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TOPIC: Tournament time

Tournament time 1 year 4 weeks ago #71010

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Last tournament of the year was a 2 day on Lake Minnetonka. This was the Fisher's of Men Regional tournament that qualifies you for the National tournament.

There are 50 spots, but this year only 12 boats signed up, and only 11 showed. Top 2 teams qualify, Top Male/Female team qualifies, and Top Adult/Junior team qualifies. There was only one Adult/Junior team, and only two Male/Female teams.

Prefishing was a tad bit rough. If you recall from earlier in this thread Minnetonka is a huge series of bays, interlocking channels and larger bodies of water. Lot's of stuff to run through and go over. We started prefishing on Wednesday. My buddy already had a few spots locked down at that point and we would 'check' them in the morning to see if the fish were still holding there - basically we would go throw frogs for the amount of time it would take us to get a few pops or swirls (not setting the hook) and if they were reactive, we would leave right away. But we did check on them to make sure they weren't shutting down or moving around too much. This bay was our honey pot and we were banking on this area which is why we didn't fish it hard.

We hit up a lot of different bays and moving around looking for deep weed edges searching for solid back up spots, but nothing was really snapping. Day 2 of Prefishing was better. We started to figure out that we needed to slow down a lot to get the fish to bite. They were usually hanging in the spots we were checking but reluctant to bite a lot of the time. We would get a reaction strike on top water, but then no follow up - which means they were interested for that second that the opportunity was in front of them, but didn't want to chase it or snap again after the initial strike. We slowed down, got methodical, threw smaller stuff, went wacky style weightless and started to catch fish consistently. Nothing crazy big or huge numbers, but it started to feel like there was a palpable pattern.

Tournament day 1: We launched and went directly to our bay. We threw top water. I missed a strike within 5 minutes of throwing so we knew they were there. It took us less than an hour to fill our bag in this bay. If I remember correctly (my memory is a bit fuzzy on the details because we fished the same lake 4 days in a row) we had around 13 pounds of fish within the first hour of fishing. Knowing that this was a two day tournament, we left the bay shortly after filling our bag. We didn't want to burn up this spot since we knew there were good fish here. We left and grinded out a handful of other spots we had checked during prefishing. My buddy was on fire day 1. I think I had 1 fish in the bag for weigh ins, just had a terrible day with the misses and a few break offs... I remained positive and kept fishing though. We weighed in day one with 16.3 pounds. Big fish 4.1 pounds, and we sat in 4th place. Top bag was 19, second was 18, third was just ounces ahead of us with like 16.9 or so. We were sitting in a decent position for day 2.

Tournament day 2: We launched day to with more or less the same plan as day 1. Hit our bay first thing in the morning, only this time hit it hard and burn it up if need be. The results were similar. 5 keepers in the boat by 8 or so, and again, all good fish. Day 2 was a much better day for me personally. I missed less fish and had 3 keepers in the live well as all - all 3 pounds or better. We worked our way out of the bay eventually and culled maybe 2 or 3 fish all day, but it was a solid bag again. We came in day 2 with 16.5 pounds and finished second on day 2. First place was 17 something.

Overall we finished in 3rd place with 32.8 pounds. First was 36, second 34. First place finishers were an Adult/Junior team who automatically qualified - so the next top two boats qualify for nationals - luckily for us. We are going to the show.

National tournament is in April '18 down in Alabama. Lake Guntersville. This national tournament is the one that can grant you a ticket to the Bass master classic... We have to win though. 125 boats... on a lake we've never fished, in a state we've never been to, lol. Whole different world down there.... We'll see what happens. :)
"My Country is the World, and my Religion is to do good." -Thomas Paine
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Tournament time 6 months 2 weeks ago #71902

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Tomorrow morning we make our way down to Alabama for the national tournament.

I'm not really sure what to think at the moment. I'm all packed up for the most part and after work today I'll run home, kiss the wife and kids and head down to central MN to stay with my parents and then in the morning I'll meet up with my buddy and we'll take off from there.

The actual tournament is a 3 day tourney. 150 boats. After the first day of weigh ins they eliminate the bottom 50. Day two same thing, eliminate the bottom 50. Last day I think top 25 get a pay out. All that is off a foggy memory though so once we are down there and have our first meeting, I'll know more.

I'll try to keep this thread updated or at the least update you all when we get home. :)
"My Country is the World, and my Religion is to do good." -Thomas Paine
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Tournament time 6 months 2 weeks ago #71903

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Sweet home Alabama yeahaw :P

Take pictures
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Tournament time 6 months 15 hours ago #71960

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So... not really the way we wanted to end things. Fishing down south was tough for these northern boys.

Without getting into daily specific details, we pretty much struggled to find good fish throughout the whole trip. On sunday we hit them pretty hard and boated a 20+ incher and a nice 18, but other than that single day, we really didn't catch quality fish. Just a lot of small guys. Guntersville is such a big lake that we went into it thinking that we really had to explore a good amount of the lake (mistake number 1). It's 70 miles long. We did a lot of running around, and in hind sight what we should have done early on in practice is change tactics. But we kept thinking that around the corner the water might be different the structure might be different and therefore, our techniques might be effective in those areas. We weren't completely wrong, there was a lot of different structure, good shallow structure like lay downs, trees in the water, good sized docks, etc. But the larger fish just weren't holding there from what we could tell. We fished the same few ways throughout practice and I think we needed to really slow things down. Switch from a texas rig, to a drop shot, switch from a crankbait to a swim bait and just in general move slower.

Tournament day 1, we put up a goose egg. We caught 20 fish or so, but none were big enough to weigh. The minimum is 15 inches. There were 15-20 boats day 1 that weighed no fish. Day 2 we went for broke. We knew at that point to make the cut for day three we had to have a huge bag. So we started bed fishing. We are not good at it. And the results showed this. We caught no bed fish, lol. They were up shallow at that point and we could see them on beds but just couldn't get them to bite. Just not a technique that we have any experience with. We burned about half the day up doing that. Then caught one 16 incher on a dock. But we just let her go knowing that we weren't going to make the cut anyway. So we were eliminated after day 2. There was a redemption tournament day three but bad weather was moving in so we decided to head home. 18 hours later we were back in MN. :)

Humble pie. Get a slice.
"My Country is the World, and my Religion is to do good." -Thomas Paine
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Tournament time 6 months 3 hours ago #71968

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Look at the bright side of things, you still did better than I ever could :)
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Tournament time 5 months 4 weeks ago #71971

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And no tobaco chewing alabama men beated you up :P
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Tournament time 5 months 4 weeks ago #71978

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Hahahahaha! True I guess!
"My Country is the World, and my Religion is to do good." -Thomas Paine
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