Tuesday, September 30, 2014

2014 Angler of the Year

A couple of bass that helped me clinch my
7th Tri-County Bass club Anlger of the Year

This past weekend was the finale of bass tournaments for me in 2014.  It was the final event of the Tri-County Bass Club season.  Back in March I made the decision to fish the entire schedule and set a goal for myself to win Angler of the Year.  I hadn't fished many tournaments in the club the past three years, focusing on other events, but I really missed the friends that I have made in the Tri-County Club.  I really enjoyed the tournaments this year and each venue brought on a different challenge from the bass.  
The last event at Pool 9 was no different.  This part of the river is my favorite place to fish for bass.  I had been looking forward to it the whole year.  Going into the last event, I was the overall points leader in the club for Angler of the Year.  I decided to really "swing for the fence" during my practice day on Friday.  We covered a lot of water in northern part of the pool, and found where a few bass were hanging out.  I didn't feel real comfortable with what we caught, but didn't fish one area of the pool that is known to always have a few bass in it during the fall months.  We did check out the water quality there and it was nice, also seeing about 30 boats panfishing on a Friday told me all I needed to know...there were a lot of fish starting to use this backwater area of Pool 9.  Instead of playing it safe, I went to the southern part of the pool in search of some big smallmouth bass on the first day of competition.  That plan never really came together.  I only weighed in 4 keeper bass out of the possible 5 and only one weighed more than two pounds.  It was not what I was hoping for.
Before I even made it back to our motel room, I decided to head to the "old stomping grounds" and play it safe on the second day.  It was the right move to make, and my partner and I both had a limit of 5 bass within a few hours.  It was steady catching throughout the day, and a great way to end the year.
Looking back at this event and all the other times I have competed in tournaments it still amazes me how well my equipment treats me.  My Quantum rods and reels once again have amazed me this year.  They are so durable, and you can quickly tune the reels in to cast a mile if needed.  The life-like swimbaits and unbeatable frogs from Optimum Baits and all the soft plastics from Hot Rod Baits caught almost all of my fish this year.  The confidence I have in these baits are amazing, and they clearly catch fish!
 I ended up in 4th place for the event, but was crowned the Angler of the Year by quite a margin.  Something I set my mind to a long time ago, and I am very proud that I can say I am 7-time Angler of the Year in the Tri-County Bass Club!

I am fortunate to have a reliable Ranger Boat, Yamaha motor and my trustworthy Minn Kota trolling motor.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

September Fun

September is always the beginning to the end of the open-water fishing season.  Bass tournaments are winding down and my brain starts to think about ice fishing.  The past two weekends I spent some time with friends chasing bass at area lakes.  I love fishing bass tournaments, but there is something about just going "Fishing".  Those of you that fish tournaments know where I''m coming from.  Every second of every tournament counts.  It is a rush all day long to try to accomplish the goal of winning the event.  At times, this motivation takes the place of the enjoyment of nature and the act of fishing.  Between tournaments I like to enjoy to meet up with friends, and "just go fishing".
Union Grove Lake was the destination a couple weeks ago
with Dave Jordan.  We had a great time talking fishing, life and the last tournament of the year which is coming up.  We caught a few keeper bass that day along with a couple dozen other bass.  Most fish were eating Hot Rod Baits Tubes, or a finesse worm.  The water color clarity was good for the lake, and the colors of the baits didnt' seem to matter.
That brings me to todays' outing at Hawthorne Lake with friend Jacy Large.  I have ice fished several times with Jacy, but this was the first outing in the boat together.  We dodged a few rain storms on the day, and between them we caught some nice bass.  Today, it seemed like the bass were hanging in the 10-foot range, and they were eating crankbaits pretty well.  A few fish took some slower presentations, but it didn't account for too many of the 20 or so bass we caught this morning.  Looking back at these two trips, it was all about the fun, the act of catching a few dozen bass was just a bonus to the great company!
Next up, the Tri-County Bass Club Classic tournament, which will decide the Angler of the Year at Pool 9 of the Mississippi River.