Green Lake, Spicer, MN
Today was the first stop of the 2009 Silverado Pro Tour. For the past few years I have been looking forward to being apart of this tour as it’s probably the top tournament circuit in the mid west. So naturally you can see why I have been so eager to get out and prove myself amongst the best bass fisherman this area of the world has to offer.
The first stop was to Green Lake, a clear and rocky lake that’s chuck full of smallmouth bass. This lake also offers a fair amount of largemouth bass, but generally if your targeting them in a tournament your most likely missing the boat all together. What the lake lacks for in vegetation, it more than makes up with it’s abundance of off shore structure and shallow rocky infested flats.
Being that I had only been to Green Lake for a total of maybe 10 or 11 hours last year, I knew I had a lot to learn. I was able to get up there around 5 pm on Wednesday evening and quickly launched my boat. I used what little time I had left in the day to just get a feel for the lake. The water temp was in the low 60’s, making me believe that the smallmouth had to be in the heart of the spawn and with the full moon approaching figured I would spend all day Thursday searching out shallow area that held a good number of spawning fish. I was able to catch a few nice sized smallie’s by burning a spinnerbait and also managed to catch a 4 pound largemouth on a jig. Remember what I said in the last paragraph? Now that’s great. Just another thing to get in my head while trying to piece together a quality pattern.
Thursday brought sunny skies and relatively calm winds. Perfect for searching for bedded smallies. I found them pretty easy to catch and was able to mark anywhere from 50 to 60 beds. They could not stand a 3″ Biovex Real Craw in their face. I rigged it on 8 lb. Gamma Edge Fluorocarbon and secured it on a Tacklesmith Banana Jig XL (3/32 oz). I also was able to catch a few by simply chucking a 3/8 oz. Biovex Stangun Spinnerbait (#10 White Chartreuse).
On Friday I was able to get out with Aaron Teal. He was my Am partner and was paired with me for this event. Aaron is one heck of a good stick, he understands how to break down water and has all the mechanics to fish both shallow and deep water.
I had my mind made up that I was going to use this last day of practice entirely to searching out some deep water areas. I wanted to find some good pre and post spawn fish that could give me a winning sack. It didn’t take long and Aaron sets the hook on a nice 4 pounder. I worked with that and headed to another area that looked relatively the same and like clock work I caught a nice 3 pounder. I continued to do this all over the lake and the fishing was fantastic. I would simply pull up to these deep rocky areas and catch a fish, all around 3 pounds and a couple in the 4 pound range. Literally I’d catch one on my first cast, way point it and leave.
This left me in a pretty good position. I had both a shallow and a deep pattern that was catching good numbers and good sized fish. Even though the forecast called for high winds, I made the commitment to stay deep instead of joining the crowds by fishing for bedded fish. It was just icing on the cake when I found out I drew boat 47 out of 49 for take off.
Morning started out windy from the get go and the temp was in the very low 40’s. The high was called for around 45 to 49, down from 75 the days before. The forecast also called for plenty of rain.
Catching fish was really not a problem at all. I easily a had a limit within the first hour and a half and a good one at that. The problem was all the fish where around the same size. All where right in the 2.5 to 3.5 pound range. I caught all my fish on a Tacklesmith Tungsten Football Jig, which worked perfectly for those deep water smallmouths. I never broke one off, it came through the rocks perfectly. Aaron was also catching them by employing various soft plastics.
The wind was definitely an issue though when it came to efficiency. When your fishing for schooling smallmouth it’s important to stay on top of the school. They’re so competitive that they almost get to easy to catch once you fire up a school. Usually once you hook into a good smallie off of structure like this you want to get your bait back down there right away. Usually I wouldn’t even put the fish in the box before I would make my next cast. This proved to be a problem in that the wind was so strong it would blow me 100 yards away from the spot before I could even get the bass unhooked. Not to mention fighting wind like this all day really wears on the boats batteries. My Minn Kota 101 was able to keep up but my cranking battery was really taking a load being that I had multiple Lowrance Units on, running livewell to rejuvenate these deep fish and a constant bilge pump to get rid of all the water that was coming overboard by both the rain and the three foot waves. Seeing that my battery was really running low I decided it was important to get to the other side of the lake where if something happened I would be within trolling motor distance of the weigh in site. When points are critical a disqualification due to late weigh in can be devastating.
With an hour or so to go in the tourney, I decided to work a shallow flat out in front of the loading docks. I caught a few more that weren’t able to cull on the Biovex Spinnerbait and did manage one more small cull by sight fishing a nice smallie off her bed.
I knew I had a solid limit but didn’t know if it was worthy of collecting a check. I knew I didn’t have the fish to win it but thought a top 10 was possible. After it was all said and done I was disappointed to find out that my limit of 17.53 pounds was only good enough for a 16th place finish. I didn’t get a check but a top 20 is very important in the long run. It’s not a sprint it’s a marathon and after the first stop I’m in great shape at making the top 20 and fish for a brand new Ranger in the Shoot Out this September.
Up next is the Denny’s Wednesday Nighter in a few days. Ahh finally, I get to get out on Tonka! I hope they’re biting!
Also please check out the article on my win at the BASSMASTER Weekend Series, on the American Bass Anglers website.