Back in action! Loving every second of it too. Believe it or not, there’s a lot that goes with trying to make a career out of bass fishing. It’s not all setting hooks and sunny 80 degree weather with flip flops. There’s a business side. My view on this is that business is just as important off the water as it is on the water and they’re both extremely important!
Lately my on-water time has been few and far between and even when I do find myself on the water there wasn’t much in the way of actual casting. Our lakes up here in Minnesota actually opened a few weeks ago and with the river not flooding at all, the fishing has been wide open. Instead, when the temps reached a record breaking 80 degrees in mid March, I was working a Cabela’s event for my sponsors all weekend. Last week the Northwest Sport Show took all my time as the Navionics booth was hopping. Don’t get me wrong either, I don’t mind the business side of our sport, in fact it’s what allows me to be on the water every other day. I’m fortunate to have so much support from the leaders in the bass fishing industry but there’s still no denying, I work to fish!
Now with the show season coming to a halt, I’ve been running the river working out the kinks of a long winter. My next Bassmaster Central Open is coming up at the end of April on Missouri’s legendary Table Rock Lake. My goal is to be in straight beast mode by the time that event rolls around. To prepare I decided to team up with good buddy Andy Young and sign up for a Full Throttle event held on the Mississippi River Pools 3-5. The river is the only thing similar to southern reservoir fishing that we have here in Minnesota and really they’re not that close but there is shad and current. There’s also everyday changes that you need to be quick on your feet and be able to fish the moment. Our lakes are different, they’re by far more “spot” orientated than “pattern” orientated.
Nothing is more evident of this than the fishing we’ve encountered the past two days. We decided to stay close to home and fish pool 2 of the Mississippi River. We’ll practice pools 3-5 enough over the next week but it’s nice to be able to hit the pool just north of the action to figure out what the bite is and also be able to tool ’em up a bit without sacrificing tournament bites.
Thursday was a decent day. The smallmouth weren’t wanting to join in the party at all. They’d bite but for the life of me I couldn’t get them to commit but we found the largemouth a lot more willing. Odd as we had bright bluebird skies and hardly no wind, you’d think it be a smallie kind of a day? The largemouth we caught came on an array of baits but Andy whacked the two biggest on my homemade 3/8 oz. pitchin’ jig (black and blue). We also caught a bunch on a jerkbait which probably got the most bites as well as an Outkast Pro Swim Jig, though the size was much smaller.
Friday was all around different. I finally caught a couple main river smallies on a Biovex Mid Runner (Blueback Chartreuse). That gave me the idea to fish more main river and secondary shoots instead of running all the way to the backs of the little feeder creeks. Usually the bite would be strong in the bays and lagoons but being that the river is extremely low and for the most part clean with little current these fish aren’t needing to go as far back and with the low overnight temps, the main river is staying the same water temp where the backs are getting very cold overnight and taking most the day to warm up.
Friday I got most of my bites fishing bluff rock and where ever there was a laydown or a rock outcropping off the bluff was lights out. I caught a lot on a Biovex Mid Runner, an Outkast Swim Jig and that same 3/8 oz. pitching jig. I also got an opportunity to try out the Reaction Innovations Kinky Beaver and was impressed with the results.
The bass were double dipping on both crayfish and shad and gorging themselves in preparation for the spawn. The big girls were extra fat! Once I found that pattern I was very efficient as I could use my Lowrance HDS 8 Gen 2 along with my new 2012 Navionics Platinum North Chip and actually use the maps 3D capability to see where the bluffs where and then idle the bluff looking for the ideal laydowns or outcroppings. The “juice” was where the outcropping was still underwater and not visible to the eye, my StructureScan could pick it up every time.
The best was saved for last when my wife Bri showed up to hit the water and take some photo’s with our new camera when I popped a 4 pounder on the Biovex Mid Runner and a 5.6 on the jig! Man it feels good to be back in action!! Best part, I don’t ever have to winterize my boat again! Game on!