2011 MNBFN Tournament of Champions – Whitefish Chain

I was really looking forward to this year’s MN BASS Federation Nation tourney for a couple reasons.  One, I am always looking to do well in this tourney and move on to the Northern Divisionals.  Also, after the last 2 years where I had a monumental day 2 collapse on Pokegama and then Tweet Gate on Tonka last year, I had a major chip on my shoulder coming into this event.

I got a little bit of a late start on Saturday, the first official practice day, but I fished until nearly dark that night.  I was on the water by 7am launch time every morning and fished until 6-7pm every day of practice.  Determined to find enough quality fish for this tournament.  Kudos to my club member Dave Cindrich for borrowing me his boat, otherwise it would have been tough for me to get these long hours in for this tournament.

Practice was not easy, although I found tons of fish, I only had a handful of areas where I felt I could get consistent 2lb plus fish that a guy needs to make a Top 12 at the TOC.  I was pretty confident that 11-12lbs day would be all an angler needed to make a Top 12 and move on.

I had boat 75 of out of 80 on day 1, which did not bother me too much, but I was a little stunned when boat 74 went to the inside turn I wanted to start on.  Not phased too much, I went to my second choice about a 1/4 mile away.  I quickly put a solid keeper in the boat on a DT6 crankbait, while my partner caught 2 nice fish on a jig.  Constantly seeing fish on top of the flat, and they would not take my topwater offerings.  On a hunch I fired a custom painted square bill that I had tied on the night before.  I think i caught a keeper on my first cast, pretty cool feeling.  We hopped around to a few of my spots for the next couple hours, I eventually ground out a limit by 1pm after losing a couple keepers, but my 5th fish was bigger then the 2 that jumped off.

We hit some of my partner’s water in Trout, I did drop a nice 2lb fish on a drop shot from behind him and he got his 3rd fish.  I then hit a spot in Trout and made a decent little cull.  We ended the day in Cross Lake where i caught 3 keepers on a deep weedline on a jig, but no upgrade.  I ended up with a disappointing 9.30lbs mired in 58th place needing a 13lb bag on day 2 to move up to the 12 cut.

I fished with former club member Mark Elert on day 2, I had about 1lb more then him on day 1 so we took my boat.  Again I got an early keeper on the DT6, then put 2 nice fish in the boat on the square bill including a nice 3lb fish.  I finished my limit on a jig and Mark caught 2 on a jig on this first spot.  Mark and I traded spots the rest of the day, both catching nice 2lb fish.  In the end, a better day, but not good enough. 

I caught 10.9lbs, for a 2 day total of 20.20lbs and a 29th place out of 160 finish.  Respectable, but anything outside of the Top 12 is a huge disappointment.  I lost a couple fish, that may have got me closer, but I really don’t think I ever got the bites I needed.  My 2.25lbs practice fish became 1.75lbs fish and I never found a place for kicker fish to make up for that drop off in practice.

I am hoping to fish the TBF MFBA State tournament at the end of September out of Wabasha, hopefully redemption can be found there.