Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Old School

I was born and raised in Independence, IA and lived there for about 22 years.  I then moved to Marshalltown for the next 17 years and finally made it back to Independence with my family last summer.  In the world of fishing, moving to Marshalltown taught me 2 things; first, how to fish lakes/deep water and secondly, I really love river fishing.

Last summer was a blur with moving and adjusting to a new job, so fishing was put on the back burner.  However, this summer things are back to normal.  The past couple of weeks I have had the chance to "go old school" and fish the Wapsi a number of times in my river boat. (a 14-ft flat bottom rigged up much like a bass boat suited for the shallow waters of the Wapsi)  On my latest trip on the Wapsi, it wasn't the fancy Ranger boat, but instead I chose to use the river boat.  Things are just easier and more accessible with this boat.  Mid-way through the morning fishing trip while driving to another area of the river at a top speed of about 20 mph, I thought to myself...this is exactly what I was doing about 25 years ago.  At that time I was in my dads flat bottom boat with no-doubt a spinnerbait and a Texas-rigged plastic.  On this day, my own "fancy" flat bottom boat, a better trolling motor, but the same 2 baits tied on, a spinnerbait and a Texas-rigged plastic.

There was no doubt my mind wondered that morning, back to the good 'ol days of mowing lawns, playing baseball and catching fish out of the Wapsi.  Today wasn't much different, tossing baits around the lay down logs and rocky banks...shoot I'm still in love with the same girl I was back in those good 'ol days.  Thus, to put it simply, the Wapsi has always been home for me and I am once again enjoying the time I have with this beautiful little river.

As for the fishing, it has changed a lot the last 20 years.  The entire river system has changed a lot in the last 20 years.  Some areas that used to be great are now a sandbar, areas I have never fished have become my go=to areas now.  Rivers change daily, and if anglers put in the time to learn the current and where these fish locate any small river in the state will allow you to catch a variety of fish, especially bass!  It has been a great homecoming, and I am loving getting out on the Wapsi once again and getting some "old school" fishing in.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Hot Rod Baits Bass Series Stop #2

This past weekend my partner Brian Bowles and I headed north to figure out the bass on Pool 9 of the Mississippi River.  It was our second tournament of the three tournament series.  The first tournament was a disaster...and we did everything we could not to repeat that.  We put in two days of practice on the water which led us to plenty of fish, both smallmouth and largemouth.  After the two days we decided to focus our efforts on the south end of the pool and if that didn't pan out, we would run north for a backup plan.  Throughout the 3 days of fishing we caught fish on just about every lure we threw; jigs, tubes, sticks, swim jigs, spinnerbaits, craws and crankbaits.   Ounce you found the bass, they didn't seem to be very picky as to what they ate.  As always some baits worked better than others to pick up the larger fish.  The biggest of the weekend came on an Optimum Baits Ima square bill crankbait.  Bouncing this bait off the rocky banks was a great way to fool the bass, this big "brownie" loved it (pic).  We ended up fishing 4 areas Sunday, all of which contained rocks.  The bass were feeding up on crawdads, so most of our baits mimicked them once the tournament day rolled around.
Throwing a Hot Rod Baits Wig's Jig with a Hot Rod Baits chunk was the main bait for me Sunday.  Brian was throwing the craw bait from Hot Rod Baits in various colors.  We were both using 7-foot 6-inch Quantum PT flipping sticks with PT reels.  High speed reels were important today as the fish would take the bait and start swimming, you really had some line to reel in as you set the hook.  The tournament went well for us and we knew as noon rolled around that we were sitting pretty good.  However, we both knew that we needed that "one more big one" to help move up in the standings.  We finished with 17.12# of largemouth bass and ended up in 4th place out of the 20 team field which spans all over Iowa and into Nebraska.  The complete results can be seen HERE.  A big thanks to all competitors at Pool 9, some impressive numbers for the river; 108 bass were weighed in for an average weight of 2.44#.  The best fishery in the state proved itself once again!

A huge thank you to these great companies; Quantum Rods/Reels, Hot Rod Baits, Optimum Baits, Vexilar Electronics, TimReed State Farm Insurance/Bank, Bill's Pizza, and The Iowa Sportsman Magazine.  Let me know if you and questions about these fine companies and the products/services they provide or click their link on the side of the page.