After a long break, the Bassmaster Elite Series is back to business & fishing this weekend on famed Lake Guntersville. Still, some time to get your Fantasy Team picks in, so check out my latest Fantasy Fishing Edge video to gain some insight to set your team and WIN!
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.
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.
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!
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.
I have had many people leave messages both on my blogs and forum. How 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 by inserting the hook point into the hollow end of the tube
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.
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
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!
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.