Mississippi River Pools 3 and 4, Red Wing, MN
Talk about what I thought was to be polar opposites. Yesterday we were on the Mississippi River Pool 2 and today we find ourselves just 30 or so miles south on Pool 4. Pool 2 I was expecting to be a slug fest and the north side of Pool 4 I was expecting to be a limit grinder, get 5 and you’re all good. Unless guys were planning on making the long haul to the south side of Pool 4 and fish the Wabasha area, the catching up in Red Wing can be a challenge.
I’m pretty familiar with the waters on these pools and would probably tend to favor Pool 3 as I’ve cashed a very rewarding first place paycheck fishing these waters two years ago at a BASSMASTER weekend Series event, though with the extremely high barge traffic this season locking through could be a huge mistake. So instead I focused all my efforts on the north side of Pool 4. Catching smallmouth would again be my forte but they were being overly elusive for me but because of the high water I was finding largemouth and pretty good sized ones at that. I decided I’d stay close to the launch point and basically fish the same style as I had planned on for Pool 2, flipping and pitching laydowns.
After burning up the first hour on tournament morning targeting largemouth, I decided it was time to see if I could better my luck on smallies. This was a great move as I quickly caught my first two within minutes, both on a shakey head with 8lb. Seaguar Invizx fluorocarbon line.
I then ran to a similar area to what I had fished the day prior while on Pool 2. To my surprise I couldn’t get bit by any quality largemouth but was able to back off the laydowns and instead work the rock and catch quality smallmouth. This is a perfect example of how you need to fish the moment, all of practice I struggled to catch smallmouth but was able to catch largemouth. This time the largemouth weren’t cooperating for me but the smallies were snapping. Feeling like I had to make a move I decided to run to an area that I hadn’t practiced in but had past success on one or two lunker smallmouth. The area I’m referring to is a riprap bank that sits off the main river but is protected from the current. I caught a few right away on a Biovex Stangun Spinnerbait and then managed a nice 18″ smallie on the shaky head. My very next cast I hooked up again but unfortunately this one didn’t stay pegged. It happens but still leaves you feeling a bit empty when you know your right in the mix of things.
In the end I weighed 5 smallmouth for just shy of 10 pounds good enough for 7th place. I was very close and really just needed one good kicker to make a run at back to back victories but in this sport you have to be somewhat satisfied to be in the mix of things. In hindsight my only regret would be to not have stuck it out for a little longer in these areas as my good buddy and team tournament partner Corey Brant won the event and did it by dedicating his entire day to one key stretch. You live to learn I guess.
Up next I got lots of guide trips on the books and if anyone is interested in booking please be in touch. The local largemouth are keying in on the spawn and the whack fest’s should be on like donkey kong!
See you on the water!!