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!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Weekend Plan "C"

This past weekend the Tri-County Bass Club had a buddy tournament on Pool 10 of the Mississippi River.  It is the only time during the year where you can pick your partner, so I teamed up with Dave Dost, a member that has never been able to fish a tournament in my boat.  We were both looking forward to it, as the river was receding and the bass were biting.
A few days before the tournament I was notified that my trolling motor was not going to be fixed on my Ranger boat.  I quickly phoned Dave and he was all for using his bass boat.  So off to Plan "B".
I hooked up my river boat (14-ft flat bottom), loaded the QuantumPT rod/reels and headed up to Pool 9 on Friday to look around.  I have spent all of my time fishing Pool 9 this year, so it was a natural that I start there to look for our tournament fish.  Pool 9 did not disappoint, numerous keepers in several different areas, some on rocks, some on weeds and some just relating to current.  It was going to be a fun event, the bass were FEEDING!
As I told Dave we would be locking in the morning to go up to Pool 9 he thought it was great, it was something he has never done before.  Off to sleep for an early morning.
We arrived towing Dave's boat to the boat ramp well before 5am.  Here is where things really took a turn for the worse.  The trim on Dave's boat was not working, so we couldn't get it off the trailer...disappointed for sure.  On to Plan "C".
We drive back to the motel and hook up my jonboat to fish for the day.  The entire time driving back, which is only about 10 minutes I was thinking of any areas in Pool 10 that would be similar to the areas I caught fish on Pool 9.  I came up with a few, but ultimately the bass would tell us what they wanted on this day.
A common rule for river fishing, when in doubt, go to the current.  The first few areas that is exactly what I did.  Needless to say we were a bit limited with a 25HP motor and 14 foot boat, but we made it work.  We kept our baits in the water and fish were coming in the boat.  Dispite our late start, we had our 6-bass limit by 8am.  Things were going well, and we just kept on fishing and upgrading our weight little by little.  We ended the day with exactly 14 pounds.  One keeper was on a spinnerbait, and the rest all came from Hot Rod Baits Tubes.  It was a great day and we were in the lead after day 1.
Day 2 rolls around and we went to our primary area, current and laydown logs were producers as well as points.  The water level was dropping slightly and the bass were definitely relating to points on the outside of backwater areas.  Today however, all the bass seemed to want was a slow bait.  Hot Rod Baits tubes made all the difference once again, as well as a Wig's Jig and Chunk.  It was a great 1-2 punch for these bass.  We ended the day with 13.55 pounds and placed 2nd.  All in all it was a great weekend, even though we had to go with Plan "C", who knows what would have happened if we would have locked to Pool 9, but the great two days of fishing on Pool 10, I won't lose any sleep over it.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Trip to the Atlantic

Flounder was the species of the day
A family trip to Philadelphia was in order this summer, so naturally I just had to find a way to go fishing.  My brother-in-law who has lived his entire life only 60 miles from the Atlantic made all the arrangements.  The bite hadn't been good, as the ocean temperature was at 62 degrees, typically this time of year it is much closer to the the 70 degree mark.  Either way, we headed as far east the the continent could take us and we arrived on the charter boat for the day looking to catch some Flounder.
Cape May was the docking area, which offered numerous different fishing trips on the day.  Tuna, Sea Bass, and Shark to name a few.  The large boat could hold up to 50 fishermen, but today only about 20 boarded for the the day of fishing.  The trip out to the fishing grounds lasted about 80 minutes, a long cruise on the ocean was really relaxing, but I really wanted to feel that tug on the end of the line.
8-oz Drop Shot Rig
When we got there we dropped our drop-shots (8 ounce sinkers) down with chunks of squid or 6 inch Gulp baits.  The very first drop for me, and that tug was there, I couldn't believe it!  This was easy, the first drop and I already had a bite, and landed the first fish of the day for the boat.  It was a Flounder, but ended up 17.5 inches and the limit on this species was 18 inches, so back to the blue waters it went.  It wasn't that easy all day, but there was enough bites and others catching fish to make it interesting.  Both Mike and I had a great time, even though I may have offered some of my breakfast to the ocean.  Several Flounders and a couple Spotted Ling filled our day.  It was quite an interesting trip, especially the rod/reels we were using.  Needless to say, they were no Quantum PTs, which is what I really missed about this trip, who knows how many fish we would have felt with some better equipment!  A great trip, and hope to try it again sometime!

My Brother-in-law with another Flounder

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Old School

I was born and raised in Independence, IA and lived there for about 22 years.  I then moved to Marshalltown for the next 17 years and finally made it back to Independence with my family last summer.  In the world of fishing, moving to Marshalltown taught me 2 things; first, how to fish lakes/deep water and secondly, I really love river fishing.

Last summer was a blur with moving and adjusting to a new job, so fishing was put on the back burner.  However, this summer things are back to normal.  The past couple of weeks I have had the chance to "go old school" and fish the Wapsi a number of times in my river boat. (a 14-ft flat bottom rigged up much like a bass boat suited for the shallow waters of the Wapsi)  On my latest trip on the Wapsi, it wasn't the fancy Ranger boat, but instead I chose to use the river boat.  Things are just easier and more accessible with this boat.  Mid-way through the morning fishing trip while driving to another area of the river at a top speed of about 20 mph, I thought to myself...this is exactly what I was doing about 25 years ago.  At that time I was in my dads flat bottom boat with no-doubt a spinnerbait and a Texas-rigged plastic.  On this day, my own "fancy" flat bottom boat, a better trolling motor, but the same 2 baits tied on, a spinnerbait and a Texas-rigged plastic.

There was no doubt my mind wondered that morning, back to the good 'ol days of mowing lawns, playing baseball and catching fish out of the Wapsi.  Today wasn't much different, tossing baits around the lay down logs and rocky banks...shoot I'm still in love with the same girl I was back in those good 'ol days.  Thus, to put it simply, the Wapsi has always been home for me and I am once again enjoying the time I have with this beautiful little river.

As for the fishing, it has changed a lot the last 20 years.  The entire river system has changed a lot in the last 20 years.  Some areas that used to be great are now a sandbar, areas I have never fished have become my go=to areas now.  Rivers change daily, and if anglers put in the time to learn the current and where these fish locate any small river in the state will allow you to catch a variety of fish, especially bass!  It has been a great homecoming, and I am loving getting out on the Wapsi once again and getting some "old school" fishing in.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Hot Rod Baits Bass Series Stop #2

This past weekend my partner Brian Bowles and I headed north to figure out the bass on Pool 9 of the Mississippi River.  It was our second tournament of the three tournament series.  The first tournament was a disaster...and we did everything we could not to repeat that.  We put in two days of practice on the water which led us to plenty of fish, both smallmouth and largemouth.  After the two days we decided to focus our efforts on the south end of the pool and if that didn't pan out, we would run north for a backup plan.  Throughout the 3 days of fishing we caught fish on just about every lure we threw; jigs, tubes, sticks, swim jigs, spinnerbaits, craws and crankbaits.   Ounce you found the bass, they didn't seem to be very picky as to what they ate.  As always some baits worked better than others to pick up the larger fish.  The biggest of the weekend came on an Optimum Baits Ima square bill crankbait.  Bouncing this bait off the rocky banks was a great way to fool the bass, this big "brownie" loved it (pic).  We ended up fishing 4 areas Sunday, all of which contained rocks.  The bass were feeding up on crawdads, so most of our baits mimicked them once the tournament day rolled around.
Throwing a Hot Rod Baits Wig's Jig with a Hot Rod Baits chunk was the main bait for me Sunday.  Brian was throwing the craw bait from Hot Rod Baits in various colors.  We were both using 7-foot 6-inch Quantum PT flipping sticks with PT reels.  High speed reels were important today as the fish would take the bait and start swimming, you really had some line to reel in as you set the hook.  The tournament went well for us and we knew as noon rolled around that we were sitting pretty good.  However, we both knew that we needed that "one more big one" to help move up in the standings.  We finished with 17.12# of largemouth bass and ended up in 4th place out of the 20 team field which spans all over Iowa and into Nebraska.  The complete results can be seen HERE.  A big thanks to all competitors at Pool 9, some impressive numbers for the river; 108 bass were weighed in for an average weight of 2.44#.  The best fishery in the state proved itself once again!

A huge thank you to these great companies; Quantum Rods/Reels, Hot Rod Baits, Optimum Baits, Vexilar Electronics, TimReed State Farm Insurance/Bank, Bill's Pizza, and The Iowa Sportsman Magazine.  Let me know if you and questions about these fine companies and the products/services they provide or click their link on the side of the page.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Independence High School Bass Fishing Club

This past weekend marked a first for Independence, IA.  I have had the honor to lead and advise the Independence High School Bass Club the last few months, and this past Saturday was the first ever high school bass tournament in this area.  This wasn't the first organization I have helped out, many years ago a few students from the Iowa State University came to me for information and leadership to start that club, which is still going strong.  All my life, when I see someone with a similar passion as I have for fishing, I have tried to help out as much as I can.

So far this year during our bass club meetings the students have learned about water safety, DNR rules, being a steward of our resources, and general tips for choosing the right gear for bass.  However, a day ago it was time to put their gear and knowledge to the test to see if they could trick some local Wapsipinicon River bass.

The tournament was open to any student in grades 7-12, and 19 students showed up to fish out of 10 boats to try their skill on the Wapsi.  The weather was perfect, fish were caught; many northern pike and a few bass.  Like any tournament on any body of water, someone always seems to find the active fish and they rise to the top.  The team of Tayten and Brennan weighed in two keeper bass for 3.45 pounds to take the win.  Congratulations to them and all anglers that made it out to fish this inaugural event!

A huge thanks to the all the boat captains that drove the boats around for the students at this event.  Without them the event would have never been able to take place.  Also, Hot Rod Baits was a monetary sponsor for the event to eliminate all costs for the students, as this event was free for them to participate in.  They also donated many prizes for the kids too.

I write this with much pride that this club has taken off and I hope the future is bright for this student club.  I will do my part to keep things going and I hope many more students will be able to enjoy the the world of fishing and create many friendships as this great sport has done for me over the years.
A huge thanks to my partners too, without them I couldn't do what I do for the sport of fishing; Quantum Rods/Reels, Hot Rod Baits, Optimum Baits, Vexilar, Bill's Pizza, Tim Reed State Farm, and The Iowa Sportsman Magazine.

If you are interested in helping this group grow, please contact me personally via email;   Please "like" the Independence High School Bass Club on Facebook or click over to their website: to keep up with all the action.