Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Brushy Creek Club event

Last Sunday marked the 4th event in the 6 event schedule for the Tri-County Bass Club.  I had some trailer issues with  tire, so that held me up last week after the river trip, and I think I figured everything out yesterday.  Well, this meant that I had only 2 hours to look over Brushy Creek ( I haven't been there all year) before this tournament.  I spent most of those 2 hours riding around the lake looking at the water, looking for baitfish and getting an idea for the following day.  I did do some fishing, and I focused my efforts on water deeper than 15 feet.

Big Bass for me was a 4.05#

I didn't see much on my two hour tour, so I had the game plan to stay shallow during the first few hours of the tournament and see if things were better there.  Tournament day came and my first area I wanted to try was open, so I hit it.  The 5th or 6th cast I caught a bass on a buzzbait, and it was a good one, over three pounds.  From the talk at the campgrounds I figured it wouldn't take a whole lot to do well in this event, so starting the day with a three-pounder was an awesome feeling.  I continued to fish shallow the rest of the day and pick up fish throughout the day.
One thing I have noticed this year, as I have fished shallow for several events in a row, is the amount of casts you make in a day is enormous.  I sure am glad that I had my Quantum EXO PT, and Smoke PT combos doing the most work today.  They are so light, I could have fished for several more hours!  Buzzbait, Optimum Baits Frogs, and a swimjig did the damage on the day as I caught seven keeper bass and weighed in 10.20 pounds. It was one of my best days ever at Brushy Creek. I really thought I had them figured out.
The weigh-in was about what I thought, except more guys had big limits than I thought.  Four anglers had a limit over 10 pounds, something I was not expecting.  Anyway, I ended up in 3rd place and was very happy with that finish.  As for having the fish figured out, I did in my own certain way, but the other 3 guys with big limits caught their bass fishing deep.  Typical Brushy Creek, on most days you can catch them in a variety of depths.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Double Duty

This past weekend I pulled "double duty" on the Mississippi River.  I am the director of the Hot Rod Baits Bass Series and I also participate in the tournaments too.  The director part of it takes a little extra time each day, but the bulk of the work was done ahead of the weekend.  The fishing part of it...well let's just say that is why I like to get up 4:30am during the summer!
Optimum Baits Frogs continue to
catch a lot of fish this summer
The tournament went off without a hitch, and many nice compliments were received, so I give myself an "A" on that part.  The fishing part though, I would say a "B" was earned.  My partner, Brian Bowles and I found plenty of areas where the fish were biting in our 1.5 days of practice.  However, the bigger bass, 2.5# and greater just didn't show up for us.  We had a blast, equipment worked great, and we caught our bass a variety of Hot Rod Baits plastics, Biffle Bugs, swim jigs, and Optimum Baits Frogs.  We ended up with 11.95# and got 5th place out the of 19 teams.  That was enough for some cash in our packets and we left the river feeling pretty happy about it, especially since it was near flood stage at 13.5ft.

Another unique thing about this tournament series is that all teams are competing for Team of the Year.  We started the weekend in 4th place, and ended up in 3rd place.  Not too bad when competing against 19 teams from all over the state.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Picture of the Week

I know the week isn't over, but I won't be fishing the rest of the week, so here is my "Picture of the Week".
Brian Bowles with a largemouth on the Mississippi River

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

High River Water

This is what happens when you

throw an Optimum Baits Furbit

Frog in the right place

The Mississippi River is rolling, and still on the rise.  This is normal for the mighty Mississippi in May, but not late June and early July.  With a tournament scheduled last weekend, I was looking forward to getting up there and trying to figure the bass out as the river continued to rise.  Well, the tournament was canceled, but my partner Brian Bowles and I decided to make the trip anyway.  We decided on a shorter trip than originally planned which allowed us some family time on the weekend too.  A win-win situation!

Quantum Rods and Reels made for aneasy day of long casting.

Pool 9 and 10 were our targets, and with the high water we knew if we found a couple of bass, we would find a school of them.  The first couple spots did not produce anything, but then we started to dial in to where the bass were living.  With another tournament slated in the near future, I will just let the pictures do the talking about certain locations.
As we worked our way around the pools, we found bass, both largemouth and smallmouth hitting a variety of baits.  You really couldn't "get out of the current", and on days like this I am truly grateful for my MInn Kota Fortrex 101.  With three 12-volt batteries, there was no concern about running out of power.  Spinnerbaits, swimjigs, Optimum Baits Frogs, soft plastics, mostly Hot Rod Baits Big Craws, and swimbaits did the damage on the high river.  All in all, it was great trip, with a lot of fish caught, even though we only fished for a total of about 12 hours.  

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Fine Tuning

The sport of bass fishing takes up about 7 months of the year for me.  From April 1st to the end of October, fishing for bass is on my brain constantly.  Whether it is thinking about different lakes, what the weather might be doing to the fish, or the water levels of lakes and rivers, bass fishing is on my brain.  No matter how long I think or study up on these topics and dozens more, nothing beats getting out there on the water and fine tuning things.
I took the opportunity between family obligations and bass tournaments to do just that this past Friday.  The word "practice" gets used quite often in the realm of bass fishing and tournaments.  Practice can mean a couple things, first, the actual idea of going out to the lake or river and finding fish and trying to figure out where they are living and feeding for a particular day.  Secondly, practice can mean actually using a specific technique and "fine tuning" your equipment and your skills to use that technique properly.  It is just like taking batting practice or going to the driving range to work that slice out of your driver.
This past fishing trip had the bass holding off-shore along a weedline.  Normally bass can't resist a crankbait in this situation, but on this particular day they wouldn't touch one.  The fish were not very aggressive and wanted slower baits, this gave me some practice time on the drop-shot rig.  This is a rig that takes a lot of practice to get the "hang" of it.  In my experience with this rig, the bites are soft, and most of the time are not actually felt, but seen.  Something that takes a lot of focus and concentration.  I was glad that the bass were in a mood that allowed me to work on this technique, as a tournament angler, you just never know what technique you will need to bring in those keepers!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Family FUN

This past week I arranged for us to stay at a cabin at Hickory Hills Park for a couple nights.  It was the first adventure in staying overnight which didn't include a relatives house or a hotel, so I/my wife weren't quite sure what to expect.  What we found out is that a 3 and 6 year old can grow up fast and they loved it!  The park is only about an hour away from home, so an emergency bail-out and trip home wasn't out of the question.  This was never even though of during our 3-day stay, I guess we were too busy having fun in NATURE!

The cabins were fully equipped, like many of the state and county parks in Iowa and makes for a great time to be close to the outdoors, but still have those nice conveniences of home.  With 2 small kids, this was a great option.  We kept things simple with food items, spent most of the time outside on the boat or walking around the park.  The weather was great, about 70 degrees partly sunny, we couldn't have really asked for more.  We were able to catch quite a few bass and bluegills on our trips to the lake, and nature was everywhere, something my kids are always on the lookout for.

Nice scenery all around the cabin

This small trip just goes to show that you don't need to go to extremes to have a great time with kids.  Keeping things simple and keeping them active was the only thing needed, and again, we were lucky with the great weather.
If you want more information about this lake, just check out the Black Hawk County Conservation webpage.  It's a great little gem, found right here in middle part of Iowa.

All the basic necessities of home to make staying a breeze

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Hot Rod Baits Bass Series #2

This fish was found drop-shotting
on practice day, something that
became part of our "Plan B"
June 1st brought the second stop of the Hot Rod Baits Bass Series.  Partner, Brian Bowles and I were pretty confident after our practice day that we could bring in a limit of 6 keeper bass.  We found fish relating to the flooded grass on a variety of baits and colors.  Normally, when this occurs things will stay true the following day.
Tournament day was good, and our first move of fishing buzzbaits got two keepers in the livewell very quickly.  This is always a nice thing to happen in the first hour of a tournament.  With 19 boats in the event, we knew we had to keep improving throughout the day.  Slowly, but surely we made our way around the lake to our most productive areas on Saturday and had our limit in a few more hours.  As the sun got high, and the fish seemed to disappear from the shallows, we went with plan B.  We had caught some nice fish flipping old stumps in about 6-8 feet of water.  This was always in the back of our head on tournament day, and we decided to go to Plan B with about an hour and half left of the day.  We ended up getting a few more keepers, including one that Brian caught on nearly the last cast of the day.  We ended up with 15.70 pounds, and good enough for 3rd place.  Not only did we finish with a nice pay check, but earned some valuable points for the Team of the Year race.  We moved all the way up to 4th place, with only one event left to go. Neither one of us can wait for the final tournament at Pool 9, a place where we both love to fish!