Thursday, October 14, 2021

2021 Fall Fishing in FULL Swing

This beautiful 3# Smallmouth couldn't 
resist a medium diving crankbait.
 October is here and so is the last of the bass fishing season.  The water has cooled to around 60 degrees in most places here in NE Iowa and that has the fish eating up.  It has been really good, but it hasn't gotten to the "GREAT" bite just yet.  It seems as though the bass take a look at the leaves on surrounding trees, because when the trees are a mix of yellow and orange they go nuts!  

The more I am in nature and the older I get, I realize that so many things are connected.  The leaf colors, water temperatures, movement of bait, it all is a mad equation that Mother Nature has created for us anglers to enjoy this time of year.  I hope you get out and enjoy the next month on the water.  Shore fishing can be dynamite this time of year on rivers if you don't have access to a kayak or boat.  Typically moving baits are best to cover a lot of water, such as; crankbaits, spinnerbaits, chatterbaits and topwater lures.  As the days get closer to November it will be time to take things slow with plastics, jigs, jerkbaits and tubes.  As always, let the fish tell you what they want, if you are not getting bites, change baits and change locations often this time of year.  

Get out there and soak it up, you know I will be!

Monday, October 4, 2021

October Indee Bass Club Tournament*** New CLUB Record

Scheels Delhi Champions: Jackson and Dalton

 The Indee Bass Club held its final tournament of the year on October 3rd at Lake Delhi.  The club, which is organized and ran by Todd Reed, Keith Donnelly, and Garry Anderson is free to any student in the Independence area in grades 7-12.  Events are set up throughout the year where students can compete in bass tournaments while learning from adults that are running the boats.  The club has a great lineup of sponsors which makes these experiences free for all kids; they include Klever Concrete, Bank Iowa, The Buchanan County Wildlife Association, Colony Plumbing/Heating/AC, Scheels in Cedar Falls, Hank's Live Bait and Tackle in Waterloo, Hot Rod Baits Bass Series, Strike King Lures, Quantum Rods/Reels, and The Rod Glove.

Lake Delhi, which has both smallmouth and largemouth bass was the site of the last club event for 2021.  Fourteen students made the trip on a beautiful fall afternoon.  Temperatures ranged from sixty to seventy degrees and was mostly cloudy for the entire event, making for ideal conditions for bass fishing.  As the coach for the club I knew a lot of bass would be caught on this day for a variety of reasons, which is the goal each and every time I schedule events.  Lake Delhi was a great day, and in fact set a new club record; most bass weighed in at an event: 26 bass!  It was great to see every team weigh in fish, this was only the second time this has occurred in the sixteen events that the Indee Bass Club has held over the past five seasons.  

Scheels 2nd Place: Justin and Huner

The champions at Lake Delhi for 2021 were Jackson Toale and Dalton Hoover.  They brought in a limit of 5 keeper bass that weighed 7.72#.  This was the eighth club tournament that this duo has won together.  Their day started off slow, after fishing for about 45 minutes without getting a bite, they came along a stretch of docks that allowed them to catch four keepers all while Texas-Rigging Hot Rod Baits Tubes.  Shortly after that they reported getting their fifth keeper and kept catching them throughout the tournament.  Their great day of fishing earned them trophies and Scheels hats and gift cards.  In second place was Justin Schmadeke and Hunter Patton.  They brought in a limit of bass that weighed 6.65# while skipping docks, Justin also caught the Hank's Bait and Tackle Big Bass of the event that weighed 2.63#, a huge smallmouth for the lake.  Justin reported catching that giant on a green pumpkin/purple flake Senko bait on a rocky point.  Second place took home trophies and Scheels hats and gift cards.  In third place was the young partnership of Cal Sweeney and Remy Ressler.  They had a limit of 5 bass that weighed 6.19#, earning them trophies and Rod Gloves.  In fourth place was Ranger Reed and Carter Cameron, they had a limit that weighed 4.97#.  In fifth place was Jackson Beatty and Gable Eddy, they caught 3 keepers that weighed 2.65#.  Sixth place went to Teegan McEnany and Jackson Wolf, they had two keepers that weighed 2.56#.  Fishing their first ever tournament was Carter Dauth and Walker Kresser, they brought a keeper to the scale that weighed 1.06#.  A huge thank you to the boat captains; Randy Toale, Paul Schmadeke, Dan Sweeney, Todd Reed, Landry Jones, Adam Farmer, and Mike Heims.

It was a great day in the outdoors for these kids, and thanks to the sponsors over $800 in prizes were given away to keep these kids enjoying this great sport of fishing.  At the conclusion of the live weigh-in Jim Klever, an avid fisherman and owner of Klever Concrete greeted the anglers, boat captains and fans attending with a grill out of hot dogs, brats, chips and pop.  What a great way to end the competition season!

To find out more information about the Indee Bass Club, search "Indee Bass Club" on Google, Facebook and Instagram.


Sunday, September 12, 2021

Fall Topwater- My favorite pick


September and into October bass typically "feed up" on baitfish.  This gives anglers one last chance to target bass using topwater baits.  Normally baits like buzzbaits, pop-r baits and walking baits are reserved for early mornings and evening hours.  However, during the cooler days bass will strike these baits all day long.  Sandbars, rocky banks, points and bluff banks can all be good places for bass to trap shad, minnows or other baitfish.  

There are many baits to choose from this time of year to intice a topwater bite, but my favorite has become a walking bait made by IMA Lures, the Skimmer.  This is slim bodied bait with two treble hooks and walks across the water at any speed you like.  You can move this slender bait very quickly or glide it slowly on your favorite structure.  Any walking bait take a bit of time and the right rod/reel combo to get the proper action, but it is a quick learn.  If you haven't tried a walking bait for fall bass, I highly recommend it!

Rod/Reel Specifics:

Rod: 7 foot Quantum Smoke, Medium action/Fast tip

Reel: Smoke Reel 6.1:1 Gear Ratio  30# Braided line or 15-20# Mono (Both have worked well)

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Slow Days of Summer...NO WAY!

 The lakes and rivers always get a little less busy as August rolls around.  I am sure there are numerous reasons why people don't spend their days on the water, most likely the heat and humidity.  However, the month of August can be as good or better than any other month if you plan carefully.  Here are a few things to keep you catching fish when the weather is HOT!

1~ Get to the rivers; rivers have current and most species of fish will not be too far away from a steady flow of it on a river system.  This is the main reason I do not visit many lakes in late July and August.  Rivers are a solid bet for keeping your rod bent.

2~ Weeds; oxygen levels can plummet this time of year, but if weeds are present the level of oxygen will be just fine for all species.  Gills/crappies/perch as well as bass and pike will hang around the green weeds on the hottest of days.  Live bait on bobbers are ket to the panfish, while weedless baits like frogs, swimjigs and Texas-Rigged plastics will work well for the larger fish.

3~ TOPWATER Baits; Bass and Pike both love coming to the surface this time of year to crash your baits. Some of my favorites include poppers, frogs, and walking baits.

4~ Early & Late; there is no other time of the year that is as important as right now to get out when the sun is coming out and fish while the sun is going down.  All species will be more active and trust me, so will you!

Get out and enjoy the warm months...winter is only 3 months away!

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

July Indee Bass Club Summer Scramble


The Wapsi River was the site of the July tournament for the Indee Bass Club.  The temperatures were hot, the current was steady and the bass were hungry.  Ten students took part in this special event that partnered students and captains together by a random draw.  This format was to enhance learning for the club members by fishing with different individuals and sharing information, techniques and fishing strategies.  By the outcome of the event it was obvious that the format worked.  All 5 teams recorded a three bass limit on the night and all students reported catching some bass.  
The winning team of Senior Jackson Toale, 7th grader Gabel Eddy and their captain Rick Wendling found many fish on the Wapsi, their three biggest keepers weighed 8. 42#.  That included the 3.07# smallmouth bass that Gable caught, which was the biggest of the tournament.  Second place team consisted of Senior Teegan McEnany and 8th Grader Cal Sweeney.  Them and their captain Dave Wilson were able to being in 7.38#.  Rounding out the top three was Cam Wilson and Jackson Beatty, captained by Todd Reed.  They weighed in 5.31# of bass.
It was a very successful night for anglers of all ages, and the captains enjoyed the night as well.  All students were able to take home prizes thanks to the clubs great sponsors: Buchanan County Wildlife Association, Bank Iowa, Klever Concrete, Coloney Plumbing/Heating/Air Conditioning, Scheels of Cedar Falls, Hank's Bait and Tackle of Waterloo, The Rod Glove, Hot Rod Baits, Quantum Rods and Reels, and Strike King Lure Company.

Sunday, August 1, 2021


Having lived all my life in Iowa and battled bass throughout the summer months, when picking one lure to tie on to find bass, the swimjig gets the nod.  Sure, I use a lot of different baits during the summer months, but when it comes to finding bass in lakes or rivers the swimjig has become my favorite in the past decade.  

The swimjig is a very simple lure to use, when using one you need to remember that.  Many people want to make it more complicated than it is.  It is simply a quiet, no flash spinnerbait.  It is a bait that can be casted a long distance or pitched to very specific cover.  This is one reason why I love the swimjig.  Another reason is the simple way to size the lure.  When choosing a trailer fro your swimjig you are dictating the size of your bait.  A small 3-inch twister tail creates a very small profile, while a double tail twister makes it look much bigger.  I favorite trailer of mine to choose is an Optimum Baits Double Diamond swim bait.  This gives the swimjig a large or small profile depending on the length, but it adds a slight vibration with the tail and gives the swimjig a distinct wobble when pulled through the water.   

Here are a few other key things to make this bait a superb search bait:

SwimJig Brand: Bill Lowen Signature Series, hand tied by myself.  There are many, many good brands of swimjigs on the market!

Size: 3/16, 1/4 or 3/8oz

Color: varies with water clarity and bait fish

Rod/Reel Setup: 7ft Quantum Smoke Rod Medium Power with Fast Action/Smoke Reel 6.1:1 ratio

Line: 35# braided line with a Palomar Knot

I like to use braided line with this bait at all times.  I have found out that the overall catch ratio is much better than using mono or flouro.  Braid also is mandatory around weeds where fish are hiding this time of year.  

If you prefer to use mono/flouro for your line, then you will want to use a Med/Hvy Rod with a fast tip, this is will help with keeping fish on with the stretch of the line.

Both 1/4oz jigs: size adjustments made with plastic trailer

Monday, June 14, 2021

The Iowa Sportsman- Iowa's Bass Fishing

The Iowa Sportsman Magazine: July 2021 Issue

That thump on the end of the line can be ferocious at times and the jumps in the air so acrobatical, only one fish in Iowa has those characteristics; the bass.  Bass fishing in Iowa can be had in all corners of the state, ponds, lakes, rivers and large reservoirs all provide good bass fishing.  Largemouth bass can be found in all ninety-nine counties while the Smallmouth bass can be found in rivers in and in a few select lakes.  If you are after a Spotted Bass then you must head to Lake MacBride, the only lake that offers them in Iowa in large numbers.  Chasing bass all over Iowa can be a lifetime pursuit that many of us share.  The fact that they live all over the state and can be caught with so many different lures are reasons why it has become so popular in the last few decades. 

Top Baits: Bass are notorious for eating a variety of baits.  Live bait works well, however there are thousands of artificial baits on the market that work as good or better.  The most popular bait to catch bass are soft plastics.  These include craws, tubes, sticks, worms, swimbaits, minnow baits and creature type baits.  They come in all different sizes and colors from hundreds of different companies.  The possibilities are endless when it comes to soft plastic baits for bass.  Most anglers have their favorites and tend to stick with them, only trying something new when their favorites are failing them.  Rigging these plastic baits can make or break your day.  Some baits can be rigged weightless, there are Texas-Rigs, Carolina Rigs, Shaky Heads, swingheads, Tokyo rigs, and drop-shots to name a few of the popular bass rigging techniques.  Each serves their purpose and most have prime areas and times to rig them.  If you are looking for a simple, yet highly effective rig for all times of the year then the Texas-Rig is for you.  A bullet sinker and a 3/O extra-wide gap (EWG) hook is all you need to make your favorite plastic bait to come to life.  

Another top bait, typically a summer bait are topwater lures.  Buzzbaits, popping baits, walking baits, frogs and the Whopper Plopper are all very productive no matter where you are chasing your next bass bite.  These are best in the first 3 hours and last 3 hours of sunlight.  They are also fantastic on rainy/cloudy days.  

Top Destinations:  Iowa is full of great bass fishing opportunities.  Narrowing it down to one part of the state or “the best” place to catch bass is impossible.  I have had the opportunity to travel to all four corners of this state chasing bass, have friends scattered around the state and stay current with bass tournament results.  Bass are everywhere!  I will break this portion down into groups, one for the smallmouth bass and one for the largemouth bass, as they are very different creatures.  Smallmouth Bass: Two very large and distinct areas come to the forefront when thinking about the brown bass, West Lake Okoboji and Pools 9 and 10 of the Mississippi River.  These two areas are known for their huge limits of smallmouth bass.  The two river pools will definitely have you catching more smallies if that is what you are in to.  With these two large areas out of the way, next up are the interior rivers scattered all over the state.  No matter where you live within an hour or so you have some great smallmouth fishing in a nearby interior river.  These do not have to be large and most can be waded through to find fishing areas.  Kayaks or small jonboats make great vessels to travel these small rivers in search of a big brown bass.  Largemouth Bass: The largemouth bass inhabits every public lake/pond/river in the state.  They are not very hard to find, however like any species finding the big ones is the hard part.  As for the northeast part of the state, the river is king.  Pools 9/10/11/12 of the Mississippi River all have large numbers of largemouth bass, and some real river giants too.  The warmer the water, the more current they will live in.  Typically your biggest fish during a day of summer fishing on the big river will find you reeling it in near heavy current. The northwest part of the state belongs to West Lake Okoboji and Brushy Creek Lake.  Both of these lakes offer an abundance of weeds which helps these green bass grow very large.  Both lakes have massive numbers of bass and trophies too.  The southwest corner of the state belongs to an entire county.  Union County, home of Creston, Iowa has three different lakes that have been pumping out bass for many years.  Twelve-Mile Lake, Three-Mile Lake and Green Valley Lake should be on your list if you are looking for a trip that is all about the Largemouth Bass.  Southeastern Iowa has many different places to search for largemouth bass, many county parks, state made lakes and the Mississippi River.  One lake in particular always rises to the top in this part of the state for numbers of bass and some real giants; Lake Sugema.  This lake is about 600 acres but seems much larger than that with all the standing trees. No matter where you live in the state, there are bass near you, largemouth or smallmouth.

Iowa bass has been a part of my life for over 30 years, and I hope another 30 in the future.  Iowa may not have 10 pounders to chase like California or Texas, but we have some great opportunities, many of them are very close to where we live.  There are a few months of the year left, make it your mission to try a brand new lake, this is something I have done for the past ten years or so and have really enjoyed it.  Seeing different water and figuring out where those bass live will make you a better bass angler, and in the end that is what we are all after.  Please use “Catch Photo Release” CPR on our Iowa bass so the next angler and generation can benefit from your generosity.

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