Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Hot Rod Baits BASS SERIES Stop #1- Mississippi River

Pool 9 Champs: Brett Rudy/Drew Berquist

June 18th: The first stop on the Hot Rod Baits Bass Series landed the 17 teams on Pool 9 of the Mississippi River near Lansing, Iowa.  The water conditions, like most of the time on the big river were changing.  Recently the river was several feet high, and leading up to the event was dropped to around the 9.5ft level, leaving it about a foot higher than normal.  The pool was definitely dirtier than expected when anglers made their way to practice.  Weed growth on the river has not taken off with the recent high water levels leaving the current to flow and disrupt the banks and bottom of the river creating the less than typical cleaner water.  Recent thunderstorms also were around the area midweek causing areas around creek to become turbid as well.  With all this facing the anglers, anticipation of who would catch the biggest five biggest bass amongst the competitors ran high.  A lot of money, bragging rights, and valuable Team of the Year points were on the line and many anglers made the most of their time on the water.

Tournament day greeted the anglers with cool weather, fifty degrees made the morning prep and ride to the first locations a cold one.  However, that didn't last long as the sun popped out and started warming things quickly that day.  It was a great day fish, mild winds all day long and no precipitation.  Anglers had 8.5 hours to find the biggest five bass that they could before bringing them in to the 2:00pm weigh in.  In fifth place at the event was the father/son team of Travis and Cyrus Butters.  They had 4 smallmouth and 1 largemouth bass that weighed 12.29#.  Fourth Place went to Kevin Christensen and Keith Donnelly, they had 1 smallmouth and 4 largemouth bass weighing 13.26#.  Reaching third place was Todd Reed and Dan Sweeney; they caught 2 smallmouth and 3 largemouth that weighed 14.35#.  In the Runner-up spot was Justin Heim and Andrew Paulsen, they had 5 smallmouth weighing in at 15.01#, they also had the Big Bass for the event, a beautiful smallie that weighed 3.25#.  The Champs; Brett Rudy and Drew Berquist had 2 smallmouth and 3 largemouth bass that weighed 15.13#.  It really shows the caliber of anglers in this series with those big weights at the top of the leader board under challenging river conditions.

  • A quick data summary of the weigh-in: 
  • 59 total bass weighed in, average of 3.5 per boat.
  • 32 Largemouth Bass and 27 Smallmouth Bass
  • 144.28 Pounds of fish weighed in and released alive, which averaged 2.45# per bass
  • It took an average of of 2.46# per bass to get "in the money"

Congrats to all the anglers who found fish during this event, especially the 10 teams that weighed in a limit of 5 bass.  The next event is at 12-Mile Lake in the middle of July.  This event will decide the Team of the Year due to the first event being canceled due to weather at Spirit Lake. 

Complete results can be found on the website here:  June 18, 2022: Pool 9 Results

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Do BIGGER Baits Catch Bigger Fish?


There are many myths always being talked about in the world of fishing.  One of them that has always intrigued me is the "bigger baits" concept.  Touring pros, guides and anglers at the top of their game often preach about how bigger baits will catch you bigger fish.  I will side with this hypothesis most of the time, however as any angler knows, on those really tough fishing days, finesse baits must be used to get a bite.  I love experimenting with new baits, different styles and colors.  The past few years I have really started to experiment with bigger baits.  IMA Lures is a company that makes all types of crankbaits and topwater lures.  They have become my go-to hard topwater bait for many reasons; the designs are unique, the colors are spot-on for any situation and the hooks are razor sharp.  They are worth looking into if you have scrolled through their website.

This spring I have been experimenting with the "bigger baits = bigger bass" hypothesis.   One bait in particular that I have put a lot of casts into is the IMA Little Stick 135.  It is a 5.5 inch topwater walking bait, that spits water.  This large bait, weighing in at 1 ounce have caught my biggest fish each and every time on the water this spring when being used.  The action it provides is like no other bait I have ever seen.  The color selection is fantastic, three treble hooks including the back one wrapped in feathers and the hookup to landing ratio has been 100%, which is pretty rare with topwater baits.  This bait is large, needless to say with the title to this blog, and it sure catches the bigger fish.  

One thing to keep in mind with larger baits is your rod/reel/line setup.  When I first experimented with this big bait last year, my setup was not correct at all, it was very hard to throw with accuracy and get a lot of distance from it.  As mentioned it weighs in at an once, you need a to keep that in mind, typical bass baits are 1/4oz or 3/8oz.  This spring I have found the perfect the setup for this bait.  A Quantum SmokeX combo in the 7foot 2inch Med/Hvy Power with a Fast tip.  I spool the Quantum SmokeX baitcast reel with 15 pound monofilament line.  This whole setup seems to fit the bait perfectly, it helps me to make long, accurate casts, the line is very durable, and allows some stretch for those violent bass attacks on the bait.  

Can I say for sure that bigger baits will always catch you bigger fish...no, have I seen it make a difference up against regular sized bass baits, YES it sure has a more than one occasion this spring.  Enjoy the water, and as always let me know if you have any questions on the items talked about on this blog.

Quantum SmokeX Combo