Tuesday, July 25, 2017

My Snatcher Season at the Mid Way Point

One year ago today I did a blog on this subject.  I've got some free time right now, so I thought I would do one for this year as well.

I finally got out of the rut I was in of poor finishes at Platte/Sullivan to start the year off the year with a Top 10 finish.  A small field and good draw almost resulted in me "getting wood" at the Mississippi River with a 4th Place finish.  An unlucky boat draw for North Long resulted in me getting second to last out of 24 anglers.  That kind of finish still could have happened had I drawn another boater, but I doubt it.

So here I sit in 6th Place at the mid way point of the season despite the bomb at North Long.  Pretty much the fate of my season rides on the result of the next tournament on Gull Lake August 12th.  A Top 10 finish there and  I should still be sitting in very good shape.  If I totally crater at Gull Lake then I might not fish Thunder.  I really want to fish Thunder.

Bring on the 2nd Half!  

Friday, July 21, 2017

The North Long Disaster, Full Report

1lb 10ozs Lake Fork Craw Tube (Grn Pumkin/Brown)
6:45-2:50PM North Long Lake we fished all 3 Bays
Conditions: 60-83℉, Partly to Mostly Sunny, Wind All Day out of multiple directions

I came into this tournament without a care in the world.  I was not prepared mentally for how difficult catching fish might prove.  After the pre-fish I was sure we were gonna catch a limit a piece.  Boy was I wrong.  Normally, I am content to let my boater call all the shots for the day and am loathe to offer suggestions.  I need to recognize instances where I need to be more assertive.  This tournament was probably one of those instances, but I can't say with any confidence that the results would have been much different.  I really don't know the lake having only fished it 3 times now with this tournament day included.

The Day:
I had thought to myself that starting where we caught multiple fish and then quickly left in 371 Bay should be our start spot.  Checkbook suggested we start in the reeds where we got fish in Merrifield Bay.  No problem.  Fish for 30 minutes, if we don't get a bite get out of there and go to 371.  That is pretty much the way it played out.

When we got to 371 Bay a boat was anchored maybe 50 yards to the NE of the juice from pre-fish.  We were there maybe 15 minutes and Checkbook got bit off.  I don't remember if I had gone to the front of the boat or not when I caught my only bass of the day on a Lake Fork Craw Tube.  I threw out a marker buoy and went and got the fish weighed and put a cull tag in.  By the time I was ready to fish again Checkbook was retied and back on the trolling motor.  Over the next hour or so I missed a couple of hits and got a pike.  I think Checkbook caught a pike.  The boat that was anchored finally left.  Checkbook wanted to leave as well.  I thought we should fish toward where the boat was anchored, but didn't speak up.

We went to the reeds in 371 that I had a blow up in during pre-fish.  Checkbook got his lone keeper there on a jig.

Next we headed to the main lake.  We apparently just missed fishing a spot that had a bunch of small keepers on it.  We didn't find the weeds.  I suggested we try some docks.  We went to either a resort or marina not sure which.  Didn't get anything there.  We fished some reeds nothing.  Tried another spot close by. Nothing.  We headed back to Merrifield Bay and fished the steep break on the North Shore narrows into the bay.  A good looking spot, but we didn't get a hit other than me getting bit off once.

Next we tried some reeds on the South shoreline, nothing.  We tried some docks.  I think Checkbook got a rock bass.  We tried some more reeds and some great looking shallow slop along the cattail shoreline.  Not a sign of a fish.  It was now about 2PM and both us were pretty frustrated.  I think I pulled the plug on where we were fishing maybe a bit to quickly as we were approaching some good looking water with some cain and thicker reeds, but I really wanted to get back to that weedline spot on 371 and that is where we went and  spent the rest of the day.  We caught several pike there and both got bit off in the final hour.  I also missed a few hits that might have been bass.  I later learned that a lot of the bass bites felt like panfish and you really had to coax them into taking it.  Or it could be that panfish were playing with a bait until a bass came to investigate.  Whatever, the day was over and we didn't figure that part of the puzzle out.

Results: My fish weighed 1lb 10ozs, which put me in 23rd Place out of 24 anglers with Checkbook  taking last.  Keith Tuma won by more than a pound and a half with 17/09 and with 4/05 Lunker.

My Thoughts:  I didn't really get spun out.  It's just that everything we tried didn't work.  If anything I was to casual believing we would eventually find and catch some bass. Looking back at my tournament results in July I haven't caught a limit in the month since 2012, ouch.  This finish pretty much forces my hand.  If I want any shot at making the Super 6 at the end of the year I'm going to have to fish Thunder Lake and miss my oldest brothers wedding ceremony.  A disaster on this level next month at Gull will make that decision a moot point.

Next Tournament: Gull Lake August 12th  

Saturday, July 15, 2017

North Long Quick Report, Disaster It Was

Maybe I jinxed my boater and I by writing that yesterday.  We didn't make a good decision between us and only landed a single keeper a piece.  That's right, 8 hours in the boat fishing on North Long Lake and we only caught 2 bass.  What can I say, we really really sucked.  I came in 23rd and Checkbook came in last. Ouch!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Snatchers Tournament on North Long Tomorrow

The Bass Snatchers will be fishing North Long for the 3rd time since I joined the club.  The most recent tournament was in August of 2012 and I missed it due to having back issues.  The time before that was August of 2008, my first year in the club.  I fished that tournament with Chuck Steinbauer, but even with reading my blog of that tournament I can not remember where I single place I caught a fish with any accuracy.

I drew "Checkbook" for my boater for the first time.  This is his 32 year fishing in the club.  He generally struggles, but has a good tournament from time to time and North Long has been pretty good to him over the years.  We got out pre-fishing on Wed's and I caught a small limit, but we spent a good chunk of the day eliminating water.  If I can get a limit and finish somewhere in the low teens I will be happy.  We have 24 people fishing this one, so the potential for a disastrous finish in the 20's is a possibility. Hopefully Checkbook and I will be able to put something together so that doesn't happen to either of us.

Here's the Rods I'm going with:

7'4" Tatula Frog Rod
7'2" Tatula MH Topwater & Wakebait
7'2" Tatula Jig n Craw
7' Avid Heavy Craw Tubes
7' Mojo Chatterbaits
6'8" Avid Topwater
6'6" MH Loomis Swim Jig
6'4" Avid X Fluke/Senko


Wednesday, July 05, 2017

How I Spent the 4th of July

7" Puddle Jumper/Worm
8:15-9:25PM Out Front In the Trophy
Conditions: 80℉, Partly Cloudy, Light SE wind
Water Temp: Mid 70's
We got the pontoon boat launched today, but it wasn't ready for prime time.  It only started at full speed in forward and steering directions are reverse from normal were a couple of the major issues.  Dad worked on it while I took the girls out tubing behind the Trophy.  Boat traffic crashed at about 4:30 as people ended there holiday weekend.  At about 6PM I was ready for a break and needed to get more gas, so I went and did that.   We had dinner after I got back.  Todd had put a hole in the tube, so there was no more tubing tonight.  Instead I took Todd and the nieces out fishing.
8" Puddle Jumper/Worm
I took us out to the inside turn on our side of Jenny's reeds. Mallory was the first to catch a fish.  She hooked and landed it all by herself.
Terminator Frog
 Todd had a blow up that missed his frog.  A few casts later he got the pike from a different area.
Isabelle Grace
9" Beetle Spin/Puddle Jumper/Worm
Isabelle didn't want to be left out and wasn't when she landed this crappie.  My memory card was full after I took the picute of her holding the fish.  I had to erase a few pictures to get the final one's of the night.
8" Puddle Jumper/Worm

6.5" Puddle Jumper/Worm

Yes, I am aware the girls are required by law to be wearing their life jackets.  Their life jackets were wet, both girls are excellent swimmers and with two adults who are also excellent swimmers were in the boat with them;  Plus we only used the big motor briefly to go a little over a hundred yards or so.
At around 9:10PM I took the boat out from West Point to get a look at the sunset, but there was a thick cloud bank on the horizon so we couldn't see it.  I took the bobber off of 'the snoopy pole" and we got a few gills vertical jigging. A fun time was had by all.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Because You've Got To See And Read About Last Night

Make sure your screen is tilted correctly to see the colors in the rainbow
What awaited me when I arrived at the lake place tonight.
8:45-9:45PM 3 Loon Flat & S.P.S.I.
Conditons: 70℉, Mostly Cloudy small thunderstorms coming through all evening, Light NNW Wind
Water Temp: 69℉

I wanted to go fishing tonight starting at 5PM, but small thunderstorms kept developing over the lake, so I just staid at home until about 7:40PM when I headed to the lake.  It pretty much quit raining the second I parked the Kia and there was that magnificent rainbow.
Looking NW from our dock
 I didn't know if I was there to go fishing or just drain water from the boat as the weather to the NW looked threatening and that was the direction the storms had been coming from.

An eagle sat up in a tree to the East keeping an eye on the sky with me while baitfish spooked occasionally well out front of our dock.    There were frequent cloud to ground lightening strikes taking place that I could here anywhere from 12 to 18 seconds after I saw them. I was not optimistic about getting out.  At about 8:10 someone from across the bay decided to take their pontoon boat out for a slow cruise around the lake.  I thought they were nuts.  Then about 5 minutes later a fishing boat took off from across the bay and someone else started pulling a tube around. I then noticed a guy in a boat fishing the docks across the way.
I bet he got a big fish off of those docks tonight 
Cloud to ground strikes were still going on.
 Although this picture doesn't really show it some blue sky appeared to the NW at about 8:30.  At that point I put the battery in the boat and got my tackle.  Lesson learned, with all the people with smart phone weather apps, they know what is going on with the weather as it is happening.  I need to seriously think about buying myself one.

I ended up just bringing one tackle bag, normally 3, and 4 Rods, normally 10+.  It was going to be topwater or bust for me tonight.  Should have brought a frog rod with too, because casting in the rice, pads, and reeds doesn't work so great with topwater plugs.
21" Whopper Plopper 90 (Yellow Head)
So I headed out to 3 Loon Flat where I got some bass yesterday.  I got a few pike slashing at my lures and caught this one.  At about 9:10PM I decided to pull the plug and head for the South point of the small island where I wrecked them the other night.

The reeds are off the South point of the big island
 I had to stop and take a picture of the sun as it set, then I was quickly back on my way.  I stopped well short of the juice and could have really used the frog rod to probe the pads, rice, and reeds as I made my way South.  As I got close to the juice I grabbed the rod with the River2Sea Double Plopper Buzzbait on it.  I figured it was a great chance to actually catch a fish on the thing, rather then just have them slash at it.  The first fish to strike at it didn't get it yet again, but sure enough I quickly caught a pike.
21.5" Double Plopper Buzz
And with that fish I closed out a fish on everything in Mystery Tackle Box #3.
Another Blog post on this topic coming later
At that point I immediately put that rod down and went to the Jackall Pompadour and threw it right over the juice where a good fish immediately belted it, but didn't hook up.  Several more casts later with nothing showing interest I put the Pompadour down and went to the Shower Blows knock off. Was hooked up on the first cast with this dink.
11.5" Shower Blows Knock Off (Chart/Herring Bone)
Charles Steinbauer, my boater for the Platte/Sullivan tournament, I'm sure is wondering why they didn't have that buoy out there on tournament day.  I decided not to weigh the fish because it was getting dark quickly.  I got another dink a few casts later after a couple of fish just slashed at it.  By the time I got that fish which was hooked dangerously for me off I was to far to be able to cast to the juice.  I tried working the other side of the trench, but all I got there was a couple of weeds.

I made my way back towards the buoy and a got another dink, this time on the Yellow Head Plopper 90.  By the time I got that fish off I needed to move back towards the buoy.  While underway I made a cast 15 feet past the buoy, but only 5 feet from where my line passed it.  About half way back to the buoy finally a good bass hit the Plopper.  Then the fish started fighting towards the buoy.  I kicked the trolling motor on high in case it made it buoy.
16" Whopper Plopper 90 
Fortunately, the fish cleared the buoy and I landed it.  Unfortunately, the boat went pretty much right over the juice.  I thought maybe it was dark enough I didn't wreck it, but apparently I did because I didn't catch another fish there.  I went in close to the reeds and made the mistake of trying to cast to a lane I thought I saw in the reeds.  The cast was about 7 feet off the mark to the left, so I had to go get the Plopper.  I put on the black Shower Blows knock off and got a quality bass on my last cast of the night.
15.5" SBKO
It was so dark I didn't notice the fish was bleeding until I looked at the camera's LCD screen to make sure I framed the fish correctly. One of the hooks must have clipped a gill during the fight because I didn't take a hook out of the gills to take it off.  The mosquito's were terrible tonight.

5 Bass
4 Pike

At least as many bites that didn't hook up.