades, dozens of youth teams have come together to test their bass fishing skills against other kids from all over the state.  This year the Bass State Championship was held on Pool 10 of the Mississippi River near Marquette, Iowa.  The tournament is divided into two different divisions, the Junior Division, for all teams up to 8th grade and the High School division for the older students.  Clubs that participated in this event included: Cedar Falls Fishing Team, Basskickers, Eastern Iowa Bassmasters, Independence Bass Club, Iowa Youth Fishing League, Johnston High School, West Delaware, and the Dubuque Bass Club.  Fifty teams in total gathered for this annual event hosted by the Iowa Youth Bass Nation and President Shanda Heath.  

Many anglers took to the water on a cold, wet and windy Saturday to try and find locations that the river bass were feeding.  Largemouth and Smallmouth bass can be weighed in during this event, with the goal of each team to have 5 keeper (14 inches or more) bass to weigh-in.  Each team, two students can fish anywhere on the river they want, as long as they are back by the check-in time at the weigh-in site.  A captain, or adult is in each boat to drive and to keep the kids safe as well as coach them throughout the long day.  Saturday afternoon was the annual meeting for this event, it was great to see about 100 kids all excited for the tournament day, even though they were stuck under a pavilion as the rain continued.  Boat numbers were handed out, some goodie bags for all participants and some brief reminders about the rules.  The meeting concluded and anglers set off to a night of nervous sleep before the biggest event of the year.  

Junior Division BIG BASS
Sunday morning rolled around and the weather was much improved, no rain and partly cloudy was the forecast, a very nice September day on the Mississippi River.  Anglers, Captains and boats were put into the river to wait the takeoff well before dark and the anticipation was growing.  The event would last about nine hours with a start time of 6:30am and most anglers having to check back in by 3:30pm.  Captains drove the boats in all different directions once the tournament started, there is roughly 30,000 acres of water on Pool 10 of the Mississippi River so there was plenty of room to spread out the 49 boats for the students to fish.  When anglers and captains came to the big river on this particular weekend they found the water levels a bit below normal.  This is typically a good thing in the fall as it can concentrate groups of bass into small areas on the river.  Once you find one bass this time of year, you are sure to find several more not that far away.  However, this was not a usual middle of September weather pattern, which threw the Mississippi Bass for a loop.  A big cold front swept in Friday evening dropping daytime highs of mid-80s to daytime highs of mid-50s, the first of such a cold front this fall.  It certainly did not make fishing easy for these young anglers, as the weigh-in would show.

The Junior Division, which consisted of 13 teams started the weigh-in process at 3:15pm.  As mentioned each team, or pair of anglers is allowed to bring their five biggest bass to the scale, while making the 14-inch minimum length limit for each bass.  In third place was the team of Colton Willging and Finn Boyle, their captain was Jeff Willging.  The Dubuque Bass Club anglers brought in 4 bass that weighed 8.35 pounds.  In second place was the team from the Eastern Iowa Bassmasters, Avery Schmitt and Maddox Hanson weighed in 5 bass that weighed 11.60 pounds, they were captained by Adam Schmitt.  The 2022 Junior Championship goes to the Independence Bass Club anglers of Jackson Beatty and Gable Eddy, along with their captain Andy Sommerfelt.  This duo brought in a limit of five bass that weighed 12.17 pounds.  The champions reported catching about 10 keepers on the day around sandy points.  They used topwater baits, crankbaits and soft plastic lures to catch their winning fish.  The team of Brayden Miller and Ryder Shaw, captained by Bob Rinderknecht from the Eastern Iowa Bassmasters club brought in the Big Bass of this division, it weighed 3.63 pounds, a true river trophy.

The High School Division, which included 37 teams of anglers were similar to the Junior Divison.  In fifth place was the team of Kaden Dorman and Brady Schumacher captained by Mike Dorman.  The Iowa Youth Fishing League partnership weighed in 4 keeper bass that weighed 8.21 pounds.  In fourth place was the West Delaware team of Keegan Waugh and Blake Recker, captained by Aaron Robinson.  They had a five fish limit that weighed 8.52 pounds.  In third place was the Cedar Falls Fishing team of Kael Moore and Lane Weichman, captained by Carter Moore.  They caught four keepers that weighed 9.90 pounds.  In the Runner-Up spot was the Eastern Iowa Bassmaster team of Jacob Lange and Shane Lochner, captained by Jason Lange.  They had a limit of five bass that weighed 10.73 pounds.  The 2022 Iowa Bass Nation High School Champions are the team of Justin Schmadeke and Hunter Patton, captained by Eric Johnston.  This Independence Bass Club team brought in a limit of five keeper bass that weighed 12.18 pounds.  The Indee Bass Club also claimed the Biggest Bass of the tournament, Carter Cameron and Ranger Reed, captained by Todd Reed brought a 3.84 pound largemouth bass to the scale to claim top honors, as well as a sixth place finish.  Cameron reported catching that river monster on a spinnerbait.  

49 Boats in all competed in the 2022 State Tournament
The start of the weekend may not have begun like many of the young anglers wanted, cold, windy, and rainy weather, but there were many smiles to go around at the Sunday weigh-in.  Anglers were greeted at the weigh-in with sandwiches and drinks to refuel after a long day of fishing.  The Iowa Youth Bass Nation sends the top two teams from each division to the Bass Nation National Youth Tournament.  This tournament will take place next summer.  It is quite an accomplishment to fish against this many teams and come out at the top of the list, congratulations to the teams of the Eastern Iowa Bassmasters, and the Independence Bass Club anglers as they will represent the state of Iowa at the 2023 Bass Nation Youth National Tournament. 

High School Champs~~~~~JR Division Champs~~~~~HS Big Bass




Sunday, August 21, 2022

Summertime Smallies

Locating Hot Weather Smallies In Iowa


The tug on the line and in the next instance a miraculous jump above the water...smallmouth bass.  This is always the first image in my mind when someone says smallmouth bass.  They are no doubt the most exciting fish that swims in our waters of Iowa.  They are known for the jumps, dives, long runs and huge topwater blasts.  All of these reasons make them a favorable fish to chase after all over the state.  Spring and Fall smallmouth bass act very similar, but in the hot days of summer when water temperatures climb over the eighty-degree mark they act very different.  I hope these tips and baits will make your summer days of smallmouth bass fishing some the best you have ever had.


The most abundant areas to start looking for summertime smallmouth bass isn’t very far from where you live.  The many interior rivers of the state hold very good populations of smallmouth bass, and some pretty good sized ones too.  The best thing to do is to take a look at the rivers in your area, grab a Sportsman Atlas and find those areas that have public access.  Whether you are on shore or in a small boat, you can catch smallies not far from where you are located.  Smaller rivers offer smallmouth bass their favorite food, crawfish.  Typically in smaller rivers the diet of a smallmouth bass will almost entirely be made up of crawfish, minnows make up the rest of the diet when available.  Crawdads spend their lives in two basic areas of rivers, tucked into rocky shorelines and/or buried in the muddy banks.   These areas are great to look for summertime smallies, most likely you will find both of these main shoreline structures along the swiftest of water flow.  This may not be the typical place you would look, but it should be during the hot days of summer.  You simply cannot fish too much current when looking for small river smallmouth bass.  

Now that we have the location of where these smallies will be spending their August days, what can we throw at them to entice some bites?  We need to go back to their food source, the crawdad.  Nothing imitates a fleeing crawdad better than a crankbait.  These baits dig down into the rocks, rattle their way past fallen trees, and are irresistible for smallies waiting in the current.  Another great bait to use is a small jig with a chunk trailer.  This bait can move much more slowly along the rocks and muddy banks while looking like the next meal for a smallmouth.  Depending on current weather patterns the fish may want something faster or slower, having a few crankbaits and jigs is always a great start to building your small river tackle box.


Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Indee Bass Club Pleasant Creek Lake Youth Tournament

July 30th was the day anglers from the Indee Bass Club met at Pleasant Creek Lake near Palo, Iowa for the third event of the year.  The first two events took place on "home" waters, right here in Independence on the Wapsipinicon River.  Pleasant Creek Lake made for an awesome venue for the kids to test their fishing skills at this nearby state park.  
Mother Nature was very kind to all participants, the day was sunny and temperatures were in the eighties, not bad for the last week of July.  The bass were cooperating too, so well that the anglers and lake broke the club record for the number of bass weighed in.  Anglers were able to bring in 31 keeper bass in the six-hour tournament!  That wasn't the only record broken on this day either.  The anglers also set a record for the most weight brought to the scales; 53.96 pounds.  
The Indee Bass Club is open to any student in Independence in grades 7-12.  Sixteen students signed up for the free event, which is made possible by the sponsors of the club: Buchanan County Wildlife Association, Bank Iowa, Colony Plumbing/Heating/AC, Klever Concrete, Cedar Falls Scheels, Hank's Bait and Tackle, Quantum Rods/Reels, The Rod Glove, X-Zone Lures and Hot Rod Baits Bass Series and Coach Todd Reed.
Pleasant Creek Lake is known for being busy and stingy lake for fishing, however the population of bass in this lake is one of the best around for local lakes.  During the event, only one team struggled to bring in a fish to the scales.  Coming in 7th place was Hunter Weepie and Preston Tatro, they had one keeper bass that weighed 1.92 pounds.  In 6th place was Gable Eddy and Jackson Beatty, they had five keepers that weighed 4.58 pounds.  Fifth place went to Ranger Reed and Carter Cameron, they had five keepers that weighed 6.76 pounds.  Outgoing Seniors Jackson Toale and Dalton Hoover came in fourth place with five keepers that weighed 8.55 pounds.  Third place was another pair of seniors, Teegan McEnany and Caleb Weber, they had a limit of five keeper bass that weighed 9.38 pounds.  Second place went to Cal Sweeney and Hunter Sherwood, they had five keeper bass that weighed in at 9.82 pounds.  The winners on this day were a duo of 7th graders, Carter Eddy and Colton Cameron won their first ever event with a five bass limit that weighed 12.95 pounds.  This impressive weight included the Hank's Bait and Tackle Big Bass of the tournament, a 4.54 pound largemouth bass that Carter caught.  That big bass was another record that was broken at this event, congrats to all the anglers that took part in this record breaking tournament.  A special thanks to boat captains as well; Dave Wilson, Cyrus Butters, Dan Sweeney, Chris Weepie, Todd Reed and Landry Jones.
Following the weigh-in, trophies and the Scheels Top Performers prizes of hats, rod sleeves and gift cards were given away to the top three teams.  All in attendance were treated to hot dogs and chips provided by the club and prepared by Julie and Clay Cameron.  The conclusion of the event ended with a random drawing, rods/reels and tackle were given to all students in attendance.   
The event was one to remember for sure, three different club records were re-written, a nice cook-out and over $700 worth of prizes and awards given to the students of the Indee Bass Club.  The club has many pictures and full results listed on their website, Instagram and Facebook page, just search out Indee Bass Club on those platforms.
Four Seniors took part in their last opportunity
with the Indee Bass Club:
Caleb Weber/Dalton Hoover/Jackson Toale/Teegan McEnany




Sunday, July 24, 2022

Hot Rod Baits Bass Series Stop #2- 12-Mile Lake

 

The second and final stop of the 2022 Hot Rod Baits Bass Series took place at 12-Mile Lake near Afton, Iowa.  This 600+ acres lake is a bass fishery, producing many 15+ pound limit bags week after week with some getting over 20 pounds.  The weather was stable for the anglers and the bass were biting!

Water temps for the weekend were hovering around 81-85 degrees throughout the lake, some anglers reported a slight thermocline in areas of the lake.  Water clarity was great and the water level was typical for the middle of summer.  It set up to be a great event to cap off the 2022 series.

The seventeen teams took to the water at 5:30am for the eight hour event.  Temps were great to start the day with clouds moving in and out all day, ending with sunshine for the weigh-in.  Teams scattered all over the lake, from the dam to the silt dam and from shallow points and flats to deeper drop-offs.  Fish were as scattered as the anglers throughout the day and the lake held the seventeen team field just fine.  The weigh-in ended with eight teams over the 15-pound mark, and one over 20 pounds.  Collecting the last money spot at 5th place was Steffen and Williams, they had 16.81 pounds.  In 4th place was Kulow and Arnold, they caught enough for 17.33 pounds.  Third place went to the Pool 9 winners Rudy and Berquist.  They weighed in 17.71 pounds.  IN the Runner-Up spot was Heim and Paulsen, they had 18.54 pounds.  Bates and Sellers brought home the 12-Mile Lake Championship with a limit weighing in at 22.40 pounds.  This was anchored by the big bass of the event that weighed 6.68 pounds, a true brute!

12-Mile CHAMPIONS:  Sellers/Bates 


This year was an odd year for the series, the first event located at Spirit Lake was canceled in May due to impending weather.  After the points were added up for Pool 9 and 12-Mile Lake we had a familiar Team of the Year.  Justin Heim and Andrew Paulsen claimed the $500 bonus and plaques for the 2nd time since fishing the series they also won it in 2017.  They placed 2nd in each of the two events this year.  They had the same amount of points as Rudy/Berquist but had a little more total weight for both events, making Rudy and Berquist the Runner-Up in the Team of the Year points race.  They collected an extra $200 for their efforts.  Coming in 3rd place for the Team of the Year was Donnelly/Christensen, taking home a bonus $100. 

Another great year of tournament fishing on the Hot Rod Baits Bass Series, we will be back in 2023 with a new schedule, announced around the month of December.  For complete results and more information about this series that pays out OVER 90% of entries please visit the WEBSITE HERE.


2022 TEAM OF THE YEAR
Andrew Paulsen/Justin Heim




Thursday, July 7, 2022

Make sure and Pack the Frogs


The dead of summer always calls for a few things when searching for bass. Current in river systems is one of them, the other is a hollow-bodied frog.  This is the time of year that I rarely hit the water without an Optimum Baits Furbit Frog tied on.  There are many good frogs on the market to purchase, however I have fallen in love with the Furbit Frog.  The hook-up ratio with this frog is the best I have ever seen.  Some of those great results is no doubt the rod/reel/line setup I throw the frog on.  I choose a 7 foot Med/Hvy Quantum Rod, paired with a 7.2:1 gear ratio Quantum Smoke Reel with 60# braided line.  

All of these components make the combo and the frog work perfectly together to get the bass out of the heaviest of cover.  Whether it be low-laying tree limbs or through a thick mat of grass, this combo gets it done.  

Frogs come in all different colors, however I feel that the cadence of the frog is more important than the color on most days.  Change up your twitches and pauses until the bass tell you exactly what they want on that particular day.  
A close-up of the Optimum Baits Furbit Frog in a mat of duckwork  The heavy weight, located under the hook shank provides incredible hookup ratios and keeps those hooks down in the water column.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Hot Rod Baits BASS SERIES Stop #1- Mississippi River

Pool 9 Champs: Brett Rudy/Drew Berquist

June 18th: The first stop on the Hot Rod Baits Bass Series landed the 17 teams on Pool 9 of the Mississippi River near Lansing, Iowa.  The water conditions, like most of the time on the big river were changing.  Recently the river was several feet high, and leading up to the event was dropped to around the 9.5ft level, leaving it about a foot higher than normal.  The pool was definitely dirtier than expected when anglers made their way to practice.  Weed growth on the river has not taken off with the recent high water levels leaving the current to flow and disrupt the banks and bottom of the river creating the less than typical cleaner water.  Recent thunderstorms also were around the area midweek causing areas around creek to become turbid as well.  With all this facing the anglers, anticipation of who would catch the biggest five biggest bass amongst the competitors ran high.  A lot of money, bragging rights, and valuable Team of the Year points were on the line and many anglers made the most of their time on the water.

Tournament day greeted the anglers with cool weather, fifty degrees made the morning prep and ride to the first locations a cold one.  However, that didn't last long as the sun popped out and started warming things quickly that day.  It was a great day fish, mild winds all day long and no precipitation.  Anglers had 8.5 hours to find the biggest five bass that they could before bringing them in to the 2:00pm weigh in.  In fifth place at the event was the father/son team of Travis and Cyrus Butters.  They had 4 smallmouth and 1 largemouth bass that weighed 12.29#.  Fourth Place went to Kevin Christensen and Keith Donnelly, they had 1 smallmouth and 4 largemouth bass weighing 13.26#.  Reaching third place was Todd Reed and Dan Sweeney; they caught 2 smallmouth and 3 largemouth that weighed 14.35#.  In the Runner-up spot was Justin Heim and Andrew Paulsen, they had 5 smallmouth weighing in at 15.01#, they also had the Big Bass for the event, a beautiful smallie that weighed 3.25#.  The Champs; Brett Rudy and Drew Berquist had 2 smallmouth and 3 largemouth bass that weighed 15.13#.  It really shows the caliber of anglers in this series with those big weights at the top of the leader board under challenging river conditions.

  • A quick data summary of the weigh-in: 
  • 59 total bass weighed in, average of 3.5 per boat.
  • 32 Largemouth Bass and 27 Smallmouth Bass
  • 144.28 Pounds of fish weighed in and released alive, which averaged 2.45# per bass
  • It took an average of of 2.46# per bass to get "in the money"

Congrats to all the anglers who found fish during this event, especially the 10 teams that weighed in a limit of 5 bass.  The next event is at 12-Mile Lake in the middle of July.  This event will decide the Team of the Year due to the first event being canceled due to weather at Spirit Lake. 

Complete results can be found on the website here:  June 18, 2022: Pool 9 Results