Monday, November 5, 2012

West Central Fall Bass League - Green Lake, Diamond Lake & Nest Lake

West Central Fall Bass League - Green Lake - October 13th

The idea of holding a fall league event on Green Lake after the smallmouth season was closed has been kicking around for a few years and this year we finally decided to do it. Green Lake is known as one of the better smallmouth lakes in the state but there is also a good population of largemouth. A few years ago largemouth really played a factor in high tournament finishes on Green but over the past 2 seasons the smallies have once again dominated tournament bags. Despite good weather for the 9 teams who showed up to fish the largemouth were extremely difficult to catch and for the most part the bass brought to the scales were pretty small. My dad and I didn't catch very many fish but we ended up getting a few of the right bites and our 5 weighing 14.60 lbs took 1st place by over 4 lbs. I also had big bass for the day at 4.13 lbs

Our plan for the day was pretty simple. We fished milfoil beds all day long with a Berkley HAVOC Pit Boss and it worked out. Like I said earlier it wasn't easy at all as we often went a long time in between bites but at the end of the day we had the quality we needed for the win.

West Central Fall Bass League - Diamond Lake - October 20th

Diamond Lake has been a staple on the fall league schedule because even though at times it can be extremely tough it also has a very good population of large bass. That was shown last year as the winning 5 fish bag weighed in at over 22 lbs. This year the fishing was much more difficult and the winning weight was 16.65 lbs. I actually ended up fishing alone for this one and my 5 weighing 14.63 lbs was good for 2nd out of the 7 teams fishing.

I started off fishing in the reeds and had a 3 1/2 pounder in the boat relatively quickly but after that nothing seemed to be working for me. Diamond is a shallow lake and most of the fishing is either in the reeds or on the bank. The problem with fishing the bank was that almost all of the docks had been removed and with the water being so low the wood that is normally in the water was mostly high and dry. After fishing shallow for around 2 hours I only had the one bass in the boat so I headed offshore. I have never weighed an offshore fish in any of our league events over the years on Diamond and there have been many of them. Something told me to try it on this day though and it ended up working out to put some fish in the boat. Towards the ended of the day I moved back to my starting area and got on a little flurry to cull out most of my offshore fish and end up with barely enough weight to finish 2nd. My weigh fish came on black and blue homemade jigs and Berkley HAVOC Pit Bosses.

West Central Bass League - Nest Lake - October 27th

For most of the 7 teams fishing Nest Lake on this day the fishing was extremely tough. Only 2 limits were brought to the scales and most teams either zeroed or only had 1 fish. For my dad and I it was what could only be described as a dream day and we weighed our heaviest 5 fish limit ever. Our 5 weighing 25.55 lbs was easily enough to win and I also had the big bass for the day at 5.58 lbs

There really isn't all that much to say about our day. We started on a large weedy flat and had 2 fish in the boat really quickly but after that the action died. After that we bounced around to several other areas but after about 2 hours we were still stuck on those 2 fish. At that point we made the move to what turned out to  be THE SPOT. It really wasn't any different than the other areas we had been fishing but for whatever reason the big bass were stacked along a several 100 yard stretch of cabbage and we found em! It was really pretty unbelievable. By the ended of the day we culling out 4 1/2 lb bass which is something that just doesn't happen in Minnesota or really anywhere else for that matter. Besides averaging over 5 lbs for our tournament limit we figured our best 20 bass weighed around 83 lbs. Not too bad for 3 hours of fishing I'd say! All our fish came on various colors of Berkley HAVOC Pit Bosses.

With that the West Central Fall League season is over. That also means my competitive fishing is over for the 2012 season although I will still be fishing until the lakes freeze over which hopefully is a long ways off still. Our performance in fall league this year was really strong as we had 4 wins and 2 seconds in the 6 events we fished and sacking up over 25 lbs in the final event definitely leaves a good taste in my mouth as we head into winter.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

West Central Fall Bass League Tournament - Lake Koronis & West Central Fall Bass League - Ringo Lake

West Central Fall Bass League Tournament - Lake Koronis - September 29th

The West Central Fall Bass League Tournament is basically the same as a normal fall league event except that the entry fee is $50 instead of $20 and we fish for 8 hours instead of 5. Despite perfect fall weather only 5 teams decided to show up for the tournament on Lake Koronis. We had excellent turnouts all summer long but for some reason attendance has been light so far for fall league. In any case the fishing was good for those who showed up. 1st place weighed in a 5 fish limit for over 18 lbs and our 5 weighing 17.41 lbs was good for 2nd place.

I knew our game plan coming in was going to be mostly fishing docks but we didn't want to start on that right away in the morning so our first few stops were deep weed lines. The action was slow but we eventually came across a point were my dad quickly put our biggest fish of day in the boat on a slow rolled Strike King spinnerbait. Immediately after netting his fish I hooked into what turned out to be a 4.54 lb smallmouth. Normally catching two 4 lb plus bass back to back would be a good thing but because of our regulations here in Minnesota, smallmouth must be immediately released after the 2nd weekend in September. It is really tough to throw back a big fish like that but it is what it is. After around 2 hours of fishing deep we only had the one fish in the box so the rest of the day was spent on the docks. The action wasn't fast and furious as we ended up catching only around 12 bass for the day but every once in awhile one of them would be a 3 lb plus fish and we eventually got up to our final weight. All the shallow fish came on a black/blue Berkley HAVOC Pit Boss.

West Central Fall Bass League - Ringo Lake - October 6th

Now that we are into October the fall league switches to a noon start time and maybe that is the reason 7 teams showed up to fish despite the weather being cold and windy. It also might have been because very little is known about Ringo. Despite it being close to our other league lakes it just doesn't get fished. For the most part it just doesn't have a very large population of bass but over the past couple of years people have been checking it out and it seems that there are more bass in the lake than at any time in the past. Before the week long off limits period people had reported having excellent bass fishing on the lake but mother nature threw us a curve 2 days before the event with a massive cold front. The lake is extremely shallow, with 7 feet being the deepest spot, and with such cold temperatures the water temps really plummeted. The water temps when we launched were around 45 degrees which was around a 20 degree drop from what it had been. Needless to say this shut the bite down in a hurry. Of the 7 teams fishing only one 5 fish limit came in and another boat weighed 3 and the rest only had 1 or no fish. Fortunately for us we were the team with the only limit and our 5 weighed in at 11.38 lbs. I also weighed in a big fish at 4.85 lbs but the big bass for the day ended up being 4.86 lbs. That is too close! I'll take the win though.

The fishing was certainly not great for us but I guess we figured a little something out that made the difference. After trying a variety of things my dad started slow rolling a green pumpkin chatterbait along the bottom and that was the ticket. He put 3 in the boat before I had even had a bite. I might be a little slow but I'm no dummy so I switched to the same lure and almost immediately put the big one in the boat and another keeper a short while later. Besides the chatterbait I think the other key for us was ignoring the reeds. Ringo is basically a slough lake and with so much of that cover available that is where the other competitors focused. We found before the cut off that we were getting more bites on hard bottom areas outside the reeds and that pattern held up on competition day.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Minnesota Pro Team Tour TOC - Clearwater Lake & West Central Fall Bass League - Norway Lake

Minnesota Pro Team Tour TOC - Clearwater Lake - September 15th-16th

We have fished the Big Bass Bonanza tournament circuit for a number of years but this year there were some major changes in store for the Tournament of Champions. This year BBB combined with the Excel tournament series to form the Minnesota Pro Team Tour. Excel is basically the northern division and BBB is the southern division. At the end of the year the top 15 teams from each division were invited to fish the TOC on Clearwater Lake. The stakes were also much higher than in past BBB TOC's. This year first place was worth $10,000 which is a great prize considering that there was no entry fee to fish the TOC.

Day 1

We had a tough practice but had enough good bites to put a game plan together that I thought could be pretty effective. We decided to start our tournament day on a large flat and to my surprise only 2 other boats started in the same area. Unfortunately they were set up on key spots that I had hoped to move around to. We didn't end up getting a bite for over an hour as we watched one of the other boats hammer the fish so it was time to try something else. Eventually we started putting some small keepers in the boat and then things really started rolling. I came to a tiny patch of milfoil and hooked into 3 bass in the 2 1/2 - 3 lb range but unfortunately I was only able to put 2 of them in the boat. At this point we moved back to our starting area and just ground it out. The bites weren't coming fast but every bite we got was a quality fish. By the end of the day we had worked up to an 8 fish limit weighing 22.18 lbs that put us in 7th place. For the day all of our fish came on either a green pumpkin or black and blue Berkley HAVOC Pit Boss flipped into or around milfoil.

Day 2 

We were definitely off to a good start after day 1 but what concerned me was the lack of bites we were getting. We only caught 11 keepers on day 1 and I knew putting 8 more keepers in the boat on day 2 was going to be really tough. With the difficult practice we had we did not have many different things going so on day 2 we had to go with the same plan as day one and hope it worked out. Long story short it didn't. We did end up hooking into 8 bass on the day but I lost 3 quality fish and we only ended up weighing 5 fish for 9.66 lbs. That dropped us like a rock in the standings and we ended up in 22nd place. Definitely not what we were hoping for with the stakes so high but it was a great experience and I like the direction the Minnesota Pro Team Tour is heading.

West Central Fall Bass League - Norway Lake - September 23rd

The Fall Bass League is run the same way as the summer league except that we fish on Saturdays for 5 hours for a 5 fish limit. The first Fall league was actually the previous weekend but since we were fishing the MN Pro Team Tour TOC we had to miss it so this was our first shot at fall league this year. With the cold and windy morning only 4 boats decided to show up to fish and those who stayed home probably made a wise choice. The fishing was tough on Norway Lake as 3 of the boats combined to catch only 7 fish. Fortunately we had a pretty good day and our 5 fish limit weighing 13.34 lbs was easily enough for the win. I think the key for us on the day was fishing fast and covering a lot of different types of water but at the same time working our lures quite slowly if that makes any sense.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

MN B.A.S.S. Federation Nation TOC - Island Lake Reservoir & Green Mill/West Central Bassmasters Fall Classic - Green Lake

Minnesota B.A.S.S. Federation Nation TOC - Island Lake Reservoir - Sept. 6-7th

The state TOC this year was held on Island Lake Reservoir near Duluth. It is a lake many of the competitors had never even heard of, let alone fished before it was announced. Although I went to college in Duluth I don't recall hearing much about it and I certainly had never fished it before the 4 days of official practice. It was an interesting body of water with a lot of rock, shallow weed cover and tannic water. One thing it seemed to lack though was a large population of bass. The primary species in the lake is smallmouth bass but there just weren't a lot of them or they weren't biting good as evidenced by the weights brought to the scales over the two day tournament. I expected the fishing to be tough but that is pretty much an understatement. When all was said and done only 2 people were able to bring a 5 fish limit to the scales on each of the days. I had a strong limit on day 1 with 5 weighing 13.97 lbs which put me in 3rd place. On day 2 I was only able to catch 2 weighing 5.81 lbs so I slipped to 10th place overall with a total weight of 19.78 lbs but in this tournament the goal is to make the top 12 and I was able to do that! This means that I have advanced to the Northern Divisionals which will be held next year in South Dakota on Francis Case Reservoir. There is also a team portion of the TOC. In that our club, the West Central Bassmasters finished 2nd. Over the past several years our club has shown that we are one of the best in the state no matter where the tournament is held. The full results of the tournament can be found here.

Day 1

After practice I really didn't know what to expect coming in. I had a tough time getting enough bites like pretty much every one else I had talked to but I had also seen enough quality fish to feel like a good bag was a real possibility. Like I said to some of the guys the day before the tournament, "I could catch a big bag or I could zero." That was the absolute truth. As it turned out day 1 went almost as well as it could have. My original plan was to start on a shallow offshore rock pile but being boat 55 I was almost positive someone else would be on it by the time I got there. That turned out to be the case so I turned the other direction and went to the bank to fish docks. Docks were going to be my primary game plan anyway but generally that is not something you to until a little later in the day. It turned out perfect though as I had 3 keepers in the boat within the first half hour including one close to 3 lbs. I continued to run docks and not too long after I had another quality smallie in the boat. At around 9:30 am I decided to check a rocky point that I had gotten a number of bites on in practice. Almost immediately I had keeper number 5 in the boat on a green pumpkin Strike King Coffee tube. I was actually kind of shocked at how easily it was all coming together. I figured if I was going to get a limit it would pretty much take all day to get there. I worked over that point for quite awhile but it didn't give up any more fish so it was back to the docks for the rest of the day. Shortly after going back to the docks I caught a quality upgrade on a chartreuse and white Strike King Spinnerbait but after that it was like the bite was dead. At that point it was around 10:30 am and from then until the 4:30 pm it was just downright tough. By this point it seemed that every boat in the field had started fishing docks and I'm sure that was a big part of why it got so tough. Early in the afternoon I pulled into a stretch of docks that just felt like it wasn't getting as much pressure as the others. After fishing quite a few with nothing I finally hooked into the biggest fish I had seen all week. Of course it jumped right by the boat and came off just out of reach of the net. That was a heartbreaker but there is more to that story coming up. With only a little more than an hour to go I picked up my biggest fish of the day which was around 3 1/2 lbs. That allowed me to cull out one that was around 2 lbs so it was a big upgrade and that allowed me to end up with 5 for 13.97 lbs and 3rd place for the day. All of my dock fish came on a vampire orange Berkley HAVOC Pit Boss.

Day 2 

After seeing all the pressure the docks were getting on day 1 my only hope was that they would reload overnight. Again I really didn't know what to expect. If we were fishing for largemouth I would expect that the dock fishing would be much tougher but since smallies move around more so I thought it there was a real possibility that fishing could be good. I decided to start my day on the same stretch of docks as I did on day 1 although I didn't go straight to the best 2 docks. That turned out to be a mistake as another competitor pulled right in front of me and started on those docks. Fortunately for me they didn't catch anything and I put a 13 inch keeper in the boat on the next dock over as they watched. I was off to a quick start again and feeling good about the day but that all came to a crashing halt. It was clear many other competitors were onto the dock pattern and everything was getting beat up. The next 4 hours or so were a complete bust. Then at around noon I finally got another bite only to have it get buried in a boat lift and break off. With about 1 1/2 hours left to fish I went back to the stretch of docks where I had lost that big fish on day 1. I had already fished it in the morning but with only 1 small keeper in the boat I was kind of thinking to myself that if it was a tough day one 4 lb class fish would possibly be enough to keep me in the top 12 so I went back hoping for just 1 big bite. After fishing a few docks I came to the dock where I had lost the fish. I fished it real thoroughly and eventually I hooked into a big one. It came flying out of the water just like on day 1 but this time it made it into the net. I know that it was the exact same fish! As it turned out that smallie weighed in at 4.50 lbs and my 2 fish on day 2 weighed a total of 5.81 lbs. If I had caught that big smallie on day 1 I would not have made the top 12 because I would have only gained around 2 lbs after the cull. By catching it on day 2 I kept all 4 1/2 lbs of it's weight and that was just enough to finish in 10th place. It's kind of crazy to say but losing a big fish actually ended up being the best thing that could have happened to me!

Green Mill/West Central Bassmasters Fall Classic - Green Lake - Sept. 9th

After returning from the TOC it was right into another tournament. Last year we didn't fish Green Lake at all for several weeks before the tournament and ended up winning. This year Green hasn't been as kind to us but my hopes were still high for this event. We had fished Green twice in the last few weeks of the league season and were able to finish 2nd both times so we felt like we knew what the fish were doing at least a little. As it turns out we couldn't figure anything out on tournament day. In our league nights we caught quality fish on topwaters shallow and drop shots out deep but on tournament day those quality fish turned into 2 pounders. Nothing we tried ended up working and our 6 fish limit weighing 13.24 lbs put us in 22nd out of 27 teams fishing. That was by far my worst tournament on Green Lake ever.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

West Central Bass League - Tournament of Champions Week

West Central Bass League TOC - Green Lake - August 29th

At the end of the regular league season the top 10 teams in points are invited to fish the Tournament of Champions. Each of the 10 teams then throws a lake name into a hat and the TOC lake is chosen at random.  We actually ended up having 11 teams fishing since two boats tied in points for the 10th place spot. This year the Wednesday night TOC lake ended up being Green Lake. The fishing for the night actually ended up being pretty tough with the overall weights pretty low although the top team really crushed em.

1st - Paul & Pete - 3 - 10.97 lbs
2nd - Andy & Mike Nitchals - 3 - 9.30 lbs
3rd - Tonya & Jared - 3 - 8.68 lbs

Big Bass #1 - Paul & Pete - 3.81 lbs
Big Bass #2 - Joe & Jodi - 3.50 lbs

We had fished several events on Green Lake in the previous weeks and in those our primary weapon was a Super Spook. However on this night the topwater bite was practically non-existent for us. In fact the shallow bite almost completely went away from us. My dad did end up putting one of our weigh fish in the boat on a chartreuse and white spinnerbait but other than that it was only a few other small fish. We ended up going out to the deep humps where we were able to put 2 more 3 lb class fish in the boat using Berkley HAVOC Bottom Hopper worms on a drop shot rig.

West Central Bass League TOC - Nest Lake - August 30th

The format for the Thursday night TOC works the same as on Wednesday night except that there were no ties so there were 10 boats fishing. By luck of the draw Nest Lake was chosen and I think everyone was pretty happy with the choice. The fishing on Nest was pretty tough back in early June but for the rest of the year the lake has been on fire and this night was no different. 7 of the 10 teams fishing ended up weighing over 10 lbs for their 3 fish limits which is impressive no matter where you go in Minnesota and a great way to cap off an amazing 2012 league season.

1st - Andy & Mike Nitchals - 3 - 11.91 lbs
2nd - Paul & Mark - 3 - 11.22 lbs
3rd - Joe & Pete - 3 - 11.12 lbs

Big Bass #1 - Paul & Mark - 4.36 lbs
Big Bass #2 - Dean & JD - 4.35 lbs

In our two previous league visits to Nest we weighed 3 fish limits of smallmouth over 11.5 lbs but came up 2nd both times. It was great to finally get over the hump and finish first with another big limit of smallies. In our previous visits we caught the majority of our fish off of one area but on this night another boat started there as well and they were catching fish and we couldn't buy a bite. After awhile it was time to abandon ship and head for new waters. The choice was a good one since as soon as we moved we had about 10 lbs in the boat in 5 minutes. The rest of the night was spent bouncing around and adding a good fish here and there. Our weigh fish ended up coming on various Strike King Coffee Tubes and Berkley HAVOC Pit Bosses.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

West Central Bass League - Week 12 & Big Bass Bonanza - Horseshoe Chain

West Central Bass League - Eagle Lake - August 21st

This was the final regular season event on Wednesday nights for the West Central Bass League. The Tournament of Champions will be held next week but that is limited to the top 10 in the points standings at the end of the year. 19 teams showed up to try their hand on Eagle Lake. A few weeks ago the weights were really good and we were all expecting similar weights again. Eagle had a different idea though and while the weights brought to the scales were impressive they didn't quite meet up to a few weeks ago.

1st - Bruce & Bruce Jr. - 3 - 11.20 lbs
2nd - Bill & Brad - 3 - 10.85 lbs
3rd - Ron & Joe - 3 - 10.12 lbs
4th - Ron & Dave - 3 - 9.83 lbs
5th - Tonya & Jared - 3 - 9.80 lbs

Big Bass - Bill & Brad - 5.07 lbs

Our night wasn't nearly as good. We really struggled and only boated a few keepers for the night. Our 3 fish weighing 8.12 lbs was good for 9th place on the night. Not the way we wanted to end the year but at least we were able to hang on to 2nd place in the Team of the Year standings. We actually ended up catching all 3 of the bass we weighed in off of one dock. Our biggest fish, which was a little over 3 lbs came earlier in the evening and though we had 2 other small fish in the box we really couldn't get anything else going. With about 10 minutes left in the night I decided to try that dock one more time and it gave up 2 more fish that actually helped our weight a bunch even though we didn't end up with much. All the fish came on a green pumpkin Berkley HAVOC Pit Boss.

West Central Bass League - Green Lake - August 22nd

The final Thursday night league actually ended up being our lowest turnout of the season with only 14 boats showing up to fish despite beautiful conditions. The fishing turned out to be pretty good too as 4 teams passed the 3 lb average. 3 pounders have been tough to come by on Green Lake this year so it was good to see that despite only having 2 1/2 hours of fishing time. As on Wednesday night there will be a TOC with the top 10 teams in the points invited.

1st - Jared & Tonya - 3 - 9.63 lbs
2nd - Andy & Mike Nitchals - 3 - 9.55 lbs
3rd - Dean & Kyle - 3 - 9.41 lbs
4th - Lee - 3 - 9.16 lbs

Big Bass - Lee - 4.22 lbs

Coming into the night we were in 2nd place for the Team of the Year standings but thanks to our high finish we were able to take the Team of the Year crown. That is no small feat in the West Central Bass League as the competition is extremely tough and the points race is really tight every year. As for our fishing I really can't say too much because as luck of the draw would have it we will be returning to Green Lake for the Wednesday night TOC.

Big Bass Bonanza - Horseshoe Chain - August 26th

This week also marked the final Big Bass Bonanza tournament of the regular season. The Horseshoe Chain is a large series of lakes and river with endless amounts of shallow cover. Unfortunately much of the cover never seems to hold many fish. It can be a very tough fishery, especially in August. This year however the fishing was actually pretty good and of the all the tourneys I have ever fished there the average weight in this one was definitely the best. First place was and 8 fish limit weighing 23.99 lbs and there were many bags in the 19-20 lb range. Our 8 fish weighing 20.57 was good for 6th place out of 25 teams which was just one spot out of the money. The team that took the 5th and final money spot weighed 20.60 lbs to edge us out by just .03 lbs! Our 6th place finish also moved us up to 5th place in the final Team of the Year standings. This was easily inside the cutoff for the TOC which will be held in a few weeks on Clearwater Lake. This year the TOC will be a combined event with the Excel tournament circuit under the Minnesota Pro Team Tour banner. Each trail will send their top 15 teams to compete in the TOC.

Despite ending up with a good bag at the end of the day it was certainly not easy. We were the first boat out so we were able to fish our desired starting spot but things went downhill quickly. I lost a small keeper in a tree and missed what felt like a decent bite in our starting area but that was it. Meanwhile another boat had fished my 2nd and 3rd spots which were within site of where we were. We decided to run a short distance to another area only to find another boat sitting right where I wanted to go. I then moved to another stretch of docks and had a boat pull in front of me so I was only able to fish half the stretch. After about an hour of frustration and no fish it was time to move on to another lake on the chain. Finally I was able to find an area without another boat and was able to put a 2 and 2 1/2 pounder in the box before getting cut off again. Next it was off to a shallow weedy bay and you guessed it there were already 4 boats in there.  I didn't let it faze me though and our first fish in there was nearly 3 lbs. The action was pretty slow though and after a couple hours we had only added 3 more tiny keepers. It may sound like I'm complaining but really I'm not. Everyone out fishing this circuit is a good stick and we often find the same areas and patterns. It's all part of the game but it was just frustrating how it played out on this day. Next it was off to a bank with a brushpile and a few trees. We were able to finish off our limit with a few 2 lb class fish and after the way our morning went it was a relief to just have 8 even though many of them were small. At this point we made our way back to the lake we started in only to find out the trim and tilt had gone out on us. The motor was trimmed up since we were going through a shallow no wake zone and with the motor up like that it was impossible to get back on plane. Just another thing to deal with on an already frustrating day! We idled around for the rest of the afternoon and besides the lost time the afternoon ended up being great for us. We only caught 4 more fish but they were all in the 2 1/2 to 3 lb range and we were able to cull up with each of them. It would have been really easy to have gotten spun out on a day like that and believe me I could feel the wheels coming off the tracks a little bit but I just kept my head down and kept grinding and things turned out pretty good in the end. All you can do as a tournament angler is fight through adversity and keep on going. Eventually good things will happen.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

West Central Bass League - Week 11 & West Central Tournament Series - Green Lake

West Central Bass League - Nest Lake - August 15th

We had another great turnout as 21 teams showed up to fish Nest Lake despite the strong possibility of thunderstorms. After getting out on the water it was apparent the storms were coming. We ended up fishing for a little over an hour before most of the teams decided they had enough of the lightning and headed back to the ramp. At that point it was decided that the night would be over. The league rules state that an hour of fishing constitutes a full night of fishing so we held the weigh in. Despite fishing for such a short period of time the weights were off the charts as usual for the West Central Bass League this year.

1st - Paul & John - 3 - 11.89 lbs
2nd - Andy & Mike Nitchals - 3 - 11.85 lbs
3rd - Donovan & Mike - 3 - 11.01 lbs
4th - Chris & James - 3 - 10.51 lbs
5th - Kelly & Eric - 3 - 10.17 lbs

Big Bass - Dean & Joey - 4.70 lbs

The weights for league this year have been crazy and even limiting this group to a little over an hour of fishing doesn't seem to hinder us. For our fishing we pulled up to our first and only spot of the night and it was on right from the start. We missed the first couple bites but had 10 lbs in the box within about 10 minutes including a nice kicker smallie weighing 4.45 lbs. From there we continued to upgrade to our final weight. Our weigh fish for the night came on a homemade watermelon/green pumpkin football jig and a green pumpkin Berkley HAVOC Pit Boss.

West Central Bass League - Lake Calhoun - August 16th

The storm that blew through the previous night brought with it the first major cold front of the season and the conditions Thursday night were pretty tough. It was cold, windy and the skies were high. It definitely affected the bite as the weights and numbers of fish were very low for Calhoun which is normally a very productive lake for numbers at a minimum and often it kicks out some very big bags. Because of the conditions we had our lowest turnout of the year as only 15 teams showed up to fish. There was only 1 good bag brought to the scales on this night and fortunately it was by us!

1st - Andy & Mike Nitchals - 3 - 10.96 lbs
2nd - Ron & Joe - 7.76 lbs
3rd - Paul & Troy - 7.43 lbs
4th - Ross & Daryl - 7.26 lbs

Big Bass - Andy Nitchals - 4.38 lbs

Despite the big bag our fishing was not easy at all. We got very few bites on the night but we just happened to get 3 of the right bites. We started on docks and were able to get a few small keepers in the boat pretty quickly. Eventually we came to a dock that had a thick weed mat blown in on it and it just looked right. That dock produced a nice bass in the 3 1/2 lb range but since the other docks were getting fished we didn't really have anywhere else to go. We ended up trying offshore for awhile but that bite never really materialized on Calhoun this year so we went looking for the thickest shallow cover we could find. We found an area of reeds, pads and various other weeds matted up on the surface and started to work it over thoroughly. We only got a few bites from there but they were the right size and allowed us to win handily. Our weigh fish all came on a Okeechobee craw Berkley HAVOC Pit Boss.

West Central Tournament Series - Green Lake - August 19th

We had another great turnout for the final West Central Tournament Series of the 2012 season. 24 teams showed up to fish Green Lake for what turned out to be a pretty tough bite. The reports from the days leading up to the event indicated that Green Lake was really on fire but I don't know why exactly but on Sunday most people reported the fishing to be pretty tough. Tough on Green Lake is relative though. I think most everyone caught a lot of fish but the 3 lb class fish were reluctant to show themselves and the weights at the end of the day reflected that. The winning weight was a modest 18.59 lbs and only 2 other bags eclipsed the 18 lb mark. Our 6 fish limit weighed in at 16.91 lbs which tied us with 2 other teams on total weight but they both had a bigger bass than our to win that tiebreaker and we ended up in 8th place.

Full results of the tournament do not appear to be up as of this writing but they will be posted here.

Since our final regular season league night will be held on Green Lake this Thursday I'm not going to go into much detail in this report. I will say that we tried a variety of things but only a couple things really worked well for us, but of course it didn't work well enough. As I said before 3 lb bites were tough to come by but we had a couple chances at them that didn't make it to the boat and that really hurt us in the final standings. I don't think we would have been able to win but I think we would have been at least in the money. Even though my results this year haven't been great it hasn't been because of lost fish. This was the first event of the year that lost fish really made a difference but that's just how it goes sometimes.