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TOPIC: Tournament time

Tournament time 2 weeks 3 days ago #70484

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Redemption is near. Tournament 2 is on Saturday. Woman lake near Hackensack, MN. PDF lake map here if you want to see what we will be fishing on -- (files.dnr.state.mn.us/lakefind/data/lakemaps/b0063010.pdf)


This is a huge smallmouth lake. My buddy sent me a text earlier in the week to show me what the winning weights were from this past weekend. The top 4 spots had over 22 pounds with 5 fish.... That's over a 4 pound average... Two of the four boats in the top 5 had kicker fish of over 6 pounds. Both of those fish were smallies... I'm foaming at the bit man. I cannot wait to get back at it.

I've researched the lake, watched videos on it, read fishing reports, checked the weather, checked recent water temps.... I'm ready. I'm leaving town tonight and headed down to Hackensack. My wifes parents have friends right in town with a lake house that we will be crashing at. If I get down there early enough heck I may even get out tonight - otherwise it's tomorrow morning early to prefish. A lot of people are saying that the smallmouth are still on beds spawning. If that's the case we will be jigging a lot.

This lake has really nice clear water. Rock bottom substrate. Weed beds here and there but not like what I'm used to fishing. I have fluorocarbon leaders tied up to my braid set ups for that reason. Right now my plan is to throw a small tube jig 2 3/4 inch on the braid/floro for bed fish, and also throw a larger clackn rap for bed fish. That thing really rattles and should do a good job of pissing off those large female bed fish. My other two rods are tied up to a frog, and a weightless senko. Ready to go. Ready for some redemption.
"My Country is the World, and my Religion is to do good." -Thomas Paine
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Tournament time 1 week 6 days ago #70494

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A trend is forming here, and the trend is me eating humble pie. I don't really like it, but it is a necessary evil in the process of improving.

Lets start out with the weather. Saturday morning at 6 we launched. I'd say that at that time, wind was 10mph out of the east. By about 730-8, it was 15-20mph. And by noon it was 25-30 out of the west. Big rollers on the water. 4-5 footers. Temp was probably in the high 60's in the morning and nearly 90 by 100p.

We knew that we were going to have to fish beds to have a shot at winning this thing. But the problem is that on Friday when we were prefishing the water and waves were much less intense and that made it easier to sight fish the beds. Saturday with the wind, no chance. You just couldn't see because of the distortion and caps from the waves. So our bed fishing technique (which wasn't much to begin with) got shot in the foot from the get go. We jetted directly to a rock point where we were able to eyeball a few beds the day before and saw a few good sized females hanging around. But we just couldn't get on them and like idiots we didn't think to mark them on the GPS. So we were basically fan casting the area which was a pipe dream. I picked up our first keeper here, but it was a small male. Just over 14 inches and 1lb 4 ounces. After a few hours of poking around there we jetted off to a few bays where we knew we could at least fill our bag with largemouths. My buddy hit a nice 4lb 12oz largemouth in the bay. 19.5 inches. A beast. But after that all we caught were dinks. We filled our bag, but had 4 fish under 2lbs. Before the day was out my buddy caught another decent fish at 2lbs 12oz but it was too little too late. We finished with 5 fish, 5 alive, one smallmouth and 12lbs 8 ounces. I believe we were 16 out of 21. The winning bag was over 20, all smallmouth. Almost certainly, all females with eggs.

We just came to this one a day late and a dollar short. Neither of us had bed fished before (other than here and there for largemouth that you just happen upon). And we haven't because it's mostly frowned upon as it disturbs the spawn. I mean I know I've come upon beds of largemouth before and I just scoot away hoping not to disturb them. But this is definitely a technique that we need to learn and improve upon. Smallies in particular have their beds around large rock boulders. They were on some flats, but mostly concentrated around rock points it sounded like. And in order to really win or even be in the mix at a tournament like this you need to have scoped these beds out, down to a 2x2 foot area. Those females are tight to their beds are were not moving. You literally have to drop it on their heads, or in the bed for them to hit you. And if you can't visually see them, then you need to have that spot marked accurately on the gps to pick them up. And even if you had the spot marked, you had to hold on top of that area and fish it and jig it consistently in 25-30mph winds and 4 foot rollers... Just not something we were able to do that day.

I am learning more about bass fishing in these last few tournaments than I have in maybe the past decade of fishing casually on my own. Unfortunately, its an extremely humbling process.
"My Country is the World, and my Religion is to do good." -Thomas Paine
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