Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Boat in the water, motor started right up. I got up to 19.8MPH on the GPS which is about right.

Fishing Report: After I got the boat broke in I did some fishing for a few hours at Rock Lake. I caught a pike and two 14" bass. I did try for panfish a little bit without even getting a hit, but my main quarry was dogfish and I didn't get any of those. I fished the whole Rock Platte River Outlet(RPRO) which is a text book shallow dark bottomed bay on the NW side of the lake. I found water temps as warm as 47 but there was zero activity in the bay, I didn't see a single fish. At about 7PM I pulled out and headed to the GOMH.

GOMH Report: No Grumpy Old Men, I was the only one there. The water was flowing steadily into Sullivan. I didn't get any action until it was getting fairly dark. I was in the bullhead sweet spot and the bobber went down and it was no small bullhead. Unfortunatly this bullhead decided to go into the shoreline weeds a couple of times. Eventually it did swim out but then my hook came out. About 15 minutes later my bobber jumped then went under slowly and I landed a nice 10" silver bullhead. Unfortunatly that was the extent of the action. I stayed a while after dark and tried with a lighted bobber and glow Demon, nothing. Both fish bit on a glow Cubby and Crappie Minnow.

Camera Problems: I would have gotten picks of the boat in the water (the pick I used is from 2006) and of the fish I caught but the digital camera is being tempremental. It wouldn't work for me today at the lake.

Monday, April 28, 2008

BP Fishing Report for today: Over at the Bass Pundit Fishing Log Blog... It's a long report for only 3 fish.

Rock Dock: The dock at the Rock Lake public access was in today and the bump in the ramp was fixed. I am going to assume that they did all of the Platte/Sullivan lakes area ramps today. Hurray. I will try to get the boat out either tommorrow or Wed.

FLW Norman Day Final

Oh so close: Minnesocold FLW Bass Pro Jim Moynagh came in second at the The National Guard Open at Lake Norman. He really was not all that close to winning because BassNblogger Sean Hoernke caught the biggest limits on both of the final two days and blew the field away by more than 5lbs.

"Missed it by that much:" My Dad's Flw Fantasy Bass Fishing team had Jim Moynagh winning the tournament, which had Moynagh won would have translated into a 4700 point selection. As it was Moynagh was only worth 1199.

Fishing Report: I got my first "silver bullhead" of the year at the GOMH. I also caught two 17.5" bass at Rock Lake. No Grumpy Old Man sightings.

The water level in Platte/Sullivan rose another 2 to 3 inches with the snow storm we had on Saturday.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

New BassNblogs:

Hellabass has added another blog to his empire...

This World Fishing Network also has BassNblogs by:
FLW Co-Angler Sondra Rankin...

Semi-Pro JP DeRose (Ontario Canada)... This guy is a fishing maniac who gets into some serious sized smallies at Lake Erie.

Not Good

We have about 6 inches on the ground and it is still snowing. It could be worse, they got socked even worse to the NW. At 3PM it's still snowing lightly and only 34°F. Ugh!!!
Keith Nighswonger takes a satirical look at the infamous Bent Pole Pattern...

I really can't imagine using the "bent pole pattern" for bass fishing unless you consider copying the actions and lures of a successful partner in the same boat as you as doing it. In bass fishing I am to busy focusing on what my lure is doing to be looking around to see what others have going on. I suppose I might notice if someone fishing in close proximity hooks into a fish, but that isn't quite the same thing as intentionally scouting by watching other people.

I do see a couple of instances where the "bent pole pattern" is the way to go.

#1 Finding shore fishing spots for Crappie in the Spring.

#2 Fall jig fishing on Leech Lake.

#3 Looking for camera flashes on Mille Lacs for Fall night trolling.

The Mitchell Report: Santee Cooper Stren...

Friday, April 25, 2008

FLW Norman Lake

FBF Notes: Today makes it official, I hate the way that FLW scores it Fantasy Bass Fishing Game. Last Tournament I had a very strong total line up, but that line up was not good enough to get me into the prizes because of all those Top 10 and Exacta bonus points. This week it is my Dad's team that is going to suffer the exact same fate. Dad has 5 anglers in the top 15, but 3 of these are not in the Top 10. He has Morgan in 11th, Powroznik in 12th, and Powers in 15th. Because Lake Norman is an "Open" just 1 angler in the Top 10 is worth a minimum of 1,191 points and with an exacta that shoots to 2691; Meanwhile those 3 high finishing anglers combined are only worth a grand total of 565 points, less than half the minimum for 1 top 10 angler. This system is way more top weighted than the old BASS/ESPN scoring ever was. Sure the playing field is level for everybody, but I just plain old don't like it.

With those 1500 point Exacta bonuses, the whole thing now comes down to dumb luck. I think they should only give a huge Exacta bonus for picking the winner.

Bpboys Recap: 1 angler in the top 10, so I can be thankful for that. Morgan in 11th place is a buzz kill for both the Bpboys and my Dad.

Here is my line-up
D. Hibdon 93rd
Ehrler 2nd Come on Exacta!!!
Dudley 28th
Morgan 11th
Thrift 44th
Bennett 18th
Yelas 129th
B. Long 55th
Fukae 70th
Clausen 25th

Rock On!

Fishing Report: Despite the nasty weather (cold and wet) I decided to go out fishing to see if just maybe I could catch anything. I started at the Rock Lake Public Access. The ice was off the lake but the dock was not in the water. Last year the dock went in the same day the ice went out.

Sure enough I was able to luck into 3 Larry bass (17",14",14"). No crappies, sunnies, dogfish, or pike.

As it started getting dark I headed to the GOMH in the off chance that maybe the crappies moved in in this awful weather. The water was flowing into Platte lake despite the fact of high water and a slight wind out of the North, What is with that? I don't think I have ever caught a fish at the GOMH when the water was flowing into Platte. You need the water to be flowing the other way, the swifter the better. I didn't give it long and left.

"GET ME TO THE LAKE" local edition: Rock Lake=OPEN, Bulldog Lake=OPEN, Sullivan Lake=OPEN (at least I think it is)

"GET ME TO THE LAKE" MN state edition: MN DNR now has 41 monitered lakes listed as open. The lake farthest North as of today is Knife Lake in Kannebec County. Knife is slightly South of Platte Lake.

Cyberfish and friends got into some Tonka specks before the crappy weather hit...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Platte Lake OPEN!?! Skunked @ GOMH

I am making today the official Platte Lake open water date for 2008 baring further developments. There could be further developments because all the area lakes had a dense layer of fog hovering above the water. The fog was so thick that I could not see the surface of the water for 100 yards. I did not see any ice and so I am calling Platte Lake ice free. As it was getting pretty dark a cold front came through and the fog blew off the lake so a good amount of visibility was restored. In the dark I headed to the Platte Public Access and I could not see any ice from there where last night the ice was totally obvious.

Fishing Report: I headed to check the lakes and go fish the GOMH around 7PM. It had stopped sprinkling by the time I started fishing and it must have been over 60 degrees. I tried the Pink Panzer and White Panzer without success. I tried a glow Cubby Mini-Mite with a pink gulp maggot and did not get any bites. I did take some time out from fishing to "clear some brush" from the lake shore so that more area of the shore was fishable. Despite knocking down most of the tall weeds, there are significant sized weed mats in the water lining the shore which will make landing fish, especially bigger one's, difficult. I made the SE shore much more fishable than it has been in the past couple of years. When it got to dark to see my bobber I left.

The Weather: Today it rained for most of the day but temps were mild in the 60's. The mild temps are not going to last. It is going to be getting cold and accumulating snow is in the forcast, Ugh! Since the crappies did not show up at the GOMH tonight my guess is that it is going to be a while. Last year the crappies were in 3 days after ice off. I will still try for them but sassafrass sucitash.

BP on Dogfish (Bowfin) Fishing

First, a Little History: When I was young, even into a teenager, Dogfish freaked me out; I had nightmares about them and carp. I once caught a 3-pounder in the "Back Bay" at our lake cabin on Sylvia/Twin. The Back Bay is a muck-bottomed boat channel on the back of our property. The Back Bay always seemed to have a dogfish or two roaming around. Growing up, we considered Dogfish trash fish and would kill everyone we caught. I netted this 3lb dogfish to avoid touching it and removed the hook with pliers. I then took the Dogfish about 20 feet up the shore onto the road's edge and left it to die. About 15 minutes later, I heard something in the grass by the water. Sure enough, it was this Dogfish slithering like a snake back to the water. I did nothing to try and stop it; I was freaked out.

Another time when I was a little older, I was fishing out of a boat on one of my favorite spots on Twin Lake that I call "My Island." It is a shallow, weedy, sandy spot with bass and the occasional Dogfish. I don't know what the deal was, but this five-pound dogfish surfaced about 8 feet from where I stood in the boat. I swear this Dogfish was staring me down. After about 45 seconds, the Dogfish accelerated straight ahead and rammed itself smack dab into the side of the boat right at my feet. I was both shocked, freaked, and slightly amused; what a crazy fish!

As I got a little older and became more mature as a fisherman, I lost my fear of things but didn't like catching them much. Sometimes I would throw them back, and sometimes I would kill them. They can be tackled destroyers and unruly to get off the hook if you don't play them out before you land them. (TIP: Always play Dogfish out for a few minutes before you try and land them)

Epiphany: In June 2003, I fished a Minnesota Pro/am bass tournament on Leech Lake as an amateur. I drew Joel Stokka as my partner, and we prefished together. While we were prefishing, we spotted a big dogfish. Joel immediately tried to hook into this monster but was unable to do it before the fish swam away. I asked why he wanted to catch that thing, and he told me about the Minnesota Bowfin Club and their annual Bowfin Tournament. Joel said Spring dogfish angling was a great way to legally use your bass gear before the bass season opened. I had never thought of that before, and after a bit of reflection, my viewpoint on the value of Dogfish was transformed.

My First Minnesota Bowfin Club Grand Championship: I decided that in the Spring of 2004, I would try and win the MBC Grand Championship and, for the first time in my life, started fishing for Dogfish on purpose. One day in mid-may of 2004, after the MN fishing opener but before the bass opener, I went fishing for pike and Dogfish with a trusty white spinnerbait with white Colorado blades and a white pork trailer. I was fishing in "Loon Sex Bay" when a big dogfish struck and rocked my world. This 30-inch fish put on an excellent fight, but I was able to net it. This was by far the biggest Dogfish I had ever caught in my life, and it was full of eggs to make it that much fatter. On my Rapala spring scale, it weighed in at 9.5 lbs. I registered it with MNBC; sure enough, it was the 2004 Tournament Winner.

Second MN Bowfin Club Grand Championship: In 2006, I regained the Minnesota Bowfin Grand Champion title and became the Club's first two-time Champion. On April 26th, I headed to Mille Lacs lake for crappie and dogfish fishing. I knew a little spot in Isle Bay that had held Dogfish in the Spring. I had seen them in there while fishing for crappies on several occasions. I call this spot "Dogfish Nirvana." I headed into the little cut, and sure enough, I spotted a big dogfish sitting there. I threw a white jig with a white pork trailer right next to it and hopped it several times. Sure enough, it struck, and I hooked it. In the cold water, this Dogfish did not fight, and I quickly landed it. This fish measured 30 inches, like my first MN Bowfin Club Grand Championship winner. The fish was less fat and probably weighed less than 9 lbs. I didn't have a camera, so I did not get a picture of the fish. It was dark, with a white scar at the tip of its snout. I registered the fish, and it won the 2006 tournament.

Fishing for Dogfish: Being a two-time Bowfin Grand Champion makes me an expert at the pursuit of Dogfish. However, there is a lot I don't know about them, and I get skunked more times than I catch them. Here are my tips:

In the winter, I know Dogfish hold on relatively shallow weed flats where the water has just a little more depth than the surrounding area. In the spring, dogfish can be found in the same dark bottom bays that hold panfish, bass, and pike. The Dogfish are in those areas feeding up and soaking in the warmer water just like all the other fish. Old weed growth and emerging weed growth are things to look for. I don't think Dogfish are very active until the water temp is over 50°F, and the warmer the water, the more active they get. I think the peak time to get into Dogfish is when the temperatures get into the 60s. Once you find a spot that holds Dogfish, you can count on it to draw them in year after year.

In water that is sub 50°F, the best way to fish for Dogfish is to sight fish them with a white-colored bass jig or a big black worm or tube. The Dogfish will sun themselves in fairly shallow water around old weed growth at this time. They are not apt to chase, so looking for them on sunny calm days is best. During the Spring, summer, and fall, sight fishing is an excellent technique because Dogfish get big, and their dark bodies can stick out in clear water.

Once the water warms up into the 50s, you are as likely to catch them blind fishing as sight fishing. I recommend using white or pink colors. Spinnerbaits, swim jigs, jerkbaits, buzzbaits, and Spooks are all good choices. I like to cover water with topwaters or by "bulging" a spinnerbait or swim jig, looking for a dogfish to make a wake while in pursuit of the lure. Once you find one, you know where it lives and can work it over with fast and slow presentations.

That is the extent of what I know about how to catch them.

The Critics: Fishing for Dogfish in the Spring with artificial lures is not without its controversy. Minnesota has closed seasons for Bass and Pike well into May, and there is a regulation that states: "You may not intentionally fish for any species during its closed season." Many people consider dogfish fishing to be total BS and an automatic violation of the prohibition against intentionally fishing for bass and pike (mainly bass) in their closed seasons. I have argued with these critics on online fishing message boards. Not only do I fish for Dogfish, but I question the validity of a fishing regulation that I believe to be seriously flawed. This drives some people nuts, and I have been called several names.

Here is the thought process of one of the more thoughtful critics:

Are there any lakes that have a fishable population of Dogfish?

I'm all about giving people the benefit of the doubt. But I can't stand it when people fish for "dogfish" and happen to catch 20 bass and no dogfish. It bugs the tar out of me...

I respond that any body of water that contains Dogfish has a "fishable population," just as any body of water that includes muskie has a "fishable population" of muskies. Some bodies of water have more Dogfish than others or bigger-sized Dogfish on average than others, just as some lakes have more bass than others or bigger bass on average than others. Dogfish are not some special fish that is radically different from the rest. However, Dogfish are more like muskie than pike, bass, or panfish. Pike and bass tend to be more prolific species than dogfish or muskie; thus, it is easier to catch bass and pike than to catch muskies and Dogfish. There are plain and simply many more bass and pike swimming around than Dogfish and muskies. I have, at times, caught both bass and pike nearly cast after cast, but I have never had anything close to that happening with muskie or Dogfish.

I would maintain that angling for Dogfish is much like angling for muskie. If you catch 1 in a day, you have done great. You have done phenomenally if you catch two or more in a day. Obviously, things are much different for the prolific bass; One bass in a day of fishing is considered quite slow and extremely poor.

There is at least one big difference between muskie fishing and dogfish fishing: the baits are best used to pursue the quarry. "Legal" muskies are big fish that often require big tricks that will select against most smaller fish striking them. Meanwhile, Dogfish are more modest-sized fish and are most efficiently pursued with baits that are equal to lures that select for largemouth bass. This is the fact that fixates the critics. Dogfish techniques are the same as bass techniques and dogfish lures. I'm sure to make matters worse in the eyes of critics dogfish location overlaps perfectly with the bass location. If you are going to catch a dogfish, you will most certainly catch many more bass than Dogfish in the process due to the simple biological realities. The critics believe these facts prove dogfish fishing is nothing more than a thinly veiled cover for fishing for bass out of season, and thus dogfish fishing is de facto breaking the law.

The big problem with that theory is that dogfish fishing is 100% legal according to MN state fishing regulations. If you are a licensed angler, pursuing Dogfish, which have no closed season, is 100% within your legal rights. If you intend to catch a dogfish, any bass you catch is incidental and temporarily permitted under the law. How many bass you catch or don't catch incidentally or how many Dogfish you catch or don't catch doesn't change that fishing for Dogfish is absolutely allowed under the fishing regulations. The thoughtful critic referenced above succinctly states: "Rules are Rules; if you don't like them.. tough!" The rules about fishing for Dogfish are clear; they have no closed season, so fishing for them is perfectly legal.

It's no secret that I don't like the fatally flawed regulation about angler intent and closed-season fish. The refrain that I have heard from my critics is that if I don't like the law, I should get it changed. The critics on the issue of dogfish fishing are in that same boat. If you don't like dogfish fishing, then change the law so that Dogfish have the same season as bass. But why can't they just let the rules be the rules? Instead of trying to get a dogfish season that aligns with bass, it makes more sense to just open bass up to catch-and-release fishing when they are not in season. CATCH-AND-RELEASE FISHING DOES NOT HARM THE RESOURCE IN ANY MEANINGFUL WAY!!! Get this kind of regulation passed, and we can both be happy.

Update: Cyberfish is trying to take some credit for my conversion on Dogfish. Funny, but I don't remember any of that. What I do remember is Cyberfish trying to convince me about the merits of catching big ole carp. I have never really bought into his enthusiasm on that subject. Carp, just don't annihilate a lure like a dogfish can.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

First Open Water Fish of the Year

BAM- Due to a late day trip to Brainerd (see "Bummer"), I did not go fishing at the GOMH until slightly after 8PM. The sun had set by then, and it was getting dark when I arrived. The current was running into Sullivan at a good clip. There was open water as far as the eye could see on the Platte lakeside. At first, I ran the Pink Panther and got nothing. I then switched to a glow Cubby Mini-Mite under a small Wing-It Bobber. The bobber is small and hard to see. I may consider upgrading the bobber size at some point. On the second or third cast, I was giving it the old "Thompson Shake," and I thought I saw the bobber go under, so I set the hook, but nothing was there. I fished the glow Cubby for probably another 15 minutes without any action. Then, when I was bringing it through the bullhead sweet spot, the bobber went down, and I hooked into a hawg. It started pulling drag, and I knew it was no silver bullhead. It didn't take long before it showed itself to be a famous GOMH "Jumpin' Bullhead." It put up a solid fight and swam under the bridge for a while. Once it got back on the Sullivan side, I was able to keep it out of the shoreline cattails and land it. It was between 18.5 and 19.25 inches and fat; I'll call it a 19". I unhooked the Cubby, which was firmly stuck in the upper lip, and released her ASAP. Unfortunately, no camera for pic's again tonight. I tried the Cubby again for a while, then I tried a new bait which I will call The Pink Panzer; it is a close relative of the Pink Panther. After a few casts, I thought I had a fish on for a moment, but then the lure came free. I don't know if it was a fish or if I just snagged the bottom, but I guess it was a fish. I tried the Panzer for about 15 minutes and then returned to the Cubby. It was getting quite dark by now, and I had a tough time spotting that little Wing-It. I didn't get any more action.

"GET ME TO THE LAKE" Local Edition: Long Lake is ice-free!!! I could not tell if Erskine was open or not. Bulldog didn't look like it had opened up much from yesterday. Rock had a fair amount of open water on the North end, and it looked like the main ice sheet had developed a fair-sized chasm of open water.

Platte: In our cabin bay, it was 30% open water, and a chasm had opened up toward the North Shore. The center bay had quite a bit of open water. As mentioned above, the GOMH looked like open water as far as the eye could see. The Public Access Bay still looked pretty locked up with the ice being out from shore from 10 to 30 feet. I suppose there is a shot that tomorrow will be the day I call Platte open, but I guess it will be Friday.

Sullivan: The Platte River Outlet open water is slowly eating away into the lake.

Bummer: This week, I wanted to hit the Brainerd Mills Fleet Farm because the weekly advertisement showed Cubby Rods were "On Sale." This rod is made for fishing Cubby Mini-Mite Jigs. I was delighted to see that I would have another opportunity to purchase one of these spectacular panfish rods. I bought one at Mills a few years back but had yet to see them since. The one I bought got broken at the tip, but I was able to fix it well, and the action of the rod wasn't affected much. The Cubby rod is great because it has an extremely light tip that is fast, but the rod is stiff, not whippy. Long Story short, I looked at every rod in the place, and there were none. I found out that the advertisement was a mistake because they could not get any rods from the manufacturer, so no store had them, and they were not going to get any; bummer!!! At least, that was not the only thing I wanted to pick up from Fleet Farm.

"GET ME TO THE LAKE" MN State edition: Tonka and Whitebear, two of the big metro lakes, are considered ice-free as of today.

Note: In 2006, Platte went out before Tonka; in 2005, they both went on the same day; in 2004, Platte was 3 days later, and in 2007, Platte was 16 days later.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Lotta Stuff (Ice Progress, GOMH Report, Closed Bass Season)

"GET ME TO THE LAKE"- The MNDNR has recorded 9 more lakes ice-free today and yesterday. I was hoping the ice would be out in my area lakes by today, but that was not to be. I checked Bulldog, Rock, Long, and Platte/Sullivan.

Bulldog-The public access had an acre and a half of open water.

Rock-Had some places where the ice had pulled away from shore, and it looked like there was a huge (15 feet wide) open crack just out from the Public Access running SE for at least 100 yards.

Long- The ice seemed to pull away from shore about 10 yards on the North and West sides.

Platte/Sullivan- Ice was pulling away from shore on the North Side of Platte. At the Grumpy Old Man Hole (GOMH), there was an astonishing amount of open water on the Platte Side. It was open to the small island and half of Channel Inn Bay. On the Sullivan side, it looked like the entire widened area of the Platte River Outlet (PRO) was wide open.

It will be at least 2 days before ice is off any of the area lakes.

Fishing Report- I brought a couple of rods and gave the GOMH a shot. When I first started fishing, a strong S wind blew 15-25mph straight in, and the water was flowing at a steady clip back into Platte Lake. I don't think I have ever caught fish when that is happening. The current of water moving from Platte into Sullivan is the big draw of fish at the GOMH. I fished both sides of the GOMH and got nothing but drifting weeds. No Grumpy Old Men sightings. With all that open water, fish could move into the GOMH anytime.

Cyberfish and Bake hit Pool 4&5 on Saturday and Pool 2 on Sunday for a little multi-species action.

Josh Douglas is prefishing the St. Jude Bass Classic on Pools 4&5...

Rite of Spring: It happens annually right about the time the ice goes out; The self-righteous self-appointed guardians of sportsmanship ethics, law, and largemouth bass go ballistic at about others they perceive as intentionally fishing for bass in the closed season. There was a new wrinkle this year in that the closed-season cops complained about people fishing for walleye in a river. Apparently, the "violation" occurred on a river containing nice crappies. So that makes yet another case where the violators would be indistinguishable from people that are fishing legally. A jig and a minnow or twister tail grub will catch just as many walleyes as crappies.

The bass forum got in on the action last Sunday with the thread: Does Turn In Poachers Work?. The BP (as in Bowfin Pro) is referenced in the 13th post in a not-so-unusual plot twist. Much to my delight, a well-reasoned defense of the BP is given in post #25 by Ricqik. Yes, I do intentionally fish for Dogfish, and tomorrow I plan to blog about fishing for Dogfish. We learn in one post that the BP should be labeled a "sociopath." (Does that make me a Bonafide Path?)

One person comes up with a bright idea for enforcing the most ludicrous fish regulation in the book:

If they (DNR) would let some of us volunteer to ticket these people, they would not have to cover so much of the area. Plus i think it would keep more people honest, seeings how no one would know if you have a ticket book in your pocket.

That's just what we need, more citations for an infraction that does absolutely no harm to the resource and for which enforcement is merely a notion in the eye of the beholder. Meanwhile, as usual, the closed-season cops are silent about admonishing people who are actually doing some harm to the resource. You know, the people fishing for panfish just can't resist the temptation to keep the bass they catch because they think they will never get caught. Or what about the people that catch a dogfish in the spring while fishing for panfish from shore and throw the doggy up on the bank to die? I witnessed an infraction of wanton waste twice last spring, in the case linked, I got the Dogfish back into the water while it was still alive.
Bassin Blogger Billy Harris caught a Old Hickory Lake record smallie in a tournament (has pic's)...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Weather, Lure Casualties

Weather: It was warm today for awhile I think it may have made it slightly over 70°F then a front moved through and we got rain and a thunderstorm. It came down pretty good at times. It is supposed to get cool tonight but not below freezing and tomorrow is supposed to be low 60's.

Lure Casualties: Before the rain I did get a couple hours in sorting plastic baits. I discovered a bunch more torn baits that Mend-It should be able to fix. I asked on Tackle Tour Forums about whether Mend-It works on Slop frogs or not and a guy replied and said that it has worked for him on SnagProof frogs. I ordered up some Mend-It today.

Another lure casualty that I observed today was my collection of Zoom Trick Worms. I have several packs worth in a variety of colors. When we had our cabin at Sylvia/Twin I used to just kill the fish on these. There were times I would almost go through a bag a day and Trick Worms come 20 to a bag. Up here on Platte/Sullivan I recall only catching a couple on Trick Worms and I flat out just don't use them much anymore. I bet I haven't used one in at least 2 years. Trick Worms don't skip all that great compared to a Zoom Super Fluke so I don't use them for dock fishing. Also my swim jig fascination is taking up casts in situations where the Trick Worm shines. I can't say if the Trick Worm is going to have a spot on my rods this year or not.

"GET ME TO THE LAKE": According to the DNR as of today there are now 26 lakes which they moniter that are ice free. 2 lakes have "Partial Cover" designation. Only 4 of the 10 Twin Cities lakes are open. I am surprized that Lake Gervias in Ramsy County is not open as that is usually one of the first to go.
BassFan reporting from the Toyota Texas Bass Classic:
> Bobby Lane said his team lost about 45 cranks this week. Luckily, Velvick and Matsubu found a good buy last week. They snapped up nearly 80 DD22s at $6 a pop.

Lets see 45 cranks x $6 a shot means they went through about $270 in Cranks in 3 days. I am a bit suspicious however because Norman Deep Diver 22's sell for $3.99 at Bass Pro Shops. Something isn't right there.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Weather: It was cool and cloudy in the morning, but by the afternoon it was partly sunny and got into the low to mid 60's. It was breezy, a good day for melting ice. Tomorrow we might get some afternoon rain and thunderstorms. I am hoping for a deluge of warm rain 8 miles to the North.

More Tackle Time: After I finally woke up this afternoon and got done playing with the dogs I had some tackle time. Today I was messing around with soft plastics. I have a lot of messed up Zoom Horny Toads, I think I better invest in some Mend-It soft plastic lure glue. I sorted my Horny Toads, senko's, plastic worms, drop shot baits, Super Flukes and tubes. I need to do some work on my plastic worm sorting and there was a whole tub full of plastics that I did not get too.

Swim Jigs: A technique that I have taking a shine to in the past couple of years is swim jigging. A swim jig is basically a rubber skirted bass jig with a cone shaped head for the purpose of making it weedless. You fish the jig much like you do a spinnerbait. To add action and bulk the prefered jig trailer is a 3" to 5" twister tail grub. Since I am new to the technique I have bought a bunch of different grubs to try out and today I also sorted those. I have Zoom's, Kalin's, Lindy Munchies, CyberFlexx Super Plastic, Gander Mtn, Mister Twister and a couple of other types in various colors. I think it is going to be a while before I settle on some confidence jig trailer combinations.

Although I have not yet caught one doing it, I bet that the swim jig is a pretty good Dogfish presentation. I almost caught a Dogfish on a white swim jig last year on Mille Lacs bass opener weekend. Unfortunatly the boat was passing over the fish when I got the jig in it's mug, it struck but did not hook up. The boat spooked the fish and I didn't get a second shot at it.

Odds, Ends, Weather, and Cubby Rods

Today: One year ago today was my official ice out day for Platte Lake and I caught my first open water fish of the year at Rock Lake. This year still iced up for a few more days. Hopefully we will get some warm rain on Monday.

I have a dream: This morning I had a dream that I was going with some buddies on a fishing excursion. Where? Zapata Texas to fish Falcon Lake. My dream didn't actually include fishing, just the planning to get there.

Weather: Did not get nearly as warm as forecasted. Was in the low 50's with wind and overcast. BRRRRRR.

Tackle Time: Today I got line on the last of my new reels and I got rods set up for panfish. I then set about working on my tackle some. I put skirts on spinnerbaits, exchanged out blades on a tandem spinnerbait where the blades had rusted badly due to it falling in the battery box, and nailed some new pegs into the wall of my tackle emporium.

Cubby Rods: They are on sale at Mills Fleet Farm for 20 bucks. These are great panfish rods and I plan to pick up another one. Dad will have a true panfish rod this year which should make fishing a lot more fun than on the far to stiff medium action walleye rod he used last year. When Dad doesn't tag along I can use it for a casting set up without a bobber if I want to try that.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Bait Monkey, Get Me To The Lake & Trophy Update

Bait Monkey: These are the 5 new reels I bought this year. I put 3 of them on rods today and spooled them with line. Each rod already had a reel on it so they were swapped out and will be sent out for a professional cleaning and repairs if needed. It is amazing how beat up the Team Daiwa S-103 reels that I have been using for the past few years look; they really don't hold up well cosmetically. Tomorrow I will get to the other two reels.

"GET ME TO THE LAKE": According to the DNR there are now 22 lakes with ice out and they are as far north as Ramsey County in the Twin Cities. All of the monitered Southern MN lakes are ice free.

Today I did make it to the Grumpy Old Man Hole and threw a few casts. The Platte side of it has 50 to 100 feet of open water, there were two Loons on that side when I arrived. The Sullivan side has a good 150 yards of open water and the whole GOMH area is ice free from shore to shore. There were lots of Ducks and Geese swimming about farther out where the ice is. The water on the lakes has come up at least 8 inches and I think may be higher than it was at any point next year. As for the rest of the lake the ice really hasn't even begun to pull away from shore yet. There is water between the ice and shore because of how much the water has come up. The ice looked plenty fishable yet to me. At this point I highly doubt the ice will be off by Tuesday the 22nd, but sometime later next week might happen.

The Boat: Instead of getting all my stuff out of the boat and bringing it home we just pulled the boat from the lake place to here. As it turned out there were two Vault bottles left over from last Fall with Pete. Fortunatly they did not burst and the one I drank tasted just fine.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Spring Update & Fantasy Bass Win

Oops: I have not checked my email accounts in the past couple weeks and because of that I missed this email:

Congratulations! We are delighted to inform that your entry has been confirmed as a 7th Place winner in ESPN’s Bass Fantasy Fishing: Elite Tournament #2 – Citrus Slam. As long as you are eligible according to the Official Rules (see attached) and you return your completed paperwork in a timely manner, you have won a 7th Place Prize consisting of:

One (1) Advance Auto Parts $10 Gift Card
Approximate Retail Value=$10

To verify your eligibility and begin prize coordination, please read and complete the enclosed affidavit.

So that you are not disqualified, your completed paperwork must be returned VIA FAX OR EMAIL to Project Support Team, Inc. by END OF DAY WEDNESDAY APRIL 16, 2008. Upon receipt of your completed affidavit, you should expect your prize to be delivered in 6-8 weeks.

I made the prizes in ESPN/BASS Fantasy Bass Fishing. Funny the final standings had me in 8th place one slot out of the prizes. Someone must have been like me and missed the message. Oh well I don't know what I would have done with a $10 Advance Auto Parts gift certificate, give it away probably. I don't even know if there is an Advance Auto Parts in this neck of the woods.

I have decided: Ok it is maybe I bit ridiculous at this point but I have decided that I am not going to do any ice fishing this ice fishing season. That makes two years in a row of neglect of all my ice fishing gear. Maybe next year???

"GET ME TO THE LAKE": Minnesota Climatalogy didn't really update their ice out web page today, even though Lake Sakatah is listed as "out" with no date given and it was "partial cover" yesterday. If Sakatah is open it's sister lake Tetonka is probably open to even though they have that lake listed as "partial cover." From using it basically sounds like all lakes South of New Prague are open and some smaller lakes in Twin Cities Metro are Ice Free. If MC updates tommorrow I expect to see that Kohlman and maybe Gervias in Ramsey Cty are ice free.

Tommorrow I plan to get into the boat, it is stored at the Platte Lake house, and get all my tackle that is in the boat out. I will then probably hit the Grumpy Old Man Hole (GOMH) to throw my first open water casts of the season. I would be amazed if I caught anything, but you never know at that place. Dogfish and Crappie season should be starting sometime next week. Bring on the Bullheads!!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Spring Update

"GET ME TO THE LAKE": 5 more lakes opened today and it says partial cover on 4 again. I think Pepin is really open so that makes one more.

Weather and Snow: Today it was nicer than expected. It got to 63 before a cold front moved through about 4PM. The snow has to be about 97% depleted after last nights warmth and today's balmy tempetures. I am pretty sure out drive way is now snow free.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Get me to the lake: As of today 8 monitered MN lakes are ice free. Another 4 are recording partial cover. Temps were in the 70's with high winds today in Southern MN. Forcast is for the same tommorrow maybe with some showers thrown in. Metro lakes should be breaking up by the weekend.

Up here it got into the low 60's with a great deal of wind. The snow is melting rapidly and it is not supposed to get cold tonight with the winds being sustained thus lots more snow melt. says tommorrow will be 20 degrees cooler with showers. The 10-Day says rain/snow showers for the 24th, we'll see.

The Mitchell Report has a new blog post...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

BASS Amistad Day Final/Weather Update

Spring???: The sun was out and the snow was melting but it only got to about 43°F today and it's gonna be a cold night. Tommorrow it might be 10 degrees warmer and on Tuesday it's forcasted to get into the low to mid 60's. The long term forecast is for high temps between the 50's&60's. That is some serious snow and ice melting weather. I am holding out hope that Platte Lake will be ice free by the 22nd. Once the ice does get off the lake it should not take long for the surface water temps to get up in the 50's which makes the fish active.

The average daily high temp in this neck of the woods is now up to 53°F.

BASS Amistad Final: In case you did not know Texas angler Todd Faircloth sacked 29-06 and jumped from 10th place into the winners circle. He got all choked up on the weigh in stage. His wife and two young sons were there watching. Good Job Todd!!!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Not Good: A belt on the snowblower broke with a little over 2/3's of the drive way finished. The unfinished section is down by the road. The Explorer was able to make it out and beat down a path, but I don't know if Mom's car will be able to make it or not. Then there is the question of how do you get back out going backwards if she is even able to make it in.

Update: Mom did get stuck but we were able to push her through after a bit of digging her out. Dad was not happy.

FBF Recap: So much for my predicted upward mobility on Day 2. The Bpboys lost a total of 18 angler positions and Bass Pundit 1 lost a total of 29 angler positions. It is going to be interesting to see if the limit bonus points were enough to keep both teams with more points than yesterday. I think the Bpboys will have more, while BP1's points will drop.

KVD 56th +7
S. Kennedy 86th -7
Davis 27th +1
Remitz 30th -4
Fralick 19th -15

BP 1:
KJ 54th -5
Rojas 33rd -13
Wolack 55th -4
Luce 24th -8
Davis 27th +1

Update: As it turns out the BPboys lost exactly 18 off of yesterday's score and BP1 lost exactly 29 off yesterday's score. I have no clue how it worked out that way.

Friday, April 11, 2008

As of April 11th 2008 the Minnesota Climatology Working Group is reporting all observed Minnesocold lakes as "ice covered" In a normal year ice is off Southern Minnesocold lakes by April 5-6.

BASS Amistad Day 1

I just remembered. I forgot to do Super 6 Pick'em for Amistad. Oh Well.

The real Day 1 of Amistad was cancelled due to wind, so the tournament will only be 3 days. The full field is fishing today and Sat. and then the top 12 will go on Sun..

FBF Recap: The Posse line ups for Amistad are both over 1000 on the first day, which is doing OK. Average score is 852 and high score is only 1313.

Here are the Posse line-ups...
Minnesocold Bpboys:
KVD 63rd
S. Kennedy 79th
Davis 28th
Remitz 26th
Fralick 4th

Bass Pundit 1:
Jordan 49th
Rojas 20th
Wolack 51st
Luce 16th
Davis 28th

Is it Fantasy Skill when you have Fralick and Luce leading your rosters? I better not get cocky, Day 1 don't mean Jack Squat! I think there is a lot of room for some upward mobility on Day 2. It wouldn't surprize me if Kennedy brought in 30lbs tommorrow. Apparently Kennedy is on big fish, they just didn't bite today.


Yes this April snow storm was at least as bad as predicted maybe even worse. I can't really tell how much fell on average because the high winds drifted the snow so bad. As you can see from the pics we have bare spots and 3 foot drifts. It's going to take at least 4 days of solid warm temps to melt all this stuff. On the bright side, the lakes and land needed the moisture. It would have been nice had it fell in the form of rain; No such luck, it was snow from start to end. It's actually still lightly snowing at 3PM.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Winter Storm & Ice Out Info

Winter Storm: Here we are on April 10th and my piece of Minnesocold is getting blasted with a nasty snow storm. We are supposed to get anywhere from 6-14 inches of Snow. The wind is wicked and we even had a clap of thunder that has turned our smallest dog Lilah into a nervous wreck.

Ice Out Dates: In 2004 the ice was out on Platte Lake Today. The ice went out 4/6/2006 and 4/9/2005 on Platte Lake. Last year the ice didn't go out on Platte until the 19th. My guess is that we won't see ice out this year until at least the 22nd. A lake that closly mirrors Platte is Fish Trap here in Morrison County. The DNR has records for Fish Trap going back 13 years and the average Ice out date is April 15th.

Every year for the past few years I've followed MN ice out dates through the DNR's Minnesota Climatology Working Group's Ice Out Website. It's shocking that as of April 7th not a single one of the monitered lakes is ice free yet.
2007 Here
2006 Here
2005 Here
2004 Here

Averages with Earliest and Latest...

Monday, April 07, 2008

Family Pics

Devin Sage with Mom Kim. Unfortunatly Devin got sick a couple of days later.

Isabelle Grace and Haley Jewel Rockin Out.

Guitar and Drum set Hero's.

The full 3-Piece (Uncle Steve, Belle, and Haley)

They are ready to Rock!!!

These pics are pretty much the only one's I got from my brother Steve's family visit from Florida. I forgot to bring the camera all the other days I was with them. It was nice to see my niece Devin for the 1st time. She is quite a character. I played a lot of pool with Haley Jewel and it was fun as always to hang out with Belle and Mal Mal (Mallory Joy Maas).

Sunday, April 06, 2008

BASS at Falcon: All 12 fisherman fishing on Day Final broke the century mark for the tournament. Rick Morris had the lightest weight with 108-7, catching only 17-5 on Day Final. Elias set the new 4 day record weight with 132-8.
FLW Fantasy Fishing Update: FLW Fantasy Fishing has instant results for the Lewis Smith tournament. It's as I worried about, fantasy scores were significantly higher at Lewis Smith than at Toho. I missed an Exacta bonus on Luke Clausen by 1 place and that cost me a run into the prizes. At Toho having 3 Top 10 anglers or 2 Top 10 anglers with an Exacta were enough to get into the prizes. At Lewis Smith it took 4 Top 10 anglers or 3 Top 10 anglers and an Exacta bonus so I missed the prizes where my score was good enough for prizes at Toho.

I have to say I am a little bummed at this one. This is really my 3rd near miss at making the prizes in 2008. Under the old FLW Fantasy Fishing rules I am quite certain I would have been into the mid tier of prizes because my overall line up was quite strong. Having Ehrler finish 12th, and Yelas finish 14th just doesn't count for much under the current scoring system.

The $100,000 winner at Lewis Smith had 5939 points which is 727 points, almost a full Exacta Bonus, more than it took at Toho. It will be interesting to see if the winner hit the 2000 Point Bennett as winner Exacta.

This is a tournament where having Players Advantage could have played big. In the run up to the tournament Michael Bennett told the PA pre-tournament video that he was a solid pick. Unfortunatly for me, I was away from the computer in the middle of last week and didn't get that message. I think there is a good chance I would have switched someone out because an angler who says he's on fish is usually a good pick, especially when you have a 10 man roster.

The next FLW Tournament is later this month at Lake Norman and is an "Open." The fact that it is an "Open" bumps the Top 10 bonus 500 points per Angler, the winner Exacta bumps up 2,000 points and the Exacta bonus bumps up 750 points. Basically the bonus points all double. Doing well with picking at the Opens and the Tour Championship are where points for the end of the year prizes are going to be decided.

The Minnesocold BPboys placed 1231 for Lewis Smith Lake and are currently 745th best team Overall.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Weather: First thunder of the year at about 11:45PM on April 5th.

Ish vs. Elias: Bassfan tells the story of a disagreement at Falcon Lake on Day 2 between Ish Monroe and Paul Elias. Basically Ish and Elias found the exact same honey hole in practice. Ish had the early draw on Day 1 and sacked 35lbs off the spot. For part of Day 1, Elias sat there and watched Ish catch fish hoping Ish would leave. Elias caught 28lbs on Day 1. Since Elias had the early draw on Day 2 he headed to the honey hole and sacked 39lbs. Ish was pissed! He felt since he was there first on Day 1 and did well enough to get into the Top 5 that Elias should have given the spot up. Ish said he felt "disrespected" and thought Elias showed a lack of "common courtesy." Apparently Elias caught 4 off the spot on Day 2 then left it for Ish.

BP ruling: I think what Elias did was fair, even though it sucks for Ish. Elias found those fish and they were just as much his as they were Ish's. The luck of the boat draw determined who got there first and because the boat draws flip flop they both got first crack for a day. As it turns out having to share the spot means neither guy is going to contend for the win on a spot that had the potential to be a winner.

Update: As it turns out Elias sacked 37+lbs on Day Final and came from behind for the win. By 4 oz he held off Terry Scroggins who caught 44-4 on Day Final. I believe 44-4 is the second biggest all time 5 fish limit for BASS. Elias' 4 day total of 132-8 is a new BASS record.

On Day 3 Elias caught 27lbs and is in 5th place (15lbs out of 1st). Ish caught 25lbs and finished 19th.

BASS FBF News: The Posse line up for Falcon were mediocre to not so good, but Mark Davis is keeping the faith for both Teams.

FLW FBF News: The Bpboys have 3 guys in the cut, 5 in top 15 and 9 in the top 60. Right now the teams base score is in the range for low end prizes seen at Toho. If I can just hit 1 exacta I'll be in line for a great prize. As it stands I'm on the bubble for prizes. If people have picked better at Lewis Smith than at Toho, I probably won't make the prizes without the exacta. Come on Clausen drop a spot on Day Final.