Finally, the first tournament of the season was here and what a week it was, with freezing temps, torrential rain and BIG BASS! My partner, Nick Gross and I were fishing in the St. Jude Bass Classic. This tournament is one of top team tournaments in the Midwest, for so many reasons. You are raising money for a GREAT cause, it is well run and you get to fish against the best-of-the-best.
Here is a quick photo of the new rig, to see more photo’s check out my new photo page.
With both of our boats in tow, we headed down to pools 4 and 5 of the Mississippi River the weekend before to start pre fishing and despite the horrible weather conditions we had a good weekend of fishing. On Saturday, when we put the boats in the water, it was 38 degrees and raining, it was a day that not many boats were on the water. Luckily my Onyx Rain Gear kept me dry and warm all weekend and week during this very wet week of fishing.
With the ever changing weather patterns, we were pre fishing to find fish that were in all stages of the spawn (pre, post and spawn) because depending on the weather we knew that the bass could be moving between several areas depending on their mind set.
Our primary plan for the tournament was to fish hard bottom areas with emergent vegetation and scattered wood. By covering the area initially with RC Tackle Swimming Jigs, we were able to catch numerous fish quickly and then we could slow down and dissect that area with a Texas-Rigged plastic bait.
Making long casts was important as the water was very clean and you wanted to cover as much water as possible, which is why we used Seaguar Kanzen Braid for swimming jigs and Seaguar TATSU Fluorocarbon line when flipping a Texas-Rigged plastic.
When fishing our plastics, I used the Wright & McGill 7’6″ Heavy Cover rod to achieve solid hook sets and to be able to feel the lite bites. A sharp, Lazer Trokar Extra Wide Gap hook, gave me solid hook ups every time and helped us get some quality bass in the boat.
The first day of the tournament went pretty well for Nick and I, we were able to catch a lot fish, but failed to get that one big bite we needed to move us up in the standings. Our six-fish limit weighed 15.9 lb’s and had us in 43rd place, not quite the position we wanted to be in, but we new that we could make up some ground on day two with another solid limit of bass.
In a two-day tournament the goal is always to bring in a heavier limit than your did on day one and this is what Nick and I sought out to do, but the day started with a hiccup. The Wabasha area all week had been getting pounded with storms and Saturday night a massive cell moved trough the area and continued to muddy up the water. This didn’t have us to worried as our spot from Saturday should stay clean, but on the way their, Nick’s motor began to act up.
We gradually began making our way to Wabasha and fishing along the way, which allowed us to put together a limit of 16.6 lb’s. By staying focused and positive we were able to take a bad start to the day and make it better than day one! Our final spot in the tournament was 27th place out of 90 teams, not a bad way to start the year.
A big congrats goes out to all the anglers that raised money for St. Jude’s! It is just incredible to hear the stories and benefits of what St. Jude does for these children and their families. I would like to thank the tournament committee and the Twin Cities St. Jude office for all their hard work in putting together an event of this size, along with everyone that made donations to our team and help us raise over $1,800.
To see some great photo’s from the week, go to my new Flickr page. All photo’s were taken by photographer Brandon Wikman.
So now only a few short more weeks until the bass opener on the lakes and the kick off to the 2012 Big Bass Bonanza tournament trail on Sauk Lake. Be sure to check out my website for new video’s and fishing information.