Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Big Creek Lake Team Extreme Tournament

I love fishing, and I love competition, so when an ice fishing tournament rolls around and it is close by, I just can't stay away.  This past Sunday Team Extreme Ice Fishing, an organization out of Minnesota was hosting a tournament at Big Creek Lake near Des Moines.  Mark Anderson and I have fished this lake the last three years in different tournaments, so it seemed natural that we would fish this particular event.  Mark spent a few days on the ice scouting it out and I spent a long day there myself searching for crappies and bluegills.  The lake is a big one, a deep one, and a clear one, which is also loaded with brush and rocks.  Mark and I had a good game plan going into the tournament day, we had some deeper locations near the old channel, and we had some shallow and deeper brush piles too.  Tournament rules are that each team can weigh in 8 crappies and 8 bluegills.  No other species counted.
While Mark and I only fish a few times a year, it seems like we fish every day together.  We didn't really talk about the "teamwork" for the day, we just fell into our roles.  Mark fired his Strikemaster up at each stop, and before the first hole was cut, I had the Vexilar FLX-28 down the hole checking for the structure we were looking for.  A few quick words back and forth and we were both fishing in no time.  It is always a pleasure fishing with Mark, I think he is one of a very few that might have as much drive on the ice to figure the fish out as I do. 

One of our nicer crappies for the day, 11-incher

Things started off very quickly for us, numerous bluegills and a few crappies found the bucket at our first stop.  A good start to the day, which is important when the temperatures are hanging around the zero mark.  We headed to our second spot, it was good during practice for bluegills, it didn't disappoint.  We caught a few big ones here as well.  Off to third area, one that we didn't catch fish on in practice, but it had all the right things for roaming crappies.  We hooked up two of our largest crappies in this place, we were flying high!  We continued to hit a few other areas and picked up a few fish here and there.  We ended the day at our starting spot, and I was able to pick up one more nice crappie for the team. 
We had 6 really nice crappies, all over 10inches, and then two of them were about 9 inches.  Our 8 bluegills were all about the same, 8.5inches or so. 
We felt pretty good going to the weigh-in, but thought we needed a few more bigger ones.  It was true, we fell a little short.  We had 9.65 pounds, while the winners had 10.5 pounds.  We placed 4th out of the 13 teams competing, good enough for a nice check.  If you like ice fishing, you should check out Team Extreme Ice Fishing, they have 3 more events in Iowa, 3-Mile lake, Rock Creek Lake, and Brushy Creek Lake.  They are ran very well, and the competition is second to none.

While patrolling the ice, Team Extreme organizers snapped this

nice picture of me while I patiently await a bite.

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