MLF Fantasy Fishing is here or the old FLW Fantasy Fishing is back, well, kind of. This week smack on top of the Bassmaster Classic on Lake Hartwell, the Bass Pro Tour is fishing their Stage 3 event on Lewis Smith Lake.
Lewis Smith is a spotted bass mecca, but water is up and in the bushes, so largies may play. But I still think that in an every fish counts format where all bass over 1lbs 8oz count, Spots will probably carry most top anglers.
Below is a recap of my picks for both the BPT traditional game where you pick 10 best anglers out of 80 and also the predictor game, which is like Prop bets for Bass Fishing.
Hopefully, MLF makes improvements to their fantasy fishing game and this is just a jumping-off point.
What was once old is new again! This old saying could not be more true when it comes to remelting your old used soft plastic fishing lures and turning them into brand new fish-catching baits! Keep reading & watching for a great Make Your Own Lure DIY.
Let’s start with the reasons why you would want to do this: 1. Reduce littering, please never intentionally throw old or used soft plastic baits back into the water. These plastic baits do not dissolve or decompose in the water, never a good idea. Plus fish have been known to digest them and it is unhealthy for them to do so. So regardless, keep them in your boat & dispose of properly one way or the other. 2. If you end up recycling or remelting your baits, this ultimately ends up doing your small part to reduce the impact on landfills, so you can feel good about that. 3. It can be a lot of fun making soft plastic baits and a good way to keep busy when the weather is not conducive to go fishing, you can be in your garage making baits & doing fishing-related activities, which can help you stay sane until your next bite! 4. In the long run, lure making can save you a fair amount of money. Most decent soft plastics cost between $3-7 per pack. So if you buy a cheap mold for $30, you only need to make 5-10 packs of new worms, craws or swimbaits to be money ahead. 5. Lastly, there is great satisfaction in catching your favorite fish on a bait that you made yourself!
Also, new for 2020, I am launching a audio version for Fantasy Fishing edge that you can download via your favorite podcast apps. Search Fantasy Fishing Edge or follow this link to the home page and go from there.
For those that love the original YouTube shows, those are not going away. Follow this link or watch below.
What are the best gifts for the fisherman who has everything?
Fishermen and fisher gals are arguably some of the most difficult people to shop for out of anyone. So today, I am sharing 5 Can’t-Miss Ideas for you to add to your list or if you are looking for ideas for the special fisherman in your life!
If you don’t’ want to watch the gift ideas, check out my video if you prefer to read the ideas, scroll down!
Digital Handheld Scales – Having a scale is the difference between a fishing tale & a legit story & proof a true trophy catch. All anglers should have a quality scale for their fishing trips. If your angler owns a boat & primarily fishes from that, I recommend this scale, if they tend to fish from shore, other people’s boats or ice fishing, then check out this smaller more compact version.
Long Sleeve Sun Hoodies – Sun Protection is nothing to joke about and sunscreen is just too easy to forget and when the bite is good, reapplying rarely happens. For me these long sleeve sun hoodies have been the deal, I never get burned any more & feel much better after a long day in the sun. Here are two links to two of my favorite versions, one from AFTCO & the other SIMMS.
Boost Pack – This item is highly underrated & a must-have for any outdoors person. These small compact lithium boost packs have the juice to jumpstart a truck, car or boat. Plus they can keep GoPros, Smart Phones and other small electronics running all weekend. There are tons of options, here is a link to an affordable boost pack that has worked perfectly for my needs.
Fishing Tackle Subscription Boxes – Think of these as Birch Box or Stitch fix for anglers. Basically you can sign up for 1, 3 or 6-month subscriptions and send them as gifts where they will get new handpicked tackle for them every month. Below are a few very popular fishing tackle subscription services: MonsterBass – #TheBetterBox Mystery Tackle Box 6th Sense Tackle Bags Lucky Tackle Boxes
BONUS – GIFT CARDS ARE AWESOME GIFTS Here are some of my fav stores to get Gift Cards for: Omnia Fishing Tackle Warehouse TheHookUpTackle
The Stupid Tube is not a new rig, but for some reason, it is one that most of the anglers that are in the know about this rig, don’t usually share it with their fishing buddies or the general public. It got its first major press back at the 2007 Bassmaster Classic where Terry McWilliams used the rig to carry him to a top 10 finish at Lay Lake.
If you wonder why so many anglers are so hush hush about it? Probably because it is so dang effective at catching all 3 species of Bass! In short, it basically is a weedless tube jig, so you get the erratic spiral and glide of your typical exposed hook tube jig, but you can throw it in places you would never dream of with a conventional tube jig.
Make sense? Imagine a Texas rigged tube & an exposed jig head rig, had a super-powered bass catching baby!
Want to learn how to rig this bait and impress your friends and the bass in your local fisheries?
I have called out my favorite jigs and baits in the video and will below, but essentially, take your favorite 3.5-4″ tube and pair it with a jig head that has a 60-degree flat eye line tie and a hook with a larger than average hook gap. Ordinary tube hooks often fail to have enough bite for this and the tube balls up on your hook & you miss fish.
Rig it up on 8-12lb fluorocarbon and fish it in all the places you wanted to present a tube jig, but would’ve constantly got hung. Skip that tube around trees and docks, drag it through standing timber or snaggy boulders and hold on!
To me, fall is a time of year, when many of my fellow outdoorsmen & women are lured away to deer stands, fields or blinds. That results in the boat ramps mostly empty for us willing to brave a little inclement weather.
To be honest, outside of that first couple of trips after a harsh frozen winter, this is my favorite time of the year. The great majority of my best days of fishing and most of my biggest bass weighed have come late into the fall season.
Here are a few of my latest fall fishing vids, enjoy!
All that being said, I am quite okay with the ramps being quiet, so don’t feel any pressure to follow suit, you probably aren’t missing too much…..
The season is wrapping up and my tourney season has likely come to a close, although there is some fun fall fishing still in front of me. The year ended fairly positive but not as great as I had hoped.
My last big tournament was the TBF National Semis out of La Crosse on the Mississippi River where I was hoping to have a strong two days, cash a nice check and punch a ticket the TBF National Championship.
I really enjoyed my few days of practice as Pool 8 is a great place to bass fish and just be an outdoors person. Check out the practice video I put together from my pre-fish.
Day 1 of the tournament started off with a monstrous new PB walleye, you have to check out the video to see that river monster!! At the end of the day, I was a little short of where I wanted to be weight wise but still remained in the hunt to make Nationals. Day 1 tourney recap below.
On Day 2, I made better decisions and improved my weight. I was able to push my way in to check range but failed to be the top qualifier from MN. To learn how I caught my fish and the baits used, check out the final recap video below.
This blog always seems to fall to a lower priority than my YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Definitely consider following me on any of those platforms to stay more plugged into my fishing activities and catch any fishing tips & nuggets that I pass on through those channels.
I am not giving up on the blog and for now, I am going to leave you with a few of my recent Bass Fishing YouTube videos. I am definitely putting more of my energy into my YouTube content as its something I really enjoy, but the downside it is time-intensive labor of love to produce high-quality original content in video format.
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!