Sunday, March 22, 2015

North/South Center Tournament

July 26, 2014; Today is the Renegade Bassers Tournament on North/South Center in Chisago County.  This is a lake I’ve never done real well on but my hopes were high since I had a good prefishing day a week before.  I was fishing alone again so at least if I had a bad day I wasn’t causing someone else to have a bad day also.  The weather was almost identical to Clearwater 2 weeks earlier so I was looking forward to a really good day.

We launched from North Center but my best spots were on South Center so I had to join the parade that would go through the culvert beneath Hwy 8 and then run to my spot.  Again I was feeling good when most guys turned right and I turned left.  Only one boater was heading toward my area of the lake but he pulled up short to fish a point a good ½ mile from where I wanted to fish.

I pulled up and started to throw a buzz bait and had a couple of blow ups but I was sure they were pike since I could see the movement of water just before the strike and they were just hitting it trying to knock their pray senseless so they could come back and eat it.  Once they hit they wouldn’t come back.  I was fishing in an area that had a community docks with pontoons and boats all tied up touching the water and I had similar luck prefishing a week before like I had on Clearwater 2 weeks ago.  I started skipping the pontoons where I caught a 3 pounder a week before hoping it was still there and would bite again.

Well the fish had other ideas since I didn’t catch a fish under any of them.  So I started throwing a frog in some pads nearby and it paid off has a 2.5 lb largemouth decided it wanted my frog and I was on the board.  I continued casting the frog but nothing else decided to bite.

After about 1-1/2 hours I decided to go fish my second pattern that I discovered a week before of fishing docks that did not have any boats or boat lifts on them.  Normally I would fishing these types of docks since there isn’t enough structure or shade on them with no boats or boat lifts but I caught a couple of nice fish a week before under a couple of these docks so I decided to go try it again.  This turned out to be a good move since I started catch bass and good bass under these types of docks.  Furthermore I found I wouldn’t catch them under the end of the dock I would catch them about midway out from shoreline to end of the dock.  I continued to fish the lone docks and caught at least one fish and sometimes two under each one of these docks.  Although I continued to skip docks with boats and boat lifts I only caught one fish all day under this type of dock.

With about 1-1/2 hour to go I was fishing a long shoreline catching and culling my fish in hopes of getting them all over 3 lbs when I ran into Ryan Ploof another boater in the club and started talking to him and he was struggling and only had 3 fish.  Ryan was throwing a Jig between the docks in week patches and we were converging on a loan dock and I was hoping to get by him before he through his jig anywhere near this dock.  Well just then he pitched about 5 feet from the dock and an 3-1/2 lb bass blasted his jig and my heart sank since that would have culled out a 1-1/2 lb fish in my box and would have upgraded me by 2 lbs.  O’well good for Ryan, he needed the fish to get closer to his limit.

With about ½ hour before weigh in and only 15 mins left to fish I ran to a row of about 6 docks I had not touched during prefishing or all day and figured I end on these docks.  This turned out to be a good move since on my first cast I set the hook on a 2-1/2 lb largemouth so I was able to get rid of that 1-1/2 and upgraded by 1 lb.  I continued down this stretch and was running out of time and decided I could only hit one more dock so I skipped once and didn’t get a bite but decided to make one more skip and BINGO, I caught a 3 lb largemouth that would upgrade about another 1 lb in my box.

Time for weigh in and I was feeling good.  I ended up with 13.00 lbs even however Daryl Larson ended up with 16.05 lbs and took first so I took second place again, which I will take since the points for second are great.

Looking back at the fish that Ryan caught in front of me wouldn’t have help me since Daryl beat me by 3 lbs and it ended up being the last fish Ryan caught.

Second place I’ll take it since it was keeping me high in the standings for the year.

Catch ya next time and remember “Just Fish”

Clearwater Tournament

July 13, 2014; Well today is the Renegade Bassers Club Tournament on Clearwater in Stearns Count.  I am fishing alone today as it is one of the tournament I do not have a non-boater.  The day was perfect, the weather was idea for my game plan on this lake.  Historically I’ve been successful fishing senko’s and frogs.  With almost no clouds in the ski the day was ripe for fishing in the pads, reeds and under docks so I was ready to go.

When launch started it got even better since no one was heading toward my starting spot and the excitement was building.  When I launched I turned left watching everyone else turn right and it was game on.  It only took me a couple of mins to get to my starting spot that is on the North Shore of Clearwater which is a very large patch that covers 10 acres and I was ready to slam’em.  There was almost no wind at all and most of the area was like glass so I started fishing a buzz bait to see if I could wake up some fish just waiting for something to make some noise on the surface.  Well after about 15 mins it was clear that the bass had no interest in my buzz bait so I decided to start flipping a Black Neon with Chartreuse tail senko into the reeds and would see movement in the reeds near my senko but no takers so I switched to a June Bug color senko still nothing and I was starting get get discouraged since I’d been fishing for about an hour and still did not have a bite.

Well after about 2-1/2 hours of throwing a number of different colors of senkos and tubes with the same result, nothing.  Since the sun was no high enough yet I wasn’t sure if the Frog bite would be on yet in the pads but I figured what did I have to loose.  I started throwing a Frog in the pads in hopes that maybe the fish we in the mood for nice big frog.  No so much, I casted my frog for about a ½ hour in a number of patches of pads I was near.  Not a single blowup and it was now 9:00am and I still didn’t have a fish.

It was time to go to my tried and true backup plan of some docks.  There was a row of about a dozen docks near me that had some boat lifts with boats on them lifted out of the water so I thought I would give it a try since nothing else seemed to be working.

Well on the first dock I finally caught a bass but it was a 10 inch fish which wasn’t going into the box but it was at least a fish and I was able to remember what a Bass looked like.  I continued down the shoreline and caught another 8 inch bass but that was it, 2 fish and both too small to measure.  It was now 10:30am, 4-1/2 hours into the tournament and I didn’t have a fish in the box.  All I kept thinking was I going to have another E/W Rush and end up no having a limit or at this point.

At 11:00am with only 3 hours to go and no fish in the livewell I decided to go try another row of docks since I at least had determined the fish under the docks would at least bite and if I couldn’t find any keepers I at least could get some bites. 

Well I started fishing the docks and came upon a dock that had a pontoon that was beached and the back end of the boat was only in about 2 feet of water and I skipped under it and no sooner did it hit the water my line jumped and I set the hook on a 3.5 lb Largemouth and I was shocked I had a fish to put into my livewell and it was nice fish.  I continued to fish the row of docks with very little luck, a 9, 10, 11 inch fish but then I camp upon another dock that had a pontoon that was not on a boat lift it was just tied up to the dock in the water.  I skipped under it and low and behold I pulled a 2.5 pounder out from under the pontoon and the wheels in my head started turning.  I scanned the shoreline for Pontoons that were either beached or in the water next to the docks.  I determined that the difference between the normal docks and boat lifts and these pontoons were that it was pitch dark under the pontoons that were touching the water and there instead of just some shade from the dock or boat lift.  I put my trolling motor on high and started hitting only pontoons in the water and I would catch a fish under each one of them, some keepers and some too small but every one of them had at least one fish under it.

Once I finished this stretch of docks I started riding around the lake looking specifically for pontoons touch the water and I find a shoreline with only or two pontoons but I would catch a fish under each one of them.  I had filled my limit and culled a number of them but I was racing against the clock since by the time I figured out this pattern I only had a couple hours to fish and I had to race around looking for the right place on a shoreline to fish but I was now having fun since I was catching fish.

Time for weigh in and I felt good since I had figure out a good pattern and I had decent fish.  Not sure if I had enough to place high but at least I was not coming in short.

As tournament director I have to weigh in everyone else’s fish and I weigh last.  As each fisherman weighed in it was clear that I wasn’t the only one the struggled as some guys didn’t have limits and some blanked.  I was feeling really good since I know I had between 12 & 13 lbs and so far only a couple guys had broke the 10 lb mark until Nick Madison weighed in and Nick had 13.76 lbs which I knew was more than I had but I was still sitting good for being in the top 5.  After weighing everyone in it was time for me to weigh in last and I pulled my fish out of my livewell one a time with everyone watching seeing I had figured out where they were.

I ended up weighing 12.79 lbs which was good enough for 2nd place which felt good considering I didn’t catch the first keeper until after 11:00am.  The day proved to me that Mike Iaconelli’s chant of “Never Give Up” was very true and I didn’t give up and I was able to find fish and the right fish.

Catch ya next time and remember “Just Fish”

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

E/W Rush Tournament

Sunday June 26 - Well I am a little late on writing this post and in the end it was probably because I was trying to forget the tournament.  The Renegade Bassers held our second Club Tournament on East/West Rush Lake in Rush City, MN.  The day started out picture perfect with clear skies and very little wind and with E/W Rush being a lake I like to throw Frogs on I was excited to have the weather conditions it looked like we'd have.

My non-boater for the day was Mike Juskiewicz who is an absolute side splitter to fish with because he has so many stories that just make you laugh you arse off that by the end of the day your sides hurt.

Mike and I launched second and we were headed through the channel from West Rush to East Rush to hit the South Bay to throw some frogs.  We got to our spot and on Mike's 3rd cast of a Senko in the Pads he set the hook and was ready to start is bag.  However, to our surprise he pulled a 14" Walleye with an Identity Problem since it was living in Bass Territory.  I started throwing my Ribbit Toad in Green Pumpkin/Orange and had a couple of blowups but nothing that would commit to taking it.  I switch over to a Live Target Black and Yellow Hollow Body Frog and within a few cast I had my first attack about 10' from the Reed line I caught my first Bass of the day a 15-3/4" Bass that although was not huge but it was a start.  Less then 5 mins later Mike pulled in a 17" Bass on a spinner bait so we were both on the board and ready to catch more.

Well although we were ready the Bass didn't seem to want to cooperate.  We caught a few small fish but nothing that would measure so we let em go and told them to grow up fast.  Mike set the hook on a few Bass that would have measured for his bag but the fish were just determined not to go for a boat ride to weigh in and would shake off before he could get them into the boat.

Now at about 10:00am mother nature decided to rub salt in our wounds and she start the rain and it rain for the rest of the day and the fishing didn't get any easier.  We through just about everything we could think of to see if we could get the fish to bite and finally at about noon I caught my second keeper a whopping 12-1/8" Bass, just big enough to put in the box provided it didn't shrink over the next couple of hours.

That was it, the only other fish Mike and I caught were either too small or the wrong species, as I caught 3 Pike that were all about 4 - 5lbs each but didn't help me and only added to my frustration.

It appeared that most of the club members were able to figure out the fish as most came in with limits but there were a couple of fishermen that blanked for the day so Mike and I were not the only ones baffled by the lack of activity.

I ended up with a total weight of 3.0lbs and 16th place, not my best day but not my worst either even the Elite Series Fisherman blank sometimes.  It is a good thing we get to throw out one of our tournaments and I can look forward to the next tournament on Clearwater on 7/13.

Catch ya next time and remember "Just Fish!"

Monday, June 16, 2014

Granite City FOM Tournament on Koronis

Saturday June 14, 2014.  Just finished fishing the Granite City Division of Fishers of Men Legacy tournament on Lake Koronis in Paynesville, MN with my nephew Logan Procai.

The day started out wet, very wet.  We launched in 8 position and it was dry when we launched but within about 15 mins it started raining and when I say raining I mean Monsoon Rain.  It rained hard for over 2-1/2 hours.  To make matters worse the water was up and had a lot of docks flooded.  Koronis has historically been a lake that I can catch fish on docks very quickly and efficiently and with good size to them.

We started fishing my favorite row of docks and it became apparent quickly that the Bass were not holding under the docks as we couldn't even get sunfish to play with our plastic baits.  after about 1/2 hour of no luck around or under any docks on this shoreline we moved to my secondary spot to fishing some dead falls and Reeds.

On my 3rd cast with a Black & Blue Leena Lures Ring Tube, I brought in a 12-1/2 inch Largemouth, okay a 12-1/2 inch bass does not have a large mouth but it was a fish and we were on the board towards our limit of 5.  As they say you have to have 5 before you can cull so I wasn't worried about starting with this size fish.  About 6 casts later I hooked into a 14 inch Bass, number two for culling later.  We continued down the shoreline and Logan, fishing with a Black & Blue Swim Jig hooked into 13-3/4 inch bass, although we are catch fish I am starting to get a little worried that we'll be catch dinks all day long and we will not end up with much weight.  We figured we'd have to see if we could find the bigger fish eventually.  After fishing the Shoreline for about 1/2 I finally got the strike I was waiting for, I hooked into a 17-1/2 Bass that weighed 3.46lbs, now we are string to catch quality fish.

With 4 fish in the box we moved to a Reed patch I like to fish to see if it might hold a couple of decent bass to fishing out our 5 and maybe cull some of the dinks.  After about 10 mins Logan continuing to fish with his Black & Blue Swim Jig Hooks into a 17 inch bass to complete our 5.  Now it is time to start culling.  Although we get a few more bites we do not catch any more bass out of the Reed patch and decide to hit some more docks near by but unfortunately we have the same results as earlier, not a single bite.

It had been about an hour so we decided to go back to the second shoreline we fish and caught our first 4 bass to see if the area may have reloaded or if we might be able to catch any fish we might have missed the first time around.  This ended up being a smart move as it only took about 10 mins and I hooked into another 17-1/2 inch bass which was a very nice cull for the first 12-1/2 bass I caught, about a 2-1/2 to 3lbs upgrade.  However, this bass ended up being the only fish we pulled out on the second pass through this shoreline.

We decided to move to other areas but did not have much luck catching any fish that would cull the 2 dinks we had left in the box.  Until we moved to the West end of the lake and found a weed line fish were biting and quickly caught a 16 & 15-1/2 inch bass to cull out the two smaller ones.  Not a huge upgrade but at least everything was 15 inches or bigger.  The sun seemed to be attempting to poke out so I thought I would hit a couple of more docks to see if maybe fish were starting to seek some shelter and finally I hooked into a 16-1/2 bass with my favorite Black & Red Flack with Chartreuse Tail Senko to cull out the 15-1/2 and a short time later Logan hooked into another 16-1/2 in bass to cull out the 16, now everything is 16-1/2 inches or larger.

We decided to go back to spot number 2 one last time to see if any other fish may have reloaded before we went into weigh in but didn't catch anything that culled so the 13.56lbs in our sack (according to my Rapala Culling Scale) would have to be good enough.

At the weigh in it was discovered that there was an issue with the Official Tournament Scale due to it was clearly weighing in everyone's fish low and our bag only registered 10.86lbs a good 2.7lbs light.  However, we resolved that it was weighing in everyone's bags low so we accepted our fate and ended up in 5th place out of 18 teams.  Not a bad finish and we had fun despite being soaked to the bone.  It was a good time spent with my nephew Logan and we are looking towards our next tournament together in August on Big Marine where we finished 2nd last year and are gunning for 1st this year.

Catch ya next time and remember "Just Fish!"

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Washington/Stella - Renegade Bassers Tournament

Well yesterday was my first Bass Tournament of the 2014 Season.  The Bass Club I belong to the Renegade Bassers held our first tournament on Washington/Stella in Meeker County.  I picked Ryan Gabrud up at 3:15am and stopped to pick Travis Schultz at around 3:35am.  Ryan lives close to me and Travis was my non-boater for this tournament.  We arrived a little earlier than I had expected to but it is always better to be early than rushing if your late.  Put the boat in the water and beached it and waited for others to arrive.  Pretty soon it was like a parade of Bass Boat Rigs arriving and launching as everyone else arrived.  Once everyone was launched we all proceeded to a depth that we all could launch from and the Launch Countdown began.  Travis and I were launching in 6 position for this tournament but I wasn't too worried since our starting point was only 100 yards from the launch site.  Lake Washington has a large Reed patch just out from the launch that covers the size of a football field.

Once launched no sooner then my boat was on plane I took my foot off the Hot Foot and was making my first case about 30 seconds after we launched.  I started throwing a Buzz Bait as a lot of the Reeds had not broke the surface yet so I thought I'd see if I could wake up the Bass laying in the weeds.  Travis started throwing a Spinner Bait but after about 5 mins picked up Buzz Bait also, which was a good move since he quickly caught the first fish of the day a 2 lb Largemouth.  we continued to fish the reeds and it was considerably slower then it had been the week before prefishing these reeds.  We moved to the inside line between the shoreline and the reeds to see if the Bass were in shallow.  I saw a dock and had a cut feel that there was a fish under it, I was right but I didn't catch it Travis did but it was only 1.5 lb Largemouth but he now had two fish in the livewell and I still didn't have a bite.  We moved back to the reed patch and I started throwing a Watermelon Red Flake Leena Lures Ring Tube and very quickly I got my first bite a 2.25 lb Largemouth, whew, I was on the board.  Well it didn't take long for my next fish as I caught another 2 lb Largemouth about 5 flips later.  I continued to flip the reeds on the inside edge and caught my next fish about 10 mins later and it was a 3.5 lb Largemouth and I was starting to feel really good.  I moved the boat into a little pocket in the reeds to see if any fish were hiding in it and I was right I caught my forth fish another 2 lb Largemouth.  I was now sitting with 9.5 lbs with only four fish.  Now for the hardest fish of the day my fifth one to make my limit so I can start culling.  Well as always it was tough to catch the my fifth fish and I had to watch Travis start catching the fish and he caught three more 1.5 - 2 lb fish to complete is limit.  I continued to flip the reeds knowing that my fifth fish was just waiting for me to throw my bait in front of them.  Well after about an hour without a bite I decided to move to my second spot I wanted to fish to see if I could get my fifth fish.

My second spot was a row of docks that had been really good the week before and it didn't take long on the second dock I caught a small Largemouth (I know sounds like an oximoron) and at first I didn't think it would measure but thought I would put it on the bump board just make sure.  Well it was 12-1/8" just long enough but it only weighed .93 lbs and I definitely didn't want to go into weight in with this little one but you cannot cull until you have five fish so I was good to go.  The little only only lasted in my livewell for about 3 mins as I caught a 3.25 lb Largemouth on the next dock.  I know had 12.75 lbs in the box and ready catch more.

Travis and I spent about 2 hours fishing a mile long stretch of docks and had to fish each dock very slow and methodically.  We could throw a dozon times at the same dock from all angles and on the thirteenth cast the bass would hit.  In fact on one dock I skipped my senko three times to the same spot under the dock with no luck and Travis followed me up into the same spot and hooked into a 3.86 lb fish, the biggest one for either of us all day.  I ended up culling out all of my Bass with 3 lb plus Largemouth except one 2.65 lb fish.

At about 11:00am a rain storm rolled in and rained for about 15 mins and the fish seemed to shut down.  Once it stopped we continued to fish docks but didn't catch anything for about an hour and after that everything we caught was smaller then the fish in our boxes.

We decided to go back and fish the reed patch near the landing to see if the area reloaded and no sooner then we arrived at around 1:00pm it started to rain again and this time it didn't let up and it rained for the remaining hour of the tournament.

At weigh in it was clear that everyone had a good day as all nineteen fisherman in our tournament caught their limit of 5 fish with a mix of both Small and Largemouth Bass.  Travis ended up with approx. 12 lbs of Bass and finished in 11th Place and I ended up with just over 15 lbs and I finished in 5th place.  The winner was Steve Oswald with an 18 lb plus sack of Smallmouth Bass and Big Bass for the tournament with a 4+ lb smallie.  Congrats to Ozzy on his win and big bass.

All in all it was a fun day and we caught a lot of good quality fish.

Hope you enjoyed reading about our day and I'll catch you next time and remember "Just Fish"

Sunday, May 4, 2014

New season New Blog - 2014

Well I thought I would start a blog, like many of my fellow club members, for my fishing adventures or sometimes mis-adventures.  Not sure if anyone will actually ever read this blog besides myself but at least it will help me remember how I did fishing over time.  It is still 3 weeks until the 2014 Bass Opener in Minnesota and the itch to start fishing is almost unbearable.  I took the cover off the boat yesterday and started getting things cleaned up and ready for the season.  Coming off what I consider one of my most successful seasons last year with 1 First Place, 2 Second Place, & 1 Third Place Finishes I have high expectations for this upcoming Tournament Season.

Currently I am scheduled to fish in 10 Tournaments this year on the following lakes; Washington/Stella, Koronis, Minnetonka, Clearwater, North/South Center, Vermilion (2 Days, 2 Tournaments), Big Marine, MNBN TOC, and East/West Rush.  However, I may be adding 2 or 3 more tournaments during the season as my schedule permits.

My motto while fishing over the last couple of years has been "One @ A Time" to remind me to just concentrate on catching the hardest fish to catch in my limit, the next one!  Well this year I am adopting a second motto that my wife Jo reminds me of "Just Fish" so I remember that in the end I need to just have fun.

Hopefully my future posts are full of exciting fishing stories that will keep anyone that decides to read them entertained.

Catch ya next time and remember "Just Fish"