What are the best gifts for the fisherman who has everything?
Fishermen and fisher gals are arguably some of the most difficult people to shop for out of anyone. So today, I am sharing 5 Can’t-Miss Ideas for you to add to your list or if you are looking for ideas for the special fisherman in your life!
If you don’t’ want to watch the gift ideas, check out my video if you prefer to read the ideas, scroll down!
Digital Handheld Scales – Having a scale is the difference between a fishing tale & a legit story & proof a true trophy catch. All anglers should have a quality scale for their fishing trips. If your angler owns a boat & primarily fishes from that, I recommend this scale, if they tend to fish from shore, other people’s boats or ice fishing, then check out this smaller more compact version.
Long Sleeve Sun Hoodies – Sun Protection is nothing to joke about and sunscreen is just too easy to forget and when the bite is good, reapplying rarely happens. For me these long sleeve sun hoodies have been the deal, I never get burned any more & feel much better after a long day in the sun. Here are two links to two of my favorite versions, one from AFTCO & the other SIMMS.
Boost Pack – This item is highly underrated & a must-have for any outdoors person. These small compact lithium boost packs have the juice to jumpstart a truck, car or boat. Plus they can keep GoPros, Smart Phones and other small electronics running all weekend. There are tons of options, here is a link to an affordable boost pack that has worked perfectly for my needs.
Fishing Tackle Subscription Boxes – Think of these as Birch Box or Stitch fix for anglers. Basically you can sign up for 1, 3 or 6-month subscriptions and send them as gifts where they will get new handpicked tackle for them every month. Below are a few very popular fishing tackle subscription services: MonsterBass – #TheBetterBox Mystery Tackle Box 6th Sense Tackle Bags Lucky Tackle Boxes
BONUS – GIFT CARDS ARE AWESOME GIFTS Here are some of my fav stores to get Gift Cards for: Omnia Fishing Tackle Warehouse TheHookUpTackle
The Stupid Tube is not a new rig, but for some reason, it is one that most of the anglers that are in the know about this rig, don’t usually share it with their fishing buddies or the general public. It got its first major press back at the 2007 Bassmaster Classic where Terry McWilliams used the rig to carry him to a top 10 finish at Lay Lake.
If you wonder why so many anglers are so hush hush about it? Probably because it is so dang effective at catching all 3 species of Bass! In short, it basically is a weedless tube jig, so you get the erratic spiral and glide of your typical exposed hook tube jig, but you can throw it in places you would never dream of with a conventional tube jig.
Make sense? Imagine a Texas rigged tube & an exposed jig head rig, had a super-powered bass catching baby!
Want to learn how to rig this bait and impress your friends and the bass in your local fisheries?
I have called out my favorite jigs and baits in the video and will below, but essentially, take your favorite 3.5-4″ tube and pair it with a jig head that has a 60-degree flat eye line tie and a hook with a larger than average hook gap. Ordinary tube hooks often fail to have enough bite for this and the tube balls up on your hook & you miss fish.
Rig it up on 8-12lb fluorocarbon and fish it in all the places you wanted to present a tube jig, but would’ve constantly got hung. Skip that tube around trees and docks, drag it through standing timber or snaggy boulders and hold on!
To me, fall is a time of year, when many of my fellow outdoorsmen & women are lured away to deer stands, fields or blinds. That results in the boat ramps mostly empty for us willing to brave a little inclement weather.
To be honest, outside of that first couple of trips after a harsh frozen winter, this is my favorite time of the year. The great majority of my best days of fishing and most of my biggest bass weighed have come late into the fall season.
Here are a few of my latest fall fishing vids, enjoy!
All that being said, I am quite okay with the ramps being quiet, so don’t feel any pressure to follow suit, you probably aren’t missing too much…..
The season is wrapping up and my tourney season has likely come to a close, although there is some fun fall fishing still in front of me. The year ended fairly positive but not as great as I had hoped.
My last big tournament was the TBF National Semis out of La Crosse on the Mississippi River where I was hoping to have a strong two days, cash a nice check and punch a ticket the TBF National Championship.
I really enjoyed my few days of practice as Pool 8 is a great place to bass fish and just be an outdoors person. Check out the practice video I put together from my pre-fish.
Day 1 of the tournament started off with a monstrous new PB walleye, you have to check out the video to see that river monster!! At the end of the day, I was a little short of where I wanted to be weight wise but still remained in the hunt to make Nationals. Day 1 tourney recap below.
On Day 2, I made better decisions and improved my weight. I was able to push my way in to check range but failed to be the top qualifier from MN. To learn how I caught my fish and the baits used, check out the final recap video below.
Mid-August brought one of the most challenging tournaments I have fished in a while. The MN BASS Nation TOC was being held on Island Lake Reservoir north of Duluth, MN. Island Lake for a large tournament comes with a handful of challenges. For starters, it is one of the smaller venues we fish TOCs on, it also has a fairly low population of bass per acre compared to most of our fisheries resulting to a fishery that doesn’t respond well to heavy fishing pressure of a large tournament.
Coming into this tournament, I had very little experience on the lake, I did not pre-practice on the lake and I just practiced for 3 of the 4 official practice days. Watch my official practice video below for all the details.
Coming out of practice, I had a few deals that I thought I could get bit doing. Topwater over rocky shoals, finesse tactics around grass and then a quirky specific dock pattern.
As the tournament unfolded, it became very apparent that 2 of those 3 things evaporated on me. Watch my day 1 tourney recap to see how that unfolded.
Going into day 2, I had a great shot at winning my first BASS Nation title. I ground & gave it all I had, but came up just a bit short. Congrats to Brent Haimes.
Lastly, if you play fantasy fishing, make sure to watch my final recap of the season for the Bassmater AOY Championship on Lake St Clair.
Coming soon recaps of my TBF Semi Nationals out of La Crosse, WI!
End of July is usually the time for the Minnesota TBF TOC tournament that qualifies a MN team to participate in the TBD District 9 Semis in late September. From the Semis one each angler and co-angler from MN earns a berth to the TBF National Championship. Last year, I finished 3rd overall and one spot out of be able to head to Nationals, so looking to get back on the horse and make the Semis again this year.
This year’s TBF Tournament of Champions was held on Lake Minnewaska out of Starbuck, MN. I was able to practice the weekend ahead of the tournament, it was my first time on the lake. I found it to be a pleasure to fish and break down, Lake Minnewaska is chock full of bass. I spent most of my practice looking for offshore fish, figuring I could always turn to the bank during the event if needed. Check out my practice recap video for more details on my practice weekend.
Day one of the tournament went pretty well outside the loss of one nice 3lb+ fish lost boat side. I weighed 1 smallie and 4 largies totaling a little over 15lbs to sit in 3rd after day 1, see day one video recap here.
The final day got off to a great start, but I couldn’t find the final upgrade to bring how the W, ending up .1lbs short and finishing in 2nd. Below is a shorter final day video due to GoPro malfunction. Details of how I caught them and links to the gear are all in the video descriptions.
Either way, the main goal was to be heading to La Crosse in September to fish the Semis on the Mississippi River.
Follow this blog and my bass fishing YouTube channel to see upcoming posts and videos on the BASS Nation TOC from Island lake in early August.
After a long break, the Bassmaster Elite Series is back to business & fishing this weekend on famed Lake Guntersville. Still, some time to get your Fantasy Team picks in, so check out my latest Fantasy Fishing Edge video to gain some insight to set your team and WIN!
This blog always seems to fall to a lower priority than my YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Definitely consider following me on any of those platforms to stay more plugged into my fishing activities and catch any fishing tips & nuggets that I pass on through those channels.
I am not giving up on the blog and for now, I am going to leave you with a few of my recent Bass Fishing YouTube videos. I am definitely putting more of my energy into my YouTube content as its something I really enjoy, but the downside it is time-intensive labor of love to produce high-quality original content in video format.
I always say I will and need to blog more, but here we are again with big gaps between blogs. Largely because I like to post blogs with video content now and that takes much more time to edit and publish than a blog with a few photos. So the following is two tournament recaps from July.
That being said, I recorded a little video from MN TBF TOC on Lake Pokegama, but my finish was very mediocre and so were the fish catches on video, maybe I will clip it together and post it here in the future. I didn’t even take any photos from that event. I love Pokegama and have done well there in the past. In the end, I fished for both smallmouth and largies, but probably needed to dedicate more to one, ultimately I didn’t catch either one well enough. Kudos to Sport and Chong on the wins & my dad for big fish of the event. Final results from that event – click here.
Two weeks after that event, was the Minnesota BASS Nation TOC on Mille Lacs. Practice was stingy but I felt like I still had a few things figured out to go on, but many of the areas that were good last August, weren’t the same this year. Could just be year to year or fish adjusting to the growing fish pressure of being the #1 Bass Lake in the US by Bassmaster Magazine. Day 1 ended up being postponed due to the wind, but new day 1 on Friday still ended up being pretty darn windy. I was greeted with a nice surprise of none of my electronics being able to power up as we lined up for taking off, even though they worked fine all practice.
Before I had time to dig into the issue, my boat early boat number was about to be called. So I set off to my first area with no GPS mapping or sonar depth. I got close to the area and I was able to switch some cords to get waypoints and maps on my console graph. I tried fishing inefficiently for awhile walking to back graph, moving trolling motor and spot locking on and off with my Ultrex. I finally gave up on that and went into back compartment, ultimately I rewired around what I believe had to be a bad fuse harness and got everything back up and running front and back. After way too much time spent, I had 1 or 2 small fish and broke off on a good bite in the first area.
Trying to go to my next area, all the sudden I could not get on plane with the big motor. So mentally I decided I would fast idle and fish the area I was in and then work my way back to take off. That worked for a bit, caught a few more fish, lost a 4lbr next to the boat and caught a 4lbr on a stupid tube. After fishing my less than prime areas more, I finally decided to pop the cowling off the main motor and have a look to make sure it wasn’t something silly, and it was just a spark plug wire that popped off.
After getting that fixed, I made the run from Agate Bay area up to the east of Myramar to fish calmer waters that I had success in practice. My next stop produced a decent quality bite and a small upgrade. With time running out, I ran a handful of area working down the west side of the lake, finally I hit some isolated boulders about mid lake on the west side and got a big upgrade drop shotting a boulder that I almost gave up on and the fish probably bit on the 9th or 10th time I dropped. I knew the bag still wasn’t where I wanted or needed to be but felt like maybe I had avoided a complete disaster. Then the treacherous run back across the middle of the lake and by the way, I should have left much earlier than I did, it was way too rough to push as hard as I ended up pushing it. We made it back without too much damage other than a bent trolling motor stabilizer. I ended up with 17lbs and was probably in about 30th place out of a 100 or so boaters.
Day 2 I knew I need to get over 20lbs to have a shot. I started in a somewhat shallow area between take-off and Doe Island that was way too windy on Day 1, it yielded a limit in the first 90 minutes along with two 5lb class fish. A much better start and 20lbs felt pretty attainable at that point.
I bounced around fishing areas on the east side of the lake picking off quality fish on the stupid tube and drop shot. I won’t go into fish by fish details, if you want that info, check this video because I had my GoPro going all of day 2.
I ended up with 22lbs even, which is my best 5 smallmouth ever weighed in a tournament. That felt pretty good until the results came out that I missed the Top 10 cut by .7lbs. That is fishing, on one hand, I felt pretty good not letting the adversity of day completely snow ball on me and hanging in there to give myself a shot to fish on day 2. But in the end, my goal was not achieved, so that kind of sucked.
Pretty much all the fish I weighed came on two baits and two setups. I had 4″ Green Pumpkin Stupid Tubes rigged on 3/16oz BassTEK Agitator Heads fished on 12lb fluoro on a DX743C Dobyns Extreme Casting rod. The other setup which caught most of my biggest fish each day was 2.75″ Baby Tube fished on a drop shot with #2 VMC Neko Hook, 8lb fluoro leader tied to 8lb main line braid spooled on a spinning real connected to my DX742SF Dobyns Extreme spinning rod. I used a pretty short 12-14″ drop leader to a 3/8oz BassTEK Tungsten dropshot weight. That 7’4″ rod does an unreal job of controlling the big smallies on light line and keeping them pegged with those small hooks. More details and images at the end of my recap video.
My next big event is on Lake Pokegama on September 1st, where I will be fishing for a brand new Skeeter Boat in the Classic Bass Champions Tour TOC! Wish me luck!
Sorry, this blog is about a month overdue. First off, the inaugural Classic Bass Champions Tour event was AMAZING! Classic Bass put on a great event and fishing an MLF (Major League Fishing) style tournament is a completely different kind of pressure over traditional 5 best bass style tournaments. It was also no coincidence they chose Mille Lacs Lake which was also recently recognized the worlds Best Bass Fishing Lake for 2017 by Bassmasters Magazine!
If you have never seen an MLF event on TV or on the Web, basically every legal keeper bass you catch counts, it is weighed by an in boat judge (thanks to Prior Lake HS Bass Club) and there is a live scoreboard all day through an app on your phone. The other really unique thing about this event, it was an invite only event, so to participate, you had to be selected.
It was on honor just to be selected and I was super excited to fish against this field. You can see the results and field list here. I was able to get about 3 days of practice in for this event. My strategy was to check several parts of the lake so I would be prepared to fish multiple areas since they were likely to section up the lake for our event and to prepare for the wind. I also wanted to have baits I felt confident in so I wasn’t second guessing baits when I was looking for fish fast during the event. Because of the high winds and rough water, I didn’t set up my GoPro during the tournament, but you can check out my practice video which is very similar to how I caught them during the actual event.
The event ended up being split into morning and afternoon sessions, where we had to fish the East side of the lake during the first 4 hours and then after lunch (Thank Rocky Reef Resort for Lunch), we fished the west side of the lake for the final 4 hours.
The split caught me a little off guard based on the wind forecast, I made a big run across the lake only to find the area I planned to fish was completely blown out, I only caught two tiny keepers before getting tired of taking waves over the bow and stern of my boat. So I ducked into the closest protected water I could find and I hunkered down and made the best I could out of that area that I didn’t even practice. It turned out to be pretty productive, I was able to catch like 18 or 20 fish for about 43lbs which was good enough to be 3rd out of 24 for the first half. Here is an Instagram Video of the trip back to Rocky Reef at the end of the first half, water was a little rough.
In the second half, I got off to a slow start with only one 2lb fish in like 90 minutes. Finally, I got into an area where I got around some fish and it was calm enough to properly fish them, I made a big surge late to make it back to 3rd after falling out of the top 6 cut. Making the top 6 has qualified me for the Tournament of Champions where I get to fish for a Brand New Skeeter Boat in September. Watch this post tourney interview from Classic Bass as well for details on my day.