Wolf River, Winneconne, Winnebago, whatever you call it, this was the site if of the 2nd BFL of the Great Lakes Division as it usually is. This is a system that I have fished a few times in the last 5 years or so, but either way it is a solid 5 hour drive from my home, so I don’t get there often and you don’t run over for a quick prefish the weekend before.
With that being said, I left Wednesday afternoon in a driving rain that lasted pretty much the entire drive and I had to wait out a thunderstorm at the boat ramp until 7:30pm just so I could spend an hour or so on the water Wednesday night. I caught a couple smallies in Lake Butte Morts on some rip rap, but nothing too promising.
Thursday was a new day, with a decent breeze and sunny skies. I launched north of the river on Winnebago and began my search there. My main focus was largemouth and I was bouncing around between shoreline cover and transitional areas hoping to find some concentrations of fish. At first it was a fish here or there, but I finally ran into a large group of fish on a transitional area fishing soft plastics on the bottom and some on a swim jig using Evolve DarkStar swimmer as a trailer. I was able to expand on the water and duplicate what I found for most of the day, eliminating some water and adding other. By the end of the day, I would’ve had around 13lbs.
Kompak Craw & Tungsten Jika Rig
On Friday, I launched further south on Bago looking to repeat pattern and expand on water. The wind was blowing a little more from the East in the morning, I got on quite a few short fish early firing square bills around shallow areas. As the morning went one, the wind laid down and I was able to find a few more areas I felt good about, catching and pulling on what felt like quality fish. Around 1pm, I trailered over to Rainbow Park to find some stuff I could fish on the way back to Winneconne ramp, just a few short fish. So I called it a practice and got my stuff ready for the next day in the Walmart parking lot. I drew boat 68 out of 125 which was middle of 3rd flight. My partner co-angler that I drew seemed like a nice enough guy, so we had a quick discussion about my plan to fish Bago all day.
Tournament morning brought a light drizzly rain, light winds and overcast conditions, felt like one of those days that the fish would be crunching. After the fairly long journey of slow wake zones out to Winnebago from Winneconne, the wind was a little stiffer then forecasted and straight out of the East. There was a boat on the area I wanted to start on, so I pulled into a secondary area, where we both caught a few shorts. We moved around a bit and ended up hitting my starting spot which was not as hot as I hoped it to be, producing just two shorts. I decided even though the wind was hitting it pretty direct to try to some more main lake stuff I had. It turned out to be a pretty good decision as I picked up two nice largemouth keepers on a 3/8oz BassTEK Tugsten flipping jig, having that tungsten really helped as the wind and waves made it difficult to keep my feel with my lure.
I then ran a short stretch of docks and put my 3rd keeper in the boat on a Kompak Craw on a 3/8oz tungsten Jika rig. After running that stretch we returned to an area that was covered with boat early, shortly after I pulled in I hooked a good one on a Baby Ring Fry on a mojo rig, it ended up being my big fish at 3-10. We worked this area hard for awhile, catching a few shorts and my partner losing a couple decent fish. So that gave me 4 fish with one good one at 11’ish, so I thought if I was ever going to run south, now was the time. I was actually feeling pretty good, as I thought I could catch 2lb fish pretty easy and getting one close to 4 would be the trick of they day.
We ran a bunch of water, it produced mostly shorts and areas that already had other boats on the spots I wanted to fish, but we each scraped one keeper by 1pm. I had a decent limit, but largely because I had that bigger fish, and I knew if I could get a 2lbr or two to get rid of my 14.5″ fish, that would make a big difference. So we returned to fish the area where I caught my biggest fish, which was also where I caught my biggest fish in practice. We only had about 25 minutes to fish it. I ended up getting one 15″ fish there, so that was a nice little upgrade.
My 3-10 Largie on Stage of Weigh-in
I ended the day with 11-10 which on a day that ended up being a bit of a tough bite, which left me tied for 20th and getting a check. Always wish you can win or get a top 10, but a check is a check against these BFL guys, can’t complain about 2 for 2 cashing checks this season, which puts me 4th in the points for the year after two events.
Looks like my next tournament will be a little closer to home, the Pan-O-Prog bass tournament on Lake Marion, always a fun event, the guys at Gopher Bassmasters run a great tournament with pretty decent payback, plus I have to defend my title from last year!