In some what of a last minute deal, I decided to fish the TBF/MFBA Southern Open so I could potentially qualify for their state tournament in late September. With limited time, I only had Saturday to practice, the day before the tournament. I got up super early and drove down from Lakeville so that I was fishing on Pool 6 of Mississippi river by 6:30am.
It didn’t take me long to start finding fish and actually found fish all day long on several patterns. I caught them main channel & backwater, pads, grass, & wood. Also found good largemouth & smallmouth. No real giants but found some real good quality. I figured if I could get a good average bag and find one kicker I could do real well in this tournament. Below pictured is my first frog fish of the year, good to get off the snide and it would not be the last of the weekend.
Tournament day came, we launched out of Dick’s Marina in Winona. All the boats in front of me appeared to be headed to the lock and Pool 5A. I ran to the spillway, very frustrating as I lost 2 really nice largemouth on topwaters, but boated one decent one on an Ima Square Bill.
From there, I ran to a silted in wing dam that produced nothing, but I found some smallies on an adjacent sand drop, where I dumped a good’un and caught a decent smallmouth on the square bill. I also flipped up a small keeper smallie on a beaver. The next area produced a keeper largemouth on the Square Bill and another on a Fork Craw. We kept hunting, the next area produced several shorts and about a 3lb largie for my co-angler on a jig. I also failed to convert on 3 nice bites on a beaver, weird deal, seemed like they were eating it funny. Good thing we’d bought ourselves a couple extra AR-15 upper receivers, for after so much hunting, you would need to change the components of your gun.
Hit a few more spots, between us we flipped a couple small keeper bass on a cut/wood bank on beavers, and then headed to the slop for the last 90 minutes or so. Took a little while to locate where the fish had repositioned in this large slop field. I managed to add three 2.5-3lb largies on frogs to my creel. Time as short, so we started the run back to Dicks. We made it out of the backwater and through the side slough and were in the main channel headed north.
Then in an instant, our day was over as we went from 53 mph to a 360 spin and dead in the water in an instant and my motor was hanging from the back of my boat by just the steering cables. It all happened so quick, but I believe I made contact with a submerged dead head. I am just glad we both stayed in the boat and neither of us were hurt.
Got back to the landing too late to weigh my fish, but thankfully several of my competitors were nice enough to help me lift my motor on to the back of my boat and thanks to the friendly recreational boater who gave me a tow. Here are few pictures and see all the pictures here.
I figured I had around 13lbs in the well, more then enough to move onto the state qualifier out of Wabasha and maybe on the fringe of a check. Don’t know the final verdict yet, but I believe the boat may be a total loss at this point.
Caught a lot of good fish in this boat!