Tuesday, July 20, 2021

My Snatcher Fishtrap Lake Tourney Recap (July 17th)


2/14oz R2S Bully Wa 2 (Little Allen)

What my scale said
Conditions: 65-86℉, Sunny to MC and hazy, 0-4mph E
Water Temps: High 70''s

The Day: We started a little way to the South of Access Bay, just outside of some slop. I thought I had something pick up my jig under a dock, but when I set the hook, there was nothing there. We ended up working a weedline outside of the slop bay, and Mick got his first bass on a craw tube. From there, we ran to a point with a hazard marker buoy. Stuff was getting busted on the top, and I got several dinks on Bubble Walker. Mick got a quality fish on the craw tube. We then ran to a weedline that I had fished before in a previous tournament; Mick was unaware of that fact at the time we arrived. I got a pike on a black/blue Hack Attack Jig and then got the skunk out of the boat on my very next cast. We then went to the small island outside of Access Bay. Mick got his third keeper on a craw tube, and I had my Hack Attack Jig get a bit off. Mick caught a long skinny pike. I think we then went back to the point with the hazard buoy working some docks before we got to the point then heading north. I got my second fish on a Neko Rigged Yum Dinger. We moved around to some other spots catching a few dinks under 12-inches.  It was turning into a long day. With an hour left, we went back to our starting spot. Fortunately, Mick came in close enough to the slop that I was able to make some casts to it, and sure enough, my big of the day inhaled my frog. So we worked the junk. Mick lost two bites, and I got #4, pitching the Hack Jig to the pad edge. We reworked the small bay a second time, quickly not getting any bites. With about 20-minutes to go, we ran to the Access Bay, and Mick picked up two more keepers, and I got my last fish on the Bully Wa 2 Frog with 5-minutes left to go. And just like that, time was up. If we had 15 more minutes, I think chances are pretty good; both of us would have caught our limits.

Results: The last-minute rally ended up giving both Mick and me the same weight for the day at 10lbs 9ozs. I won the tiebreaker and finished in 8th Place. Chuck Steinbauer got back into the Winners Circle with 18/12, and he had the 4/04 Lunker. Darren got 2nd with 17/7, and The Hammer got 3rd with 16/3. Todd Lewis won his first Co-angler Challenge. 

My Thoughts: For the second time this year, I was able to rally in the final hour to save myself from a disastrous finish. The lake was fishing tough with only 7 limits boated. It is pretty amazing to me that I was unable to get more than 1 keeper on the Neko Rig for as much as I threw it. I had little fish picking at it constantly, and I caught several dinks. One more keeper, and I would have beaten Dennis. Instead of my season being trash, this result gives me some hope for finishing in the Top 10 for the year; currently, I sit in a tie for 14th.


Saturday, July 17, 2021

Congrats To Seth Feider 2021 Bassmaster Angler of the Year


Fellow Bloomington Kennedy Alum Seth Feider capped off a phenomenal season-winning Bassmaster Angler of the Year yesterday, one of the most coveted crowns in the bass fishing world. 

Friday, July 16, 2021

Snatcher's at Fishtrap, My Plan and Rods


The Plan: I didn't get out and pre-fish and my boater Mick reported the fishing for him was slow, but quality fish. My guess is it all comes down to whether or not the fish are turned on or not. The weather will be during a warm stable trend. The fishing could be good or it could be poor.

The Rods I'm Bringing: 
7'4" H Tatula (Frog, Jig)
7'2" H Tatula (Craw Tube)
7'2" MH Tatula (Topwater, Chatterjig)
7'H Avid (Worm)
7'H Mojo (Jig)
6'8" M Avid (Topwater)
6'6" MH Loomis 783GLX (Jig)

6'6" MH Veritas (Dock, Neko)

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Feeling Good About the End to Fantasy Fishing 2021

3rd Place Result at Lake Champlain

My Fantasy Fishing Season was a trainwreck to start, but I have righted the ship. My result at Champlain got me into the black over at BBC and I'm feeling good about my line-up for the St. Lawrence this week.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

My Snatcher North Long Recap

Smitty takes the win with 18/07

2/09 Z-Man TRD Hogz
2nd Fish In the Boat for Nate wasn't a keeper either

What my scale says my fish weighed.

Conditions: Mid 60's to 70's, MC to Cloudy, 3-8mph NE

The Day: Nate kicked my butt yet again, and I couldn't even get a freakin limit, the end.

We were the last boat out and headed South on the main lake. We were fishing along a weedline. Nate put a dink in the boat first. Then he got the bullhead, which we both got a laugh over. Shortly after that, Nate got his first keeper of the day.  My first keeper bit a few minutes later on a black/blue jig and hit on the fall. I think Nate put another keeper in the boat. I lost something at the boat when I wasn't able to put my reel into free spool in time when a big fish went on a power run, and the hook popped out of the fish's mouth. 80% chance it was a big pike, but I never saw the fish, to be sure. It bit the jig as I was reeling it back to the boat. Nate was getting his bites on a craw tube, so I switched to that. I threw a long cast out and got bit by a good fish. 3/4 of the way back in, it spits the hook.  My hook point was still Texposed and in the plastic. That clued Nate into what the fish were doing, and he started catching them pretty quickly.  I got my second fish on the black/blue jig sometime after Nate started culling.

I think we left the first spot around 9AM. Nate continued to cull with a better quality fish as we bobbed up and down on the waves. I got my big fish on TRD creature. I don't remember if I got my second bass at the second stop or the 3rd. Nate continued to upgrade at our third spot. I was getting bites on a craw tube, but the fish would let go and not come back, and I pooched several hooksets as well, very frustrating. At 10:30, I was in good shape with 4 fish in the boat and a 2lb plus average. I think Nate had his final fish by Noon. My final fish came on a craw tube and was the only double we had all day. I missed a couple of other opportunities to double up. We stopped getting bites on the main lake, so with two hours left, we headed to 371. Nate caught 6 or 7 that didn't help in 371. I missed a couple of bites, and the frustration got to me as I messed around with my tackle rather than keeping the craw tube in the water. Neither of the two tricks I had up my sleeve got me a bite. 

Time was up, and I was a fish short of a limit. So frustrating.

Results: My fish weighed 9/7 which put me third from the bottom in 20th Place. Nate had 16/14, which put him in 5th. Jim Smith took the win with 18/07. Lunker went to Bill Ludenia with a 4lber, and he took second with 18lbs. And Chuck Steinbauer beat out Dennis on the tiebreaker to take 3rd Place.

So what went wrong: 
My tackle prep was what cost me in this one, I'm pretty sure. The 17lb line I was Texas rigging with was probably costing me bites. I did have a rod with 12lb Flouro in the boat, but it wasn't spooled with enough line. It was the rod I was using for the black/blue jig. It's a reel I used last year for dock skipping, and I didn't catch the fact that I needed more line. When I was casting the jig, I kept getting hung up on the knot to the backing. I should have re-spooled the reel or just brought another rod combo; plenty of room in Nate's Ranger.

My lower back was stiff, which affected my hooksets, and for some reason, my upper back started bothering me around 10am. I haven't had upper back issues this year and for it to happen when I was fishing bottom contact baits is just unexplainable.

My sense of feel was just off. I pulled the craw tube away from multiple fish.

My Final Thoughts: It just wasn't my day. The odds are pretty good this will be my throw-away tournament and worst finish for the year, on to Fishtrap.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Snatchers at North Long, My Plan and Rods

 This will be only the 3rd actual Baxter Bass Snatcher Tournament I have fished on North Long Lake. The first was in July my rookie year of 2008; I fished for the first time with Chuck Steinbauer in that tournament. I missed the North Long Tournament in 2012 due to back issues. In 2017 every move Checkbook and I made didn't work and I came in with one fish.  I have fished a couple of "Mini-Bucks", but those are in late Fall. I drew Snatcher Nate who has a good track record on the lake.  We are bound to run into something. We drew the last boat out. 

My Goals:
Get a limit of at least 12lbs
Finish in the top 12/Top Half of the field. (If history is an indication 12lbs is a pretty good bet) 
Win that Co-Angler and Lunker Cash

Rods I'm Bringing:
7'4" H Tatula (Swimbait, Swim Jig, Frog)
7'4" H Zillion (Jig)
7'H Avid (Craw Tube)
7'2" MH Tatula (Chatterbaits, Topwater)
6'8"M Avid (Topwater)
6'6"MH GLX783 (Jig)

Spinning Gear:
6'6" MH Abu Veritas (Neko)
6'6" IMX 782 (Ned Rig)

Monday, June 14, 2021

Congrats To Hank Cherry On Winning Back to Back Bassmaster Classic's

 I have been really impressed with Hank Cherry the individual this season. He is well-spoken and seems to
be an all-around class guy. His fishing speaks for itself. He is a shark!

Congrats to you and your family!

Saturday, June 12, 2021

2021 Bassmaster Classic Started Yesterday, Huh?


I was kind of asleep at the wheel on Day 1 of the 2021 Bassmaster Classic. I didn't even think about it until I unloaded the boat from the night's fishing trip. However, I did check my Fantasy Squads results before the day was out, just barely.
With a great Day 2, my line-up stands a chance. But, unfortunately, day 2 has not been good for me yet this year.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Panic Button: Pushed On 2021 Frog Fishing Platte/Sullivan

 Sure, I caught that pig the other night, but I've taken 3 trips since then. Instead of fishing improving or staying about the same, it has gotten tougher each time out. And last night, I only got one hit in two hours, a 13.5-incher that I caught. I think the low water and hot weather have driven the fish out of the froggy shallow cover.  The stuff should be alive with activity, but I covered water on both Tuesday and Wednesday night trips because I just wasn't finding much for signs of life. Thankfully, it looks like today is the last of the 90-degree plus heat for at least a couple of days. It would be really nice if a gully washer of a thunderstorm parked over Platte/Sullivan on Friday. Tough fishing when the bite is traditionally pretty good has me concerned.

Sunday, June 06, 2021

Bass Snatchers Tournament At Whitefish Chain June 5th


Tuma's 27lbs 4oz is a new Snatcher Record
3/5 Yum Dinger (Gum/Orange)

14/2 My Best Ever Whitefish Weight

13.55lbs What My Scale Says I Had

Boater: Dwight "Hammer" Hammermeister (3rd Time I've fished a tournament with him)
Conditions: 72-96℉, Mostly Sunny to Mostly Cloudy, 0-4mph SW

The Day: We started off on the Southside of Lower Whitefish, where smallmouth spawn and Dwight had a bunch of beds GPSed. . Dennis was sitting there when we arrived. A good sign. About 10 minutes in, Dwight had his first smallie in the boat. He was sight fishing. I started throwing topwater because there was some activity on the surface, but I didn't get a hit.  Dwight put 3 or 4 smallmouths in the boat pretty quickly, and Dennis had his limit in the first half hour. I got a hit from something small on the 
Crackle Jerk Shad that came off about halfway back to the boat. I put on a Bluegill KVD Jerkbait and got a couple pike and a perch on that. After about an hour, Dennis left. Dwight got his fourth and fifth fish off of some deeper beds, both quality fish. I eventually tried throwing a Ned rig to bedders but didn't have any takers. The wind put a ripple on the water, so we got out of there around 9AM. We went to a nearby point where we could see largemouth swimming around, but I couldn't get any to bite other than one small fish that I threw back that I didn't bother to measure even though it was close to 12-inches.

By 9:30, we headed to Berth to fish docks.  We spent an hour and a half in there with only one fish for Dwight to show for it. We headed to the Pike River Inlet area, and I finally got on the board with a quality frog fish, but that was the only bite we got there. So next, we headed up to Arrowhead to see if maybe the slop was going there. Dwight got a frog fish in the first 10 minutes, then nothing. I switched to a swimbait and got a 13-incher on that, but that was the only bite. I tried a swim jig and missed a bite that felt pikey on that. With two hours left, we headed back to the starting spot in the hopes that Dwight could upgrade with a smallie and contend for the win. However,  Dennis was sitting there again. We went to a nearby secondary area. I ended up picking a solid 2.5lb largie off of a dock just letting the Dinger sit on the bottom. With that clue, we headed to some nearby isolated docks in search of my limit. I lost a really good fish right away but quickly rebounded with a two-pounder and two more keepers.   I ended up culling twice, including one off the last dock we fished in a Hay Lake.

Results: My fish weighed 14/2 which put me in 13th Place. Dwight had 19/1, which was only good enough for 8th😲. Keith Tuma blew the field away and the previous Club Record Bag taking 1st Place with 27/4 and Lunker with a 5/3 smallmouth. Dennis got 2nd with 21/10. I guess the key for Keith recognized that the big smallies were still pre-spawn; thus, he was looking for cruisers, not bedders. His Co-Angler Dave Smith also had a 20lb bag.

My Thoughts: I came in expecting the fishing to be pretty good, and it was, for the most part. I did, after all, catch one of my biggest bags as a Snatcher and my biggest of the 6 tournaments I've fished there. It just took me forever to get on the same page as the fish, which was frustrating. Thankfully the heat really didn't bother me, and I was comfortable all day.

Congrats to Tuma; that was impressive. 
Bonus Picture

Official Results

Friday, June 04, 2021

Snatchers at Whitefish, My Plan and Rods


Will Whitefish be on fire tomorrow?  It is going to be hot temperature-wise for sure. I wasn't able to get over there to pre-fish. Hammer, my boater, got out there twice. We will spend time going after large and smalls. If the smalls are chewing, it will probably take huge bags to compete, just like the last time we were there in 2019 when Chuck Fields set the Snatcher All-Time Record with 23lbs of fish. Hopefully, Dwight and I will hold up in the heat, and fishing is good. 

Rods I'm bringing:
7'4" H Tatula (Swimbait, Swim Jig)
7'H Mojo (Craw Tube/Jig)
7'2" MH Tatula (Chatterbaits)
7'M Avid (Swim Jig, Spinnerbait, swimbait)
6'8"M Avid (Topwater, Jerkbait)

Spinning Gear:
6'6" MH Abu Veritas (Flukes, Neko)
6'6" IMX 782 (Ned Rig)

Tuesday, June 01, 2021

2021 May Recap

 And just like that, Memorial Day is over, as is the month of May in 2021. The month started with so much promise due to the cold month of April. I thought the fishing was just going to bust wide open, but it really never did. Then I started having lower back issues, and when I finally got to the Chiropractor, which I put off when the parents were down in Florida, and the second adjustment didn't make things any better, I got concerned. I really don't want a replay of 2012 when lower back issues that developed around the same time ended up with me having to shut things down in August.  So I pulled way back on activity for the final week of May and mostly rested. I was out for over 3 hours on Memorial Day, and it definitely seems like my back is improving from where I was a couple of days ago.

Topwater fishing was mostly a disappointment in May. They just don't like falling water and low water levels. My top producing lure for the month was T.H.E. Jig, the lion's share of which was sunfish. The top bass producer was the craw tube.  Crappie numbers were dismal. Bass and walleye numbers were modest and below normal. Things aren't looking good for me, reaching my goal of 1,500 bass this year. May is the month that I usually rack the numbers up, and that didn't happen. Pike and sunfish numbers were good.

Highlights of the month were the two trips I took with Chuck and Lois Steinbauer on Platte Lake. Taking several trips with Steve, getting him a 4lb bass and 3 walleyes at the Jetty. And getting out a couple of times with Todd on opening weekend; We got on a good frog bite for about an hour on Sunday morning.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

2021 Opener Recap: Tough/Disappointing


No Company at Midnight
I was pleasantly surprised nobody else was at the Jetty at Midnight, and there were plenty of eyeballs in the Harbor Mouth area, so that is where I started. It was basically calm. I ditched the plan to go with a Rippin Rap first to see if I could sight fish 'em first. Fish weren't interested. So I started blind casting and had a couple of bumps not hook up. I switched to a swimbait and had one on briefly. Then a couple guys showed up around 12:15 and started fishing off the Center Jetty. He was hooked up on his second cast. I decided to throw a Rippin Rap. The guy hooked up again, and I got a 20-inch eye on my first cast with the Rippin Rap. It was 20.5", so not quite a keeper. I forgot to bring a bucket and to take a picture. No big deal, the fish were going, and I would catch another, right? Wrong. I had a few more bites and lost two that were hooked up. One that I sight fished with a hair jig at the North Corner and one in the final 10-minutes that took the Frenzy Minnow that I fought all the way to the rocks. Probably a 23/24-inch fish. I did get my perch X-Rap back that I lost when I backlashed at about 12:30AM. It had drifted down to the North Corner when I caught the line and brought it in. When I left at 3:30, The other guys had caught 13 between them. I got a little spun out trying to catch the X-Rap rather than fish, and by the time I got back to fishing, they had shut off for the most part. So I left somewhat disappointed, but I got my X-Rap back, so I was a little lucky. 
15.5" R2S Bubble Walker (Pearl)

2.75lbs/17" SK 3/16 Spin 

2.91lbs/17.5" Bully Wa 2

The first trip out in the Trophy was a mixed bag. I got started about 15-20 minutes later than I should have. Missed a hit on the Frenzy Popper on the second cast at the River Mouth, and the line and hook got fouled up on the hook set.  I did get my first bass on topwater on the Bubble Walker just as another guy entered the River Mouth. That was the only bite I got in the area. I started working my way down the western shoreline. Got a few bass and pike on a spinnerbait and chatterjig. Caught my first 17-incher and realized I hadn't prepared the scale like I had planned. So I stuck the fish in the livewell and got that situation straightened out. There were anglers out in front of me, so I started working toward the northern shoreline of the SPRO.  I had a big pike take that little spinnerbait. I had her all played out and in the net lifted halfway into the boat. The fish flopped out of the net into the lake and got off in an instant. That trainwreck turned what would have been a successful Opener into a disappointment. The pike had to be at least 37-inches long and the biggest I have ever had on at Platte Lake. I really wanted a picture with it. I could have had her in the boat but might have broken a rod had I let her flop out in the boat rather than over the water like I chose. Well, no crying over it. went back to fishing. Caught a few pike and bass on the flat. Came up to the curly left pondweed at the Intersection.  Got three 17-inchers there, including my first two frog bites. Lost the first one, got the second. Also lost a good fish on the LiveTarget Baitball Popper. Conditions were good, but I had to get home to take care of Kaylee, so I headed in at noon.

16" Jackhammer

The DNR heading off in the distance

Todd and Steve had the dock in the water but didn't have most of the decking done. I got the boat ready and Todd and I headed out around 7PM. South Inlet Bay was a bust as was Access Across. We each got a bass in the SPRO. Todd's on the Jackhammer and mine on the LiveTarget Baitball Popper. Disappointing trip. Thought the fish would be suicidal. CO Vang came and checked us toward the end of the evening. He said it was really slow for most anglers. I think the falling clear water has them skittish and reluctant to get on the shallow flats. I missed far too many bites today. I didn't suggest Mille Lacs to Todd as I was tired and not happy with the evening's results. Steve had the dock finished when we returned.


Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Steve And I Hit the Jetty Tonight

22" Jerk Shad

21" Jerk Shad

21.5" Jerk Shad

18.5" Jerk Shad (Crackle)

I thought with the SE wind today things would be good at the Jetty. Steve was into it so off we went. Arrive at the Jetty, no wind no waves. I predicted it probably wouldn't be good until after 9PM and I was right. Steve got the first fish around 9:20PM and it was a 21.5" keeper. He would get two more, both in the keeper slot. I put on a crackle Jerk Shad with 3 minutes to go in the night and hooked into my only fish of the night on the first cast. I had Steve throwing the Ghost Shad Jerk Shad the whole time. Steve was fishing off of the Center Standing Rock. A native guy to the North of me at the North Corner got 4 fish as well. Steve lost a good one right before 10PM.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

The Dock IS IN!

 Putting her in was a breeze with no decking reported Todd. Steve got the decking completed when Todd and I were out fishing.