Tuesday, June 08, 2010
June 5th Whitefish Tournament Report
Saturday June 5th 2010 was my first Baxter Bass Snatchers Club bass tournament of the year. This tournament was held on the Whitefish Chain, which is about a half hour North of Brainerd Minnesota. The weather was overcast most of the time and we did have a couple of light sprinkles. There was little wind in the morning, but by afternoon it was blowing pretty good out of the West.
My original drawn boater had boat trouble, so I was given a new partner, Chuck Steinbauer. Chuck is "Mr. Baxter Bass Snatchers". I believe he has been in the club since it started in 1977 and has been Club "Mr. Bass" 10 Times. He has finished in the State Tournament qualifying Top 6, 29 times and he has won 35 club tournaments, including 3 of them on the Whitefish Chain. I had no doubt I would be around fish all day, but on the other hand Chuck has a reputation for being hard to catch fish behind.
Like most Bass Snatcher tournaments we blasted off about 15-20 minutes before the scheduled 7AM start time. We headed North out of Lower Hay for a short run to Delta Bay where Chuck had some rice and docks he wanted to hit real quick. I didn't even have a cast made and Chuck had a bass in the boat. I think it was under 12" thus to small to keep. The rice didn't give up anything else, so we headed to the docks, which gave Chuck a keeper or two.
We were quickly off to go look at some smallmouth beds. Another Bass Snatcher boat was at our next stop and he claimed that he caught the fish that were there. So off we went to another smallmouth spot. The smallies were not here either, but we both caught a couple of rock bass. Our next stop was again for smallmouth's in Big Trout Lake. Another boat was on Chuck's best spot and they told us someone else had already fished and caught a few off of where we settled to fish. We both started catching a bunch of rock bass and I got a little pike as well. Chuck did get one small smallmouth blind casting a senko and I think maybe he picked up one smallmouth off a bed with a tube.
Next we went to fish some docks and I picked up a 14.5" smallie on a electric chicken Zoom Super Fluke and a 14.75 smallie on a watermelon red&black fleck Strike King Ocho (senko). Unfortunately another club boat was coming towards us and so we took off and out of Big Trout. We stopped in a nice little weedy area in Lower Whitefish and Chuck pulled a couple of keepers, which were to small for his liking so we took off. We headed to another weed area in Bertha Lake which looked awesome, but I think only gave Chuck 1 little keeper and me a couple of rock bass.
Next we went to one of Chuck's bedded smallmouth and it was still there and Chuck caught his biggest fish of the day. Next we made a run up to Arrowhead Lake to go fish some docks. I thought the stuff in between the docks looked pretty good, but Chuck was quickly hopping from one dock to another. I threw a bubblegum Zoom Super Fluke into one of the holes in the grass between docks and promptly got bit off, so I switched rods to the Ocho. Chuck caught a keeper off a dock and had me go to the front while he culled. This was my chance to work the stuff between the docks and it didn't take long until my best fish of the day a 16.5inch 2lb 14oz largie ate my Ocho. Chuck got back on the front of the boat and that would be my only fish out of Arrowhead.
Next we ran to one specific dock on Upper Whitefish but nothing was there, so we went to check a smallie bed. As Chuck was looking for a fish on a bed I made a cast and had the pearl 5" grub tail bit off my swim jig. There was another smallmouth bed and I had found it. I didn't really have anything handy to throw back at the fish, so Chuck worked it with his tube and eventually got the 2 and a half pound smallie to bite. That was a critical gain for him and a critical bit of bad luck for me.
Next we went back to the first smallmouth spot we had stopped in the morning and there was a good fish there, but it quickly spooked and didn't come back. We worked the area and Chuck did catch a little smallmouth which did cull a smaller largemouth.
Chuck made the decision to make the long run to Cross Lake and on our way there we made a couple of stops on what I think was Lower Whitefish at some docks with rocks. In one of the spots I pulled a smallie that was just over the 12 inch minimum length on a swim jig and off the next dock I picked off a chunky largie that I thought for sure would keep, but it was just under 12".
So we were off to fish docks in Cross and although the fishing was off and Chuck chaulked it up as a mistake; I managed to fill my limit with a 13" largie and 12.75" largie from the docks.
We made the run back up to Whitefish and by this time the wind was blowing pretty good, so we headed to a saddle with rocks with the wind blowing on it. I picked up my wht/chart Mille Lacs smallie killer 3/16oz Strike King Spinnerbait and was quickly rewarded with a solid hit, which turned out to be a 16.25" smallie. Unfortunately I was unable to pick up anymore fish on the spinnerbait.
We went back into Bertha, and I managed a small cull with a 13.25 largemouth caught on a smoke tube. Once again we went back to that first smallie spot, but no one was home. So we went to work at our starting spot in Delta Bay, where I got a few pike to show themselves but that was it and the day was up.
My 6 fish went for 11lbs 1oz, which put me in 10th Place. (29 guys fished) This is my 3rd best showing out of the 13 Bass Snatchers tournaments I've fished and definitely my best start to a year.
Chuck had 12lbs 1oz which put him in 5th. We were the 2nd best boat in terms of total weight.