Tuesday, May 21, 2013

First River Tournament of the Year

3.00# Smallmouth on Pool 9

The Cedar Valley Bass Club held their first event of the year this past Sunday, and I was so glad to be back on the Mississippi River and away from the lakes of Iowa.  I just can't fish the big river enough, and it was too long of a wait.  The river has been high for quite some time, and reports were saying the bite was tough. We knew that coming in, the big ones just haven't shown up yet with any consistency. We figured 10-11# would put us in the top 5. My partner (who had enough of Pool 10 this year)practiced on Friday and found a few fish in one area above the marina in Lansing. My plan on Saturday was to find some other areas in the bottom 1/3 of Lansing. Brian Bowles was in the area for the weekend and joined me, we covered a lot of water in 10 hours.
We found a few fish here an there, and had one area full of bass, and then several different little spots patterned out in Harpers Slough. I was feeling good, knowing we could get 11# or so in the areas I fished.

Tournament day:
We locked up to my partner's spot above the marina. no keepers in the first hour, then it starts to rain. I grab a buzzbait from him, and get a keeper smallie in the boat. no more keepers for the next 1.5hours...yep, 2.5 hours and 1 little keeper to show. I was chomping to get out of there after about 30 minutes, but he was confident we could get them up there. After he finally gave up, we headed off to hit some areas I fished the day before. Went to the rock box and immediately caught a 3.00 smallie on a
Hot Rod Baits Big Craw! A lot of current there, but no other fish. We left in 15minutes or so. 
Off to the "village", that is what I call it anyway. Totally different area, 3 foot of no current and some weeds starting to grow. We caught about 40 fish in here the next few hours. Swim jigs, and chatterbaits were the winning ticket. Filled out a limit of 5 with 2#-2.25# ers and culled a few too. We were having a blast!
In the meantime the river was getting pretty rough. We rolled towards the lock at about 12:30. (2:30 weigh-in) Big rollers greeted us, and the ride was nothing but rough. My partner wanted to try one more area. The river was dropping fast and we discussed how a main channel spot which I checked out the previous day might be just "perfect" today. Well, it was far from perfect, but one bite and one fish later, my partner put a 2.75# in the boat, a nice 1/2 pound upgrade before locking through. We couldn't run to my areas down in Harpers Slough, we just ran out of time.  We didn't throw too many baits at the fish today, but each time on the water during tournament action, I am sure glad I have my Quantum Rods and Reels working for me.  They are smoothest, lightest and most dependable fishing gear out there.
We made it through the lock, stopped at a few other Pool 10 areas with no bites and back to the weigh-in.
We ended up with 12.00# to win, second was about 11.6#, third was 11.4# and then went down pretty fast. Most teams did not get a limit. This was the Cedar Valley Bass Club out of Waterloo/Cedar Falls.
A great weekend, which reminded me that choices and decisions on the tournament day often count for your successes and failures. 
Myself and Trent Beier with two of our biggest for the day.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Hot Rod Baits Bass Series

Hot Rod Baits has been holding bass tournaments for a few years now.  This year there are 3 stops on the circuit, Lake MacBride, Rock Creek Lake and Pool 10 of the Mississippi River.  The first event was a disaster, with only 2 bass being weighed in out of 34 anglers, that was April, now on to the second event.

Event #2-
Rock Creek lake, near Grinnell.
CONDITIONS- water temperture dropped about 5 degrees in 1.5 days. Wind was 20-45mph, right down the middle of the lake. Water clarity was really good for this lake (about 10-inches)

My partner and I had a decent game plan, but knowing Rock Creek for the last 15 years, we both knew that things don't always add up at this lake. There is a decent population of bass in the lake, and the average size is better than most lakes in Iowa...IMO. Did I mention that the air temp dropped about 40 degrees in that 1.5 days too? cry

So we thought we better fish off the bank a while to see if the fish up shallow were off a bit. We didn't find much with that hypothesis, so up shallow we went about 10am. Almost immediately we start hooking a few fish. Then BOOM, my partner loads up on a big'un with a black/red Big Craw. We were in 2 foot of water and he had him coming to the boat at the surface. I had the net ready...you know where this is going...and about 5 foot from the net, his line breaks. cry It was 4+ pounds no doubt.  Those things happen to the best in the world, you just keep fishing.

We stayed shallow a while, we went deep again, we fished out of the wind and we fished in the most windy areas of the lake too. The MinnKota 101 Fortrex sure lets you do this easily, as long as you can balance the waves.

We never hooked a fish all day that we put on the board, a dozen of 12-13 inchers is all we could manage, and that big'un, and one more that was coming on a crankbait...but got off. It wasn't our day.

Winners said all their bass came on spinnerbaits, and my buddies got second and big bass with spinnerbaits too (caught about 30 bass all day). We never had a bite on spinnerbaits all day (it was a spinnerbait day, which we kept saying over and over).

Come to find out, my buddies were using a natural color spinnerbaits (bluegill in color). Hmmmm, I guess I should have changed my white spinnerbait, sometimes it can be the smallest of adjustments. We had our minds on the BIG picture of the lake, and didn't really think about a subtle change that we could have made. Live and learn, and that is why I think I love and HATE tournaments at times. You can learn a lot, but you can sure get served humble pie too!

I wish I had a picture to share...maybe my next tournament will be better.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

April 27th- Kid fishing

The spring weather finally got nice enough to take the kids out fishing.  This was their first time out since ice fishing.  They were really excited to say the least. 
We hit up a local farm pond, which is so ideal for kids.  The grass is mowed, the banks are slowly slopped and the pond is full of bluegills and crappies. 
A couple spincast rods, a few dozen red worms and we were off to the pond.  Crappies were the catch of the day, accounting for 3/4 of all the fish caught.  Some gills made it to shore and one little bass which got the kids excited. 
It was a great few hours, but the little ones really got tired, and we had to cut the trip short.  All in all though, it was fun and they got to enjoy the outdoors!