BFL’s on a Budget

I think anyone on any level will be quick to admit that making money at tournament fishing can be quite the uphill climb.  So I am going to share some of my tips on things you can do to keep your expenses down based on my tournament fishing, specifically last year’s Great Lakes BFL season where I finished 7th in the points in my first season in that circuit.

Rich Lindgren BFL


So like I mentioned, you can apply this to most any circuit, but I like the alliteration of BFLs on a Budget!  For me, most of my savings comes from my lodging decisions.  When I can, I like to stay at campgrounds near where I am fishing and on the water if possible.  The nicest campgrounds are usually much cheaper then the lowest end of motels, meaning I can usually camp for an entire practice and event for what many guys spend for one night at most motel/hotels.  Not to mention the cost effective motels are often not the newest, cleanest or most secure.  Campgrounds have awesome parking situations, plus I feel like they are pretty safe and secure, there are always exceptions, but for the most part, they are like communities where everyone watches each others stuff.  Often you can call and get a pretty good rate at campgrounds when you let them know all you need is electric hookup & don’t need full RV hookup.

Some people like tents, but for the most part, I make a bed in the back of my SUV, that way I don’t have to get up early on tournament days to pack up and worry about airing out a dew covered tent when I get home.  My bed consists of dense foam camping mat, paired with various layers of sleeping bags and blankets depending on weather.  I also like the security of sleeping in a vehicle connected to my boat, like a built in alarm system for my gear.  Basically, half my vehicle is a bed and the other half is gear storage for stuff that isn’t in my boat.

The next big piece is to plan ahead for your food.  I have a big Igloo Yukon Cooler that I fill with drinks, food & ice before I leave home.  I pair that with a brown grocery bag of bread and other dry goods and I am good for my trip.  My cooler will last about 4-5 days without having to buy more ice.  The ice keeps lunch meat, cheese, sausage sticks, yogurts and other items which keeps a nice variety.  That paired with my dry goods, granola bars, nuts, jerky and other reasonably healthy snacks.  This ends up being so much cheaper and healthier then fast food or gas station offerings.


Getting your food and drinks from grocery stores or a Walmart is much more cost effective then buying single drinks or snacks on a daily basis from a convenience store.  Just about any snack or drink is less then half the cost when bought in carton quantities over eaches.

The next biggest bucket of savings is doing what you can to be smart with your fuel usage, so if you can leave early enough that you can keep your tow speeds down that will save a chunk of cash.  Also, putting in two sun up to sun down days on the water is way cheaper then 3-4 for days of just fishing 9hrs.  One of my key components is too make sure my batteries last as much as 14 hours if needed and my Minnkota on board DC charger does that.  It recharges my trolling motor batteries from my outboard once the starting battery has been topped off.

I also try to put together a pre-fishing game plan for the few days I have, so that I am being smart with the miles I put on the boat and SUV.  Having a buddy to travel helps as well and often you can have each other’s backs as things come up.

2lb practice fish caught on Evolve Nervous Walker Frog
2lb practice fish caught on Evolve Nervous Walker Frog

Hope these tips are helpful or inspire some new thinking or ideas for some of you.  Let’s face, unless you  are one of the few anglers that wins an event in a season, cashing checks likely won’t cover your expenses if you are spending $90 a night on a hotel and another $30-40 a day on food for every practice and event day, the math just doesn’t work out.

Christmas Gifts & Stocking Stuffers for the Bass Angler

Whoa, been awhile since my last post here, but I have done a little blogging over at the and NBC Sports Blogs, feel free to subscribe to those as well.

But either way, time is rapidly getting away from us for Christmas shopping, so I am going to share some of my ideas on great Xmas gifts for bass fishermen and women.  You may use these ideas to help build a better list for your loved ones or hopefully your loved ones can stumble across this list and use it to get you something cool that fits your passion come Christmas morning.

Fishing lures make great stocking stuffers, heck you can even hang them from the tree and make them part of the decorations!  So here are a handful of baits that I love, that have a coolness factor and just plain catch bass and will make great stocking stuffers for your favorite bass angler.
Evolve Nervous Walker Frogs
BassTEK Tungsten Jigs
Lake Fork Ring Frys
Soul5 RoverMax 115
Rapala DT6 Crankbaits
Super K 1/4oz Swim Jigs
Evolve Kompak Craws or Darkstar Swimmers

If your loved one is a little more deserving there are a lot of great options out there. Here are a handful of products in the $10 – $50 range that make great gifts.  Beyond tackle, I also listed a few sun protection clothing items, anglers get exposed to a ton of UV rays, so sometimes its best to cover up with good Sun Gear!
Sunline FX2 Frog/Flip Braid
Rapala Touch Screen Scale
Rod Glove Rod Covers
Simms Sun Gloves & Sun Armor

If you need something for someone on the very very good list and want something that will really get their attention under the tree, you might want to think about getting them a new rod or reel.  Other plus cameras and polarized sunglasses make great gifts.
Dobyns 735C or 702SF
Shimano baitcasting or spinning reel at any budget
Costa Del Mar or SPY Polarized Sunglasses
GoPro Camera

If you want to see what is on my personal list, check out my Pinterest board, creating a gift wish list on Pinterest is a great way to keep an active list that you can share with friends and family for Christmas, Birthdays or any gift occasion!

Well Merry Christmas All and Good Fishing!

6 Strategies for Cold-Water Bass

How to Welcome Chilly Temps, Bag Both Smallies and Largemouths with ‘Jack of All Trades’ Bait
By Jack Busby

When the water temperatures plummet in fall, tournament bass angler Rich Lindgren employs numerous cold-water tactics, relying largely on one “jack of all trades bait” called the Kompak Craw for finicky bass in waters below 50 degrees.

“You can fish the bait a lot of different ways, depending on the situation,” says Lindgren. “I typically have rods rigged with the bait on a shaky head, football head jig, finesse rig, jika rig…just for starters. I like having one bait that I can fish so many different ways. Let’s me concentrate on fishing, not lure selection.”


Lately, he’s been fishing Evolve Bait Co.’s Kompak Craw on a thin wire 4/0 EWG shaky head and says it recently out-fished the stalwart tactic of dragging tubes over rocks for fall smallmouth an impressive 13 to 1.

“Dragging tubes definitely catches fish—from the Great Lakes to southern smallie waters—but there’s something about the Kompak Craw on a shaky head that lights up smallmouth bass. Rather than a horizontal drag, a shaky head orients the bait at 45-degrees—mimicking a fighting craw or goby feeding on the bottom. A simple drag, shake and dead stick is typically how I fish it. More sitting, though, than shaking.”

The bait’s design lends itself to shaky head rigging, as there’s a bump in the plastic that holds the hook barb just barely under the plastic, eliminating the need to expose the hook. “Even during tough, short bites, hook-up percentages are super good.”

Lindgren says the shaky head routine is a go-to for cold, clear waters less than 15 feet deep. Anything deeper and he’ll fish the Kompak Craw as a trailer on a BassTEK tungsten football head jig.



There’s nothing like knocking helmets with bass in deep water. Football head jig aficionados will tell you they live for the ‘thump.’ And while effective on deep structure bass all season long, the football head bite definitely comes alive in fall and early winter, typically around sunken islands, isolated rock piles, points and ledges in waters from 15 to 40 feet.

To find these high-probability areas, Lindgren says he studies digital GPS mapping and uses Humminbird Side Imaging to look for fish on these deep water spots, marking waypoints for precise casts.

“During summer months I’ll fish a BassTEK football head jig with large, flappy craw trailers, but as the water temps go down, you really need something subtle. Fish are moving slower and they won’t eat if it takes too much energy. The Kompak Craw is precisely the thing, whether I skewer it onto a football head jig with silicone skirt, or my favorite, a combination silicone and hair football head jig. Hair moves in a way that mimics life even at a standstill in cold water,” says Lindgren.



On natural lakes – especially those of the Midwest – Lindgren searches for remaining green weed clumps in 8 to 10 feet of water, relying on a finesse jig to slowly and methodically find willing largemouth bass.

“I’ll idle just off of weed flats, using Side Imaging to find isolated clumps, funnels and spaces in the larger beds. Again, I’ll mark waypoints and go back and strategically work those areas with a BassTEK tungsten finesse jig with Evolve Kompak Craw trailer, which pulls through the weeds without collecting debris. I have a rod rigged with blue and black jig and Leech Fleck Kompak Craw, and a rod with green pumpkin jig and Pumpkin Oil or Cali-Melon Red Kompak Craw.”

He’s also a big fan of fishing finesse jigs on reservoirs. “In fall and early winter, I look for areas of chunk rock and gravel around secondary points that transition into coves and creek arms. You can intercept a lot of fish in these locations with finesse jigs as bass move in and out.”

Cold water football bites can much more
subtle then when fishing in warmer water, so Lindgren relies heavily on
his Dobyns DX744C rods spooled with 16lb fluorocarbon to feel even the
most subtle bites.



A lesser-known, yet very effective, late season tactic is called Neko rigging. Basically a highly-refined finesse tactic that takes wacky-rigging to an extreme, it excels in shallow waters and around docks. Although typically used with stick worms, Lindgren says the Kompak Craw is perfect for the Japanese finesse technique. “I invert the bait, insert either a nail or small tungsten screw weight into bait’s head and run a weedless wacky style hook into the nose of the bait between the arms. When retrieved, the vertically-oriented bait puffs the bottom much like a cat – “Neko” in Japanes     in a litter box, hence the name.”

Lindgren says the Neko Rig is ideal for bottom-hopping shallow flats, shoreline cover and points, even when water temps are extremely low. “Especially in slightly stained waters, you’d be surprised how many fish you’ll find shallow in late fall and winter.”



During cold bluebird skies and cold fronts, bass will cling tight to cover – especially weed mats and clumps – for warmth. That’s when Lindgren turns to the Kompak Craw for punching right into the bedrooms of big, lethargic bass.

“Florida waters are a good example of where cold water punching can definitely pay off. And rather than using a bait that’s too obtrusive and can spook fish, the Kompak Craw is streamlined and punches great. It’s thick enough that it displaces water and fish know it’s there but it doesn’t flail; the appendages stay close to the body, moving just the right amount to draw strikes.”

Lindgren fishes the bait on a straight shank 4/0 flipping worm hook with weight stop and ¾ to 1 ½-ounce tungsten flipping weight, tied to 22-pound fluorocarbon for clearer waters or 50-65 pound braid in dirtier waters.  Spool that heavy line up on high speed reels and either a Dobyns DX795Flip or 805 Flip/Punch depending on how heavy the cover.



Yet another way Lindgren likes to fish the bait is on a drop shot, particularly over deep brush piles that he spies with his electronics. “I simply nose hook the Kompak Craw and let it flutter as I ply deep brush, barely shaking it, keeping my eyes on my Humminbird sonar, which I set to 200/83kHz for the widest transducer cone, with my chart speed jacked up all the way to ten. That refreshes data the fastest. It’s like sight fishing with my electronics.”

Fall Fishing Udpate 2013

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 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.

Late October the shallow bite became very hit and miss and for me, the more dependable bite was fishing remaining weed clumps in the 8-10′ range on most of the lakes I visited.  A handful of baits produced good fish, including the new SoulJerk 115 from Evolve, but my best combo was threading a Pumpkin Oil Kompak Craw onto a 3/8oz Tungsten Finesse Flipping Jig.

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.


La Crosse BFL Super Tourney – September 21, 2013

Little late on this blog, sometimes when tourneys don’t go as planned, I am less excited to hurry up and write the summary, kind of like picking at a scab.  Either way, once the blog is written, its over and it becomes history and time to look forward.

I came into the last BFL Super Tourney 6th in points for the year, so I wanted to fish this event, as I wanted to see how high I could finish in my first year fishing this circuit and learning a lot about some of these massive pools on the Mississippi River that this circuit fishes.

So far this year, I have been pretty fortunate to be able to put some solid things together for most of these tournaments on two days or less of practice.  Similar game plan, I left home fairly early on the Thursday to practice Pool 8.  I spent a bit of my morning hunting sand drops and wing dams on the main channel only to catch a few white bass, from there I started heading back into some of my favorite backwater areas to look around.  After fishing a closing dam that was loaded with small largies, I found a duckweed point that was loaded with some good fish, the first one I caught on my Evolve Nervous Walker frog was around 4lbs and I pulled on several more. I looked around more in that area and found a few more smaller packs of fish.

The rest of Thursday, I found one more duck weed area with a school of fish, plus some rock/sand points in the backwaters that were holding quality largemouth and smallmouth.  On Friday, I spent the morning trying to expand on some areas and the rest of the day I bounced around the main river, mostly striking out on wing dams, but I did find a few fish late.  Overall my practice I felt was decent, I felt pretty good about my sand points in the morning and then I though I could have a good tourney if I could get those duck weed fish to go, but knew that all could change quickly with the cooling weather.

I ended up drawing out boat 92 out of 104, which I was okay with, I thought the extra time to fish would help let my duck weed fish warm up a bit and be more patient with my fishing and rotation through my areas.  My starting area was in the raft channel area, it was small point with sand and rock with a bit of current, I quickly put 3 largemouth and 1 smallmouth in the boat on a new RoverMax 110 topwater walkiRoverMax 110 topwater walking baitng bait from Soul 5 Labs & Evolve.

My 2nd stop was a similar point to my first with a little more grass on it, the fish started to bite weird there, they wouldn’t chase a topwater or reaction  bait, but we did get some bites on C-rigs.  Although we missed more fish then we caught, they seemed to be taking the bait weird and not eating it.  I did get my 5th fish there and my co-angler got a decent smallie.

From there it just got tougher, I could go into detail, but I fished weedlines, duckweed, pads, wood, cut banks, sand drops, wing dams and never generated another keeper bite the rest of the day.  Even though almost every area I visited produced good bites in the two previous practice days.  Super frustrating to say the least!

Overall my 5 early fish weight 9lbs 10oz and put me in 59th place, but as it turned out, many other anglers in the Top 10 in points struggled as well, because I only dropped to 7th in the points.  Based on my calculations, if I could have caught  a few more good fish and finished 15th of higher, I could have won the points title, I had figured I would’ve had to win the tourney to even have a shot.  Either way, I am pretty happy that I cashed 3 of 5 checks and finished 7th in the points.  Unfortunately, fishing the regional on Kentucky Lake is not in the cards for me. sometimes you just have to put a priority on family.

Example of Fun Fall Fishing from Sunday!

Unless I jump in a local small tournament, its probably time for some much needed fun fishing for the rest of the year, and I hope to do some more videos in the near future, so be sure to subscribe to my video channel!

Minnesota BASS Nation TOC 2013 – Mississippi River – Winona, MN

After missing last years TOC because of TBF Northern Divisionals, I was anxious to get back and have a strong showing on the river.  I was able to put in 3 pretty long days of practice Sat, Sun & Mon leading up to the tournament.  I spent Saturday on 5a, Sunday on 6, and then back to 5A based on a stronger 1st day on that pool.  I eliminated Pool 7 based on the distance, familiarity with pool and distance to travel versus reward.

Overall my practice was quite productive, I had a nice mix of main river, rocks, sand, banks, wood and slop, with an emphasis on backwater slop and pads.  Being this was a no cull tournament, I tried to focus on where I thought I could get 2lb plus bites and try not to mess with just keepers.  My top baits in practice were an Evolve Frog, BassTEK 1/2oz Jig in Okee Craw, Sweet Beavers and white swim jig paired with Evolve Darkstar swimmer as a trailer.

Nervous Walker Frog 4lbr and BassTEK Jig 3lbr pictured

I skipped the final practice day on Tuesday to be home for my kids first day of school and returned for Wednesday evening meeting.  I drew out boat 6 and convinced my partner to use my boat and lock up to 5A.  As we got to the lock, it was obvious we would have company, as about 45 of the 65 boats in the tournament locked up first thing on Thursday as well.  We ran to a wind dam and sand drop area towards the top of the pool.  We both quickly started catching fish on topwaters and a swim jig, but the keepers were far and few between, even the keepers I caught, I quickly chucked back without a 2nd thought, as I was looking for a certain quality of fish.  Although my partner did box one nice smallmouth and a 15″ largemouth on the first spot. 

From there I moved to adjacent large area with duckweed and I did end up keeping a decent fat 15″ largemouth on my frog off a tree surrounded with duck weed.  From there I ran to a pad area, where we both missed a few bites and soon after that I boxed a really nice fish on my BassTEK jig off a piece off wood.  From there I hit a key little point with duckweed and deer tongue to put keeper #3 in the box off the frog. The next bank produced no keepers for me, but the 3rd keeper for my partner.  After that we went to a larger slop area that I had, once we got there it happened pretty quickly, both of us filling our limits with 3lb plus fish on my frog and partner a jig.

We locked back early and weighed in at 1:45 even though our flight was not due until 3pm.  My 4 fish ended up at just over 11lbs which put me in 7th place out of 135 after day 1.

My Day 2 partner was all game to take my boat and run my fish as well.  With out 4th flight take-off, we made a single stop on pool 6 where I caught a nice 2.5lb fish on a Yellow Magic popper on my first cast.  We worked the area awhile longer, but neither of us put a keeper in the boat.  From there we locked up to 5A by ourselves in the lock and went directly to area where it went down on day 1.  The action was pretty fast and furious, but the size lacked that of the previous afternoon.  I caught bass after bass on my Nervous Walker Frog and flipping beavers, but I was careful to be selective and only fish 2.5lbs or larger went into the box.

At about 1:30 I boxed my 4th quality keeper on the Nervous walker and soon after my partner got his 3rd fish in the well.  I told him I would hit a couple key points on the way back to the dam, where we could both get good fish, but my top concern was getting back to Pool 6.  The very first point we hit, I stuck my big fish of the day which was 3.38lb smallie, there was no way I was throwing that fish back, so I was done fishing.  The next point produced a chunky largemouth for my partner and to the lock we went.

My partner had a couple rip rap spots on 6 that we hit and it didn’t take him long to put another nice largemouth in the boat, so we were both done.  We took our time getting to the levee and let the current flight check in before we checked in at 3:35 almost a full hour before we were due in.  My best 4 went about 11.5lbs on day 2 which put me in 2nd when I weighed and ended up in 3rd when it was all done, just under a pound out of 1st place.

My club also finished 1st as a team as well, so that added to the hardware collected at this event and the chance to fish the BASS Nation Northern Divisional sometime next August on Patoka Lake in Indiana.  Find full team and individual results here.

One of the biggest keys to my success this week was my frog setup, it kind of starts and ends with the Nervous Walker from Evolve, casts a mile, gets bit and the super soft body hooks up every time.  The other part of the setup was my rod/reel/line setup.  If you haven’t tried the Sunline FX2 Froggin Braid, it is ridiculous, spool that up on a high speed Curado and for me the Dobyns Champion 805 Flip/Punch rod is where it’s at when it comes to froggin’ big flats on the Mississippi River.  With my setup I can reach fish on long casts with out spooking them and get them in without a problem.

Evidence of what was working Beavers & Nervous Walkers!

My other key setup was flipping beavers on 1/2 – 1oz Tungsten sinkers, 4/0 VMC Flipping Hooks and 20lbs Fluoro.  For this my Dobyns DX745 and Dobyns DX795 Flip are perfect and I am really falling in love with the New Chronarch Ci4, sweet flipping reel!

Prairie Du Chien BFL – August 24, 2013

After stumbling a bit in the 3rd BFL, I was looking forward to getting that bad taste out of my mouth as the only tourney which I had not cashed a check in for 2013 thus far.  For this tournament, I was actually going to get two full days of practice, which having only a little over a day for the last event definitely hurt me a bit.

I was able to stay with a friend about 45 miles from the river and he went fishing with me on Thursday.  Based on fishing reports, I decided that my best chance to win and do well was probably to lock up to Pool 9 even though that turned out disastrously for me in a previous Bassmaster Weekend Series tournament. 

Thursday morning greeted us with a thunderstorm and heavy rains that we road out at the launch in Lynxville.  After the lightning subsided we braved the rain that lasted until almost 1pm.  The wind and waves made it difficult to fish the eel grass lines that I was targeting, we also tried to some rock early, only catching short fish early.  We eventually found an area that both decent smallies and largies on a grass line.  In the same area, I found a rock point that was holding some quality smallmouth.  From there, I wanted to find some backwater slop, so we went deeper in the backwaters, it took some time but I did find a large duck weed mat that was holding high numbers of largemouth.  We ended up fishing until dark, hitting closing dams, wing dams, rip rap and eel grass looking for more fish and I was able to find a few more areas and cross some things off the list.

Feeling good about my first day of practice, I decided to spend my Friday practice on the top half of Pool 10 looking for stuff to fish after I locked back though on tournament day.  My practice was hit and miss, I caught quite a few short fish and some keepers, I worked sand drops, grass, points, pads, wood and much more.

I ended up drawing a 4th flight boat draw which I was good with as I knew that all that wanted to lock through early would likely make it in to the lock and I thought the extra fishing time would be helpful.  We did make the lock along with 40 plus other boats, and rather then fight the boat traffic out of the lock, I spent a few minutes fishing some rocks near the lock.  Once clear, I ran up to some grass lines in Winneshiek to start fishing, my partner and I each start catching fish early, although mostly short.  I scored my first keeper on a Evolve Mad Mouse buzzed across the top of the eel grass.  We kept working into an area where I had found a group of bass holding in a little corner.  I quickly put 3 keepers in the boat on a green pumpkin tube and my partner got his first keeper on a lizard.  After that dried up, we hopped down the lake, where I caught my 5th keeper on a Evolve Nervous Walker floating frog.  We worked that area longer, but no more takers.

From there I went up the pool to a different grass line that had an isolated stump, where I was able to stick and boat a nearly 3lb smallmouth on a prototype creature bait from BassTEK, but one fish is all it would give up.  From there I wanted to fish a rock point before the sun got too high, my co-angler got a keeper smallie there and all I caught was a short.  Back to the grass lines to do some flipping when we saw a barge coming down the river, I felt the clock ticking at that point so even though the sun was just starting to get bright, I felt it was time to give my duck weed area a shot.

Once in the area, I quickly started bombing my Nervous Walker Frog around, and it only took a couple casts to stick my first good fish which made for a solid upgrade.  A few super long casts later, I hooked and boat a 3lbr and not long after that made another quality upgrade.  The key was these fish were way back off the edge and I had to make super long casts, to the point where my co-angler wasn’t even getting close to the distance to get bit.  But the bad news, is I could see the barge was less then 3 miles from the lock and I had to run 5 miles back up and down to beat it to the lock, so I had to leave biting fish to avoid being locked out as the barge I saw was definitely a double lock.

Well, I made it though the lock a little after noon with the barge right on our heels.  We spent the last 3 hours fishing rocks, wood, pads and grass, but neither of us could manage any fish that would help our bags.

Pulling into weigh area, the lines were short and not many boats beached, which told me two things, fishing was a little tough and that likely some people got locked out.  I was correct on both accounts.  My 5 fish weighed a solid 13-10 and was 5th place when I weighed in.  I launched in Marguette, so I dropped my partner off and headed back to load my boat.  This is where the fun began, as I ran out of gas before I got back to the ramp, but had enough trolling motor to make it the rest of the way.  I made it back to the park in time to get my check and my new hardware.

This is one tournament where my setup was extra key, and it had to do with my frog setup.  When I am fishing big mats, I always rig up my “Frog Launcher”, which is my Dobyns 805 Flip/Punch rod with a Shimano 200E7 Curado spooled with 65lb Sunline FX2 Braid.  This setup really launches my Evolve Frog and allows me to stick fish even on ridiculously long casts and get them out.  Also, the Evolve Nervous Walker frog has a great hook masked by super soft plastic shell that collapse beautifully when a fish eats and provides awesome hookup rations.  Even you have not tried the Nervous walker, it is something you need to and they are priced from $6-8 in most places.

Evolve Nervous Walker Frog Leopard Brown

The other fun parts of this trip was my blown trailer tire in the middle of Iowa and the fresh road kill that splattered blood and debris all over the bottom of my boat and trailer.  Guess I have some cleaning to do before next week’s MN BASS Nation State Tournament of Champions in Winona.

TBF River Rumble Team Qualifier 8-4-13

Last Sunday I fished a tournament out of Winona to hoping to qualify for the MN TBF TOC so that I have that option in late September when the time comes.  It was an interesting format that it was a team tournament where the captain qualified as a boater and the partner qualified as a non-boater for the TOC.

I met my partner Cade early Saturday morning so that we could get a full day of practice and scouting in before Sunday’s tournament.  We found quality bass early on the main river and then moved our way back in to the backwaters as the day went on.  We found some good quality fish in practice, but there were some really slow periods and tough stretches with out hardly any bites to show for it.

By far the highlight of the day was a 4.09lb largie that I plucked from a thick mat punching an Evolve Kompak craw.  I am continued to be impressed how my Dobyns DX795 FLIP over powers fish even in the thickest mats.  We didn’t linger in this spot much longer, as we knew this would be an area to spend considerable time in during the tournament.

We drew out in the middle of the field, but we were able to reach our main river rock and sand spot before any competitors, but unfortunately there was plenty of recreational competition.  I manage a small keeper largemouth on a popper and Cade got a close to 3lb smallie on a swim jig.  We hit a few more spots and we put a few more keepers in the boat, from there we started to work further back of the main channel.  We picked off largemouth on swim jigs, flipping and frogs but not quite the size we knew we needed.

With about 3 hours to go, we headed back to the area where the big fish came from in practice.  We slowly worked the area, Cade frogged and I flipped, and we managed the key bites to fill out our bag including a close to 4lb fish that I was able to catch flipping the edges.  The frog definitely caught the numbers and some good quality, but by splitting duties in a team format, we maximized our area.

We ended up with 5 fish for 14.95lbs, which was a solid 3rd place finish which qualified us and got us in the money, not a bad weekend on the river.  Much better then my last trip to Winona!

My next tourney will either be the Prairie BFL or the BASS Nation TOC.  Stay tuned, still plenty of fishing left this year!


Minnesota Fishing Licenses Go Mobile

This is a nice feature from MN DNR, some of our fishing regulations are way out of whack, but this seems like a nice perk!  Technology is great when it can save you time and/or money!

Forgot to buy your license? Then connect to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) mobile licensing page to purchase select fishing and hunting licenses via your smartphone.
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“This service is a convenience for people who need a license when they’re on the go,” said Steve Michaels, DNR license program director. “Not every type of license is offered but the mobile purchase site is ideal for people who have yet to purchase a fishing, small game or state stamp validation and suddenly discover that they need one.”

 Customers who purchase off the mobile site won’t receive a conventional paper license. Instead, they’ll receive a text message or email that serves as proof of a valid fish or game license to state conservation officers. More than 1,100 sales of electronic licenses have been logged since the mobile site’s soft launch in late June.

“The site isn’t, as yet, full service,” Michaels said. “There are features and products in the works. Even so, mobile license purchasing is a convenience DNR has not offered before and the sales numbers show our customers are responding.”

License types available for purchase on the mobile site include short-term angling, individual angling, resident combination angling, resident individual sports, resident combination sports, small game and state stamp validations. Any license that requires a site tag such as deer or turkey is not available for mobile purchase. Once a customer purchases and receives mobile license information by text, email or both, he or she must be able to provide the email or text information to a DNR enforcement officer upon request as proof of a valid license.

Mobile device users will automatically be identified when visiting the DNR website at and selecting the “Purchase” button at the bottom of the page.

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La Crosse BFL – July 13, 2013

Quick turn around off a short holiday week to get ready for my 3rd BFL in the Great Lakes Division.  My original plans were to head down Wednesday after work and get 2 full days plus a few hours on Wednesday for practice, but with other obligations, I didn’t get on the water until 1pm on Thursday.  Based on my passed experiences and familiarity with the area, I launched in Stoddard.  The first area I rolled into had good looking grass, clean water and a fair amount of bait, and I quickly caught one bass each on a swim jig, Nervous Walker Frog and Mad Mouse in a matter of 5-10 minutes.  This seemed pretty promising, so I went not to far from there to a grass edge and quickly got a nice bite flipping a beaver and had some other bites.  That is where the positive ended, as I spent the next 4-5 hours hunting for more grass and slop fish to get literally no action.

Mississippi River Largie choking a Nervous Walker

Friday morning, I launched at 5am from Clinton street to try for some smallies at the top of the pool.  My first spot yielded nothing, the 2nd stop produced a 2lbr on a Yellow Magic popper, 3rd stop produced a 3-12 dandy on a Ike’s Custom Ink DT6.  I bopped around until around 7am, catching a few other small fish, but decided if I got an early draw I would probably fish these areas on tournament day.  Knowing that in this 3 fish limit tourney, a big smallie early would go a long way.  I spent the rest of my Friday fishing with my buddy Bill who met me there down in Stoddard and Goose Island areas.  I really only found a few cut bank spots flipping BassTEK Jigs to go with what I found first thing on Thursday, it was definitely tougher then I was expecting before I arrived.

Well at the meeting, I got boat #5 out of 128, so I was pretty much assured to get on one of the two smallie areas I found and I drew a nice guy named Paul from the La Crosse area.  Morning of, I was the first boat in the general area, so I went where I had caught the bigger fish and moments later another competitor arrived on the other.  We fished it pretty hard with a variety of baits for about 30 minutes with not a single bite.  I hit one other rock point in the area and caught a couple shorts, so at that point I put away the smallie rods and loaded the deck with stuff for largies and headed to Stoddard.

I started flipping a grass line and sharing it with a boat that was already there.  I put a decent 2lbr in the boat fairly quickly on a beaver.  Working the area for awhile I caught a short, cut off by a pike and caught a 14.5″ largie to give me two in the well.  We worked the area a bit longer, but the other boat was lingering in my best stretch so we left to try the flat where I started my practice, I caught two shorts very quickly flipping but that was it, hard to believe they would not chase a toad or a swim jig with overcast conditions.  From there I hit my small section of cut bank, with two boats just leaving.  Not bites flipping the bank and a couple small fish made feeble attempts on my frog in small duckweed mats.  From there, I headed back to my flipping area, the other boat was gone but the wind had showed up, making it very difficult to fish and it just didn’t feel or look right any more.  Back to the flat, starting with swim jigs until I saw some good coontail clumps.  I quick jammed into a good fish and flipped a 3.5lb largie into the boat with my Dobyns DX745C.  That fish got me super pumped, as it gave me my 3 fish limit at 11:30 and I figured one more good bite would put me in check range.  I stayed in the area flipping for the next 90 minutes only to find pike and no more bass.  With an hour left, I headed back up river to try for smallies again.  I hit both spots and only got a skinny 14″ smallmouth on my last cast, no help and it was time to head in.

My 3 fish was only good enough for 7-12 and 53rd place dropping me from 4th in points to 11th.  Very frustrating as I never got on much for this tourney, that extra practice time could have really helped for this one.  Bummer, this snapped a streak of cashing a check in every tournament so far in 2013.

As of now, my next tournament I plan to fish is MFBA Summer Fling tourney out of Winona on Pool 6.  No better time to start a new streak!

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