Mediocre BFL Debut

For a few reasons, I had long wanted to fish some BFL events, they are well attended and often fish the Mississippi River that I very much like to fish and have had a fair amount of success on.  I have yet to have the time to fish a full BFL Great Lakes season and for the past 5-6 years the event in Wabasha always conflicted with a tournament next to my home that I have a hard time not fishing.

Well the stars aligned this year and the BFL slipped back one weekend and I had an open weekend to fish the event out of Alma.  Although I did not have the amount of practice I’d of liked to have, though I would go for it anyways.  I was able to fish the Sunday before the event and the day before on Friday.  The water fell over a foot between Sunday and Friday, so that made much of my Sunday practice irrelevant.

Friday practice was mixed results, I actually got plenty of bites, while pulling on most, the few that I hooked did not show promise of the 3lb plus class fish that would be needed for this event.  Most of my success was coming flipping current banks with a Okeechobee Craw Pit Boss on a 1/2oz weight.  I tried plenty of grass but never seem to find the right stretches.  I did have one main river rock area where I got a couple of quality smallmouth bites, including the 19″ fish on an A-rig.

19″ – 4lb Smallmouth on A-rig w/ Keitech Fat ImpactsDobyns 795ML Swimbait Rod

After practice, my hopes were not super high, my game plan was to work through the water I had on Pool 4 and get a decent limit and then hope by fishing harder it would produce 1 or 2 big bites or at some point just go fishing.  The fact that the WI DNR made this tournament a 3-fish limit helped the luck factor, as a single 4lb bite would got a long ways.

I drew boat 59, and my co-angler seemed like a pretty good guy.  I started on a small grass/gravel point, it only produced on small 14″ largemouth on a Yellow Magic popper.  My co-angler did get a nice largemouth on a frog as we fish down the grass a bit farther, we got several bites in the area, but I think many were pike.  I then whipped into an area up river that seemed to look right.  I missed a couple smallmouth there, but they were probably just keepers.  The next area, was where I had gotten some bigger smallmouth in practice, current was super strong in this area.  My partner got a smallmouth close to 3lbs on a jig and I caught a 2lb smallmouth on an A-rig.  We made several more passes here with no more fish.

I then went and fished several areas in Indian Slough, I was able to get my 3rd fish and upgrade a couple times flipping a Pit Boss on banks with wood, rock & grass.  My partner also got a squeaker largie on a beaver to fill his limit.  He also missed a few nice bites on a frog.

We then returned to my rock area, we each got a smallmouth that culled for us, but then again no more bites.  I then hit some more flipping water on the MN side and culled on more fish flipping.  Time was running out, we hit a few things on the way back to Alma, but no more upgrades.

I ended up 62 out of 100 with 3 fish for 7lb 3oz, my partner who had fewer bites had slightly better quality and got 18th and a small check on the co-angler side.  Not sure I could have done much different in the tournament, other then I should have probably covered more water and found better areas in practice.

Onward and upward to the next tournament, can’t win them all.  On another note, I am glad I fished this BFL, as I was very impressed with how they ran their tournaments!