This past weekend I fished the TBF Minnesota State Championship out of Wabasha, MN on the Mississippi River. I only had one day to practice which was the Sunday before. During practice, I found one good group of largemouth on Lake Pepin and a couple good groups of smallmouth down in the river on main channel rock and wing dams.
On day 1 of the tournament with the wind conditions I had committed to the lake, but made a couple wing dams spots on the way. I caught small keeper smallmouth on a sand drop and had some short strikes on my favorite Yellow Magic popper. Enough time wasted, I headed to the lake. My first stop produced 2 short smallies on topwater. I then headed to my largemouth area, I quickly got a chunky bass on a Red Eye Shad. I then started working the area with my jig and got a fish close to 3lbs, then another good’un on Tube Craw and another on a Phenix vibrating jig. I let that spot rest, got another keeper largie on a mojo rig and then came back to the best area and got another good fish on a chigger craw. We worked our way back down the lake and my partner got his first fish on a lipless crank.
I then went back to where I had short strikes in the river and quickly caught 2 smallmouth around 3lbs on my Yellow Magic popper. From there we fished a few wing dams and I spent a bit of time in Indian Slough trying to find a kicker, but it never happened. I ended up with 3 largemouth and 2 smallies for 14.72lbs and my big fish was 3.59 largemouth. That was good enough for 2nd after day 1.
The wind had switched a little on day 2 and I did not think my best Lake Pepin area would hold up, so I scratched that and went to an old favorite area below Wabasha. My first spot only produced a single 2lb smallie and 2 white bass on the Yellow Magic. From there, I knew things may be tougher and I was probably going to just do some fishing today. My 3rd spot produced another keeper smallie on the topwater and largemouth on a Chigger Craw. We tried a few wing dams as we worked our way up river, only one miss on the popper. I got another keeper smallie on a mojo rig off the spot that produced the big smallies on day 1. I then headed up by Reed’s Landing and got one short. We stopped back through the previous spot and we each got a keeper smallmouth. It felt good to have a limit, not big, but knew it would not take much more to make the top 6. We worked through a series of wing dams and I got another decent smallmouth.
From there I decided to run back past Indian Slough and gamble a bit to find some frog fish. I found some what appeared to be some good looking water. My partner had a boil on his first cast, from there, I put on a big northern clinic on frogs On the way back out of Indian Slough, we each flipped a nice largemouth and then we hit a little main river rock at the end and that was it. The dock talk was mixed results, some anglers did better, others struggled.
I ended up weighing 10.19lbs and held on the 5th place, which is awesome, because the top 6 boaters qualify for the 2012 TBF Northern DIvisional in Wisconsin. This was a nice redemption after not making the BFN Northern DIvisional on Whitefish.
This weekend, have the Gopher Fall Classic, possibly the Simply Fishing fall tournament the following weekend and I think some hawg hunting tomorrow night!