Tag Archives: Smallmouth Bass

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!

Classic Bass Champions Tour 2017 Mille Lacs Bass Fishing Tournament Recap – June 10, 2017

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.

Photo Highlights from Event

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 boated smallies on tubes, speed craws, drop shot, hair jigs, but in the end, it was a Menace Grub rigged on an 1/8oz BassTEK Tungsten Agitator head that caught about 80% of my keepers during the event.  I fished this on a Dobyns 702SF rod, 12lb Braid w/ 8lb Fluorocarbon Leader.

Smallie Candy!

On the horizon, I am fishing the MN TBF TOC on Pokegama and back to Mille Lacs for the Minnesota BASS Nation TOC, so stay tuned for more posts and videos.

Rich

Mississippi River La Crosse BFL – April 29, 2017 – Bass Fishing Tournament Recap

My first tournament of the year has come and gone, covering what went down in this blog.  This is the first time I have ever fished an April tournament in MN or WI and not really fished this part of the Mississippi River in April.  For those that hate reading, just jump right to my tournament recap video embedded below.

That being said I have fished several tournaments out of La Crosse including several BFLs.  I was able to get two full days of practice the Thursday and Friday before the tournament and 2 hours on Wednesday night.  From the time I launched my boat on Wednesday night to tournament morning, the water temps went from almost touching 60 degrees to 47-48 degrees in the area I started the tournament on.

In practice, I had decent success flipping a black blue tube rigged with a 1/4oz BassTEK Tungsten Flipping Weight as well as a 3/8oz Bladed Swim Jig paired with a Menace grub worked around wood and grass.

Chatterbait Tube
My Best Baits from Tournament & Practice

In the end, I could not find the current based staging fish and as cold as the water got, my slack water banks and flats became trash with the rapidly cooling water and it pushed the fish to people like Cade who smashed them!  Check out his video to learn something about Mississippi River bass fishing.

Basically, during the tournament, my bites ended up being cut in a third from practice.  I ended up 69th place out of 154.  In the end, it was good to get the boat out and fish a derby early.  On the down side, I caught a really nice head cold.

I really believe that the guys coming for the FLW Tour in a couple weeks will really catch them on the Mississippi River.  The cold weather we had, will keep them fish from getting to Post Spawn for them, so they should have a lot of shallow biting fish to catch for their event.  I think the weed flats around Stoddard and “The Box” will look and fish like the “Monkey Box” of Lake Okeechobee, other likely popular areas to fish will be Goose Island, Target Lake, & Lawrence Lake in Pool 8 and then Lake Onalaska in Pool 7, a few guys will likely make the run to fish the upper end of Pool 9 as well.  Should be a very exciting tournament to follow, there will likely be spawning fish as well as a few frog fish starting to bite.  Swim Jigs, Chatterbaits, and flipping techniques should be quite strong as well.

In other news, check out this YouTube Fantasy Fishing Picks web series I started if you are into Fantasy Bass Fishing.

BASS NATION NORTHERN DIVISIONAL – LAKE Vermilion 2015

This was the tournament I had been thinking about since about half way on my drive back from the National Championship last November.  Once you get to BASS Nation Nationals and you are one step from the Classic, it really creates a burn to get back and finish the job.

Planning and prepping, my game plan going into this event was to focus on main lake offshore smallies.  In my mind, if I found 15-30 spots with quality fish potential, I could rotate through them hitting the sweet spots and creating a big bag every day and possibly supplement with a few shallow fish as needed.

I had 4 days of practice before the event, after two full days fishing the tops of the prime pieces of structure, I was really struggling.  With the mid-summer cold front, it really seemed to knock these fish off the edges onto isolated cover and they really were not schooled up in very many places.  With my final two days I shifted a focus for more shallow isolated cover.  I had two days of practice doing that and caught some really nice fish and pulled on many more.

My game plan revolved around hitting a few key offshore spots early to get a few solid bites early and then grind the rest of the days on specific shallow targets.  Day 1, I had a first flight draw and Zach from Indiana, who didn’t get much practice in, so he was willing to go along with my game plan.  After a 2 plus hour fog delay, we got to my starting spot and Zach got a good fish on a Big Hammer swimbait on my starting spot and I got a walleye on a tube.  We ran more spots, I picked up 3 small fish on tubes and one 3lbr, but I opted to throw back a 13″ smallie due to bleeding.  About mid day, I could tell the bite was super tough and I went to every spot I knew just to try to fill a limit, both shallow and deep, chasing largies and smallies and only Zach got one more keeper on a wacky senko.  What a disaster, starting with 3 fish for 6lbs and change, National dreams DEAD!

Day , with my only good fish
Day , with my only good fish

Many guys struggled, but the leader for Minnesota Corey Brant sacked almost 17lbs and I was dead last on the MN team.  My day 2 partner was from WI and he zeroed on day 1, we agreed to work together and just try to catch solid limits for team weight.  My starting spot produced 4 fish for me and 2 for Kyler and one of mine was close to 4lbs.  We made a run through my spots working west towards Kyler’s fish.  His grass fish didn’t go, but I gave some advice to him and we both ended up with limits and culling from Norwegian Bay.  I ended up with a modest 12lb bag and moved up on spot on the team.  The good news, Minnesota had grown our lead from about 18lbs on day 1 to close to 50lbs on day 2.  With our sights set on the Three Peat of winning this event for 3rd consecutive year and defending our home turf!

Day 2 a little better, selfie for the Bassmaster Blog
Day 2 a little better, selfie for the Bassmaster Blog

Day 3 I drew Jim B from Wisconsin, agreeing we were both out of contention, we decided to have a fun and just go fishing.  I was not able to get on my starting spot, but my second spot had some good smallies busting on the surface.  We both got 3lb class fish to commit to topwaters and also picked up some keepers on jerkbaits.

Working west under foggy conditions, I filled my limit and culled  few times fishing both deep and shallow.  Going to Jim’s water in the last few hours, we both ended up culling a few more times.  I had almost 13lbs and Jim got the better bites to get 14lbs.

Day 3 mixed bag....
Day 3 mixed bag….

Minnesota extended our lead and took home another boat, kudos to a great team and a bunch of new friends.  Special congrats to my buddy and roommate Corey Brant who will be representing MN at Nationals on the Ouachita River in November!

Minnesota #3Peat
Minnesota #3Peat

My best smallie baits were a Bone Colored topwater and green pumpkin tubes rigged stupid style on a 3/16oz BassTEK Agitator head.  When I went west and fished shallow the best baits were 3/8oz BassTEK Tungsten Flipping jig in crawdad with menace grub trailer and in weedier areas, I flipped a Tramp Stamp Sweet Beaver on 1/2oz BassTEK Tungsten Flipping weights.

Check out and subscribe to my YouTube channel to see some of my fish catching highlights from both last year’s TOC and this years practice and tournament.  I will get the video edited and posted in a few weeks!

No rest for the weary, this week I will be at Gull Lake near Brainered for the BASS Nation MN TOC, looking to start the path back to Divisionals and Nationals again….

Top Bass Fishing Picks from ICAST 2015

Not sure which items, lures, lines, rods, etc will be the long term winners or generate the most buzz this week, but based on the online coverage, here are the items I will most likely be trying this summer and fall as they become available.  In no particular order….

Terminator Walking Frog:  First off, I am a sucker for a good frog, hopefully this one fits the bill.  Especially since my go-to Frog from Evolve has been discontinued, I need a new lead frog in my box.  Here is what Randall Tharp has to say about it.

 

Randall Tharp new Frog by Terminator

Posted by Bass Angler Magazine on Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Rapala and Storm have had some really good track record of late on new baits, so I have a good feeling about this frog coming out under the Terminator label.  So far the pictures look pretty sweet!

Rapala Frog
New Terminator Frog!

Sunline Assassin FC:  This new Fluorocarbon from Sunline is touted as the Bee’s Knees!  We all know that Sunline makes great line and Assassin is supposed to have new P-Ion technology that creates a smoother surface and increase resistance to abrasion.  Based on Tackle Tour’s review, this will give you almost the performance of Sniper and Shooter but at a more competitive price point!

Sunline-Assassin_FC
Hopefully every thing that Sunline Sniper provides at a better price!

GoPro HERO4 Session:  Smaller is always better right?  Thinking this could finally be the lighter GoPro option to comfortable wear on my visor to add POV shots to my bass fishing videos.

gopro-hero4-session_small
GoPro Session should make a great POV camera

Big Bite Baits Swimming Mama: This actually appears to be a reboot of the Wave Worm Tiki Swim Bug.  The Tiki bug is not widely popular but a great bait, now with 1 more per pack and more colors, that is a good thing!

Big_Bite_Baits_Swimming_Mama
Swimming Mama should be great flipped or as a jig trailer

Nichols BPM Magnum Swimbait Head: I believe I have seen this on a flipping jig from somebody before, but this idea of pegging plastic horizontally with a tooth pick is pure genius, check out the video to see how it works.

Lock & Load your magnum swimbaits with this head!
Lock & Load your magnum swimbaits with this head!

Not a terribly long list, but I think these are some good ones.   Also, new for this year but before ICAST, check out the Dobyns Fury Rods, awesome rods for $109!

Best Valued Rod on the Market!
Best Valued Rod on the Market!

Mid Summer Update

I know in my last post, I said I was going to blog more, not that great, but here I am.  Work, Business, Family and other stuff has kept me off the water more then I would have chosen.

I have only fished 3 small tournaments thus far, but good news, cashed checks in all of them.  Winning would have been better, but anytime you are cashing and losing less money then most, so that is a good thing!

Two of the tournaments I fished down in La Crosse with my buddy Kevin, we fished some Bass World Sports team tournaments, got big bass in both and got 3rd and 4th places.  They may tournament all are fish fell pray to Bladed Swim Jigs and Tubes, no real surprise for the river.

Rich Lindgren & Kevin Ruh
15lb Pool 7 Bag from May

The early June tournament, we got most of our fish flipping 3/8oz Black and Blue BassTEK Tungsten jigs on various types of cover for a nice mixed bag of fish.

Kevin Ruh & Rich Lindgren
Grinding to 14lbs & 3rd Place on Pool 8

The other event was a Bass Pursuit event on O’Dowd on June7th, it was a tough bite, but we scratched out a few 2-3lbrs on Dropshot and 3/8oz BassTEK Jigs in Magic Craw on deeper weed edges bordering hard bottom areas.  The weights were so low, we didn’t even both to snap a picture of the fish.

Quick Pic of some Magic Craw Goodness!
Quick Pic of some Magic Craw Goodness!

Next up this week is the annual Pan-O-Prog event on Lake Marion which is close to home.  It always seems to be a grind, but it’s nice to fish a few events close to home.

To close, here is a recent video on a local pond to my house.  I don’t always have a ton of time to get out in the boat, but I sneak a little fishing in when I can, not bad eh?

If you can see the video, click here!

Thanks all & Tight Lines,
Rich

Minnesota BASS Nation TOC 2014 – Lake Vermillion – Tower, MN

I was definitely extra excited about this TOC, not sure if it was I am fresh of making it to Nationals a few weeks ago or the fact that Vermillion is such a great fishery and the found memories I have from my 2008 visit for a Bassmaster Weekend Series, where I took 6th.

On Saturday morning I started fishing shallow and the very first bite I got was a 4lb smallie on a Big Bite Baits tube, and down that stretch I pulled on several more fish and caught another solid 2.5lb smallie, not a bad start.  From there it was a bit of a chore, bites were further and farther between the rest of the day, sticking to mostly shallow and dabbling a bit off shore.

Lake_Vermillion_Smallmouth_Bass_Rich_Lindgren

On Sunday, I stayed with the plan to stick shallow and keep covering water looking for more productive water that fit my strengths and preference.  I got a few 3lb class fish, but mostly 2lbs and under, the highlight of the day was catching 2 muskies in 12 minutes.

Lake_Vermillion_Musky_Rich_Lindgren

Monday, I decided to check more of the West End of the lake looking at Largemouth water and I honestly had a pretty good day, good numbers decent quality with a few of the right fish mixed in.  Nearly all these fish that I caught or pulled on were choking a 3/8oz BassTEK Tungsten Jig in Okee Craw.  I felt this was a pretty decent option if I couldn’t get on a more consistent smallmouth bite on Tuesday.

Lake Vermillion Largemouth Bass Fishing Rich Lindgren

On Tuesday, I practiced with club mate Corey Brant, we stayed on the Tower end of the lake and chased smallies with a larger emphasis on off shore structure.  We definitely both added spots to our game plan and had pretty productive day.

I drew out with friend and former Gopher Bass club mate John Fairbanks, we were in 2nd flight.  We decided to start on a hump that John had, then run some of my water and then finish on his stuff.

After a 2 plus hour lightening delay, we started with reaction baits, but after seeing a fish nose my bait, I decided to pick up a tube.  The first cast yielded a 4.74lb brute of a smallie and a few casts later another 4lb class smallmouth bass.  We tried to milk the area some more, but it seemed like the action was over.

From there I ran a series of shallow areas where I filled my limit, culled a few times and John got 3 fish for about 8lbs.  All my fish came on tubes.  We hit an isolated hump that I had, where I made a small upgrade.  We then shifted to John’s areas for the last two hours, but nothing panned out.  The day went by fast with that 2 hour delay.

Rich_Lindgren_Vermillion_Smallies
Day 1 – 15.54lbs

My total weight was 15.54lbs which put me in 5th place after day 1 and positioned right in the mix with one day to go.

My day 2 partner Dan brought in a respectable 10lbs on the first day, but deferred to let me run the show since I was 5lbs ahead of him.  We started on an isolated hump on day 2, again the reaction bait was fruitless, but the tube put a 3lb smallie in the boat and another keeper pretty quickly.  I hopped around other humps and points in the area to fill my limit and then came back to the starting hump to catch my big fish of nearly 4lbs on the tube again, giving me 2 good fish, 1 okay fish and 2 small fish at about 9:30am.

My partner had a spot that he felt good about in the area, so we spent some time there and as I was about to suggest to leave, I got a 3lb class fish there.  We gave that a little more time, hit another spot and revisited the big fish hump without anymore bites.  It was almost 11am and I decided I would hit my water back towards the narrows possibly on the way to some largemouth if that didn’t work out.  As I was about to reach the west end of Ely Island, my main motor just shut down.

I tried to restart it, nothing.  Took the cowling off to look for loose wires, didn’t see any (turns out later, it was a wire clip that popped off my fuel pump).  So we were effectively dead in the water about 4 miles from take-off at the half way point of the day.  We were able to get towed in and switched to my partners boat, but it was after 1pm by the time we were headed back out.

Long story short, my partner got one keeper, I caught a few small keepers and one that upgraded me by about 4-6oz, but we never really got back on track.

Day 2 - 14.64lbs
Day 2 – 14.64lbs

I ended up with 14.64 on day 2, which crept me up one spot to 4th for the tournament.  Which if you are not first, 2 though 6 are all boaters at divisionals.  Fairly satisfied, but I definitely have to win one of these after 2 seconds, 2 thirds and now 3 fourths, plus Tweet Gate.

Twin City Bass - Back 2 Back Team Winners!
Twin City Bass – Back 2 Back Team Winners!

Kudos to my Twin City Bass Club team on another team victory at the TOC as well.  All 4 of us made the Top 12 and divisionals next summer in MN (hopefully on Vermillion).   Also, shout out to Fortune Bay Resort, they did a great job hosting us and I hope they get to host next year’s BASS Nation Northern Divisional.

4th Place Individual & 1st Place Team
4th Place Individual & 1st Place Team

My primary setup was a Big Bite Baits tube on a Tungsten Agitator Head fished with 14lb Sunline fluoro and a Dobyns DX743C casting rod.

Sorry no GoPro video from this event, between wet conditions and large waves each day at take off, I didn’t bother setting it up, didn’t want it to be a distraction.  Might be some practice bass fishing video released next August….

 

BFL Mississippi River La Crosse – May 17, 2014

After doing well in this first BFL spring event last year, I
was really looking forward to fishing it again, but with a busy hectic spring, I found myself scrambling the Wednesday night before getting my boat and tackle ready for this event.  Thursday May 15th,
was actually the first day I got my boat out all year, which has to be some kind of record for me.  Not a good record to break at all.  Also, some home obligations didn’t allow me to get down to La Crosse and on the water until 11am.  The Mississippi River near La Crosse is a vast sprawling body of to begin with, but to complicate matters more the water was over flood stage and rising for my practice and through the tournament.  I had actually never been on this pool with the water this high.

As I continually have short practices for most of my tournaments, I have kind of learned to try to find an area or section of water that I feel good about and try to find some fish and then continually expand that area.  Running all over the river can kill you in practice and in the tournament. To start my practice I launched at the Stoddard ramp.  My practice started fishing some drops off
well known grass flats with a lipless crankbait that results in a few bites and a handful of chunky northern pike, time to move on.

From there I tried some steeper banks with current breaks
figuring that with fluctuating water the fish could easily adapt, only produced more northerns and a few short largies.  My next stop was the closing dam that produced most of my fish last year.  My first few casts with produced nothing, but I didn’t feel like I was getting bit, so I up-sized my mojo weight to a 1/4oz tungsten weight and instantly caught a chunky prespawn smallmouth.  I got bit on the next few casts, which included 3.5lb class fish.  I then picked up a DT6 to see if they would hit a reaction bait, my first cast over the sweet spot yielded a double.  It was another big smallies with a keeper hanging on for dear life until shaking loose next to the boat.  This was actually my first every double for bass.  Rather than cast anymore there, it was time to find more fish and more water areas in the same section of the river.

?????????????

One of the good fish from the school in practice

I spent the rest of the day going back and forth trying to
duplicate this smallsmouth spot and checking for largemouth getting ready to move up.  I ended up catching two more keeper largemouth on a MJ rig or Power Spinner rig, depending on what you call them.  The 2nd fish was a good quality fish and was at the mouth of a likely spawning pocket that had what looked to be the makings of a good area if the weather warmed at all.


My take on the MJ Rig, bulked up a bit…

Day 2 of practice was a complete grind; I worked all kinds
of water new and old to scratch out 3 measly keepers, 2 on a jerkbait and on the MJ rig.  I called my practice a little early to get up to La Crosse for an interview with the local NBC news affiliate, embedded below was the result.  My feeling going into the tournament is that if that school of smallies held up I could have another Top 10 finish, if they didn’t, I knew it would be a grind just to get a limit.

WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

I ended up drawing boat 110 out of 152, which made me a
little nervous about getting on my fish, but also the late check-in time could be well worth it with the sunny warm day that was forecasted.  My co-angler was a local, who agreed that fishing had been pretty tough for him as well.  Take off and getting down to my fish went as smooth as one could hope.  It only took a few casts with my mojo rig to connect with a keeper smallie.  Not the fish I was hoping for, but showed me fish were here and in the past this spot has mixed sizes of fish.   By 8am I had my limit of smallies, but most of them small and my co-angler had 3 smallies, but he got two bites in the 3lb class.
We both missed and lost what felt like good fish early.  It kind of felt like some fish had left this spot, so I tried bouncing around the area to fish areas where I thought they were headed and then I would return to this area hoping they would get a rest and be ready to bite again.  It worked once for a nice cull, but it just wasn’t producing enough bites or the size.

A little before noon, I headed down to the area where I caught one good largemouth in practice.  Working my way in we quickly connected with several short fish, but this felt like a good sign of activity for fish moving into this area.  I missed a few bites, my co-angler got 2 keeper largemouth on bladed jig, and I got one good bite flipping to get rid of another sub-standard smallmouth.  With
one hour of fishing time left, I decided to go back to the current area.  Honestly, I think I could have gotten another bite or two in the largemouth area, but I felt my best chance for a big bag was to go back to see if that school had reposition or fired up.  Since I am not fishing all the BFLs this year, points didn’t really matter and I wanted to shoot for a good payday.  I ended up catching a short, a catfish and a walleye in the last hour.

Rich Lindgren BFL
Photo via Coulee Region Adventures

Final result was 10lbs – 15oz which was good enough for 31st,
one spot out of the money by 2oz.  Kudos to my co-angler Josh, catching those two nice smallies propelled his limit to 11lbs and a 4th place finish on the non-boater side.  Honestly I think I had a decent game plan, if I had gotten the right bites I could have had a nice check, but maybe I overestimated the quality of the school or not recognized they were leaving and put too much time into it during the tournament, but that is fishing and it’s all about decisions.

For those that don’t like to read, feel to watch the video summary below and I also have some GoPro fish catches from practice and tournament morning.

Rich

  

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