Tag Archives: Dobyns Rods

BASS Nation Northern Divisional – Lake Monroe

Had fished several Northern Divisionals in the past and a few of them in Illinois and other states with tough fishing, I was mentally prepared for a tough tournament long before started driving.

It actually turned out to be tougher then I actually thought and the actual tourney days were more difficult then the practice days.  My first practice day I got out on the water sometime after 8am on Saturday, after driving through the night and catching a quick nap in the truck.  In summary I caught about 8-10 shorts that day fishing the end towards the dam on buzzbaits and squarebills, but actually had quite a few bites and action, just no size.  I also spent a few hours scanning the mouth of Moores Creek, found lots of good structure and cover, but no bites.  At our team meeting, none of the MN team got on much of anything, few fish here and there.  With one boat finding some fish way up the the Middle Fork on the slow side.

Day 2 I fished with one of our Highschool anglers Matt, I chose to spend the majority of the day covering Moores creek and look at all the shallow water.  By no means was it gang busters, but slowly we started building a shallow pattern throwing buzzbaits, buzz frogs and flipping a 3/8oz Okeechobee Craw BassTEK Tungsten jig.  As the day went on, we took the pattern to other pockets and creeks and it held.  Between the fish caught and shook off that we saw, I would have had an easy 16lb plus bag.

A quality fish from 3rd practice day on a buzzbait
A quality fish from 3rd practice day on a buzzbait

On practice days 3 and 4, I focused on looking at as many pockets and creek arms as I could and looking for more water to fit my pattern.  As the week went on, the buzzbait seemed to fade and the senko and creature bait bite seemed to be better, plus shad seemed to move around quite a bit.  Also, I started finding bites in shallow clumpy grass as well.  Slowly, most of our team got on this pattern as well, with a few guys also fishing a few deep channel swing spots.

All of practice was pretty much rain and clouds, the tourney forecast was all about bluebird skies, sun and little to no wind, so I knew things would get tougher and change.

Day 1 I drew out in 2nd flight with a Gary Adkins from Wisconsin, he was on a completely different deal fishing deep, but we had water in the same parts of the lake, so we opted to work together throughout the day.  I spent the first 2 hours and change running my best shallow water and we ended up both missing bites, I broke a fluoro leader on a senko and he couldn’t convert on a topwater fish.

Day 1 Take-off, blurry photo cred to Jeremiah Shaver
Day 1 Take-off, blurry photo cred to Jeremiah Shaver

The next 3 hours we spent working his deep areas with hardly a tap, both frustrated with things, we went to Allen’s creek to flip grass, Gary ended up getting a 3-02 flipping a sweet beaver in sprayed grass.  We got a few more bites there, but nothing that kept.  During that time I took control of the front of the boat and tried some more grass in that area.  From there I went to Ramp Creek where I had an isolated weed clump that I pulled on a good fish the day before.  First flip with a Rage Bug and I put a 3-03 in the boat.

We finished our day in Ramp and then a sunken brush pile just south of Ramp, no more bites or fish.  That one quality fish had me tied for 30th out of 96 anglers on day 1 and about 5 lbs back of the top Minnesota guy and qualifying for Nationals.

Day 1 Weigh-In, thanks to Rapala for the Alternate Team Jerseys!
Day 1 Weigh-In, thanks to Rapala for the Alternate Team Jerseys!

Day 2, I had Jesse Weener from Michigan, he was 2nd coming into the day.  He had caught 4 fish for around 9lbs on day 1.  We also agreed to work together.  The 2nd day, I chose to start in Ramp, fished several pockets and we each got a short on topwater, then finally in the back on a beaver dam I scored a 15 inch fish on weightless senko.  From there I ran into an isolated pocket where I had pulled on a fish on Tuesday and then actually spooked again on first tourney day.  Same thing, I ended up spooking fish with my buzzbait, mental note, planned to come back later to get him.

During the middle part of the day, we went to Jesse’s area which was around Cutright.  He was catching most of his fish on a drop shot (dream shot dirt color), fishing shallow around points and docks.  He ended up getting a pretty good fish on the first pass.  The nest pass, I got keeper throwing my senko to sandy patches and points in grass clumps.  Before we left Jesse got one more good keeper on a senko as well.

With a little bit of time left on my clock, I ran back that isolated fish, first cast with my senko, I put him in the boat and it was scramble time to get back to weigh-in.  Long story, short, ran out of gas about 2 miles from Four Winds.  Thanks to Ed Rounsaville from Indiana for picking us up with our fish, total life saver and yes, I am an idiot for running out of gas.

My 3 fish weighed 7-02 and I jumped up to 12th place, but I was actually 4th on my team still and 3-15 back from our leader and had to leap 3 anglers on the final day.  Also good news, the Minnesota team jumped from 4th place to 1st place in the team competition.

Day 3, I ended up with the Illinois team alternate and I got to run my water all day.  I stuck to my pattern, but threw buzzbait less and fished soft plastics more.  Even with that, it took me until almost noon to get my first fish in the boat in the back of a pocket on a senko.  It was only about 14.25″ and didn’t weigh much, so I knew I needed one more good fish to catch the leader to have a chance if he stumbled.  I kept with it and got another fish just before 2pm that I felt put me really close to the 4lb mark between the 2 fish, but in my head I really thought I needed one more fish to make it happen.

I fished hard to the bitter end, but it never happened, 2 fish was all I would end up with.  I made it back to weigh-in with plenty of gas and a few minutes to spare.  I was first flight and 2nd angler from my team to weigh in.  When I weighed the number was 3lbs 15oz to take the lead and I wasn’t certain whether I had enough.

This is what it looks like when you take the lead by a single ounce early in the weigh-in
This is what it looks like when you take the lead by a single ounce early in the weigh-in

I ended up with exactly that weight, while talking to Jon Stewart, I was pretty casual knowing that 2 more anglers that only need a fish or two were still coming to weigh and I was certain it wouldn’t hold.

About half way through the weigh-in, all the guys that were close to me had weighed except the day 2 leader had weighed and I was still in the top position for Minnesota.  Then word got to me that our leader had zeroed on day 3.  Honestly, I was couldn’t believe it at first, it definitely took awhile to set in and I did’t want to get excited until all MN anglers crossed the stage.

Winning Minnesota Team - Way to work as a team guys, it was fun!
Winning Minnesota Team – Way to work as a team guys, it was fun!

Well it turned out to be official, my 6 fish for 14lbs 4oz over 3 days was good enough for 8th place overall and a trip to the BASS Nation Nationals in November on the Ouachita River.  My main setup for my fish in tournament was a 5″ senko stick worm fished weightless on a 4/0 EWG hook, 12lb SX1 Sunline Braid fished on a Dobyns Champion 702SF Spinning Rod.

My main setup for 5 of my 6 fish
My main setup for 5 of my 6 fish

This was my 6th divisional and it feels awesome to finally make it to Nationals and be part of a team that won back to back boats at the divisionals.  Assuming Italy sends an angler to this event, I basically have a 1 in 9 chance to fish my way to the 2015 Bassmaster Classic on Lake Hartwell.  I have been tournament bass fishing for about 20 years now and I have been working for this the whole time.

Next week is our Minnesota TOC state qualifier on Lake Vermillion, after that, I will be 100% focused on the Ouachita River.

Sorry no GoPro video, wasn’t much for fish catching on this trip, but I should get some great stuff from Vermillion.

Bass Pursuit – Crystal Lake – May 25, 2014

For the most part, this year was to be about fishing less but bigger tournaments.  With limited time off of work, it’s either stretch myself thin and get minimal prefishing in for several tournaments or hopefully get adequate time for a handful.

That being said, it was quite clear, I had large gaps between tournaments and I decided I would fish some smaller local events to keep my self sharp and stay sane.  These smaller events would require little to no practice time and reduce amount of time away from home and the family.

So the first of these events would be the season opener for Bass Pursuit on Crystal Lake near my house.  My buddy Bill was my partner.  It was a small 10 boat field and just a 5 1/2 hour tourney day with a 4 fish limit.  Being that we were on the lake the day before, we had a pretty good idea the fish were getting ready to move up and spawn and had a good idea what areas had the most potential.

Things started a little slow, but picked up a few fish on a weightless ring fry around docks.  We then worked our way into areas with more bedding fish, gradually we upgraded our catch throughout the day.  Once we started seeing the fish as the sun got up, the best baits were a White Damiki Hydra on a tungsten Jika Rig, Wacky Rigged BassTEK ReSticks and Biovek Kolt Fish Tails in Ayu on a dropshot.

Wacky ReStick Bass
Wacky ReStick Bass

If we could see the fish at a distance, the wacky rig was best, if the fish were fairly aggressive the Hydra converted them quickly, but on the toughest fish, the Kolt Fish converted them better then anything.  Overall we caught more the 20 fish and culled about 8 times.

For more details on the fish catches, check out my GoPro footage from the first 3 hours.

Our final tally was over 13lbs and we won by about a pound, but missed big fish by about a half pound, but both Bill and I had fish that would have been big bass, we just didn’t execute.

Winning Bag
Winning Bag

Since the tournament ended at 11:30am and we didn’t have to be home right away, we went back out released our fish and then did some more fishing.

I even caught my first frog fish of the year on an Evolve Nervous walker, it was a pretty nice fish and caught several more after that.

First Evolve Nervous Walker Frog Fish of 2014
First Evolve Nervous Walker Frog Fish of 2014

All in all a good opening weekend!

Tight Lines,
Rich
Evolve facebook

MN Bass Opener 2014

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.

photo 2 (1)

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!

photo 4

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.

Also, check out my video montage of the first 3 hours of fishing….

DOBYNSNEWLOGO

How to Rig a “Stupid Tube”

I have had many people leave messages both on my blogs and forumHow do you rig the “Stupid Tube”?

The Stupid Tube was made famous when Federation Nation angler Terry McWilliams from Indiana made the Bassmaster Classic through the Federation Nation ranks, largely on the fish he caught on his “Stupid Tube”.  It got the name because anglers back home always asked if he was catching fish on “That Stupid Tube” he so often used to beat them with.  See article on Terry here.

The only real difference between a Stupid Tube and a normal tube jig is the way you rig it.  The stupid tube still used a tube jig head or similar jig head, but you kind of rig in a hybrid between a Texas rig, normal tube rig, and a shaky head!  Below are picture diagrams of how to rig your own “Stupid Tube”.  The reason the stupid tube rig is so deadly, you get a similar erratic fall and action as an exposed tube jig, but its virtually weedless and still gets great hook ups on fish!

Start out with your favorite 3-4″ Tube, and either a tube jig head, shakey head jig or even a ball head jig.  The jig shown here is a Picasso Shakedown Head and a 3-1/2″ Strike King Coffee Tube.  My new jig head of choice is the BassTEK Tungsten Agitator Finesse Head.

To start, grab a jig head & a Tube!
To start, grab a jig head & a Tube!

Start by inserting the hook point into the hollow end of the tube

Stupid Tube Rigging
Important to have a jig head with a wide gap hook

Run is all the way up and poke it out through the tube wall near the head, about whereTexasxas rig hook would come out, about a 1/4″ from the nose of the bait.  You will find where you like it for your jig with a little practice.

Rigging a Stupid Tube
This is by far the trickiest part to master

Pull the hook out, so the head fits snug up in the nose of the tube & then poke the eye of your jig head out the other side of the tube, so you can tie your line there

The Perfect Stupid Tube Rig
Almost there….

Then bring the hook back into the tube body and out the other side like a Texas rig and then skin hook the tip of the hook back into the tube wall so it covers the point of the hook (Texposed).  This keeps the hook from catching on snags & weeds, but only takes a little pressure to stick a fish!

Fully Rigged Stupid Tube
Just add water & catch’em!

Experiment with different jig heads, weights, hook & tube sizes to fit your needs, just be sure your hook has enough throat to stick the fish and let tube collapse on the hook set.  This bait comes through cover and skips great.  Another big advantage over Texas rigging your tube is that Texas rigging tends to tear up tubes real bad after just a few fish.  You usually can catch a limit or more before you need to replace your tube with this rig.  So rig a handful up the night before and you should be set for the day!

June 1, 2015 – Update
Just to refresh this post and keep it up to date, few things to add.  I still use this rig all the time for both smallmouth bass and largemouth both.  Details on my setup, usually I fish this with 12lb Fluorocarbon, Dobyns DX743C baitcasting rod, and the jig head is usually a 3/16oz BassTEK Agitator Finesse Head.

Rich
RichLindgren.com