Thursday, June 26, 2014

Bass Snatcher Serpent Lake Tournament Report June 22nd

My Boater Dave Branum from the Morning We Pre-fished

Conditions: Cloudy in the morning turning sunny then partly cloudy.  Wind from almost calm to about 10mph out of the S SE.  It did sprinkle for a little while.  I could have used less wind.

My Plan- I was really hoping the wind would stay low enough to allow me to fish topwater all day.  After the pre-fish I figured it was a plan that had a chance of winning the tournament.  Honestly, I usually don't fish thinking I am going to win a tournament, but that was my mind set on this one.

The Day- I believe we blasted off around 6:40AM and we got our starting spot.  Well one caveat to that statement.  We got our starting spot, which was a fairly big area, but there was a non-competitors boat fishing right in the middle of it.  We did get to start on the spot where we got the double and I got 2 smallies.  It took about 10 to 15 minutes, but I got a 15" largie on a Paycheck Baits Repo Man.  I think I missed a hit and noticed on a couple of casts I had fish following but not hitting.  So I took the Repo Man off and went to the KVD Dawg.  I got a 14.25" and a 15.25" on that.  Dave got 1 or two fish.  The other boat landed a few as well.  Eventually we moved on the other side of the other boat.  I had a nice pike blow up on the KVD.  Then it got calm for a little while.  I started throwing a gold Frenzy Popper and I got 13.75" and a 12.5" on that.  The other boat left and the wind came up.  We weren't getting bites so we left.

Our next spot was a weedline where we got a few pre-fishing including 1 nice smallie.  The wind was blowing here pretty good.  I started out throwing the KVD Dawg, then a Kelly J, then a Strike King Spinnerbait.  I got a hit right away on the spinnerbait, but it was a slimmer.  I did get a 10 bass and 13.25" bass on the Kelly J.

We moved to a sunken island with weeds and rocks.  I culled out my 2 smallest with a 15.25" and a 14" on the Repo Man.  Dave got himself a nice smallie (2-10) and lost a another better largemouth as he was bring it to the boat.  I decided to throw a Lake Fork Craw Tube for a little bit and was quickly rewarded with a 16.25" largie (1-15).  I started catching a bunch of rock bass as well.

Next we headed to our starting area.  The wind was blowing pretty good there.  I started experimenting with lipless cranks.  I was on my 4th one, a 3/4oz chart/red Red Eye Shad, when  I had a 15 to 16 inch largemouth hit it. It only had one hook and got off.  I then caught a hammer handle.  Then I got the fish I was looking for, a good smallmouth.  It hit on the end of a long cast and shot up out of the water trying to throw my bait.  It then swam towards the boat.  Reeling as fast as I could I was able to keep up with it.  I had it about 4 feet from the net when it tail walked and came off.  I would say it was 17" inch 3lb class fish.  I ended up catching a rock bass and a perch on the Red Eye as well.

We moved to a weedline that was protected from the wind.  I started throwing the Repo Man.  A 17" or so smallie jumped on it about 12 feet out from the boat.  It missed the bait and must have seen me because it didn't come back for it.  Dave got a largemouth, which helped him and then he dropped one that had to be at least 3 1/2 lbs, probably a bit more.

We went back to the island where Dave got the smallmouth. I don't remember if he caught anything but rock bass.  I got a couple of rock bass on the Red Eye.  We finished up on our starting spot.  I got a couple of rock bass on the craw tube.

Results-   My 6 fish weighed 9lbs 8ozs which put me in 24th Place with 26 anglers fishing. Dave's fish went 10lbs 15ozs and put him in 11th Place.  The winner was Darren Kiefer with 14lbs 5ozs and Lunker went to Bill Ludenia with a 4-1 largemouth, at least I think it was a largemouth.  Bill came in 2nd with 13-14.  Everyone got a limit.  Fishing was tougher than expected.

Thoughts-  I'm disappointed.  Like I said in quick report  I had the bites to do well, Top 10 for sure, and my boater had the fish on to contend for the win, but our execution left something to be desired.  Part of my execution problem stems from the rod I was throwing the Red Eye Shad on.  The rod is a Lamiglas Excel 735.  Great for throwing a long cast, but not forgiving enough for playing the fish.  It's great a rod for frogs and dipper style swimbaits, but treble hook lures not so much..  On a softer rod I may have gotten both of the one's I lost.

I can't really do anything about a fish that misses my topwater lure.  I played that fish perfect, letting the topwater sit before starting it up again and then throwing a follow up lure.  That fish saw me and was gone.  The wind was such that I didn't get to throw topwater as much as I wanted too.

Next Tournament Leech Lake July 19th.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Serpent Lake Pre-fish from June 13th

A double to start the morning

Conditions: Calm to a light wind, basically perfect topwater conditions.  Sunny with clouds moving in.

My boater Dave Branum and I were on the water and fishing by 7AM.  I had a fish hit my KVD Sexy Dawg on the 2nd cast, but it got off.  On my next cast, I had a fish hit it and not hook up.  I let the lure sit then started retrieving again and the fish either came back or another one hit it, but this time it stayed buttoned.  Dave brought in a largemouth at the same time.
My fish was a 15.5" smallie.  A couple of casts later I got a 17.5" smallie.  Next I got 15.5" and 16" largemouths and I switched to a Stanley Phantom.  I got a couple of small largies and a 14" on that, then I switched up to a KVD Dawg Jr.  I got  15.25, 10", and 14.25" largies on that.  Dave was catching fish in the same general size range as me as well, but he was fishing subsurface.  I got a 15.5 largie on a MegaBass Popmax.  We then switched locations and I got an 18.33 smallie on the same KVD Dawg as earlier.
 She either hadn't spawned yet or had a full belly.  I got two more 15" largemouth's on the Dawg, then I put it away.   The wind came up a little bit and  I got a couple of largies on a Lucky Craft Kelly J. I got a 17.75 smallie on a Rapala X-Rap Prop, along with a couple of small keeper largies.  I did throw a craw tube eventually and got a couple of pike on that and one bite off, along with a 14.75 largie.  Dave got the biggest bass of the day, a 19" plus largemouth.  I also had at least half a dozen other  fish that missed my topwater baits or got off.

We both would have had 15 more pounds or more, needless to say why we were both feeling good about things.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Serpent Lake Quick Report

I had the bites to do well and my boater had the fish on to contend, but our execution left something to be desired.  Fishing was tougher than expected.  Oh well, we had our chances.  I'll have the full report sometime this week.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Bass Snatcher Tournament Preview Serpent Lake

I'm feeling positive about this one. We had a good pre-fish. I'm really hoping the fish are going to be up and active. As my picture indicates we got brown fish as well as green one's.  That was my smallest smallie.  My best bites were smallies and my boaters best bites were largies.  If we can put together similar bags, we should be in contention.  Lighter winds is what I'm hoping for.

Will we get our starting spot?  We are 7th boat out of 13, so it's possible we won't. I guess we'll see what the morning brings.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Hey Mille Lacs Walleye Fishermen, It Isn't Smallmouth Eating Your Fish

The Pioneer Press put it like this:


Crayfish, crayfish, crayfish.
"Smallmouth were the easiest to figure out," Parsons said. "The diet that was observed was dominated by crayfish -- significantly more than half in the summer. In the fall, they ate a few more fish. Smallmouth really don't eat a lot of fish, but if they do eat them, they'll generally eat yellow perch, and occasionally bluegill, crappie, darters and shiners. The proportion of walleye they eat is very small."

Oh coarse, what the DNR says will have zero impact on what some of these walleye fisherman think. I heard it this Spring from a guy. "Those damn smallmouth are eating machines and they will eat anything" is what the guy said.  It may be true they are eating machines, but your typical small walleye isn't doing things that put it on a smallmouth basses radar screen as far as being smallmouth forage, so walleye's don't typically show up in a smallies stomach.  But like I said, with some guys facts don't matter one bit.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Bass Snatcher Tournament Lake Alexander June 7th

My Boater Chuck Johansen, 1991 MN B.A.S.S. Nation T.O.C. Winner 
The Weather- Calm, cool/cold and overcast in the morning, turning sunny with some wind out of the NW in the afternoon.

The Day- Thankfully, the rain had stopped by the time we blasted off around 6:45AM because we made a long run up to the NE corner of the lake to fish some reed beds, floating bogs, and docks.  The reeds hadn't started coming out of the water yet.  As we worked our way East I started out throwing a Pure Poison, but in the calm conditions quickly switched to the chart/firetiger Stanley Phantom.  I had what I'm 90% sure was a muskie come up and wake behind that.  Eventually I switched to a gold Frenzy Popper.  I made a long cast out to some reeds.  I'm not sure if I had a little over run that I started taking out or what, but a fish hit the Popper.  I quickly, set the hook but I couldn't reel in because the line was caught on my reel.  It felt like a good fish, but by the time I got my line out of the reel handle it had come off.   I managed to catch a 9" dink on the Popper and missed another one that swirled on it.  We went into some docks and passed by a decent smallmouth that was on a bed.  Next I got a rock bass on a Yabbie and another 9" dink on a bubblegum Zoom Super Fluke.  Then Chuck got  the first keepers along the dock. We had to be at least an hour into the tournament when Chuck got the first keeper.  I finally got a 12" squeaker and we both got some that didn't measure and more rock bass as we worked our way along the bogs and docks on Flukes and the Yabbies.  Chuck got a couple of small keepers and  I got a 13.5" and a 13" off the docks, then we ran back to approximately where we started.  When we got close to the area where we had seen the smallmouth bed I threw my Fluke into the general vicinity and the fish crushed it.
  That was pretty much all we got on our 2nd pass except for a few dinks and rock bass.  We ended up hopscotching with a couple of boats on the docks on the East side of the lake.  We got down to the SE corner and there was a prime looking area of an old reed bed.  I took a 14.5" on the Fluke and then I missed a good fish that may or may not have been a bass up by shore.  Chuck thought maybe it was a dogfish.  We ended up pulling a double much to the dismay of Chuck Steinbauer who was fishing towards us.  Mine was a 15.75" largie.  Steinbauer left and we worked the water he had been fishing.  Then we made the call to go back over the area again.  I tied on a Zoom Horny Toad with a purple head and chart. legs.  I caught a 24 or so inch pike on that.  The wind came up more than it had been and the sun came out.  Chuck thought we should move, but I suggested we fish down to a pontoon boat.  My suggestion paid off for Chuck when he landed a quality fish just on the other side of the pontoon.  We decided to keep going and I think Chuck got another good fish off of a bog point that had the wind blowing on it and I missed what felt like a good fish on a green pumpkin Lake Fork Craw Tube.  I got a couple of rock bass and missed a couple of bites on the Craw Tube before connecting with a 14" fish that culled out my 12".  I think Chuck got another keeper as well.

Next we went a little to the West of the area we started in and headed West.  I culled a 13" for a 13" and caught some that didn't help as we worked our way through the reed stubble.  We started working some docks and we both got some that didn't help and some rock bass.  I had a good smallmouth follow my Fluke out from a dock.  I let the fluke drop when I saw her. It turned to swim away. I jigged the Fluke again, the fish whipped around, eyed it for a couple of seconds than took it.  I set the hook and landed my biggest fish of the day 16"/ 2lbs 3ozs and final keeper bite.  Got several more that didn't help including one on a Gambler Ninja Spin as well as several rock bass on the Craw Tube.  I think I missed 1 that would have helped at least a little bit on a Craw Tube.  Chuck got one last quality cull off of a dock.

The Results- My 6 fish weighed in at 10lbs 1ozs and put me in 19th Place out of 26 fishing.  Chuck's fish went 12lbs 4ozs and put him in 8th place.  Jim Smith won easily with 16lbs 5ozs, more than 2lbs over Guy who got 2nd Place.  Big Bass only weighed 3-8 and was caught by Dave Branum; I think it was a largemouth.  Only 1 guy failed to catch a limit and weights were up an average of around 2lbs per person over the last two tournaments on Alexander (6-25-06, 9-22-12)

My Thoughts-   Other than the first hour which was fairly slow, it was a fun day on the water with a lot of setting the hook.  Had I got all my bites I guess I would have had around 12lbs as well.  For neither of us getting to pre-fish I thought the day went pretty well.  Chuck was a great guy to fish with, very considerate, and asking for my input from time to time.

Next Tournament- Serpent Lake June 22nd

Friday, June 06, 2014

Bass Snatcher Tournament Lake Alexander

This week we will fish Lake Alexander I guarantee it.  We are starting an hour earlier.  Looks like it is going to be colder and just as wet as last week.  Wind this time is out of the North. My boater Chuck Johansen has fished the lake many times, which was good news to hear.  Basically my thoughts are the same.  Hopefully fish will go on topwater, if not I'll probably give them a heavy dose of a chatterjigs, spinnerbaits, swim jigs.  If that don't work I've got cranks,rattlebaits, and jerkbaits.  If that don't work there are Flukes, Yabbies, and Craw Tubes.  Hopefully we will get to tangle with a few smallmouth.  No Muskies Please!  I will gladly take a big bowfin however.