Sunday, June 22, 2014

Fine Tuning

The sport of bass fishing takes up about 7 months of the year for me.  From April 1st to the end of October, fishing for bass is on my brain constantly.  Whether it is thinking about different lakes, what the weather might be doing to the fish, or the water levels of lakes and rivers, bass fishing is on my brain.  No matter how long I think or study up on these topics and dozens more, nothing beats getting out there on the water and fine tuning things.
I took the opportunity between family obligations and bass tournaments to do just that this past Friday.  The word "practice" gets used quite often in the realm of bass fishing and tournaments.  Practice can mean a couple things, first, the actual idea of going out to the lake or river and finding fish and trying to figure out where they are living and feeding for a particular day.  Secondly, practice can mean actually using a specific technique and "fine tuning" your equipment and your skills to use that technique properly.  It is just like taking batting practice or going to the driving range to work that slice out of your driver.
This past fishing trip had the bass holding off-shore along a weedline.  Normally bass can't resist a crankbait in this situation, but on this particular day they wouldn't touch one.  The fish were not very aggressive and wanted slower baits, this gave me some practice time on the drop-shot rig.  This is a rig that takes a lot of practice to get the "hang" of it.  In my experience with this rig, the bites are soft, and most of the time are not actually felt, but seen.  Something that takes a lot of focus and concentration.  I was glad that the bass were in a mood that allowed me to work on this technique, as a tournament angler, you just never know what technique you will need to bring in those keepers!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Family FUN

This past week I arranged for us to stay at a cabin at Hickory Hills Park for a couple nights.  It was the first adventure in staying overnight which didn't include a relatives house or a hotel, so I/my wife weren't quite sure what to expect.  What we found out is that a 3 and 6 year old can grow up fast and they loved it!  The park is only about an hour away from home, so an emergency bail-out and trip home wasn't out of the question.  This was never even though of during our 3-day stay, I guess we were too busy having fun in NATURE!

The cabins were fully equipped, like many of the state and county parks in Iowa and makes for a great time to be close to the outdoors, but still have those nice conveniences of home.  With 2 small kids, this was a great option.  We kept things simple with food items, spent most of the time outside on the boat or walking around the park.  The weather was great, about 70 degrees partly sunny, we couldn't have really asked for more.  We were able to catch quite a few bass and bluegills on our trips to the lake, and nature was everywhere, something my kids are always on the lookout for.

Nice scenery all around the cabin

This small trip just goes to show that you don't need to go to extremes to have a great time with kids.  Keeping things simple and keeping them active was the only thing needed, and again, we were lucky with the great weather.
If you want more information about this lake, just check out the Black Hawk County Conservation webpage.  It's a great little gem, found right here in middle part of Iowa.

All the basic necessities of home to make staying a breeze

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Hot Rod Baits Bass Series #2

This fish was found drop-shotting
on practice day, something that
became part of our "Plan B"
June 1st brought the second stop of the Hot Rod Baits Bass Series.  Partner, Brian Bowles and I were pretty confident after our practice day that we could bring in a limit of 6 keeper bass.  We found fish relating to the flooded grass on a variety of baits and colors.  Normally, when this occurs things will stay true the following day.
Tournament day was good, and our first move of fishing buzzbaits got two keepers in the livewell very quickly.  This is always a nice thing to happen in the first hour of a tournament.  With 19 boats in the event, we knew we had to keep improving throughout the day.  Slowly, but surely we made our way around the lake to our most productive areas on Saturday and had our limit in a few more hours.  As the sun got high, and the fish seemed to disappear from the shallows, we went with plan B.  We had caught some nice fish flipping old stumps in about 6-8 feet of water.  This was always in the back of our head on tournament day, and we decided to go to Plan B with about an hour and half left of the day.  We ended up getting a few more keepers, including one that Brian caught on nearly the last cast of the day.  We ended up with 15.70 pounds, and good enough for 3rd place.  Not only did we finish with a nice pay check, but earned some valuable points for the Team of the Year race.  We moved all the way up to 4th place, with only one event left to go. Neither one of us can wait for the final tournament at Pool 9, a place where we both love to fish!