I recently fished the Everstart Central division event out of La Crosse, WI as a co-angler. I have a TBF Northern Divisional event coming up in September on the same waters, so I thought it would be a good way to familiarize myself with waters that I had not fished in over 10 years and have some fun and a shot to win a little money.
I was #1 on the waiting list all week to get in and did not get in until after the meeting when I got my pairing text and had to dash down to La Crosse from Lakeville. My day 1 partner was Cary Bever from Rhinelander, WI. The area we started in was a shallow grassy area with some current towards the bottom half of Pool 8. We both started working the area with frogs as well as the other two boats that started in the area as well. There was quite a bit of activity for all the boats in the area, but many small fish. I did manage to get a limit of 3 fish before we left and Carey had two fish. I got my all my fish by casting my frog further then my boater in the morning.
On our next spot, I got the first fish and a nice upgrade. Cary asked if I had anymore frogs like I was throwing, I did and he quickly filled his limit and started getting upgrades in the next couple areas. The frog in question was a Bluegrass Mad Maxx frog. I also got a nice upgrade on a 1/4oz Swim Jig with Tilapia Big Bites Cane Thumper as my trailer. The next main area was mat specific, meaning I was easily boxed out of the best areas. I did have one good opportunity, foiled by a loose drag on a buzz frog rod, something I should have checked, but did not think about as I usually keep my baitcasters pretty well locked down.
We ended up finishing in a cut bank area up towards Goose Island, we were running low on juice so boat control was a bit loose, so I had some good chances at water. I got one good bite, set the hook but the fish got caught up in the overhanging bank grass that I punched my chigger craw through and the fish got off. Cary did get one last upgrade in this area before we weighed in. My 3 fish were 7lbs 3oz and we both were 21st out of 125 after day 1 in our respective divisions.
My second day boater was Dan Ehmen from IL, he has spent some time on these pools fishing BFL, interestingly enough he was one of the other boats that started in the same place the previous day. We had the area to ourselves, but action was slower for sure. We spent quite a bit of time there, after many short strikes, short fish, we each managed one keeper on frogs. The next couple areas produced some pike and some shorts for each of us. We made a stop on shallow cut near where we started, I ended up with a very solid 2nd fish on a buzz frog out of there. We then went back to the starting area, I convinced him to make a pass on the left side where I had caught my limit on Day 1, he got his 2nd keeper and I got 3 more keepers on my frog there before heading back to the corner where we camped in the morning. Dan did miss one good fish there. With not a ton of time left, we ran to some areas in the back of Goose Island, we got a couple shorts, but that was it. My 3 fish weighed 6-15 and that kept me in 21st overall, Dan slid way down with only having two fish. In the end it was a fun experience and I will likely fish the next Everstart as a boater that comes to close to my home.
I really give the nod to my Dobyns 736C Champion rod that I used pretty much all tournament long, I consistently casted further to fish my boaters could not reach and when the fish ate it on the ends of long casts, I boated everyone of them. If you need a frog rod that can really reach out and touch those fish, check it out!
In other news, our third outing in the NABC series was just as bad as the first two. We scraped a paltry 9.93lb Gull Lake limit together. Once again we practiced in a top 5 area, did not spend enough time there and made bad decisions. Now we must decide if I will fish Leech alone to qualify for championship.
Still deciding if I am going to sneak in the TBF Southern Open qualifier in Winona next weekend or just lay low until the TBF Northern Divisional in early September. Plan to do some family fun fishing down on Lake Jefferson near Mankato this weekend.