Sunday, June 10, 2018

Hot Rod Baits Bass Series; Event #2- Pool 9

On the way home from the first event of this series on Lake Sugema, I have been waiting for this weekend.  Brian Bowles, from Marshalltown and I gave it our all on this event, after our disappointment at Sugema we were coming out swinging.
We made arrangements a month ago to be on Pool 9 at sunrise on Thursday.  With the tournament starting on Saturday, this gave us two days to search across Pool 9 for the right size of bass.  Thursday took the boat to the southern half of the pool, by no means can you cover the whole thing in a day, but we ran around enough to see what we could do there come Saturday.  We caught fish on a variety of baits, however location near rocks seemed to be key on this day.  The first day of homework was done and now we focused our second day of practice on the northern section of the pool, some areas with previous good results this year, while a few I had not been to for several years.  Again, Pool 9 is huge, (largest body of water in Iowa) it is over 35,00 acres, more than three times the size of Lake Rathbun, by no means can you cover it in two days, I haven't even covered it in 2 decades of fishing there!  Obviously we picked and chose areas that we knew fish would be relating to this time of year.  After the spawn on the river, the bass will get close to current and start to feed up once again...it is that time of year on the Mighty Mississippi River.  At the end of the second day of fishing Brian and I had a good understanding of what we needed to do come Saturday morning at 5:30am.

Saturday blast-off came with storms looming, we headed north to our first location wondering if the rain storms that occurred overnight would muddy up our fishing location.  Upon arrival the water appeared to not have changed from the previous day, that was a good sign.  We were fishing a stretch of river about 200 yards that had good current with laydown logs and some tree stumps.  The first 90 minutes was a drag, only one keeper, we were very close to abandoning the area and head to our second spot.  The storm passed in those 90 minutes and the sun started to peek out, and the bass started to feed.  It was like a switch was thrown, it seems the fish needed some sun to find the minnows and shad they were feeding on.  It was just what we needed.  In the next 3 or so hours we threw a variety of baits at the bass, but a few were definitely the key to getting the bigger ones in the livewell.  A small Optimum Baits swimbait, Hot Rod Baits stickbaits, and the IMA skimmer topwater bait proved to catch the big ones in this area.  Having the correct rod/reel setup on these baits, and any baits that we used this weekend was crucial.  QuantumPT makes a rod for any bass technique that you want to try.  Having the right reel ratio on baits is important too, again Quantum PT is the only thing that we use, not only for the quality but the reasonable price as well.  We caught around 15 keepers in the area along with several smaller fish too.  We left the area with a little over 14# for our top 6 keeper bass, we both knew that wasn't going to make the cut come weigh-in time.  We were off to more, similar areas to try and upgrade.
A couple area didn't pan out and then things started to heat up for us with about 90 minutes left in the event.  I hooked a good fish on a Wig's Jig and chunk which made our fist big upgrade of the day, the fish weighed just under three pounds and boosted us just over the 15 pound mark, a goal that we had and thought would put us in the top 5.  A new area, and on the first cast made by Brian he hooked up with a big fish.  He played it perfect in the current and the big smallie upgraded us another pound, we knew we had a little over 16 pounds for the event, a good feeling with only a few minutes left to fish.  That smallie ended up being our biggest bass for the day, weighing in at 3.12#.  We continued to flip jigs and throw swimjigs in this particular area until our time was up and we had to start our drive south to the weigh-in.  We felt we were "in the hunt" for the top 5.
As the teams brought their bass to the scales it was apparent that our 6 bass were looking good.  We ended up with the WIN, weighing in 16.42#.  It was a great three days of fishing on the Mississippi River catching largemouth and smallmouth bass.

I couldn't do this without the support of my kids and wife, they say they miss me when I'm gone and that is as good as any tournament win!  Also these fine sponsors make everything easier; QuantumPT, Optimum Baits, Hot Rod Baits, Vexilar, Bill's Pizza in Independence, The Iowa Sportsman Magazine, and State Farm-Agent Tim Reed.  Click on their links to the right for their great products!
We have competed in this series for five
years with several finishes in the top 5.
This was our first WIN.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Indee Bass Club June Wapsi Tournament

Tournament Champs: Jackson & Dalton
Captain Randy Toale
This past Saturday the Indee Bass Club held its 2nd tournament of the school year.  This one was a "home" event held right here in Independence on the Wapsi River.  Nine boats with 16 anglers took part in this event.  The event could not be held without the captains that took their morning to captain boats for the students.  Randy Toale, Keith Corkery, Dave Wilson, Paul Schmadeke, Tim Postel, Otis Jones and myself all helped out to make this event possible.  As the team coach it is vital to the club to have the community support and I thank all that have helped the club in one way or another. Another thanks goes out to our club sponsors that make it possible for the kids to participate at no cost:

The morning of fishing started off great, it was a cool morning, which was a break from the close to 90-degree temperatures we saw most of the week.  Anglers took off in every direction trying to locate largemouth or smallmouth bass that measured at least 12-inches to bring back to the live weigh-in at noon. A fast moving thunderstorm did greet the anglers early in the morning, but most didn't mind getting wet for their chance at catching some bass.  The weather soon cleared and was once again mild and sunny by the noon weigh-in.

The bass on the Wapsi have been a stressed out lately, temperature rises much quicker than normal, spawning rituals, and rising and falling water levels.  The bass have not been easy to catch, however the Wapsi bass did not disappoint many of the club anglers.
Of the 9 boats, 7 of them brought bass to the scales, and some real nice fish too.  The weights were much better than expected and smiles were all around the weigh-in.  Kids talked about catching their bass on crankbaits, spinnerbaits, swimbaits, plastic worms, and tubes.  Here are how things shook out once the weights were tallied:

 Place   AnglersCaptain # BassBig Bass Total 
1 Dalton/JacksonRandy Toale  5 2.53 8.81#
 CalebKeith Corkery  5 2.438.63# 
 Vaughn/Zach 3 *2.56*5.19# 
 Peyton/RyanDave Wilson  33.65#
 Caden/KellenKeith Donnelly  2 2.69#
 Ricky/AshtonTodd Reed  1 1.91#
7 Justin/Seth Paul Schmadeke10.98# 
 OthersLandry/Brayden
Kegan 

Here is a VIDEO of the live weigh-in:


This event was sponsored by Klever Concrete, which provided money for the awards, DNR tournament permit and cool refreshments at the weigh-in.  PROW donated some lures and snacks for the kids as well.  The Big Bass award was a slightly used baitcasting rod and reel combo, graciously donated by my friend Chris Calkins from Marshalltown.  Another great event for the kids of the Independence area.  If you want more information about the club they are on Facebook and have their own WEBSITE with complete details of the events held and upcoming events.



Sunday, May 27, 2018

Bass World Sports May Tournament

When you throw several 2.5# bass back,
 you know you had a good day on the water!
Yesterday, Kevin Christensen and I participated in our first event of the year together.  The event left out of Harpers Ferry in NE Iowa.  This is a series which often draws teams from the Upper Mississippi River area in Iowa, as well Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois.  It is great competition and makes teams be at their best to place towards the top.
The Upper Mississippi River in Iowa dropped about 1.5 feet this past week, causing anglers to think on their feet and make calculated moves throughout the day.  We were no different.  We headed straight to the lock at blast-off and made our first stop just north of the lock.  We quickly grabbed a couple decent keepers, 2.5# largemouth and threw back a few under 2 pounds.  The tournament allows 5 keeper bass to be weighed in.  We knew from the river conditions and past experience that 15 pounds would get us to the top where we wanted to be.  We kept moving north up through Pool 9 reaching into the state of Minnesota.  We covered a lot of water, rocks, weeds, wood, current, backwaters, we were searching for those big bites.  The fish were a abundant throughout the day, a few smallmouth, and dozens of largemouth bass found their way aboard our boat.  While the chatterbait and swimjig a caught a few fish in the early AM, it was two baits that ended up bringing all the fish to the tournament scales; a black/blue Wig's Jig and the River Minnow Hot Rod Baits Tube.  The bites were not heavy on this day the way river bass often hit, today it was very subtle, and with a lot of short strikes on the faster moving baits.  Kevin detected his jigs bites on the highly sensitive QuantumPT 7'6" Smoke Flippin rod, while I was working a signature series QuantumPT 7'2in G-Rig rod with the Texas-Rigged Tube.  We sorted through about 20 keepers on the day, our final 5 weighed in at 13.97#, which gave us a 5th place finish.  Not where we wanted to finish, but we just couldn't get a bigger fish to bite.  All our keepers were 2.70#-3.10#, very solid fish for the Upper Mississippi River but just not quite enough for the win.  Nevertheless, a great day on the Mississippi River catching bass!

Thanks to everyone that makes my tournament experiences possible: QuantumPT, Hot Rod Baits, Optimum Baits, Vexilar, The Iowa Sportsman Magazine/Website, Bill's Pizza in Independence and Tim Reed State Farm.  Click on their links to the right to see more about these great companies.

Only a true "Bass Junkie" will 
understand this picture. 

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Indee High School Bass Club: Casey Lake May Tournament

The Independence High School Bass Club kicked off the bass fishing season with an "AWAY" tournament.  As acting Coach for this group it was a long winter for these students, and they were ready to fish.  This event was to be held at Brinker Lake in Waterloo, IA.  Recent rains and flooding of the Cedar River made the park and Brinker Lake now conducive for this event.  Graciously the DNR allowed me to move the event to Casey Lake which is located in Hickory Hills Park north of Dysart, IA.  Hickory Hills, much like Brinker Lake, has a great population of bass, making it a perfect place for this tournament.  Casey lake is a small, trolling motor only lake and has an 18-inch length limit on bass.  New this year, the Iowa DNR is allowing tournament organizations to change this limit on the tournament permit.  The Indee Bass Club used a 12-inch limit for this event.

May 12th brought a forecast of rain, an eastern wind up to 15mph, and a high temperature of 58 degrees.  Not your typical May tournament in Iowa, but this spring has been anything but typical.  The forecasters were a little off this day, as we never saw a drop of rain at the lake during the 8am-12:30pm tournament day.  The wind made things cold for the anglers, but the sun did pop out for the last 30 minutes or so of the tournament.  All in all, the event went off without a hitch.

Anglers found the lake water temperature in the low 60's, water clarity over 3 feet and plenty of weed growth in the shallow waters.  The bass were cooperative despite the recent cold front, and the eastern wind.  Of the 8 teams of anglers, 5 boats brought in fish to be weighed.  Anglers reported catching fish on crankbaits, stick baits, swimbaits and Texas-rigged plastics.  The big bass of the day came in the last few minutes of the tournament on a black and blue jig and chunk, Vaughn tossed it up in some heavy cover and yanked it out for the last minute heroics.  Here are the results of the event, pictures and a VIDEO of the weigh-in:

Place Anglers  Captain # Bass Big Bass Total
1 Peyton/RyanDave Wilson 1.81 7.03 
 Zach/DrewTodd Reed 1.60 5.99 
3Jackson/Dalton Randy Toale 2.07 5.46 
Vaughn/Tayten--- **2.29** 3.56 
Zane/KadenBryce Dengler 1.68 
Seth/Kellen Guy Stacy
Parker/LandryOtis Jones 
Kegan/TeeganChad Postel 

Congratulations to all the anglers for braving the weather to chase down some largemouth bass on this chilly May day.  This club and these tournaments would not be possible without the support of my sponsors; Hot Rod Baits, QuantumPT, Optimum Baits, Bill's Pizza and Smokehouse, Tim Reed State Farm, Vexilar and The Iowa Sportsman.  These companies help me keep going in the quest to enjoy this great sport of fishing and share it with whomever I come in contact with.

The Indee Bass Club could not exist without its supporters, please support them when you can: 

1st Place
2nd Place

3rd Place
BIG BASS


VIDEO OF THE WEIGH-IN @ Casey Lake, May 12th



Fish IOWA 2018

DNR officer explaining the rules and regulations
of the various life jackets to be used while
enjoying time on the water.
This past week all 5th graders in Independence had the opportunity to experience "everything fishing" on its annual Fish IOWA day.  This day is coordinated by the 5th grade teachers at West Elementary school and the Iowa DNR.  The day helps kids to understand the bigger picture of fishing and the outdoors in and around the area.  Students are introduced to fish anatomy, fish species, water quality, habitats, water safety and how to be successful in the outdoors while fishing.  The event would be impossible without the cooperation of the Buchanan County Wildlife Association.  Their property is the host of this event which allows students be be broken down into smaller groups to travel around the property to different classes and to try their luck at the private pond full of crappies, bluegills and bass.  It is a fantastic property and we are very fortunate to be able to utilize the area.  The organization and their many volunteers also provide a chili and fish fry for the kids and volunteers for the lunch time.

It is a fantastic day of kids being in nature, understanding the world around them, gaining appreciation of nature and getting hands on experiences with local experts.  All in all, this event was a "home run"!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Indee High School Bass Club Seminar


Mother Nature finally cooperated for a beautiful night to hold the Indee Bass Club seminar night.  About 15 kids showed up to hone up on their casting skills and get advice for proper technique.  The most popular inquiry being about baitcaster reels.  A proper adjusted baitcaster can precisely drop a jig between two branches only inches apart, or sling a crankbait 40 yards.  However, getting these reels tuned just perfect takes a little knowledge and some adjustments with each lure.  This was a valuable lesson learned tonight by the anglers present.  I am pretty sure you could have heard a pin drop on the grass while kids were tuning their reels.  Kids also had the opportunity to cast, flip and pitch baits at targets, a valuable exercise all students of the game should do on a regular basis.  One thing that helped the students are the recent purchases of QuantumPT reels.  Many of the kids raved at how nice their new reels were.  Sure a few birds' nests here and there, but overall the kids are off to a great start in 2018.  Next up for the club is an "AWAY" tournament at Brinker Lake in Waterloo.
Club Website LINK


Sunday, April 15, 2018

Hot Rod Baits Bass Series Stop #1

Jake Olson brought the big bass
 to the scale, weighing 5.77#

TOURNAMENT RECAP:
Lake Sugema was the first stop on the Hot Rod Baits Bass Series.  This lake is known for its big bass and numerous bass catches it yields day after day.  The tournament was supposed to held on Sunday, the 15th.  However, with the forecast of temperatures in thirties and sleet and snow scheduled for the area it was moved to the day before.  The DNR approved the change and the tournament was set.  Anglers were anxious to get there and start fishing, however no one told the bass.
Bites on Friday were rare, with many anglers reporting nothing for the days fishing.  The excitement turned into big disappointment.  Friday turned out to be a great day to be on the water, it even allowed a few anglers to get some sun on their legs as they wore shorts in the late afternoon under the sunny skies.
Saturday morning came and the sun, the nice temperatures and light wind were all gone.  Saturday turned out to be in the 40's with 25+mph winds, rain for most of the day and like Friday the bass were not cooperative.  Some competitors left early due to the frigid temperatures and staying warm was the main concern of anglers throughout the day.

Of the 17 teams, only 8 teams found at least one keeper on the day.  Like always though, fish were caught and brought to the scales.  Jon and Jeremy King let the way with 3 keepers, weighing 7.86#.  2nd Place went to Kevin Christensen and Keith Donnelly with 2 keepers weighing 6.31#.  Only one other team brought 2 fish to the scales, Chad Albright and Brandon Pettigrew found 2 keepers which landed them in 6th place.  Big Bass honors and 3rd place finishers Jake Olson and McKinley Geiger brought in a 5.77 pound largemouth.  4th Place was another 5 pound + fish.  5.01 to be exact for Chris Calkins and Adam Rundall.  Rounding out the top 5 was James and Zach Cook with a 4.69# fish.  All the weights and more pictures can be found HERE.  The next event will be held at Pool 9 on the Mississippi River on June 9th.
Jon and Jeremy King pick up
where they left off last season
WINNING on the series

THOUGHTS:
It has been a spring to forget in the world of bass fishing.  The weather patterns cannot stay steady and temperatures have been all over the place.  Lake Sugema, being one of the most southern lakes in the state had water temperatures varying from 46-57 degrees.  To put it simply, the bass are really confused as to what to do.  I do know this, from practice day and weighing the fish in, they are eating and look very healthy, which is a good thing.  It is always hard for me to reflect on tournaments like these.  Typically they happen in April, no matter who shows up at the lakes when weather is this unstable it seems as though a few fish are tricked but most of the anglers are left scratching their heads.  I was one of those anglers this weekend, it is a hard pill to swallow but I will take what I can from the days on the water and move forward...after all that is all I can do now.