Monday, October 28, 2013

Cedar Valley Anglers of the Year

It is official, by one little point, or one place in a tournament, we (Trent Beier and I) won the Cedar Valley Anglers of the Year award.  At the beginning of the year, it was our goal.  We wanted to fish every tournament together and see where things fell into place.  We did it, and are very happy with our results.  In the five tournaments that counted towards the standings, we got a 4th place, a 3rd place, a 2nd place and finished 1st, two times.  It was great to get the final confirmation that the numbers were in our favor...a job well done!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Last tournament of the 2013 year

The last event of the year took us north to Pool 8 on the Mississippi River in Lacrosse, Wisconsin.  Neither one of us had ever fished this stretch of the river in the fall of the year.  We did some homework, and had some areas that we wanted to focus on.  A few areas were a complete bust, but some panned out to pretty good.  We found some bass close to the main river, and we found some bass back in the backwaters too.  We had some variety and we were feeling pretty good about things that night. 
Saturday night brought in the first big cold-front of the fall.  In fact, frost covered the boat in the morning, and we knew that would change things. 
Sunday brought cold temperatures, and a lot less fish biting.  We caught a few fish in several areas, and managed 3 keepers.  Crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and Hot Rod Baits tubes caught the keepers.  We finished in the middle of pack, and were disappointed. We fished six Cedar Valley Bassmaster club tournaments throughout the year, and the last one ended up being the worst one.  Not what we had planned.  We were also in the running for Anglers of the Year too.  With the standings so close, Jason Eastman, and the team of Andy Sommerfelt and Mike Everett had great seasons too.  We left the event and no one knew who would end up on top of the standings. The long drive home only stirred the emotions and thoughts for the entire year.  Tournament fishing can really test you physically and this drive was testing me mentally too!  Not just about the mediocre tournament finish, or the close angler of the year race, but one again, a good friend and I were going in opposite directions once again.
My partner, Trent Beier and I entered the weekend of October 12th knowing that this would be the last time we would see each other for quite a while.  Trent lives just outside of Chicago, that puts him over 300 miles away, and 5 hours of road time.  Although we might act like brothers when we are together, we rarely see each other away from the Mississippi River.  Fishing is not only a fun thing to do, but it brings a couple high school friends together that would probably only talk on the phone a few times a year without the quest of chasing bass.
This picture was at the first tournament of the year, the first step of a year-long journey.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

October Kid FUN

Yesterday, I took my two kids out in the boat.  It will probably be the last day for a boat trip, considering the future forecast and one more weekend full with tournament action for me.  I figured it was now or next spring...I just had to make it happen on this day.
I'm Sure glad things worked out. We went to a private lake to try and catch some gills and crappies.  It was a bit windy, and with a 5 year old and 3 year old slinging bobbers around, we didn't catch a whole lot.  However, when our time was up, we probably caught about 15 or so, both crappies and bass.  The kids were happy, and that is all that matters.  We kept 4 crappies for a meal, and it added entertainment watching them swim around in the livewell all afternoon too.  They will be tasty, the crappies were running 11-13inches.

I'm not sure where he learned how to hold fish like that!  :-)

Some BIG excitement came when we netted a few bass that we caught on accident.

Friday, October 4, 2013

September Club tournament #5

Last weekend I made my way up to Pool 9 for the next-to-last tournament of the 2013 fishing season.  Trent Beier and I were once again going to tussle with the boys from the Cedar Valley Bass Club.
The water has been pretty normal on Pool 9 all year long, but we knew the water temperatures were unusually high.  Our practice day on Saturday showed us water in the mid-sixties all day long.  Things were NOT normal for the last weekend of September, so the hunt was on for some keeper bass.  I spent about 10 hours on the water probing every area that I could think of that would help us get a limit, which we knew would be like gold on this weekend.  We had found one area early in the morning, and while we dissected it we started to get ideas on what the fish were doing.  I continued the hunt in the northern part of Pool 9 and found numerous fish holding in current and weeds.  While the fish were biting, so was Mother Nature, I was stuck in the rain for about 5 hours on this day.  Not a lot of fun, but at least I was catching bass.  It was important to learn as much as I could about the conditions and placement of the bass.  Current was key for us on this weekend, not too much, and not too little, the bass were definitely holding in specific areas.
With our pre-fishing day behind us, we had a plan to hit the major two areas and haul as much as we could from them.  I had located a few other spots that had some keepers too, but much more scarce than our two primary areas.  At the end of the day, we were feeling pretty good about things.
Tournament morning was say the least.
The "WALL" that you see is the fog as we moved into our first fishing area

Weeds were once again key to our success
We were let go about 7am, and had until 3pm to find 5 keeper bass.  The talk from other anglers before loading the boats knew that we had something going, as many anglers were not very confident in what they found the previous day.  The first area turned out great, the water was still clean, and the bass were biting.  We had a limit and culled a keeper or two in the first 3 hours.  We decided to head north and try the second area.  I knew fairly quickly that things were about to turn sour, and they did.  The water was much dirtier than the day before, and the bait that was jumping were simply gone.  I don't know for sure, but I am thinking the rainstorm and 40-degree temperatures had the bait scattered and the bass too.  We didn't stay long, and we headed back to our first area.  We upgraded a couple more times and ended up with 11.17#, good enough for 2nd Place.  Between the two of us, hundreds of casts were made covering vast areas of weed beds.  Not once did our Quantum Rods/Reels let us down.  We caught our keepers on swimjigs, Optimum Baits Swim Baits, and when things slowed down we turned to Hot Rod Baits.  Big Craws and tubes caught their fair share too.  It was a great weekend of bass fishing, and spending time with a good friend. Our top finish has us tied for 1st place for Team of the Year, with one event left to go, in LaCrosse, Wisconsin later this month.