Whitefish Chain, Cross Lake, MN
Tournament two of the BASSMASTER Weekend Series, held at the Whitefish Chain, in Cross lake, MN, is finally upon us. There was over a month gap between the first and second tournament and I was dying to get on the water and put it to the test against some of Minnesota’s top bass fisherman.
I had went up and practiced for a couple days a few weekends back and have to say that I didn’t have a great practice at all. A friend joined me and the fishing was good on Saturday for the morning and than we got stormed off, literally. We woke up Sunday morning to a less than ideal forecast of a cold front, with high skies and a cool north wind. We were able to find them Saturday morning all over the lake, shallow around docks and in the pads, and deeper along the maturing weedline. Sunday did produce some nice fish, but they were rather scattered and didn’t really offer any set in stone pattern for game day. Looking back it was probably for the best considering that the lake was going to change pretty dramatically by the time I got back there. It made me keep in open mind.
The day before the tournament, Bri and I launched out of Hay Lake and headed right up into the main lake and began poking around on the weedlines. I did catch fish but none that were really good size. Although still the area had great potential. I then ran some of my shallow stuff where I found that it wasn’t going to be that difficult to bag a limit but that size was the worry. I spent most the afternoon being careful to pull on fish and not actually hook them in their mouth, pretty much guaranteeing that the fish won’t be willing to bite on tournament day. By the end of the day I was feeling a bit more comfortable. There were a lot of fish to be caught and I felt I was in the right areas to catch them. I even managed to visually see a couple 3+ pounders, and on Whitefish those are real good fish to have at the scales.
After take off I headed straight for a sandy flat that had a few good docks and a nice inside turn on a weedline. I started by swimming a 3/8 oz. Tru Tungsten Jig (Green Pumpkin/Brown) and on my third cast I boated a 14″ inch largemouth and got the skunk out of the boat. That’s when everything really started taking a turn for the worst. I set into about five or six real good fish and missed them all. Were talking like setting and half way to the boat they get off! Honestly I was getting pretty discouraged. Finally I came across a good looking boat dock and flipped a solid 2 pound largie into the boat. One cast later and I caught another one that just bumped the 12″ minimum line. With a couple hours gone I decided to run to a bay on the South side of the lake where I had one magical boat dock that always seemed to produce for me. I worked the entire dock and on my last hail mary skip under the dock I caught a good solid three pound bass.
With only four fish in my livewell, I decided it was time to get on the weedlines and start catching some fish. Again after loosing a couple I finally boated my fifth keeper that literally bumped 12″ on the dot with 1/2 oz. Tru Tungsten Jig (Black and Blue). I also tossed the topwater frog around for twenty minutes and didn’t even manage a single blowup. Knowing that I needed some quality culls I decided to head back to the sand flat that I started on and try for some of those better fish that I had seen in practice and hope that I could get one or two of those earlier misses to bite again. It started slow and all of a sudden I hooked into a solid largemouth on a jig. I was out in about seven foot of water and blind casting in front of me not to spook the fish. The bass was landed and weighed approximately 4.5 pounds, a true Whitefish kicker! It’s a great feeling to cull a little 12 inch bass for a solid 4 pounder. Next cast after dropping her in the livewell and I instantly get bit under a near by boat dock, resulting in another solid 2 pound bass.
With three hours remaining and an approaching storm starting to give way to rain, I headed to a great weedline that I knew had to hold good fish. The area was great. I was fishing a saddle in about 13 to 18 feet, that was surrounded by two underwater points that were loaded with coontail. The area produced well, I was able to cull a few times, nothing major but a ounce here and a ounce there. Time ran out and back at weigh in I managed to weigh in at 13.32 pounds and took another solid 6th place finish, good enough for another paycheck! I was second for big fish with 4.42 lbs. and lost to a nice 4.6 pounder that was weighed in just before me. Best yet my two strong finishes in the first two tournaments have me in a dead tie for first place in the Angler of the Year race. Pretty awesome but there’s still three tournaments left, and it’s going to be a tough test to manage to stay at the top. Next up we have Pokegama Lake, in Grand Rapids, MN. Last year in my first ever BASSMASTER Weekend Series event I took 18th at Pokegama. I have a few ideas going that I think can really put me on some good fish! Wish me luck!