Coon Lake, East Bethel, MN
Coon Lake was the mystery lake drawn for this tournament. I drew Brad Veech as my partner. This is the only Federation club tournament that is set up as a team format. Unfortunately for Brad and I neither one of us has ever seen Coon Lake, let alone fished it. We drew boat number 1 for take off and it was really quite ironic. All year I never drew boat number one and the one time I do I have no idea where to go. I quickly glanced over my GPS map and found a bay on the deep side of the lake that had some deep water. All in all, Coon Lake is a pretty shallow lake, with a nice weedline that wraps around the entire lake. It has got many docks, and some reeds, and also a few mats of some nice vegetation. I figured it being Fall, and the water temps dropping quickly, that the fish would start deep and then move shallow as the water warmed and the sun got high. We started at a nice point at the mouth of the bay. The point dropped nice into deep water and had a great weedline. The only problem was it was not harboring any bass, or if it was they didn’t want what we had. We went into the bay and started fishing the boat docks. I wasn’t sure if they would pay off, but I knew they would later in the day. Although as I was thinking that I set the hook on a small 15 inch largemouth, about five docks later I set the hook again on about a 14 inch fish. Not exactly what we were looking for but hey, it’s two bass in the well in the first hour and a half. We’ll take it. After spending about another hour or two in that bay without any more bites we decided to explore the lake and see what else it was offering. We fished a nice deep channel that resulted in nothing. We checked out the reeds and found nothing. We probably should have given them more of a chance, but we both agreed that there wasn’t much water on them. In the Fall that is not a bad thing though. Shallow water that has a bunch of sand on it will warm up quickly. A few guys were catching smallmouths out of there. I didn’t even know there were smallmouths to be had! I should have checked the DNR creel survey before hand.
After spending a few hours fishing we found a nice flat that fluctuated between 2 ft. and 8 ft. Brad caught a nice fish about 2.5 lbs on a spinnerbait. We worked it for probably an hour and only caught northern pike (AKA snot rockets). With about an hour to go I decided to hit the boat docks again. The sun was high and it was getting into the low 80’s. The docks were highly pressured which was a bit discouraging, although I knew they had to be there. I pulled up to a couple docks, after a few skips I set the hook on a nice 3 pound bass. It was a bit nerve racking because he had me tangled up under the dock and my trolling motor didn’t have much juice. I wasn’t able to get a good charge on it the night before and between the wind and constant shallow water it took a beating. Lucky for us my 20 lb. Viscous Fluorocarbon line held up under the pressure and I was able to finesse the fish through the chains and into the boat.
With time running out and no trolling motor we opted to drift across a flat. Nothing. We headed back to the weigh in with only 4 fish. Nothing to brag about. We weighed in at just under 8 lbs. Rich Lindgren and Ron Smith won the tournament with 5 fish weighing a whopping 19.3 pounds. All fish came off the boat docks with about 2 hours remaining in the tournament. Hats off Boys! Just to show how impressive their victory was I believe second place weighed in at just under 11 pounds!
This tournament all my fish came on a 3/8 oz. Tru Tungsten Jig (fall craw), with a Yum Chunk (camo or green pumpkin). I was using a G Loomis IMX 7ft H rod and a Shimano Chronarch 100B reel.
I am excited for the next upcoming weeks. I am fishing the Sunrise Bassmasters Supporting Youth Charity Tournament with my buddy Ryan Brant. The tourney is at North and South Center Lakes, in Chisago, MN. We did pre fish for the tournament and did real well. We feel like we have a pretty solid game plan. I will post our practice details after the tournament on Sunday. Hopefully our practice will pay off and we can get a nice check before the end of the year. Next week I will be heading up to the Rum River to get dialed in on the smallmouths. Then my wife Bri and I, along with the two stooges (our dogs), will be heading up to the cabin next weekend in McGregor. We plan to spend a half day on Mille Lacs, fishing for 5 lb. smallmouths. I’m shaking just thinking about it! Then spend the rest of the time relaxing and enjoying a nice Minnesota fall weekend. Not to bad for a guy addicted to fishing!