Practicing for the St. Jude Bass Classic

Mississippi River Pool 4 & 5, Wabasha, MN

This weekend was an interesting one to say the least. On May 3rd and 4th, I will be fishing with Ryan Brant in the 10th Annual St. Jude Bass Classic, held on the Mississippi River pools 4 and 5. This is a two day team tournament, with an eight fish per day limit. I have some experience on these waters but not usually at this time of the year. When I have fished pools 4 and 5 this early in the season I haven’t been to successful. Although this year I’m hoping to make different. Unfortunately I don’t want to give to much info away until after the tournament, then I’ll break it all down with a lot more detail. All I can say is that the bite was very tough. There was a Fishers of Men tournament going on while we were there and that further proves my point, it only took 8 pounds to get in the money and out of 39 boats 22 of them blanked.

So instead of talking about how we fished and what worked and didn’t work, I’ll talk about the fishery we are fishing. Pools 4 and 5 are border waters between Southern Minnesota and Southern Wisconsin, and not to far from Northern Iowa. Largemouth and smallmouth bass are in abundance on this stretch of the river. Both have to be 14 inches to weigh in and there is a “No Cull” rule for all of this stretch of river. Generally the smallies can be caught around the main river and largemouths are found all over the abundant backwater sloughs. Pool 4 is mostly made up by Lake Pepin, a beautiful lake that is also heavily fished by walleye fisherman. Going South from Pepin you will get back on the main river channel until you hit the lock and dam, which after you lock threw becomes pool 5. Both the South side of pool 4 and all of pool 5 has endless miles of backwater area. A little tricky to navigate but once your familiar with the area it becomes a little easier. None the less, I seem to get my self in a few real hairy situations out there every year. You never really know where there is a rock, tree trunk, wing dam, or a sand flat. If you add it up I have spent hours trying to free my boat from being accidentally beached on a sand flat. In the summer time the slop fisherman seem to excel nicely in the backwaters and the finesse fisherman do great searching out the smallmouths.

Upper Mississippi River Pool 4 Upper Mississippi River Pool 5
**From left to right: Mississippi River Pool 4 and the Mississippi River Pool 5

The next two weeks I will be spending a lot of my days pre fishing for this tournament and then I will shift my focus to Wisconsin and get myself ready for a couple more events out there. The bad news is it is late April and the vast majority of our Minnesota lakes are still well froze over. This is crazy considering last year they where all open by late March. The weather is starting to get nice so it should be any day now. I’m happy to be spending my time down on the river and in Wisconsin because Minnesota’s bass fishing opener is until May 24th! Still over a month away! Oh well I will stay way to busy anyway. After the tournament I will post a lot more detail, until then wish Ryan and I lots of luck, 10 grand for first place. That would be a great way to start out the season.

Welcome to JoshDouglasFishing.com! A site dedicated to my avid fishing career. Join me as I share my honest approach to chasing a childhood dream full of obstacles, failures and successes, while traveling across the nation competing and advancing to the sports highest levels. I’ll share all that I learn from new tips and techniques as well as the hottest tackle and equipment. Join me as I document the everyday rigors of tournament bass fishing from the business as a whole, to the practice and all the way to the weigh-in stage!

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