Tag Archives: Spotted Bass

2014 BASS Nation National Championship Recap

First off, I am not happy or pleased with how I finished at the B.A.S.S. Nation National Championship presented by Old Milwaukee. But it for sure was an honor to represent the State of MN and the Minnesota B.A.S.S. Federation Nation in this event. I assure you all it was not for a lack of effort, but likely came down to some decision making on locations in the end.

I was fortunate to get about 2.5 days of pre-practice before the cut-off and based on my research I had made up my mind, win, lose or draw, to put all my eggs into fishing D’arbonne Bayou.  The little info that was available suggested most tourneys were won in there and that the average size of fish was better there.  It also suggested that you would sacrifice the number of bites one could potentially get, but the chance of quality fish was best there.

My entire pre-practice was spent in the 35 mile long bayou and its adjoining sloughs.  The first morning, I launched at the spillway below D’arbonne Lake where Jamie Horton had won the previous Championship held here.  It was full of bait and gar, but not much from bass that I could find.  The rest of the day, my dad and I explored the upper 1/3 of D’Arbonne, finding a few fish and lots of time learning to navigate.  I would’ve had a decent limit fishing square bills on cypress trees and my dad got some decent bites flipping plastic.

1st Ouachita River Bass was a decent one
1st Ouachita River Bass was a decent one

My next practice day, we launched at Hollands Bluff and fished from the mouth of Long Slough down to Cross Bayou, and checked out Circle Slough and the part of Cross.  It was actually a pretty good, day, we got on a deal where we were nearly calling our shots when we found deeper cypress trees with 3-5′ of water on them, mostly flipping a beaver to the shady sides of targets.

My dad found the biggest Bayou bass I saw in my boat
My dad found the biggest Bayou bass I saw in my boat

My last day I looked the middle part of the bayou, the bean field and the other side of Cross bayou, had to sort through small bites, but would have managed a limit and starting to build confidence in the style of fishing.

The first official practice day, I made the 80 minute run from take-off to the spillway.  Coby Carden off Alabama arrived moments after I and we both checked things out, I never saw him catch anything and I only managed two small spotted bass on a Muscle Squared crankbait.  From there, I started working my way down the bayou checking on stuff from pre-practice, I caught a decent keeper on a square bill early on and then switched to flipping so I could better pull on fish.  And the bites came fairly steady while flipping, some felt better then others, but I pulled on them all.  I felt pretty confident that I could have had a decent limit fairly early that morning, but there was also a lot of traffic in the upper bayou where I was.  All in all it was a very good practice day, until I made a mis-step in the S-turns on my way back in and put a nasty gouge in the bottom of the boat.

Practice Keeper on Square Bill
Practice Keeper on Square Bill

My second and final official practice day was spent riding shotgun with Brett Reid (Ohio Youth Director) who was awesome enough to take me out while my boat was getting patched.  I concentrated on the lower end of the bayou.  I started in Cross and caught a fish on a spinnerbait way in the back by the small bridge and had another bite on a buzzbait.  On the way back out, I had several fish hit a crankbait that I pulled on and also pulled on some bites on laydowns flipping.  From there I checked out areas and it wasn’t awesome, but I was getting bites on my square bill and flipping.  I ended up catching 3 keepers and pulled on several more.

Not sure if I over thought things in my head or let the patch get in my head, but I decided to fish the lower bayou on day 1, and move up the next two days.  I started and worked large sections of Cross Bayous with nothing but frustration to show, thinking maybe I had a few short strikes on my square bill.  Moving up to some of my deeper cypress tree fields, it took me until after 10am to boat my first keeper and it was barely a keeper at that.  The next large field yield two more keepers flipping a beaver, but 3 fish for 3-15 was all I could manage and was mired in 41st place after day 1.

Below is a video show casing the boat ride from Forstyh Park to D’arbonne Spillway that I did on the first practice day, but wished I had done every tournament day.

On day 2, I started in the deeper trees, quickly caught a 13″ keeper, but the rest of the large area produced nothing.  My second produced a barely keeper and the 3rd area I fished a large area and only for one more keeper.  From there I ran about 15 miles up the bayou and fished some key areas on the way back down and scratched out a small limit flipping a hematoma beaver and a Junebug Kompak craw.  I felt better about getting a limit and staying in the game, I moved up about 10 spots, but lost ground on the leaders of my division.

On the final day, I felt I had two choices, either go all the way up to the spillway and fish my way down, or enter a larger slough or bayou on the lower end and just keep my baits wet.  As far back as I was, I convinced myself to stay away from where several of the leaders were fishing, even though, that was my primary area in practice, and I spent a little time in Cross bayou where I caught a decent keeper on a spinnerbait and then the rest of the day in Boggy.  I managed two more keepers in Boggy, on spinnerbait and chatterbait, plus a handful of shorts and a few more short strikes.  Another 3 fish for 3lbs and change effort made for a disappointing finish.

Spinnerbait_Keeper
1st Keeper on Day 3 – Spinnerbait

I actually fished a very clean tournament, not losing any fish that I had hooked, but felt very angry with myself that I didn’t commit to the upper end of the bayou where 4 of the 6 classic qualifiers spent the majority of their time.  Most of us know that bass fishing is very mental and comes down to decisions and I am not happy with my decisions made each morning.  Which made for a long drive home to MN from Louisiana and will make for a longer then normal winter.

The next video is a sampler of fishing scenery & a few fish catches

Thanks to all of you that texted, emailed, messaged me during practice and before each day of competition. Also thanks to the Family, Friends & Sponsors that helped me along the journey.

BASS puts on a first class event at this level and I am fueled more then ever to fish hard to get back! Congrats to the 6 anglers who “Survived” the Ouachita River, as it was very tough on equipment and the anglers all week!

Last video is a compilation of take-off and weigh-in video from each day of the event.

Plus I met a lot of new bass friends at this event, the group representing the Northern Division was a great bunch of guys to hangout with all week as well as the anglers from other states and countries.

I look forward to getting back to another BASS National event and the next shot is in August on Lake Vermillion, it will be a dog fight being on MN waters, but I look forward to the challenge!

Thanks!
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