Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Iowa BASS NATION State High School Bass Tournament

Zach and Vaughn
High School bass fishing has been around for about a decade.  However, it has only taken a steady stand in Iowa for the past 3 or 4 years.  The past winter the kids of Independence showed enough interest and the Indee High School Bass Club was formed.  The club is a Bass Nation club, which links them to the largest organization of bass anglers in the world, which naturally is call BASS.  Simple and to the point.  The organization as well as the Indee Bass Club is all about bass, where they live, how to catch them and what to throw at them.  It is a constant search that has consumed me since a very early age.

The high school bass club was started because I saw the a similar need for knowledge and experiences in the sport of bass fishing.  Students have learned the basic types of casting, different models of rods and reels and overall knowledge of bass habitat and the baits to chase after them. With those things coming pretty easy for
Brodi, Peyton, and Dave Wilson
myself, being in the field of education, I had no idea that in such a short time we could put together teams to compete at a state level and do well.

Do well is exactly what the Indee Bass Club did this past Sunday at the Iowa BASS NATION State tournament.  Indee had 3 different teams compete, which includes two club members and a boat captain each.  Students are not allowed to drive the gas engines during tournaments, but do control the electric trolling motors to maneuver into fishing and casting zones.  All three teams impressed their boat captains and all caught a few dozen bass each.  However, at the end of the day the scales never lie and a team had to be crowned the state champs.  Twenty teams from all over the state competed in the tournament, including schools like; West Delaware, Johnston, Janesville, North Scott and several Cedar Rapids teams.

The Independence team of Cyrus Butters and Parker Sweeney, captained by Kevin Christensen, came out on top of the leaderboard when all was said and done.  They had 5 keeper bass that weighed 14.43 pounds to take the title.  Brodi Wilson and Peyton Lolwing, captained by Dave Wilson, took 7th place with 5 keeper bass that weighed 9.45 pounds.  Vaughn Nabholz and Zach Davis, captained by Todd Reed, used every minute of the day catching bass, but none made the 14 inch mark, allowing them to keep them.  It was an unbelievable day for the kids, as each and everyone of them learned so much about fishing, and the Mighty Mississippi River.  Kids reported catching their bass on a variety of baits.  The champs boasted that Hot Rod Baits Jigs (Wig's Jigs) worked the best, hot Rod Baits tubes, spinnerbaits and Strike King lipless baits all caught bass and helped the kids reel in bass all day long.  Congrats to the group of 6 boys and 3 captains that made this day possible.  Also a huge thanks to the Iowa Bass Nation Youth director Joe Bagsby and Shanda Heath for putting the tournament on each year for the high school teams.

The competitive season is over for the Indee Bass Club, but students will continue to learn through club meetings held each month before regular school hours.  It is amazing how many kids will go to school EARLY to talk and learn about bass fishing!
Parker Stoner/Kevin Christensen/ Cyrus Butters

Monday, October 2, 2017

Independence High School Bass Club Fall Tournament

The Independence High School Bass Club has been around since February of this year, however we have been able to host a few memorable events for the kids.  Being the team coach, I work and listen to students and the things that they consider important to leaning more about the sport.

I reported on the May tournament on the Wapsi, simply put the bass did not cooperate that day.  However, when this event rolled around, I knew the bass of the Wapsi wouldn't resist the lures the boys had to offer.  Water temperatures on the Wapsi have dropped considerably in the last ten days, and when this occurs it typically means that river bass will start to eat once they have adjusted.  The bass in the Wapsi did just that, EAT!
2nd Place: Tayt and Brennan

Thirty-one students signed up to fish the tournament this day and all were paired up with a boat captain from the area.  I want to thank those men right now: Rick Wendling, Dan Sweeney, Randy Toale, Keith Donnelly (also an adviser of the club), Paul Schmadeke, Dave Wilson, Sean Stephenson, Ryan Roth, Keith Corkery, David Gissell, Corey Evans, Chuck Kayser, Chad Postel, and Bob Baldwin.  Without these volunteers the boys would not be able to enjoy an event of this caliber.  THANK YOU ALL!

The day was an awesome day to fish, cool to start the day but ended up in the 70's by the noon weigh-in.  Perfect for the last day of September.  Of the 16 boats, 9 teams were able to find and catch at least one keeper to bring to the weigh-in.  Very impressive for these young anglers, with many of them using basic tackle to try to trick the bass. It was nice to see some brand new Quantum Rods and Reels at the tournament, thanks to them for being the official rod/reel of the club!

Congrats to all anglers catching fish!  Complete Standings:

1st- ParkerS/DrewE                 3 bass   6.84#
2nd- TaytF/BrennanC              5 bass   6.00#
3rd- RileyS/JustinS                  3 bass  4.29#
4th- CliffordB/GarrettB            2 bass  3.23#
5th- JacksonT/DaltonH            2 bass  2.32#
6th- CalebW/DylanK                 1 bass  2.18#
7th- VaughnN/DrewE                1 bass  1.22#
8th- ZaneF/HunterP                  1 bass  1.04#
9th- BrodiW/PeytonL               1 bass   0.98#
Big Bass: ParkerS= 3.60# smallmouth

The Fall Champs: Drew and Parker with boat captain Dan Sweeney
Parker also caught the big bass of the event, a 3.60# Smallmouth

This event was free to all individuals that participated thanks to our event sponsors:
OHL/Iowa Realty provided monetary support, PROW (Preserving Recreation On the Wapsi) provided each angler with a snacks and lures to get them through the day.  NAPA also provided a hat for anglers at the weigh-in too, a nice surprise from another local business.  Hot Rod Baits Bass Series provided the weigh-in materials once again for the live weigh-in.  A HUGE thanks to all the sponsors.  

Monday, September 18, 2017

Bass World Sports Season Finale

This past Saturday was the finale of a year-long season on the Mississippi River.  Bass World Sports is a tournament organization based in Missouri and holds tournaments all over the Midwest.  This year I had the opportunity to fish three of these events with my long time friend, Kevin Christensen.  He is the definition of a "river rat" and has taught me so much in the past couple of decades.  We have had some great days of fishing in the past, and some I' have tried to forget.  This past Saturday is one that neither one of us will forget anytime soon.

The tournament previous to this one we placed 5th, and left a bad taste in both of our mouths.  Preparation is so important with catching bass and we decided we needed a different plan.  We both took a day off of work on Friday and put in a full day of practice.  We covered a lot of water in Pool 9 throwing a lot of different baits at the bass to see just where they were living.  We found several areas where the bass were feeding and we felt comfortable with our plan.

Saturday morning came and we locked up to Pool 9 from Harpers Ferry which was the plan for over half the boats in the tournament.  Our first area along the main channel gave us two keepers for the livewell and we were off to the our next area.  A side slough with plenty of current was our next stop and we finished out our 5-bass limit quickly.  While the first two fish came on an Optimum Baits frog and a Wig's Jig.  The second area was all about pitching Hot Rod Baits Tubes and Wig's Jigs on the QuantumPT flippin' rods and reels.  We continued the rest of day pitching jigs and tubes to weeds and wood to upgrade up until the last few moments of fishable time.  We headed back to Pool 10 feeling good about what we had accomplished and were eager for the weigh-in to see how we compared to our competition.

We ended up weighing 16.93#, good enough for first place, a weekend we will not soon forget.  Proper preparation, time on the water and finding the quality of fish to put us towards to the top is a feeling that never gets old!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Prepping the High School Bass Club

This past week I gathered the Indee Bass Club together for some seminars on Wednesday night.  Fellow team coach, Keith Donnelly was there to assist with the seminars as well.  21 students from the Junior and Senior High showed up to learn all about rods and reels, casting, flipping, and pitching techniques, as well as fine tuning baitcasting reels.  I have a feeling if these kids pay attention in school as well as they did this night, they will all be "A" students.

Since starting this club I have noticed the hunger in many of these kids, something that I had when I was a teenager as well.  It is my pleasure and honor to help these kids out and look forward to their next adventure later this month, a partner bass tournament on our home waters of the Wapsipinicon River.

If you are a student or have a student interested please check out the club Facebook page or website.

Thanks to all my supporters and their great products, please click their link on the right side of the website to see their various products and services!

Hot Rod Baits~QuantumPT~Optimum Baits~Vexilar~The Iowa Sportsman~State Farm Insurance~Bill's Pizza in Independence

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Mississippi River- Bass World Sports Tournament

Hard to beat the River Minnow
from Hot Rod Baits
Yesterday, Kevin Christensen and I entered the Labor Day Weekend Bass World Sports tournament out of Harpers Ferry, Iowa.  As usual Pool 9 tempted us from previous successes, so we locked once again in this event.  The day started out on an area that a friend and I did very well on the previous week.  We caught numerous 2.50# fish and a couple at the 3# mark, all within an area the size of a house.  Deep water, weeds near by, plenty of baitfish, and of course current were all present, so the bass had to stick around for a while...WRONG.  Not one keeper off this "magical" area, so off to explore other areas.  We kept our heads high and fished hard all day long in the lower part of Pool 9 where we spent most of the day.  We bounced around to all the bass hangouts, points, drop-offs, weeds, current, slack water, which all seemed to hold bass.  We couldn't really put our finger on a particular pattern for the fish as we picked them up in all locations.  We continued to upgrade ounces at a time pitching Wig's Jigs and Hot Rod Baits tubes.  We both use only QuantumPT flippin' rods and reels for this job.  High speed reels were important today as some bass were tucked in the thickest of laydown logs, you only have a split second to get the bass coming your way before they snag you up.  It was a good day of fishing and we knew we had around 14#, which is a good day anytime on the Mighty Miss'.  This day it was good enough to place 5th our of about 20 boats, however we were a few ounces away from bringing home some cash.  Maybe next time that "magical" area will yield some quality fish an bump us up in the to 3!  Until then, I will be on the search for that net magical place on the Mississippi River.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Hot Rod Baits Bass Series Stop #3

This past Saturday was the third and final stop of the Hot Rod Baits Bass Series at 12-Mile Lake near Creston, Iowa.  12-Mile lake is a 635-acre lake that was created by flooding a valley around Afton, Iowa.  It is a typical Central Iowa man-made lake, a lot of standing trees, rock piles, roadbeds, brushpiles and plenty of deeper water, the maximum at this lake being just over 40 feet.  The water quality is always pretty good at this lake, which has allowed the bass population to flourish.  The lake did not disappoint, and my partner Brian Bowles and myself had a great time figuring out these bass.
Friday was a long day on the water, covering as much water as possible.  Shallow, deep, weeds, wood we gave it all a good look with a variety of baits.  We ended the day with about a dozen Quantum Rods/Reels on the deck of the boat, we threw everything at them!

We decided to bet our tournament finish on two areas that we found during the Friday practice day.  We felt pretty confident we could get a limit of 6 bass, but really didn't know if they would weigh 12 pounds or 15 pounds at the end of the day.  The day was a great one to fish, light winds, temps ranging from 55-80, a great day on the lake for August.  We were able to capitalize on the two main areas quickly that morning, and were culling fish within the first two hours of the tournament.  We continued to work the areas over and expanded our casts in those areas.  We were feeling pretty good and there were only 4 rods/reels on the deck at this time.  We were going to finish the day throwing and dragging craw baits.  Color didn't seem to matter on this day, as we caught fish on every color we tried.  The highlight of the tournament was when Brian went back to back with 3.50 pounders.  He set the hook on the second fish before I had the first fish tagged and in the livewell, it was awesome and we had things going our way.  We continued to work over our areas, our baits were working and we were going to really focus in on the technique.  On the way back to the weigh-in we always seem to talk about what we did and how we think we might end up, a top 5 was our goal coming into this event, and we figured that we did enough to achieve that.  It was time to get the weigh-in started and see just how much our best 6 keepers weighed.  We ended up with 16.68# and ended up in 4th place.  We were pleased with our efforts and our finish.  The prize money was a nice bonus to a great weekend of fishing.

Thanks to all my supporters and their great products, please click their link on the right side of the website to see their various products and services!
Hot Rod Baits~QuantumPT~Optimum Baits~Vexilar~The Iowa Sportsman~State Farm Insurance~Bill's Pizza in Independence

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Fishing Hacks You Should Know

I have been fishing for over 25 years, and many of those being a student of the game.  I have read countless articles in various magazines, watched A LOT of fishing shows, and fished with dozens and dozens of anglers from around the state.  Each and every time I fish, my goal is to learn something about this great sport.  Whether it be about tackle, fish locations or even a helpful tip.  I recently was published in the August edition of The Iowa Sportsman Magazine with an article that highlights "Hacks Every Angler Should Know".  Here are three tips from that article, to read about all 15 of them, get your hands on the latest edition of  The Iowa Sportsman Magazine.  You can subscribe for 3 years for under $30 (36 issues), a fantastic value.

#1- No matter what kind of reel you have, it was designed to have a certain amount of line on it.  The spool should be full at all times.  An easy way to save time and money is to line your spool with cheap 15# line until it it is half full.  Then take a marker and color 3 feet of that line.  From here tie on your choice of line and fill ‘er up!  When you start to see your marker color, it’s time to get some more line on your reel.
#2- Crankbaits are awesome baits, however they are a nightmare to keep in a tackle box.  To help with this common problem, get the disposable hair bands that girls use to tie up their hair.  Wrap these small bands around the treble hooks a few times, it will keep them together and keep your baits more organized.  
Wrapping the small rubber bands around the
 hooks will keep them more organized.  You will
also find that you can fit more baits into your tackle boxes.

#3- Rusty hooks are useless, and won’t catch as many fish.  Grab a bunch of toothpicks and break them in small pieces to place in your tackle box along with your hooks.  The wood will help absorb the moisture and keep your hooks fresh.

Just a few little tricks I have picked up over the years, hope they help you be more successful, and save some money too!