TOC Tournament Recaps

I always say I will and need to blog more, but here we are again with big gaps between blogs.  Largely because I like to post blogs with video content now and that takes much more time to edit and publish than a blog with a few photos.  So the following is two tournament recaps from July.

That being said, I recorded a little video from MN TBF TOC on Lake Pokegama, but my finish was very mediocre and so were the fish catches on video, maybe I will clip it together and post it here in the future.  I didn’t even take any photos from that event.  I love Pokegama and have done well there in the past.  In the end, I fished for both smallmouth and largies, but probably needed to dedicate more to one, ultimately I didn’t catch either one well enough.  Kudos to Sport and Chong on the wins & my dad for big fish of the event.  Final results from that event – click here.

Two weeks after that event, was the Minnesota BASS Nation TOC on Mille Lacs.   Practice was stingy but I felt like I still had a few things figured out to go on, but many of the areas that were good last August, weren’t the same this year.  Could just be year to year or fish adjusting to the growing fish pressure of being the #1 Bass Lake in the US by Bassmaster Magazine.  Day 1 ended up being postponed due to the wind, but new day 1 on Friday still ended up being pretty darn windy.   I was greeted with a nice surprise of none of my electronics being able to power up as we lined up for taking off, even though they worked fine all practice.

Before I had time to dig into the issue, my boat early boat number was about to be called.  So I set off to my first area with no GPS mapping or sonar depth.  I got close to the area and I was able to switch some cords to get waypoints and maps on my console graph.  I tried fishing inefficiently for awhile walking to back graph,  moving trolling motor and spot locking on and off with my Ultrex.  I finally gave up on that and went into back compartment, ultimately I rewired around what I believe had to be a bad fuse harness and got everything back up and running front and back.  After way too much time spent, I had 1 or 2 small fish and broke off on a good bite in the first area.

Trying to go to my next area, all the sudden I could not get on plane with the big motor.  So mentally I decided I would fast idle and fish the area I was in and then work my way back to take off.  That worked for a bit, caught a few more fish, lost a 4lbr next to the boat and caught a 4lbr on a stupid tube.  After fishing my less than prime areas more, I finally decided to pop the cowling off the main motor and have a look to make sure it wasn’t something silly, and it was just a spark plug wire that popped off.

After getting that fixed, I made the run from Agate Bay area up to the east of Myramar to fish calmer waters that I had success in practice.  My next stop produced a decent quality bite and a small upgrade.  With time running out, I ran a handful of area working down the west side of the lake, finally I hit some isolated boulders about mid lake on the west side and got a big upgrade drop shotting a boulder that I almost gave up on and the fish probably bit on the 9th or 10th time I dropped.  I knew the bag still wasn’t where I wanted or needed to be but felt like maybe I had avoided a complete disaster.  Then the treacherous run back across the middle of the lake and by the way, I should have left much earlier than I did, it was way too rough to push as hard as I ended up pushing it.   We made it back without too much damage other than a bent trolling motor stabilizer.  I ended up with 17lbs and was probably in about 30th place out of a 100 or so boaters.

4lb Mille Lacs Smallies
Two best smallmouth from Day 1

Day 2 I knew I need to get over 20lbs to have a shot.  I started in a somewhat shallow area between take-off and Doe Island that was way too windy on Day 1, it yielded a limit in the first 90 minutes along with two 5lb class fish.  A much better start and 20lbs felt pretty attainable at that point.

I bounced around fishing areas on the east side of the lake picking off quality fish on the stupid tube and drop shot.  I won’t go into fish by fish details, if you want that info, check this video because I had my GoPro going all of day 2.

I ended up with 22lbs even, which is my best 5 smallmouth ever weighed in a tournament.  That felt pretty good until the results came out that I missed the Top 10 cut by .7lbs.  That is fishing, on one hand, I felt pretty good not letting the adversity of day completely snow ball on me and hanging in there to give myself a shot to fish on day 2.  But in the end, my goal was not achieved, so that kind of sucked.

5lbs Mille Lacs SMallmouth Bass
Twin Fivers!

Pretty much all the fish I weighed came on two baits and two setups.  I had 4″ Green Pumpkin Stupid Tubes rigged on 3/16oz BassTEK Agitator Heads fished on 12lb fluoro on a DX743C Dobyns Extreme Casting rod.  The other setup which caught most of my biggest fish each day was 2.75″ Baby Tube fished on a drop shot with #2 VMC Neko Hook, 8lb fluoro leader tied to 8lb main line braid spooled on a spinning real connected to my DX742SF Dobyns Extreme spinning rod.  I used a pretty short 12-14″ drop leader to a 3/8oz BassTEK Tungsten dropshot weight.  That 7’4″ rod does an unreal job of controlling the big smallies on light line and keeping them pegged with those small hooks.  More details and images at the end of my recap video.

My next big event is on Lake Pokegama on September 1st, where I will be fishing for a brand new Skeeter Boat in the Classic Bass Champions Tour TOC!  Wish me luck!

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