Leech Lake, Walker, MN
Twenty five boats competing head to head for twenty grand. It isn’t everyday a guy gets odds like this and both Corey Brant and I were ready for the challenge.
Pre-practice was good. The weather was starting to change up north very rapidly showing signs of autumn on the horizon. Leech Lake being noted for it’s shallow water fishing, was in the midst of a few changes and overall number of bites were few and far between. Once the cold mornings gave away to warmer afternoons the bite seemed to turn on for us. At the end of practice we would still manage around 20 pounds a day even with the slow starts.
Basically we patterned fish in all sorts of shallow cover such as wild rice, docks, cane and reeds. The reaction bite never really turned on for us and most our fishing were being caught by slowly pitching bottom bouncing baits into the cover.
Day one proved to be exactly what we expected with a relative slow start to the morning. I was able to boat one that went about two and a half pounds out of the cane first thing in the morning. Next thing you know we were approached by North American Fisherman, since we won the last event of the year they wanted to put a camera man in our boat for the day. Wouldn’t you know it then our bite went cold for a few hours until Corey got a few key bites off a couple boat docks and I was able to pull one off a stump.
Still desperately looking for our limit fish we decided to run back to a reed patch that didn’t produce in the a.m. Finally around 2:30 we started to put on a whack fest and was culling in no time. We were pitching small plastics using different sized Lazer Tungsten Weights and Trokar Flipping Hooks.
At the day one weigh-in we were sitting relatively solid with a five bass limit going 14.98 pounds, though 5 pounds off the lead but on Leech Lake that isn’t an unrealistic feat.
Day two was started with what proved to be a mistake on our part. Since our morning bite had been awful we decided to head for some rice that we had some good bites out of in practice even though it was clear on the opposite side of the lake. Hoping to get a limit and a kicker or two in the first couple hours before heading back to hopefully scratch out a few more key culls back in our reeds. Unfortunately we only came back with a small 2.2 pound bass that fell for my topwater frog, other than that we never got another bite. At roughly noon we stopped on a row of boat docks, I skipped under the dock and my jig got popped hard, I set the hook and my line snapped instantly. I told Corey who quickly pitched back under there and set the hook, boated our second fish and wouldn’t you know it he had my jig almost fully down his throat. That doesn’t happen everyday.
When we made it back to our reeds we come to find that they were beat pretty badly by a few other boats just before we arrived. We managed to run some different area and finally started to get some bites and somehow scratched out a limit and even made one cull. Another hour and who knows but the big bites simply weren’t there for us when we needed them. We finished day two with a rough 5 bass weighing 12.76 pounds and slid down to finish 14th overall. A disappointing end to the season but motivation to put together a very productive off season and get all geared up for the 2012 season. I’m currently studying up my options for the BASS Opens and FLW Everstarts but also looking to come back and fish the entire NABC Trail next year. I heard the potential schedule and am liking the way it’s shaking out. Lots of exposure, great payouts and an excellent ran circuit all the way around. This trail is the premier team tournament trail in the midwest.
The mornings are cold, the days are shorter and the leaves are changing……it’s smallie time!
See you on the water.