Lake Minnetonka, Mound, MN
Today was the fourth stop of the Denny’s Super 30 on Lake Minnetonka. As I’ve stated before, I cherish the Denny’s Minnetonka tournaments. I get as excited for this event as I do any other tournament all year as the lake is local and the competition is fierce. We’re talking about some of the best fisherman in the state making up the 50 teams and all playing in their back yard on what Bassmaster just recently ranked as the 7th best bass fishing lake in the world.
Despite preparing for my move south and a hectic past few months, I was able to get on the water a few days before the tournament. Mostly half days between meetings and guide trips but it was enough to agree that the dock talk was spot on. The recent cold snap after having months of record breaking warmth was making for a tough bite. The lake was changing and though I usually have tried and true areas to fish, I was finding that even those areas weren’t holding up. My buddy and team tournament partner Paul Coffey jumped in my boat for the weekend, we pulled the brim of our hats down, dropped the trolling motor and just went fishing.
We’d go hours without much more than a pike or two and then all of a sudden run into a load a bass, waypoint the area and move on. It was a very mundane approach to fishing but was proving to be effective none the less. By the end of the first day we could connect the dots and start making sense of everything so that the next day we could simply start where we had left off. In the end we felt like we had found some key areas that if we milked them effectively we could put ourselves in position. We also knew we needed to keep an open mind because the weather was starting to get warmer by the hour and we knew the bass could fall back into their normal summer haunts at any time and wanted to be sure we let the lake tell us what was going on.
Tournament morning couldn’t have started better as we managed to pull together a nice limit rather quickly. Being that we had a comfortable limit in the box early we decided to venture out and see if we could bang a few good ones of a few off our traditional summer spots. This was the decision of the day as we started to upgrade on every spot we stopped at and by 9:30 we had roughly 26 pounds in the livewell.
Knowing we were sitting in good position, we decided to start hitting all the big fish haunts we have ever known in the past. We managed to catch fish all day but none that helped us. In fact it wasn’t until the last minute that I jumped up on rock retaining wall right next to the weigh in and caught a 2.8 pound bass to cull out our smallest 2.6 pound bass. Nothing like catching a last minute bass on a Outkast Pro Staff Jig to help the cause!
In the end, we finished with our 8 fish limit totaling 26.9 pounds good enough for a 7th place finish and a much needed paycheck. Though we were super happy with the result the competitor in us was a little ego bruised. Not everyday can you start out with a bag like that and still have six hours to try to upgrade. Really we only needed one five pounder or a couple more three and a half’s and we would have had the win at a tournament I’ve wanted so bad for the past few years. On the other hand we fished strong, even more important we fished smart all day and the results show at the scales. Hat’s off to the boys that did it better, it’s never an easy feat.
Up next I’m hoping to swing this momentum for the Bassmaster Open down on Fort Gibson Lake, in Northeastern Oklahoma. The last and final stop of the 2012 Bassmaster Central Opens! Wish me luck!