Sunday, October 16, 2016

Small Rivers are shining

October is one of those months that brings mixed emotions for anglers around the Midwest.  While a lot of guys have changed their rods/reels in for shotguns and shells, October remains one of my favorite times to fish.  I keep the Quantum Rods/reels at the ready when my schedule allows to hit the water for a few hours.  October brings less boaters, clean water and actively feeding fish.  With a recent purchase of jonboat, and the Wapsi only a few minutes away from my house, this month has been a great month to catch bass on this interior river.  While the jonboat doesn't have all the bells and whistles of my bass boat, the biggest thing I miss are the Talons, however this jonboat allows me to venture anywhere on the wapsi and get to places that a fiberglass bass boat cannot.  Keith Donnelly and I took a trip this afternoon to go on the river to see what we could find.  We found some active smallies and largemouth hitting a variety of baits; spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and Hot Rod Baits tubes.  Today, for the first day of this month, slower baits produced more bass than the fast bait presentations.  I am pretty sure the high pressure had something to do with this.  It was a fantastic day to be on the river, shorts, short sleeves and catching bass in doesn't get any better than that!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Mississippi River in October

One of only two keeper smallmouth
in two days of fishing
There is no doubt that I have been looking forward to October for quite some time.  This summer was an extremely busy one for me, which increased my eagerness for the fall weather to show up.  October also means that the rivers get a jolt of energy and the bass fishing takes off.  I rarely turn down a time to fish a river system, and this time of year I cannot get enough.
This past weekend I was joined by Don Henry for a weekend trip to Pool 9 of the Upper Mississippi.  Don also enjoys the river and was looking forward to our, what now has become a tradition, to fish the river in October.  I have said for many years, that this is the best month to fish the river for sheer numbers of bass and the amount of keepers an angler can catch in a day.  Don and I eagerly drove north to find a much cleaner river than it was a couple short weeks ago.  With the cleaner water, much cooler water and less current there were plenty of bass to keep us busy.
We hit several areas, main channel, sloughs with current and backwaters without current, all had bass biting, but locating the current with "medium" current was the key on this weekend.  As usual, any rocky structure held bass when current was present.  What amazed me the most this weekend, was the bass were very particular on what baits they were going to bite on.  They wanted something slow.  Craws, small jigs, sticks, and especially tubes from Hot Rod Baits did the most damage.  We caught a few on swim jigs, and crankbaits, but not very many.  Dozens and dozens of bass came aboard each day on slower presentations, and on Saturday we were able to catch some nice largemouth bass nearing that 3# mark.  It was great catching high numbers of bass, and having a few big ones tossed in the mix as well.  With the river being up about 3 feet, current was easy to find, almost difficult to get out of.  We didn't struggle with it at any time over the two days, with the Minn Kota Fortrex 101 on the bow and Minn Kota Talons on the back of the boat, fishing was easy.  A quality trolling motor with lasting power and ability to anchor down in current really allows a angler to enjoy fishing, nature and not have to worry about batteries or moving through fishing areas too quickly.  Two great tools that every boat deserves.
I just got back from the big river, but I can't wait to get there again...yes, I'm addicted!

Chilly mornings on the Mississippi
are rewarded with a HOT bite for bass

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Quantum Fishing's NEW reel

I have had the chance to use the latest reel made by Quantum fishing for the past few months.  The SMOKE HD is a baitcasting reel specifically made for heavy duty fishing.  Quantum wasn't going to release it until later this fall, but the bass touring pros just had to have it and thus they sped up the deadline.  Once the pros got this reel in their hands, they just had to more of them.  It is available in 3 different gear ratios and can hold up 180 yards of line.  This is important because the more full your reel is the more line you can gain from each turn of the handle.  The 7.3:1 gear ratio reel can bring in 31 inches of line per rotation of the reel.  Everything about this reel is smooth, and solid, and I really like the new handle that Quantum has added on this model.  It is slightly longer than previous handles and has over-sized handle grips.  It features the tension knob, and the ACS externally-adjustable cast control dial for fine tuning the reel and weighs less than 7 ounces.  This reel is one that you will want to add to your arsenal!  Click on over to the Quantum website to see more details and some short videos by professional anglers.
The NEW Quantum SMOKE HD is an
awesome reel for a variety of fishing presentations.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Last Tournament of the year

This past weekend I participated in the long awaited end of the season tournament held by the Tri-County Bass Club.  It wasn't just the fishing, or my area to fish, Pool was the company that I knew I would be hanging around with for the weekend.  Since moving out of Marshalltown I see less and less of those friends/club members and this tournament would once again bring us together.  It was nice to meet up with them once again and share a meal and swap some fishing stories.  However the tournament did take center stage Saturday morning and it was a great day to fish.  Air temperatures in the 70's and water temps in the low 60's, however Mother Nature rose the river over 2 feet in less than 2 days prior to the event.  Pool 9 looked like the Hershey's factory had leaked into it.

In my 20+ years of fishing the Mississippi River I have never seen areas of the river as muddy as it was this past weekend.  Thursday evening the river rose 12 inches in less than 12 hours...that is an unreal amount of water in such a small amount of time, thus causing the river to turn into what looked like chocolate milk.  My partner and I searched the northern part of Pool 9 the entire day on Saturday, not one bite...this was the first time in my life I believe to not even get a bite while fishing for an entire day.  Frustrating didn't even describe my feelings.  After talking with friends, I regrouped and decided to head to Pool 10 for Sunday's action, I just couldn't stay in pool 9 and beat my head in again.  The 30-mile trip to Pool 10 was worth it in the end.  It was a relief to find some cleaner water and put the Quantum PT rods and reels to work.  I caught every fish on Sunday using the GreenPumpkin/Blue tube from Hot Rod Baits.  The bass were liking it, around a dozen or so in total, and I even managed to flip 3 keepers in the boat before heading back to the weigh-in.  Just like all year long, the Minn Kota TALONS kept me in place and helped me to catch more fish.  The shallow water anchors continue to impress me, and each angler that gets to see them in action first hand.  Those three keepers ended up catching me 3rd place and a sense of satisfaction after a disastrous day on Saturday.  It ended up being a great weekend on the river, partly due to those 3 green fish I caught on Sunday, but mostly being the outdoors in a beautiful part of the state and catching up with the Marshalltown boys.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Hot Rod Baits Bass Series Final Event of 2016

This past weekend was the finale of the Hot Rod Baits Bass Series.  This series consists of 3 events scattered throughout Iowa to test tournament anglers against each other.  The Series is an "all or nothing" series where anglers pay upfront for all 3 events securing the field of anglers before the first event.  It creates a club type of atmosphere which most guys really enjoy.  While we are all after the top prize at each event many anglers share knowledge, baits and ideas with each other, making the experience even more valuable to participants.
This year, Brian Bowles joined me once again on the series and we had a great time.  We had a top 5 at Little River Lake, an event to forget at Belva Deer, and finished in the middle of the pack at Pool 9.  The last event was one that we looked forward to all year.  We both love to fish the Mississippi River and we tend to catch them pretty good up there.  We had two days to practice and we covered a lot of water during those times.  The river high and the current was swift, but after 10 hours of fishing the current each day, we were worn out, but my boat was still ready for more thanks to the Minn Kota Fortrex 101 and Talons.  These two pieces of equipment on the boat are so valuable when fishing, especially in current.  We were able to hold in the main channel current while searching for smallies and saved our batteries while the Talons were anchoring us down.  Both make fishing much easier and more enjoyable.
We fished many different areas throughout Pool 9, but really focused in on areas with a lot of current.  Anytime we fished current we saw minnows and shad, so this told us that bass would be close by.  After those two practice days, we figured we had enough good places to compete in the tournament, however knew we would be short on the bigger fish to vault us to the top.  We tried many baits on our Quantum Rods and Reels, but the best were jigs with large chunks and Hot Rod Baits Big Craws.  We finished out the event in 7th place, which was less than 2 pounds from 3rd place, and were disappointed.  However, after dozens of largemouth and smallmouth bass caught, many laughs, a few stories to pass the slow times and some fantastic Mississippi River Scenery, nothing was lost on this three day adventure with a good friend!  Can't wait to see what this series has to offer in 2017!

Full Results of event HERE

Sunday, July 10, 2016

2016 Brushy Creek 4-Man Tournament

For the past 12 years the Tri-County Bass Club has hosted a 4-man bass tournament at Brushy Creek.  This was an idea I had back in 2005 when I saw the neighboring state of Minnesota conducting similar events.  I am always willing to try different things, and the idea has caught on, this year it brought anglers from Nebraska, Missouri and Texas.  This is one of the biggest tournaments of the entire year at Brushy Creek each and every year.  I, along with the Tri-County Bass Club are pretty proud of that fact.  Needless to say a lot of planning goes into an event like this before the event takes place.  I would like to publicly thank Don Henry for the hours of work behind the scene he does each year, Zach Maxfield and Doug Chaloupek for helping each year with boat inspections and weigh-ins, and finally Dennis Meyer who did a fantastic job at being the weigh master at this years event.  As a group we make sure every angler that enters these events has a fair and equal shot at collecting prize money.  Speaking of that, this club fundraiser pays out over 80% each year back to the participants for their great catches.

The team I participate on each year has stayed constant that past several years; Doug Chaloupek, Dave Jordan, Don Henry and myself, all from Marshalltown.  However, this year Dave Jordan had to sit things out as he fights an illness, so Zach Maxfield stepped in for him.  We have a great time with each other, and even though we are there to "work" the event we don't let that get in the way of fishing too much.  As a group this year we caught 7 keeper bass, Don and Doug had a couple bass as they fished right up to the last few minutes of the event.  Zach and I managed a limit and culled a couple to bring in 14.95#.  Zach and I both love throwing our Quantum PT rods and reels and today, they performed flawlessly once again.  We caught our two biggest bass on an Optimum Baits Furbit Frog in a key area of grass.  Two bites was all, but those two bites turned into about 8 pounds of bass!  Other bass that day fell to the Hot Rod Baits "Jelly" Stickbait.  As a 4-Man team we weighed 18.74 pounds for our 7 keepers, this put us in 7th place our of 16 teams.  Not what we had hoped for, but all in all it was a great day of fishing, and the tournament, with the help of many club volunteers went off without a hitch!   Full results can be found here: Tri-County Bass Club

Brushy Creek Lake limit of 14.95#, 4.51 big bass

Monday, June 27, 2016

Wednesday Night fun

The Wednesday Fishing League (WFL) was started many years ago to gather friends at local lakes on a weekday to have some fun and compete in a friendly bass tournament.  I created these events well over a decade ago and have created and made many friendships through them.  In the past 6, 7 or 8 years (time flies when you have fun) my same partner for these events has been Don Henry.  We have had a lot of good times, our fair share of successes and head-scratching nights too.  No matter what mood the bass are in on that particular night, we make the most of it and have a good time.  This past Wednesday was no different, except we both know that our fishing time together at these events are about to end.
With my upcoming move to Independence I will be stepping aside or course, but the times spent with Don, talking about everything under the sun and catching a few bass will always be remembered.  This past Wednesday was fantastic, we figured out the bass that night at Rock Creek Lake.  Presenting Hot Rod Baits tubes and big craws with a 1/8oz sinker was the ticket.  Fish were located much more shallow than we had figured, but the ones we caught were stuffed with food in their big bellies telling us we found feeding fish.  We ended up with 4 keepers that night, which told us we figured out the bass.  Typically when you can do this in a 3 hour tournament you will place high, that night was a win for us on so many levels!