This blog always seems to fall to a lower priority than my YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Definitely consider following me on any of those platforms to stay more plugged into my fishing activities and catch any fishing tips & nuggets that I pass on through those channels.
I am not giving up on the blog and for now, I am going to leave you with a few of my recent Bass Fishing YouTube videos. I am definitely putting more of my energy into my YouTube content as its something I really enjoy, but the downside it is time-intensive labor of love to produce high-quality original content in video format.
Sorry, this blog is about a month overdue. First off, the inaugural Classic Bass Champions Tour event was AMAZING! Classic Bass put on a great event and fishing an MLF (Major League Fishing) style tournament is a completely different kind of pressure over traditional 5 best bass style tournaments. It was also no coincidence they chose Mille Lacs Lake which was also recently recognized the worlds Best Bass Fishing Lake for 2017 by Bassmasters Magazine!
If you have never seen an MLF event on TV or on the Web, basically every legal keeper bass you catch counts, it is weighed by an in boat judge (thanks to Prior Lake HS Bass Club) and there is a live scoreboard all day through an app on your phone. The other really unique thing about this event, it was an invite only event, so to participate, you had to be selected.
It was on honor just to be selected and I was super excited to fish against this field. You can see the results and field list here. I was able to get about 3 days of practice in for this event. My strategy was to check several parts of the lake so I would be prepared to fish multiple areas since they were likely to section up the lake for our event and to prepare for the wind. I also wanted to have baits I felt confident in so I wasn’t second guessing baits when I was looking for fish fast during the event. Because of the high winds and rough water, I didn’t set up my GoPro during the tournament, but you can check out my practice video which is very similar to how I caught them during the actual event.
The event ended up being split into morning and afternoon sessions, where we had to fish the East side of the lake during the first 4 hours and then after lunch (Thank Rocky Reef Resort for Lunch), we fished the west side of the lake for the final 4 hours.
The split caught me a little off guard based on the wind forecast, I made a big run across the lake only to find the area I planned to fish was completely blown out, I only caught two tiny keepers before getting tired of taking waves over the bow and stern of my boat. So I ducked into the closest protected water I could find and I hunkered down and made the best I could out of that area that I didn’t even practice. It turned out to be pretty productive, I was able to catch like 18 or 20 fish for about 43lbs which was good enough to be 3rd out of 24 for the first half. Here is an Instagram Video of the trip back to Rocky Reef at the end of the first half, water was a little rough.
In the second half, I got off to a slow start with only one 2lb fish in like 90 minutes. Finally, I got into an area where I got around some fish and it was calm enough to properly fish them, I made a big surge late to make it back to 3rd after falling out of the top 6 cut. Making the top 6 has qualified me for the Tournament of Champions where I get to fish for a Brand New Skeeter Boat in September. Watch this post tourney interview from Classic Bass as well for details on my day.
Been a long winter, but I am getting the itch big time this spring. Compared to last year, I am way ahead of the game, I actually got the boat out fishing on the Mississippi River on April 1st, it ran great and we caught some bass, all in all a good start. Pictured is one of the best fish of they day.
Also, I finally got the bug to do some video editing of previously recorded GoPro footage I had some some drives. Trying out some new video editing software I just added to my new laptop.
Below is a pretty fun couple of hours of early fall bass fishing with Jason Holmer of Bass Utopia boiled down to 10 mins of highlights. We only weighed the 3 biggest fish, but the best 5 easily topped 25lbs.
All our fish were caught on flipping jigs and vibrating jigs, my jig of choice was a BassTEK 3/8oz Okeechobee Craw with various trailers. I also caught several fish later in the day on a Black Blue chatterbait style vibrating bladed jig.
My goal is to produce a lot more video content this year, leave a comment on this blog or on video, let me know what you want to see. Maybe even subscribe so you don’t miss any new videos!
Well the Minnesota Bass Opener is almost 10 days ago now, so I should probably throw a quick blog up, now or never. Went out in the morning on Crystal Lake with my buddy Bill on Crystal Lake to do a little catching and scouting for a small Bass Pursuit tourney that was on Sunday.
We started out on some deeper drops, but quickly ruled that out with just a few bites and one small fish on a 1/2oz BassTEK Tungsten Football jig. Next step was to hit some points leading into shallower bays as staging areas. On the 2nd point, I quickly caught 4 fish on 4 casts with a ring fry on a mojo rig.
From there, we went into some shallower bays and that is where the fish were and coming in as we fished. It was quite obvious that love was going to be in the air real soon!
We went on to catch a whole bunch of fish on weightless ring frys and BassTEK resticks rigged weightless and wacky style, including a couple fish over 5lbs.
I have actually been doing a fair amount of fishing since the last BFL tournament, but clearly I have not been doing much blogging here. Although, I have been doing a little writing at the KrugerFarms.com blog and the From the Dock Blog at NBC Sports.
So this weekend, I finally stayed home, albeit reluctantly, so I though I may as well do quick blog update on my fun fall fishing happenings.
In late September to early October the shallow jig bite was rock solid, I was able to get out a few times and stick both quantity and quality largemouth putting my 3/8oz BassTEK Tungsten Flipping Jigs in and around any shallow visible cover I could find. Check out the following video, I put together from one said outing.
Smallmouth fishing on Mille Lacs and the St. Croix River has been pretty decent as well, again for me the Kompak Craw has been the ticket. On a recent trip, it out fished the ever faithful Tube Jig 13 smallies to 1 on the tube. Basically in water less then 15 feet, I fish the Kompak Craw on a 1/8oz to 3/16oz EWG Shakey Football Head and in deeper water out to 30ft, I rig the craw on 1/2oz – 3/4oz BassTEK Tungsten Football jigs. Unlike summer when I like a craw with a good flap or kick on my football jig, when the water gets below 50, the subtleness of the Kompak Craw is what the fish seem to prefer.
I hope to get the boat wet a time or two yet before the rivers freeze. In past years, I have had luck plucking smallmouth down to about 35 degree water temperatures on football jigs.
Hey all, just wanted to share with you a bait that is quickly becoming a go to bait for me. It is something that I picked up last year to be a punching bait and now is proving to be more versatile then I could’ve hoped. The bait is the Kompak Craw from Evolve Baits. If you don’t want to read the whole blog post and have a short attention span like me, just watch the quick video. I show several rigging techniques in this video.
For those that want every detail, keep reading!
Last summer, I had excellent results using the Kompak craw behind 3/4 – 1oz flipping milfoil on lakes like Minnetonka and others, honestly kind of what I expected based on first glance of the bait. Then in September, I was looking for a follow up to my sweet beavers down in La Crosse to go back through areas and show the fish something new. My eyes were opened to the potential of this dimunitive craw when I went through an area after going back and forth twice with a beaver only to catch 3 bass including a 4lbr on the Kompak craw on my 3rd pass and my partner not getting a bite on his offerings. This gave me confidence to keep flipping this craw on lighter 3/8oz weights to wood, cut banks, etc and caught both smallmouth and largemouth.
Fast forward to November and December last year, where a buddy an I found deep schools of smallmouth on a river in 25-25ft of water. Football jigs worked deep with just about any trailer worked until the water temps dropped into the 30s. I then rummaged through my options to find a subtle trailer, after trying a couple, the Kompak craw became the deal on the back of a 1/2oz football hair jig. I continued catching nice smallies and occasional walleye on the Kompak craw through the winter on a different winter location, by presenting them on 3/16oz EWG Football Shakey heads.
Fast forward again to this spring, fishing pool 2, getting a few bites but not what I was hoping or expecting. After scouring a harbor with my usual offerings, I pick up a Kompak craw rigged on a Jika Rig and catch a 4lb fish plus several other bass in water that I and another boat just fished pretty hard. Fishing the Kompak craw on the Jika rig and small texas rigs has been in a regular mix for me so for this year, catching bass on little lakes in MN, the Mississippi river from Minneapolis to La Crosse and all the way over to Lake Winneabgo.
There are a lot of good plastics and baits on the market and most of them have a time and place, but I think the Kompak craw is something for you to try, it is quite the versatile bait and the bass just seem to eat it! Don’t take my word for it, just ask the fish!
I didn’t get to fish as much as I’d like over the 3 day weekend that is the MN Bass Opener over Memorial day weekend. I did get out and catch some fish from a small lake from shore on Saturday morning, that was a very brief outing, but very productive, catching 5 bass in about 25 minutes on a swim jig with a Evolve Darkstar Swimmer trailer. 3 of those 5 fish were between 3-4lbs.
I also, took my girls out from shore later in the day, we caught a few bluegills and my youngest daughter got her first bass in a very short outing before heading to the park to play.
Finally Sunday, was my only fishing day in the boat, it was great to get out with my Dad and fish a west metro lake. The morning was a little slow picking up a few fish here and there, getting most of our bites shallow around wood on a 3/8oz BassTEK Tungsten flipping jig in the Black Brown Green Pumpkin color
About half way through the day, we went through a channel to the smaller side of the lake and it was pretty much game on from there. The water was about 2 degrees warmer and we started catching them pretty steady on BassTEK jigs and BassTEK ReSticks. I mainly used the 6.5″ stick, looking for a little bigger bite, while my dad used the 5″, both using the Road Kill color.
You can see how chewed up these baits got in just a few hours, good stuff!
Water temps were mostly around 56-59 degrees, we caught our fish from 1-5′ and in the end we had over 30 bass, most of them between 2.5 – 3.5lbs with a couple touching 4lbs. I weighed my biggest if was 4-03. My other 4 best fish were all over 3lbs as well.
My biggest fish came on the Jig!
The giants in the lake eluded us on this trip, but we’ll get them next time!
I almost went the entire December without fishing and without obviously landing a bass, but on the last Friday of the month I was able to get out for about 4 hours in the afternoon. I threw my waders, a few Dobyns Rods and a small assortment of tackle in the back of the vehicle and ventured out.
On my first cast with an Ima Square Bill I got smacked really hard by something, and about 8-10 casts later I finally connected with a small smallmouth bass, it was a relief to catch one and to know my streak of catching legal open water bass in Minnesota would stay alive. I kind of pride myself on catching open water bass in the frigid MN winters.
From there, I worked and waded down the bank chunking the square bill, connecting with a fish here and there. My fourth fish was finally of some quality, it was around 3lbs, so I slowed down and started saturating the area with plastics.
I picked up a fish on a a shakey stick worm and small shakey beaver, both baits that I poured in my garage. I felt like I should be getting more bites, so I tried a Pumpkin Oil Kompak Craw on my 3/16oz Shakey Football head. It didn’t take long to starting getting more bites and connecting on more fish.
I soon landed a 4lb plus smallie and shortly after that a huge walleye that I estimate at around 30″ and 7-8lbs. Overall, I caught about 10 more fish on the Kompak craw, it was a nice late season outing with decent numbers and excellent quality with several fish in the 3lb class. It was also a pleasant surprise to see how well the Kompak craw performed on the shaky head. I’ve known for awhile that it is an excellent flipping and punching bait for largemouth, but in the last two months, it has proven to be quite deadly as a finesse offering for cold water smallies and one giant walleye.
Not bad for an undesirable species, LOL! It was released to swim again. Too big to eat in my book. This is a trip, I wish I had a buddy and a scale, would have liked to weigh the big smallmouth and the walleye, I am most certain it was the biggest walleye I’ve ever caught and it is tough getting decent pictures with a cell phone by yourself.
This eye, gave my Dobyns Savvy 702SF a good work out. Plenty more walleye and smallie pics in this gallery as well.
As air temperatures become almost unbearably cold and water temps
dive into the 30′s, I have found that few baits produce bass like Blade
Baits and Hair Jigs. Far too often these baits are forgotten in our
tackle boxes and rarely get the playing time they deserve. Even for me
they had become such an after thought I found myself having to do an
emergency restocking for my early winter bass fishing.
For hair jigs, I like a hand tied football jigs with a blend of hair
and round rubber in blacks and browns. There are some places that make
nice jigs, but for the most part, I like to tie my own. In my last few
smallmouth trips, a custom nearly all black combination combined with a
subtle compact trailer like the Evolve Kompak Craw
was the ticket. I generally fish these baits so slow on the bottom, it
is like counting rocks on every cast, you almost can fish slow enough
on some days. My usual setup is 15lbs flouro and a long rod with a
moderate tip for feel and strong back bone for hooking up in deep water
on long casts, but a balanced rod with light tip is critical for the
light bites in cold water. My rod of choice is a Champion Extreme DX 744 from Dobyns Rods. Here is a video of a buddy & I catching some smallies with this deep football hair jig technique – Watch Video.
Football Hair Jig w/ Kompak Craw Trailer
On the flip side, blade baits can really trigger fish and you can
actually fish these pretty fast in comparison to hair jigs and still get
bit. Depending on depth ranges, I like a 1/4 to 3/4oz blade baits can
be casted and worked on slow deliberate hops almost like speed worming
to find and catch good quality fish, plus you are likely to catch just
about any fish that swims in the waters you are fishing. Your rod and
line setup can vary depending on size and weight of your blades baits,
for 1/4oz or smaller baits, you may want to consider a spinning rod. As
I usually throw 1/2oz or heavier blade baits, I like to use a moderate
cranking rod like the 704CB or 705CB from Dobyns and fish them on 10-12 lb fluorocarbon.
There is just something up about launching a bass boat at a vacant boat ramp in November or December, knowing that most anglers have winterized their boats, put their tackle in storage and are either watching football or hunting, that is appealing to me.
Knowing that almost certainly I will have the lake or river to myself as well as the bass that are in it. I went fishing this past Sunday, the weather was awful but my Under Armour from KrugerFarms and the smallmouth made it not so bad.
To be honest, the fishing was kind of tough, the smallies were just barely nipping and grabbing our presentations in 25-38ft of water, but I guess that was to be expected when we had a 30 degree temperature swing over night and the water was only 42 degrees. It is always nice to fish with good equipment, but when fishing that deep and the bites were as light as they were, I know my Dobyns Champion Extreme DX 744 put extra fish in the boat. The balance, sensitivity and overall balance made it the perfect option for scraping football jigs in that deep cold water. Check out a few of the catches we got on video. You could not move your jig slow enough for these fish.
I did pick up one fish on a drop shot leech and Paul got a couple bites on a shakey head, but almost all the fish fell for the football jigs. Overall, we boated around 26 smallmouth, which is pretty good anytime, but under the conditions it was darn good. When we got off the water, it was so cold that when Paul went to spray and wipe down his boat, it just froze to the side of the boat!
Even though we just had a cold snap that froze most of our local ponds, I am pretty sure I will give it another shot this weekend. Late fall / early winter fishing can be great, but make sure you are dressed right, if you need some UnderArmour, KF has the best selection you will find anywhere!