Recipe’s Off the Water

Walleye Ceviche

This is one of my all time favorite eats and one that can come very easily to those that live up here in Minnesota and catch walleyes on the regular. Ceviche is a popular dish that originates from coastal regions throughout Mexico and Central and South America. Ceviche is when you take fish or seafood and use citrus juice from lemons or limes to actually cook the fish, then spice it with various chili peppers.

I’ve taken this traditional form of cooking and gave it a Minnesota flare by using our state game fish as the main ingredient. If you don’t have wallleye you can use other fish native to wherever you live such as stripers, catfish, crappies or saltwater fish like shrimp, halibut and grouper. Ceviche is also a very healthy dish packed with not only healthy protein but also consists of fresh fruits and vegetables, mostly grown in my back yard.

Great for watching football games or enjoying a non traditional breakfast while watching Bassmasters on Saturday mornings.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 Walleye Filet (skinned and boned)
1 Jalapeno
1 Tomato
1 Onion
1 Avacado
Juice of 4 Limes
5+ Dried Chili de Arbol Peppers
Tortilla Chips

Preparation is simple.

Dice raw walleye filet into very small pieces and throw into a mixing bowl.
Dice jalapeno and onion and mix with the walleye and add juice of 4 limes.
Cover and let sit in refrigerator for 3 hours, stir around every hour or so.
Once the 3 hours is up, the fish should have changed in color and actually cooked from the citrus.

Next, add diced fresh tomato and cilantro to ceviche mix. Take a handful of dried chili de arbol peppers or less or more, depending on your spice level and throw on a dry skillet and heat. This is to open up the oils of the dried chili’s. Once warmed, put into old coffee grinder and grind into a powder. Add ground chili’s to ceviche mix and place back into refrigerator for another hour.

After an hour, take out ceviche, add diced avacado and a pinch of salt to taste and serve with your favorite tortilla chips as well as a couple ice cold beers and enjoy!

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Intro to "Recipe’s Off the Water"

Anyone who is reading my blog knows I’m an obsessed bass angler that spends almost every single waken hour out on the water. The rare times I’m not on the water, I enjoy spending time at home in the kitchen with my wife Bri, cooking up some of our favorite dishes and enjoying some of the finer things nature provides to us all.

“Recipe’s Off the Water” is the newest addition to my JD Fishing Blog and one I’ve been brainstorming for some time. The point of this segment is to share some of our other hobbies such as growing fresh produce and fiery hot peppers and combining it with my passion for fishing and hunting. I love nature and everything about it and really take great pride in using nature’s gifts in the kitchen to make flavorable and healthy dishes!

I eat a lot of fish and vegetables and am a spicy food addict! Though I always catch and release when bass fishing, I on occasion will run into a couple nice eating sized walleyes or other game fish and find it very rewarding to bring home and cook up. I also love grilling and smoking meats and will make a point to use game meats like deer and elk venison as my family and friends are avid hunters.

My wife is my inspiration behind “Recipe’s Off the Water” as she is enjoying great success with her own website, The Fisherman’s Widow. Her “Trials and Tribulations of a Fisherman’s Widow” themed website pokes fun at the obvious but it’s her content that is producing a very impressive following.

One of Bri and I’s biggest goals for the future is to buy land in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee and not just to be able to fish every renown bass lake on the Tennessee River but to also be able to live more off the land and grow all our own fruits and vegetables as well as raise our own chickens and sheep. All part of the big dream that continues to drive me to accomplish my lifetime goals of holding a Bassmaster Classic Trophy high over my head and enjoying life’s finer things with my family.

Thanks for reading and I hope to bring you more fantastic reads well into the future! If you have any outdoors-like recipes that are a must try, please send them over! If I like them, I’ll post them!

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Denny’s Super 30

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!

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A Bachelor Party Mille Lacs Style!

What a great weekend! My Good friend and fishing buddy Corey Brant and a bunch of fellow fishing friends all got together and headed up to Mille Lacs to partake in Corey’s bachelor party. Honestly, I can’t think of any better bachelor party then sticking toads before heading to a cabin to rock out.

Lake Mille Lacs is easily one of the top fishing lakes in the world let alone Minnesota. Known as a champion walleye and muskie lake, the lake is finally getting the reputation as one of the premier bass lakes in the country with plenty of quality bass both smallmouth and largemouth.

Of course being as competitive as we all are you just know that we had to make it a competition, which of course brings out our best. In the end, it was a day to remember and one I know I’m going to miss once I move south. We all caught plenty a good fish to make it all the better, Here’s some pictures from our day on the water.

Corey, congratulations buddy!

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2012 ICAST & More

The fishing world’s mecca of a trade show ICAST, has come and gone leaving an addicted tackle junkie like myself scowering through endless internet pages in search for what’s in store come 2013. All I’m saying is the world better not end in December because I can’t wait to get my hands on some of these products and better yet, bass can’t wait to wrap their mouth around some of them either.

Being a die hard bass fisherman one may think I only pay attention to bass related items but that’s not entirely true. A lot of our proven tackle today comes from other forms of sport fishing such as Alabama Rigs, Spoons, Fluorocarbon and swimbaits. Everyone will see and hear of the new bass gear but to find something that would work well for bass but is meant for another species is a desire to every competitive tournament bass angler. I did indeed see a couple things that toot my fancy that may be designed for saltwater use but I think will pay dividends in upcoming bass tournaments. I’d be a fool to give those ideas away so instead I’ll just focus on my main area of interest and if your reading my blog I’d reckon you have the same interests as I and that’s putting big ole fat bass in the livewell.

G Loomis GLX

I got all sorts of geeked out when I saw G Loomis announced their new line of GLX rods that will soon be hitting the market. If you know me at all or read my blogs and articles often, you’ll know I’m a die hard G Loomis guru and have been since I was a little kid. I’ve been able to use these rods my entire fishing career and though I could fish with any of the G Loomis line of rods, I almost always choose GLX. The exception of course is the G Loomis NRX line of spinning rods which are most definitely the cat’s booty. G Loomis used this opportunity to fix probably the only flaw in their entire line of rods which was the need for a meat stick of a crankin’ rod. They’ve always had excellent crankbait rods that are ideal for baits like the Biovex Mid Runner or Rapala DT-6 style crankbaits, but their lack of a big, gaudy 7’11” Heavy action parabolic pig sticker was definitely a negative and also left the door open for inferior rod companies to get their name mentioned in the same sentence. Step down peons, the king has once again claimed the throne and now you can get all of that and a bag of chips as G Loomis not only combines it’s GLX sensitivity but also the size and action desired by America’s most well known ledge crankers!

I was even more taken aback by the new GLX Flipping Series. I wondered how they could actually improve on perfection itself, well they found a way and though I’ll never trade in my tried and true 894 GLX’s,  now I need to do some reel shopping because my boat definitely has room for a couple more flipping sticks. Newly designed with split grip handles and improved Fuji Titanium SIC Guides these rods are 23-35% stronger and lighter then their predecessor and better yet, is available in all sorts of different sizes and actions all stamped with the unprecedented GLX logo.

Shimano Calcutta D
Just as I’m a G Loomis die hard, I’m equally as obsessed with Shimano Reels. I have to admit, I waited anxiously to hear what was in store for Shimano. What I found was not much in the way of high end reels except of course for one of the best reels ever made, the Shimano Calcutta. In the bass world, this reel has had the reputation as the best swimbait reel on the market. These days it also has double duty as the best Alabama Rig reel as well. Let me introduce you all to the Shimano Calcutta D. I’m sure there’s many a California anglers lined up outside the well known swimbait shops all waiting for their turn to play with the new design but since the umbrella rig craze, boys on the East coast are lining up as well.
Lazer Trokar Wacky Worm Hook

With today’s fishing pressure, anglers are learning that they need to either beef up and throw a chandelier that holds numerous swimbaits or size down and get all sorts of finesse-like on weary bass to fill a limit. Nothing is more finesse and productive as a wacky rigged straight tail worm. I first started leaning on this technique when bass were in their post spawn funk. Casting a wacky rigged 4 inch senko around the inside weedline can produce some very good results. Now that the fish are deep I still employ the wacky rig only now I double dip ’em with finesse by wacky riggin’ a straight tail worm on a dropshot. They love it! Trokar already is known as the premier hook company which puts out lazer sharp and efficient hooks that competitors can only attempt to knock off. Now they’ve upped the ante by releasing the perfect lazer sharp wacky hook dubbed the Lazer Trokar Wacky Worm Hook. No pun attended but enough said.

Eco Pro Tungsten Jigs

I’m a 100% tungsten guy. I believe in everything it stands for from being environmentally more safe to the fishing benefits that relate back to it’s denseness. I know tungsten isn’t cheap, but for most the bass fishing world loosing them on the regular isn’t that often as it is for a dude from Minnesota who happens to flip his way into a school of pike or muskie by accident and snip, snip, snip, I just donated several one ounce flippin’ weights to the cause. Sucks! Still though, they are a necessary part of my everyday arsenal and I wouldn’t think of using lead in it’s place ever again. I was very excited to see Eco Pro, who already is one of the premier tungsten companies, announced they’re releasing a line up of tungsten jigs. This is a no brainer and something I’ve been screaming for for at least five years! It makes total sense to offer football jigs and shakey head jigs in 97% tungsten. These are bottom orientated baits that excel over rocks and bottom changing areas and to have the ability to feel every nook and cranny along the way is essential. We pay ridiculous amounts of cash for our rods and fishing line so that we have the “feel”, why would that stop with the bait?

On a personal note, I’m even more excited about the Eco Pro Tungsten Flipping Jig. I used to be obsessed with the old Tru Tungsten Jig and have to admit my supply is dwindling. Anytime I can get away with a smaller profile head on my jigs, I’m all in!

Zappu Abare Dama

Zappu, one of Japan’s leading terminal tackle manufacturer’s released what I think will be one of the serious game changers in coming years, the Abare Dama, which translates into “the Wicked Ball”. Basically they developed a spring that holds a small tungsten ball that you can attach directly to the back treble of your favorite crankbait. This offers a lot as it will give your bait that little something extra in the way of a searching style action. It also may allow your deep running crankbait to suspend which I guarantee will elicit more strikes from weary bass.

Biovex USA

Not yet ready for the 2102 ICAST, but one of Japan’s premier tackle manufacturer’s Biovex,  is set to soon release their brand here in the United States under the new name Biovex USA. Though they are still finishing final steps in the transformation and not yet able to present at ICAST the buzz is already noteworthy. Biovex is known for their awesome hard baits and soft baits alike.

Some of my personal favorites hard baits are the Biovex Deep Runner and Amp Wake Bait, both intended for total opposites in the water column but both get similar results, bone jarring strikes! On the soft plastic side of things, they’ll take the U.S. by storm with the introduction to the Biovex Kolt Stick and Biovex  Kolt Fish Tail, both excellent on a drop shot. The Fish Tail is a smallmouth slayer, seriously they can’t stand it and I’d put money on it that my Biovex Fish Tail will out fish any other bait hands down. The Kolt Stick is a very interesting bait that I now lean on all the time especially for largemouth. For years anglers have used a small 3″ senko style worm with great results when drop shotting. The Biovex Kolt Stick provides that same profile but in a ribbed body, providing more motion underwater and better yet has bubble making action via the small holes that are incorporated inside the bait that when quivered releases the smallest and most realistic air bubbles. I’m telling you, GAME OVER! Bass can’t stand it!

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The Bass are Snapping! Book a Guide Trip Today!

The bass fishing is off the hook up here right now! I’ve been fortunate to be on the water everyday for the past couple weeks and am happy to admit this bass catching stuff never gets old to a true bassin’ junkie like myself.

I’m starting to book but do still have some available days so if you’re interested in a great day on beautiful Lake Minnetonka, please contact me soon.

My email is

Looking forward to seeing you on the water!

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Denny’s Super 30

Lake Minnetonka, Mound, MN

Man I was looking forward to today, the lake has been on absolute fire! Being that life has been so stressful lately as we are preparing for our move south, I decided the best medicine would be to just hit my favorite lake during my favorite time of year and put in a full week of practice leading up to the Denny’s.

As I said the lake has been hot and the weather has been even hotter, this isn’t usually a bad thing either as I feel it puts the fish in more predictable deep water areas. The vegetation actually starts to burn off much like that of corn and other plants that get a unhealthy dose of higher than usual air temps, making finding healthy weeds a must for success. When I found these key areas, the bass were fat and plentiful as they weren’t the only fish that found this habitat desirable. The bluegills, perch and crayfish also were plentiful making easy meals for the bass.

During practice I made it a point to search out new water. Once I had developed a successful pattern I saw no need to check spots that I knew I was going to fish come tournament day. My team tournament partner Paul Coffey did the same and by the end of the week we had more water than we ever knew what to do with and knew there was no way we could ever fish it all.

For the tournament we drew boat 22, not great but really I could have cared less to be honest. Like I said, we had lots of water and not a single spot I felt was more desirable than the next. The wind was tough and that made Paul and I rethink our attack strategy, in fact we reversed it all together in an attempt to be able to better approach our water.

The morning started off great as we put together a limit real quick, though the size just wasn’t there. That never really changed all day as we kept catching them but just never got a big bite and also both managed to break off on a couple nice ones. In the end, we stubbed our toes something fierce and ended up with the worst showing at a Denny’s tournament of my entire life, 8 for roughly 22 pounds. The end result was mind boggling as we truly were on the right fish and if the tournament was tomorrow I don’t know that I’d a changed a thing and would have whacked ’em. Sometimes you just should have zigged instead of zagged but in hindsight it’s always easy to wish you would have hit certain areas at certain times instead. The only thing I guess I would have changed if given the opportunity would have been to fish our original track instead of switching it up to account for the wind. We probably would have picked up a couple of better bites earlier and set a much better tone right away. Things to consider…

Up next I have a handful of guide trips and then get to head up north to fish Gull Lake in the third NABC event. I’m always more than excited to head to northern Minnesota and throw down in God’s country!

Speaking of guide trips, NOW’S THE TIME! Lake Minnetonka is prime right now and the big girls are biting and biting a lot! Contact me today to book your trip.

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North American Bass Circuit

Madison Chain of Lakes, Madison , WI

This tournament literally makes me laugh and not cause I was counting my money all the way to the bank, in fact it was quite the opposite.

Teaming up with me for this series is good friend Rich Lindgren. We both pulled our boats across Wisconsin to give our two days of practice the most potential possible. We did our research on the chain and broke up the waterway evenly deciding we’d adjust our game plan after the first day of practice.

I took Lake Monona and Rich took Lake Waubesa as well as some of the smaller lakes attached to the chain. His practice basically consisted of eliminating water as finding quality fish were close to impossible. I on the other hand had one of the best practice periods of my entire life. I was shaking off around 30 bites a day and the ones that I did check were all keepers with a few 4 pounders mixed in. We had previously figured that Monona would be the more consistent lake but it was easily exceeding my expectations by a long shot. Basically I was flipping three key milfoil areas that held both bass and their forage. All three areas sat out in front of shallow flats so baitfish were abundant in all these areas and the bass would use the milfoil clumps as ambush points. I was flipping small compact craw style baits on a 3/4 oz. Eagle Claw Lazer Tungsten Flippin’ Weight and a 4/0 Trokar Flippin’ Hook. I also was getting far more bites using 20lb. Seaguar Abrazx Fluorocarbon instead of Seaguar Kanzen Braid and the only downfall was the loss of precious tungsten weights to the many muskie that inhabit these same waters. My method of flipping was easy as I’d simply work the edge making a short flip into the visible milfoil, working the bait slowly trying to entice a bite. Working the bait slowly and methodically was important as I wasn’t the only one who had figured out the milfoil’s potential and pressure was setting in by the second. Still despite the pressure I had them dead to rights as whatever I was doing was getting the bites and good ones at that.

Tournament morning rolled around and we were able to get to our first stretch right away in the morning, things had changed in that we didn’t have sun nor wind like we had all of practice. Despite these changes our confidence still remained high even when we weren’t getting the bites I had come accustomed to all of practice. As the day wore on we’d get a bite about every 15 minutes or so but our hook up ratio was the worst I have ever seen. We had the bottom of my boat covered in craws that were missing pinchers as our hookup ratio was a disgusting 95% miss rate. I honestly felt like I could puke in disgust as the bites were there, quality ones at that but the livewell wasn’t filling at all. In the end we ended up with only three bass weighing just over seven pounds, a tough tournament to say the least and one that will bug me for quite a while. I joked in the opening paragraph that I laugh about this event and though I’m 100% sincere it’s not a conceded look, it’s the only way I can gut it. Looking back there’s obviously things we should have done differently as well as adjustments we should have made like adjusting better to the weather. The fish were on the outside of the grass with the lack of sun and we didn’t need to be flipping to them since they were on the edge and probably should have leaned harder on baits like jigworms and dropshots to get the job done. However, when you’ve had a terrific practice doing one thing and was getting the bites on game day doing the exact same but not hooking up it’s a real tough thing to abandon. It was necessary to adjust and would have been the difference between cashing a check and weighing three fish but all I can do now is acknowledge that I should have listened to the voices in my head, learn from my stubbornness, chalk it up to one of my worst tournament performances of my life and then laugh about it and move on.

There’s plenty more fish in the sea and plenty more opportunities to showcase my talents then to sit and dwell on a bad one.

See you on the water!

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Denny’s Super 30

Lake Minnetonka, Mound, MN

Today was the second tournament of the Denny’s Super 30 and team tournament partner Paul Coffey and I had some work to do. After a less than ideal first tournament where we finished somewhere in the 20’s we knew we needed to shoot for a top 10 to get ourselves back into contention for the Team of the Year standings as well as give us a much needed shot of confidence heading into the middle part of the summer.

We put in the time as best we could leading up to tournament day and both were able to locate some quality fish. I have a tremendous amount of confidence in the lake and my decision making abilities once the summer months arrive and was feeling good about our early summer this season. In fact I had easily one of the best few practice days of my life as the bass are quickly starting to school up and once located can be a blast catching as they’re one right after another.

Tournament day started slow for us as our first few stops didn’t produce much but a fish or two here and there. Finally we managed to get on a school or two and it was a fun few hours putting the smack down as we quickly culled our way to about 24 pounds. Once the bite slowed we knew we were exactly where we needed to be and started running in search of a couple kickers to get our weight up into the high 20’s. The bass kept biting for us but none that were able to help until about a half hour left in the event when Paul had an ace in the hole spot he located in practice that was close to the weigh in. After our first pass through with nothing we decided it be best to go back through instead of running as lures in the water are always better and quickly I got bit and in came a nice four pound bass making for a nice cull to end the day.

We weighed in our best 8 for a respectable 25 pounds and finished in 14th place. Missing a check by a mere two pounds but still had the day that most of the time would cough up a much deserved check. We fished well and fished clean and honestly I can say I had one of the best all around days on the water that I’ve ever had and if I parlay off that I’ll be in great shape with the rest of my fishing career going forward.

The best part was that we moved up a ton in the Team of the Year points and are currently sitting tied with good friends Ryan and Corey Brant for 15th place overall with three more events to go. Still lots of work to be done.

See you on the water.

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Searching for my Mojo

Denny’s Super 30 &
Minnetonka Classic

Lake Minnetonka, Mound, MN

Usually I recap in detail each tournament I compete in no matter how good or bad it turned out. I rarely discuss anything about Lake Minnetonka though besides the very basics because it’s my home water, the competition is just too stiff and I always seem to have another event out there right around the corner. As this still holds true, my latest week of fishing out there is nothing to brag about and I definitely didn’t unlock any tried and true spring Tonka secrets, so here we go.

I teamed up with a good buddy this year, Paul Coffey. Paul has been fishing with myself, Ryan Brant and Corey Brant for the past couple years now and instead of the Brant’s and I splitting up all the Tonka events between the three of us we decided it was time to make two teams and fish them all. We still work very close and keep an open book with everything we find since we have all worked equally as hard out there for the past three years that there’s no reason to stop the learning curve. It’s important to see both teams succeed.

The first event was the Denny’s Super 30. I had spent a few days out on the water patterning moving fish. I found them on beds, inside weedlines, in the thick weeds, pads, laydowns, deep, shallow, you name it. They were everywhere but the overall lack of big ones was discerning as I just couldn’t seem to get enough big bites and out there you need numerous big bites just to compete. In the end, Paul and I had a plan to just junk fish our way to a healthy limit. I always want to win but with not having more than a few days of experience ever on Minnetonka in the Spring, my main focus was on just saving face in the points race. I’ve won my fair share of money out there in the Summer and Fall and have a lot better feel for what it takes to bring in a winning sack. If we could get through this first one without falling on our faces than we’d have a descent shot at the Team of the Year going forward the rest of the season.

When the tournament ended we managed to not fall flat on our faces but we didn’t turn any heads either. We weighed in 8 bass for 18.85 pounds for a very mediocre 26th place finish. Not what I was looking for but still in the hunt for the Team of the Year.

Next up was the Minnetonka Classic and though this marks the 20 or 30 something annual, I’ve only fished it once before a couple years back and managed to cash a check for 14th place. I was thinking this time that Paul and I could do much better giving all the time we spent on the water preparing for the Denny’s. The weather seemed to change by the day and I really started getting confused. I was guessing that the fish were coming to me so I stayed deep, in hindsight I probably should have went ultra shallow. Either way in the end we ended with somewhere above the teams that chose not to weigh in and under the teams that did well. I always weigh and usually am pretty geared up to do so but I’ve always been one to take it on the chin and bring the fish to the scales regardless. It’s embarrassing to not have a sack at the scales and that feeling will stay with me as I use it as added motivation in the upcoming weeks. In the end we zigged when we should have zagged and we ran when we should have stopped. Basically I don’t know exactly what went wrong but we just weren’t getting the quality bites we needed at all. You fish to learn and learn to compete.

I’m down but far from out. In this sport you take the good with the bad and need to have a short memory. If you win, you need to enjoy it but forget it the next day because someone else will rise to the occasion next week and you need to stay sharp. If you suck, learn from it and get over it because tomorrow’s a new day and you can’t dwell on it. Big bass are always only one cast away.

For now it’s back to the drawing board, Bri and I as well as the pups are soon heading up to her family cabin for a little fun in the sun, some awesome bass fishing and possibly a beer or two around the campfire. After all, this is what it’s all about!

See you on the water!

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Tuning Into the HydroWave

Every morning I awake to the sound of my coffee machine brewing a fresh pot of joe. Like clockwork I roll out of bed, pour a fresh cup and off to the lake I go.

This daily habit got me thinking. If I’m self-programmed to respond and react to the sound of fresh coffee being brewed, will lethargic bass become active off the sounds of other bass feeding?
This very question got me looking into the effectiveness of the feeding emulator known as the HydroWave. As a professional bass fisherman, I’m always looking for ways to up my game and give me that needed edge over my competition. The HydroWave is an electronic devise that omits prerecorded sounds of feeding bass underwater and as their slogan reads, creates a feeding frenzy.
Despite powerhouse bass anglers such as Kevin Van Dam, Jeff Kriet and Gene Eisenmann proudly sporting them, I still found myself a bit skeptical on the whole idea. Even when Paul Elias caught that mega sack every day of competition on a very tough fall bite at Alabama’s Lake Guntersville, I still wasn’t quick to chalk that win up to much more than a great presentation on a few great areas. It wasn’t until looking into the actual physical science behind HydroWave that I started to believe in the product.
Tactile Sound Transmission (TST) is the primary output of the HydroWave’s speaker system and uses finely tuned amplifiers to deliver the sound. Tactile sound is much different than ordinary sounds because it delivers a noise that you can actually feel. As described on HydroWave’s website, if you have earplugs in you will not be able to hear a sub-woofer but you will be able to feel it. Fish hear on that same frequency, the same frequency and sound produced by the HydroWave.
To continue to break it down one step further, HydroWave incorporates both Lateral Reactive Technology (LRT) as well as Vibration Reactive Technology (VRT) to elicit predatory feeding responses.
LRT is a vibration wave technology that operates at a frequency level that stimulates a predatory response through a fish’s lateral line. The lateral line is naturally tuned to detect low frequency vibrations created by small prey such as shad, herring, bluegills and crayfish. The LRT of the HydroWave, produces these exact vibrations and creates a natural predatory response.
VRT is a vibration wave that operates at a frequency that stimulates a predatory response from the fish through their inner ear. It’s well known that a fish’s ear is nothing like a humans, a fish’s ear consists of dense bones under the skin that detect and translate vibrations. This vibration detection is so accurate that a bass is able to differentiate between vibrations of various preys. This explains how a fish can be so visually impaired but still be able to feed and know what it’s feeding on before it attacks it.
Alright, enough with the science mumbo jumbo, let’s take it to the water. After looking into the hype that is the HydroWave, I decided to borrow a buddy’s unit for a Bassmaster Open event on Lake Lewisville, in north Texas. I used much of my practice time playing with the different settings and options trying to quickly familiarize myself with the contraption. For those of you who don’t know, the Lewisville Open broke a record for the toughest tournament in B.A.S.S. history with only 3 anglers catching a limit in technically 4 days of competition. My first realization of the potential of the HydroWave actually came as a surprise. While struggling to find more than a bite or two in the first couple days of practice I decided I better start probing a bit of deep water. I recall idling out of a creek and as I was idling out through the mouth over the creek channel I noticed my Lowrance unit “light up” with what looked like bass and enormous schools of shad on the bottom in 20 feet. I quickly got on the deck of my Ranger and started making casts with heavy spinnerbaits, a deep running Biovex crankbait, and an Outkast football jig. After a solid 25 casts with not a bite and zero activity around me, I remembered I had the HydroWave on my deck. I turned it on and within a minute fish started blowing up all around me. Unfortunately for me they were not largemouth they were stripers that had started blowing up on shad. I had literally sat there for 15 minutes with not a ripple on the water and less than a minute after turning on the HydroWave all pandemonium broke out around me and in that moment my confidence quickly started growing.
My next tournament was just a couple weeks ago on legendary Table Rock Lake. In practice I had found a couple fairly deep rock piles that were the size of my boat and sat on the ends of some long tapered points in 35 feet of water which I located by slowly scanning the points with my Lowrance StructureScan. On my very first cast I caught a 4 pound smallmouth on a 3/4 oz. Outkast Touch Down Jig. The fish instantly coughed up crayfish all over my boat so I saw no need to make another cast, I knew what they were eating and where, so I saved a waypoint and left.
The first day of the tournament, after spending all morning and early afternoon trying to make something happen shallow, I made my way to my deep rocks and within about 2 to 3 hours I probably caught close to 30 and culled a dozen or so times and put myself in strong contention going into the second day.
Day 2 of competition opened with a day full of extremely high winds and fishing these rock piles efficiently in the middle of the lake was close to impossible. The rocks were so snag filled that I couldn’t fish them without breaking off and since the piles were so small, all I was doing was shutting down the school.
A sure thing was turning into a nightmare and my nerves got the best of me so I blew out of there in search of some shallow fish. This was not the best scenario considering I wasted the first few hours and the best morning shallow bite trying to force something to happen out deep. My worst fears became reality when afternoon rolled around and I only had one small keeper in the box, with two hours left before I had to weigh in. I decided I’d leave it all out there on those deep fish. This time though I’d take a different approach, instead of sitting back and trying to fight the wind I’d idle up to the rock pile and jump up on my trolling motor and use my Lowrance HDS 10 Gen-2 to show me a single fish and then try to catch that one fish and just try to put together a limit one bass at a time. The only problem was that I wasn’t seeing the bass any more; I knew they had to be there but I couldn’t see them. Desperate, I turned on my HydroWave unit and I started seeing fish pop up on my graph and could sit on top of them, flip my 3/4 oz. Outkast Touch Down Jig off the side of the boat and use the wind to drift the bait right past the bass’s face and within an hour I filled my limit!
On my ride home to Minnesota, I couldn’t help but be disappointed that I didn’t put two and two together earlier in the day as I could have easily been right up there in the standings. At the same time, I was so grateful that I did figure it out and was able to prevent a horrible day on the water as well as gain valuable points in the Angler of the Year standings. Even though those bass were on a crayfish bite, the sounds from the HydroWave was just enough to pull them off the rocks by about a foot so I could separate them from the bottom with my Lowrance unit and make fishing those rocks way more efficient without snagging. Like my coffee machine, the HydroWave was just enough to turn those fish from lethargic and sitting on the rocks to active and ready to eat; regardless of what their prey was.
Speaking of Minnesota, anglers from the south regions of the country already understand the importance of the HydroWave as they’ve been dealing with shad their entire angling lives. Bass anglers from my neck of the woods are slow to connect the dots. For my sake I probably shouldn’t be going into this. Like I said before, at the level I fish, I need every advantage a guy can get. Regardless, just because we don’t have shad as our main forage here in the upper MidWest, doesn’t mean HydroWave’s technology isn’t just as useful to us, in fact it’s better. The prerecorded sounds that the HydroWave omits are actually the sounds of bass actively feeding and the crunching you hear are the shad’s swim bladders crunching. The same sounds that are made when bass start putting the smack down on bluegills, it’s nature ringing the dinner bell.
The reason I say that we northerners have it better is for the simple reason that not too many savvy bass fishermen have HydroWave’s equipped on their rigs yet in this part of the country. It’s totally new to our bass and like with anything else new, bass aren’t at all conditioned to it. It’s like showing a bass that’s never seen an artificial lure in its entire life a spinnerbait for the first time. Game over.
Also, for those that are still wanting more, the rumor is that the powers that be at HydroWave are in the process of developing bluegill and crayfish sounds that will be available as an update to the already existing units. Let me be the first to tell you, if you think largemouth respond well, wait till you see how smallies react.
There’s still so much I need to learn with my HydroWave but I’m eagerly learning one bass at a time.
Posted in Blog Post

North American Bass Circuit

Lake Winnebago Chain, Osh Kosh, WI

I might as well get this write up over with as it’s not going to get any easier for me with the passing of the days. Last Saturday my buddy Rich Lindgren and I competed in the first stop of the NABC Team Circuit on east Wisconsin’s, Lake Winnebago. Though Rich and I have been friends for years, this would be the first time we didn’t compete against each other and instead climbed in the same boat and attempted to make something happen. I was pretty excited to team with Rich as I first learned a lot of my bass fishing skill from him years back when I joined his BASS federation club, Gopher Bassmasters.
We’ve both come a long way since those club days and I’d be lying if I said that we didn’t set very high expectations for ourselves heading into this event. Even though I had never been to this chain of lakes, I was confident because the largemouth bite should fall right into our wheelhouse and Rich has fished a couple pretty big events here over the years. Never this time of year but later and that should help us as we knew where they were going when they were through spawning.
We didn’t get much practice time and in hindsight probably tackled practice all wrong from the get go. Basically we drove out together the previous week and got in about a full day on Saturday with the exception of the early morning bite as we were still in route from Minne. Side note, I don’t mind driving long distances at all, in fact I like to. I’ll drive to the any lake in the country, fish for a day or two and drive back, sounds like fun, but there’s something gigantically mind numbing about driving five hours and still being in Wisconsin. I’m just saying.
The next day we awoke to thunderstorms and three inches of rain, we’re die hards so there was no stopping us from going out but practicing was tough. You really can’t see much and if you don’t get bit, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not there. So instead we spent most our time cruising around and finding more productive areas that were working the day before.
 We were also able to get out for one final practice day the Friday before the derby. We checked what we had found the weekend before which for the most part still held up but it was becoming more and more obvious that this was all pretty community. Not always a bad thing but still worrisome none the less. Basically we were targeting spawning largemouth as well as some pre and post cruisers.
With only an hour or so to go, we happened to find an area that looked like what heaven would look like to a fisherman. We found a clear water, off the map area, loaded with fish from pike, slab crappies, bluegills, more gar than I’ve seen in my whole life and probably around fifty bass anywhere from 2 pounds to 5 pounds. It was crazy! This is exactly what a tournament guy dreams of, stay on the water till the last possible second and then find the holy water just before the event.
Now with mixed emotions running through our head as well as drawing boat number 23, we had some talking to do. The gambling side to us thought maybe it be best if we ran the community stuff early in the morning and caught our 14-16 plus pounds and then sneak over to the juice and really put together a kings sack. What if we don’t get prime area in the community with the weak take off number? What if someone else found the juice and will make fresh squeezed lemonade before we ever get there? What if we have a tough day and driving home hate ourselves for not taking advantage of what we found?
You can see where our heads were at and decided we shouldn’t take any chances, skip the community and go all out in this area we had found and hopefully have it all to ourselves. When we arrived tourney morning it appeared we were the first in until we spotted some perch jerkers anchored down on one of the better areas. We politely squeezed past them and the noticed there was another tournament boat up the cut, not sure if they creeped in another way or just had an early take off number but none the less, they were ahead of us and we were fishing their seconds. Then wouldn’t you know it, out comes KVD wannabe himself blazing through the cut trolling motor on 100 talking about “they were here yesterday” and damn near bumped my boat to get out. What was gin clear water was now turning to chocolate milk fast and this area just couldn’t hold up to this kind of pressure, too shallow and too skinny. There was also a lot of people on their docks enjoying the beautiful Saturday morning catching some gills. Just too much pressure, no excuses, we should have considered that from the get go but didn’t and now was too late to go back. I did manage one nice keeper out of there but with three hours burned we left that area with just the one. We ran to the community and quickly got the feeling we were not only fishing seconds but more like thirds, fourths and fifths. Still head down and determined we worked at taking what we could get and Rich managed to bag three keepers with time dwindling down. Our hail mary pass came late in the game when we only had 4 in the box and an hour to go, we ran back to our starting spot and I managed to take one buck off a bed to fill our limit.

At weigh-in we put together 5 for a very disappointing 11.88 pounds only good enough for a 32nd place finish. The most important thing though is we definitely learned something from this event and know what we have to do better ourselves at the next one. It’s important in a team tournament to find as much water in practice as possible and fish each others strengths to maximize results. We’re not too beat up about our decision to skip community even though that’s were a lot of the big bags came from. Tournament bass fishing is about rolling the dice and hats off to those that made the right decision.
Posted in Blog Post

Bassmaster Central Open

Table Rock Lake, Branson, MO

The second stop of the 2012 Bassmaster Central Opens has come and passed and I’m definitely left with mixed emotions. First of all, this was my first time fishing on legendary Table Rock and let me tell you this lake is sent from the heavens. Easily one of the most beautiful bodies of water I’ve ever visited and I’m pretty seasoned in that department. Not only does the lake’s scenic beauty hold up to it’s reputation but the bass that inhibit the lake are plentiful and match it’s reputation of a trophy producer.

I was really excited to get down there and start breaking down this long and windy waterway that has everything to offer. You can fish your strengths here no matter if you excel at fishing deep or shallow water, there’s something for everyone.

Saturday morning I launched with my wife Bri and spent all our day fishing the Kings river arm. The morning started slow but I think that has a lot to do with me playing around with my new Power Pole Blades and trying to get tuned into them. We managed to catch a lot of fish but the overall size was concerning. I could catch spotted bass on nearly every cast along bluff bank with a personal hand-tied Outkast Finesse Jig and Bri was catching two at a time on my modified three hook Alabama Rig but again the size just wasn’t there. The most exciting part of my day was testing out the new Biovex Popper prototype and whacking spots on nearly every cast. The action of this bait is sure to be a hit. When worked it actually gives a side to side “walking” action like that of a small spook but delivers the most enticing “pop” every time you twitch your rod. My favorite detail of this new bait is that when paused, the popper actually stands upright giving that extra flare, forcing a following bass to inhale it.

At the end of the day I wasn’t to crazy about the Kings even though I knew it can produce winning sacks of fish at any given time. I also took into consideration that it was a long way from the take-off point so I rid off the Kings River that first day.

For the remainder of practice I stayed close to the dam and quickly started to put some things together. I had seen some small bass on beds the day before in the Kings so I just started picking some coves near the dam that had good looking spawning habitat and that also had the main river channel flow close to the mouth of the cove. I picked out small manageable coves and started at one point and just fished my way all the way in and back out until I came to the opposite side point. I caught and pulled on some quality bites and they were all relatively shallow. For the  most part I was flipping at shallow cover with a craw type plastic and various sized Lazer Tungsten Weights and my favorite all time hook, the Trokar 4/0 MagWorm hook. In between the cover I had success working the initial drop off from the bank throwing  a Biovex Mid Runner (Vermillion), a 1/2 oz. Biovex Stangun Spinnerbait (Chartreuse and White) and of course the good old Missouri standby, a Storm Wiggle Wart (Phantom Green Craw).

I continued to work this pattern for the rest of practice and was able to find numerous coves that all held quality fish. I added to the pattern and refined it as well and figured I could catch anywhere from 17 to 18 pounds for my best five a day. I was happy with that kind of weight but I also had some anxiety as I felt like my bite was dwindling fast. Most the fish were post spawn and on the move toward the main lake and were stopping in random bushes and laydowns along their way out of the creeks. The one thing I felt confident about was that the water had a lot of color due to an unusually long algae bloom that was present because of the early summer and the warmer temps. Table Rock is known for it’s gin clear waters and the bass are accustomed to that. I felt like the color of the water may keep them shallow and in the cover.

I took the last day of practice and went all in on some deeper water. I knew there was good fish in those coves so I stayed in that general area. It didn’t come easy for me either but I did manage to find two small rock piles literally in the middle of the lake that were about the size of my Ranger boat. They sat in 30 feet of water and the tops of the piles came up to about 25 feet. I made one cast with a hand tied Outkast 1/2 oz. Touchdown Jig and caught a 4 pound smallmouth.

Day one of the tournament started fast as I popped a keeper out of the first to bushes I came across. The key was definitely my Trokar hooks and the reason was because I still had to use lighter line as I got way more bites on 15 pound Seaguar Invizx than I could with 20 pound Seaguar so keeping them pegged throughout the brush was a must.

It wasn’t long before I was running out of water as my worries were coming true, the bite was going away from me and I was also competing for space with other competitors. After failing to scrape up a limit and no where near the weight I was seeing in practice I ran out to my rock piles and it was straight pandemonium from there. I spent the final three hours out there and probably caught close to 25 bass both smallmouth and spotted bass. I culled like crazy but for ounces instead of pounds as I just never got that big bite like I did during practice and in the end I weighed in a 5 fish limit consisting of two largemouth, 2 smallmouth and a spotted bass going 11.13 pounds and was sitting in close contention to not only claiming a check the next day but not a far cry away from the top 10.

My plan the next day was to get to that deep spot right away and see if the bigger ones would bite and if nothing else get a quick limit and then run shallow for a mega bite or two. I knew my presentation was spot on as I had to clean crayfish parts out of my boat that night, I definitely was using the right bait.

Day two started out rough and tough right away. I made it to my deep holes but the stiff 30 mph winds made them almost impossible to fish. The main problem was that the rocks were so snag filled that I couldn’t finesse the jig through them and entice bites like I could the day before. Instead I got hung on EVERY cast and with the spot being so small I would just shut down the school before they ever got going. The key with that spot was to finesse the jig until it hit a bigger boulder and then “pop” it free, that’s when I’d get bit. Instead I wasted a better part of two hours and about a dozen jigs with nothing to show for it.

Frustrated I ran shallow and did manage to catch two relatively quickly on a 1/2 oz. Biovex Stangun Spinnerbait. With only an hour or so to go and crushing thoughts of not weighing a limit I ran back to my deep haunts and this time took a different approach. I tied on a 3/4 oz. Outkast Touchdown Jig and really relied on my Lowrance electronics and Hydrowave to assist me in scratching out a limit. Basically I idled into the wind to the rocks and then jumped up on my trolling motor and set it at 100 to be able to handle the wind, I waited until I saw a fish on my sonar and then would pitch the heavier jig down to them and then drift backward bringing the jig past their face. This way I could be more efficient and would snag less knowing I’m working a smaller and obviously more productive area. A dropshot would have been more productive but I couldn’t buy a bite on one as they clearly were on a crayfish bite. The key was my Hydrowave as it actually brought the fish up just a bit so I could easily separate them from the bottom on my sonar, honestly there is so many tricks a guy can use with a Hydrowave but I’ll leave all that to my next article.

I was able to bang out a small limit in the last hour and weighed in a disappointing 9.03 pounds for an ultimate finish of 81st place out of 168. I was disappointed as I once again proved I belong on this stage but same as the last event on Lewisville, I was so close on day 1 and just didn’t get it done on day 2. When you’re that close your priorities quickly change and ultimately not meeting those left me disappointed. I can say that I fished as hard as I have ever fished before and saw another part of my game get even better, great signs for things to come. I had a game plan, a good one at that and just didn’t get the big bite like I had in practice. That’s just tournament bass fishing. Good news was two semi solid finishes moved me up in the points but the goal of qualifying for the Bassmaster Elites is almost long gone for 2012. Now I focus on continuing to work and hone my skills for an awesome 2013 campaign on the Bassmaster Opens. I still have a shot at qualifying for the Bassmaster Classic at Fort Gibson, OK in September so you can bet your ass I’ll be leaving it all on the water there. Grand lake in February would mean the world to me but I got my hands full that’s for sure. Bring it on! I’m a competition junkie all the way.

For now, I have a HUGE tournament schedule shaping up here in the north country. Up next is the North American Bass event held on the Winnebago Chain in east Wisconsin. Should set up for a whack fest! I’m also filling fast for guide trips so get in touch with me right away if you’d like to take advantage. I’m always looking for a good time on the water so I’ll be sure to work you in! See you on the water!!

Posted in Blog Post

Bassmaster Central Open Preview

Table Rock Lake, Branson, MO

I’m getting very close to heading south to partake in the second stop on the Bassmaster Central Open Tour and will be putting in work on legendary Table Rock Lake. Every serious bass angler has dreams and aspirations of fishing this well known body of water, so with that a lot of my fellow competitors already have years of knowledge of what it will take to excel to a top finish. I on the other hand do not, in fact the only experience I have on this beast of a lake was a few weeks back when I made the hike down for a long weekend to get a bit more familiar. All this means is it’s time to put on my work hat, pull my boot straps tight and put my chin down in search of winning fish. As Jason Aldean says, “that’s my kinda party!” I like the unexpected, in fact I prefer it as I seem to find a way to rise to the occasion when I have no preconceived notions on what I need to do. I rely on instincts and my bass fishing prowess are what have excelled me in this sport in my mere 5 years of competition.

I try not to do to much homework either as it has shot me in the foot more than it’s ever helped me out. I gather some info, mostly public stuff like general water information. I know that the lake runs gin clear for the most part and that spring rains can and will effect that. I know it’s a deep fishery with world class largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass all throughout it. Table Rock sits nestled into the Ozark Mountains and vegetation is null throughout the entire fishery. There’s three main rivers that make up the waterway in the Kings, James and White Rivers and figuring out where these watersheds come from will give me a good idea of what to expect and how the fish will relate in these sections of the lake.

Table Rock has a reputation of being a do it all type of fishery, meaning a guy can catch ’em anyway he desires. I may have to get up close and personal and swim Outkast Swim Jigs through the brush and around the docks or throw the Biovex Wake Bait enticing big bites from schooling fish. If push comes to shove, I may need to bust out the G Loomis NRX Spinning Rods spooled with 6 lb. Seaguar Tatsu Fluorocarbon and use my Lowrance electronics to dropshot toads out of the many planted bushes that have been placed all over the depths of the lake. No matter what it takes I pride myself on being a versatile angler and am not afraid to learn on the fly.

This is the mid way point of the Central Opens and a strong finish here could really catapult me to the top of the Angler of the Year points and give me a direct shot at qualifying for the Bassmaster Elite Series, a tough task to say the least but one I’ve literally been dreaming of everyday since I was a little kid. I plan to take advantage of every opportunity I can create.

No more time to talk shop, it’s time to put up or shut up! I also have to go get my new Power Pole Blades installed so I really do have to go! LOVING LIFE!!!

Posted in Blog Post

Full Throttle Team Event

Mississippi River Pools 3, 4 and 5, Red Wing, MN

I’m happy to say that my tournament season is fully underway! This past weekend I got the opportunity to fish the Full Throttle Team Tourney with a good friend and one of Minnesota’s best bass anglers, Andy Young. The event was held on one of my favorite bodies of water in the Mississippi River.

As much as I’d like to get into the details of what patterns worked and which ones didn’t but I can’t as Andy has another upcoming tournament there in the next couple weeks.

Practice went very well and we knew if we had a run and gun approach we should easily be able to catch 15 pounds and though we caught some nice ones during practice, we knew that we would need to capitalize on a few big bites. We figured it’d take 18 to 20 pounds to have a chance of winning and thought if we ran all our spots we may just find ourselves with that kind of weight.

Game day turned up exactly what we thought and though we put together 15 pounds we never did get that big bite needed to push us to the top. We weighed in 5 for 15.28 lbs only good enough for an 8th place finish. The winners put together an impressive 5 largemouths for 19.1 pounds. Even though it didn’t turn out the way we had hoped we still had a great day on the water and after some good river fishing I’m more than ready to hit the road and try to put together something great on Table Rock!

Posted in Blog Post

Getting the Kinks Out

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!

Posted in Blog Post

Map Your Way to the Northwest Sport Show!

Ever since I was a little kid I get excited about the return of the Northwest Sport Show. I remember like it was yesterday, my uncle coming to pick me up early in the morning because “the early bird gets the worm” and my mother handing me thirty dollars as I ran out the door “in case I find anything that would look good in my tackle box”.

The Sport Show meant a lot to me every year. I’d see the pros with their jersey’s demonstrating the newest baits in the bass tank. I remember all the brand new shiny boats that I could only stare at and dream of one day when I was bigger I was going to get one of my very own or the G Loomis fishing poles that I eagerly saved my allowance for. I’d always get a bag from one of the vendors and you’d think it was a personal competition to make sure I filled that bag with as much stuff as I possibly could. New tackle! Put it in the bag. Ranger boats new boat catalog! Put it in the bag. Resort pamphlets from Vancouver to Saskatchewan to Mexico! Put them in the bag. Are you kidding me? That guy with that new ShamWow towel can do some amazing cleaning tricks! Mom needs to know about this! Brochures, in the bag!

I’d spend the entire day with my uncle and we’d talk fishing and hunting and tell stories, fabricated ones of course we are fisherman. It was great and at the end of the day we’d leave full on whatever they were cooking on the Big Green Egg, even though it’s meant for samples to showcase the green grill, I think we used it more like a buffet. By the drive home we were both overly anxious to get out and actually catch some fish.

Fifteen years later and now I’m all grown up and still have that same excitement as I did when I was a kid. The roles have changed though, now I’m that fishing pro wearing the jersey and promoting the products that have helped me get to where I’m at today. This weekend I’ll be spending most of my time working the Navionics booth and promoting their new products and apps that are taking the fishing and boating world by storm. It’s no secret that Navionics has been consistently pumping out the best lake maps for the entire country including maps for ocean and Great Lakes fisherman a like. They’ve recently begun releasing over 1,000 totally revamped lakes throughout the country and we’ll have a list of the new northern lakes available at our booth.

The past couple of years the hot talk with the consumers visiting the Navionics stands was the development of the Navionics app for smart phones that literally has taken hand held GPS systems out of the game. Now with the introduction of the Navionics NewsStand that comes with every Navionics App download, people can also read up on boating and fishing articles from some of the world’s best.

This year is especially exciting at the Navionics booth as they’ll be doing a special Sport Show promotion. Anyone who buys a Navionics NEW Marine & Lakes USA or HotMaps Premium Special Edition Midwest States chip at the show from any of our dealers can come to our booth #734 with proof of purchase and will gift you your choice of the iPhone/iPad Navionics app or our PC app! Also, anyone who stops by the booth can register to win a brand new Lowrance HDS 5 just for stopping by, no purchase necessary at all! Just come by and say hi.

Speaking of Lowrance, I’m chomping at the bit to be able to show people the magic that is when you combine Navionics Mapping with Lowrance’s new StructureMap that is available in their new HDS Gen-2 line of fish finders! This allows you to overlay all the structure around you on top of your Navionics Map. Making finding fish related structure a breeze and completely eliminating the guess work. Whether your a die-hard tournament angler or just planning a fun family fishing trip, this setup will making your days on the water a success. There’s no denying that Lowrance is continually developing the mold to which the competition can’t break!

Even though these days I spend most of my time working at the show, I still find a way to sneak over to that Big Green Egg and see what’s on the grill and don’t think for a second that I don’t still have the habit of filling a bag full of brochures of all the things I just have to have and though my Mom may now be off the hook, my wife Bri get’s the pleasure of seeing and hearing all the “stuff” that I just have to have. Unfortunately for Bri my taste may have also gotten a bit more expensive from that of a 14 year old. The days of the ShamWow Rag and little fishing float boats are in the past, now were dealing with Lowrance Graphs, Power Poles, RV’s and hey, how’s about a brand new shiny Ranger Bass Boat Bri? Does it help that it’ll be sparkly and pretty?

To all, I hope to see you at the show! Be sure to stop by the booth, say hello or simply talk shop. See you there!

Posted in Blog Post

Tackling Terminal Tackle

Spring is in the air! Actually, it’s only mid March in Minnesota yet it feels way more like summer than it does spring, really it should feel like winter but no complaints here, the lakes in the metro area are ice free! This weather is sweet!

I’ve been chomping at the bit to be fishing ever since I got back from competing in the Bassmaster Open event down on Lake Lewisville near Dallas, Texas in early February. I’ve gotten away a few times to a couple different Minnesota “secret” open-water spots and the fishing was so good it drove my anticipation for ice-out through the roof! To pass the time, I’ve been going through my tackle and restoring my old and most favorite baits.

Rust is killer to your tackle and I have so many baits that in my heart are truly irreplaceable. I have old pre-Rapala Wiggle Warts, high end Japanese tackle and other hand crafted crankbaits. I also have proven winners such as the Biovex Deep Runner and Biovex Wake that I have so much confidence in that I can’t bear to see these baits get ruined. I need to show them love so they produce for me when I need them the most!

I did a lot of research on restoring overused or old baits. This is a very simple process that requires very little expense, basically you’ll need just a few things for cleaning and replacing terminal components. Basic equipment includes a Eagle Claw Lazer Split Ring Pliers, a fingernail clipper, white distilled vinegar, Huggies Natural Care Wipes and paper towel. I also had the new Trokar treble hooks in both the round bend and wide gap in several sizes 2, 4 and 6, as well as Eagle Claw’s Split Rings in size 3 and Eagle Claw Lazer Oval Split Rings in size 3 as well.

The first step is emptying all baits out of their respected boxes and thoroughly expecting each and every one including the box as well for any signs of rust. Usually hooks and split rings are the first to show signs of rust but if left for a long period of time, the rust will actually move to the body of the bait and other baits in close proximity as well as the tackle box itself.

The Eagle Claw Lazer Split Ring Pliers is an excellent tool for removing all tainted hooks and split rings. I keep one of these in my boat as at all times as it makes switching trebles on the fly a breeze. Next I fold over some paper towel and generously apply vinegar and I use this to thoroughly clean each and every bait and then leave it sit to dry. I also take that same vinegar rag and clean out every compartment in my tackle trays. It’s important to leave these sit out over night to dry thoroughly. There’s also a few decisions to make as vinegar will work extremely well at cleaning and counteracting rust but it will not completely remove it. Since the rust is usually fed by cheap hooks and split rings, removing them should do the job but if a bait is just too eaten by rust it’s best to get rid of it all together. This holds true for the tackle storage box as well, if it has a lot of signs of rust, get rid of it. It’s probably time you flipped the extra ten bucks and bought yourself some new ones anyways.

I use vinegar because it’s an excellent cleaning agent and it’s environmentally friendly but also won’t leave long lasting scents on your baits. I’m very weary of chemical cleaners as they could leave a bad scent or possibly even ruin the finish of the bait. After much searching I found Huggies Natural Care Baby Wipes to be a scent free wet wipe that doubles up as an excellent crankbait cleaner and polisher. I thoroughly clean the baits and polish them up with the wipes and leave to again dry overnight. I do the same with whatever tackle storage containers I deem safe for future use. It’s important to again leave everything out to dry overnight as moisture is one of the reasons your precious plugs got rust covered in the first placed.

This brings me to another point, though moisture is probably the most likely candidate for rust it’s not the only one, cheap components are equally to blame. In fact, I’ve had some old school crankbaits that never have left their original box and hooks have already begun to rust. This is just a sign of cheap hardware and though I won’t throw any present tackle manufacturer’s under the bus, let’s just say it’s not all old bait companies that are guilty of this. Even though a present day “popular” company employs cheap components doesn’t mean they don’t produce a great bait, you just need to pay attention and have the proper equipment to fix this situation. This is also why I always carry extra Lazer Trokar hooks and Eagle Claw Split Rings with me every time I’m on the water as I will also need them for when a hook goes bad or dull. Even a company like Biovex who uses top of the line components can’t always help when a hook gets hung on a rock and having spare Trokar hooks fixes that problem before I loose a fish over it.

Once everything is fully dry, the next step would be putting the baits back together with quality components. I start by putting on new Eagle Claw Split Rings, generally I always go with size #3. For the line tie, I use Eagle Claw Lazer Oval Split Rings as I think they give the bait a little better action and again I use a size #3.

When it comes to putting on new hooks I really like the new short shank wide gap trebles that Trokar just released. Fish bite these hooks and stay pinned all the way to the boat plus the short shank allows me to size up my hooks by a full size. The only exception to this is with topwater and jerkbaits when instead I tend to favor the Trokar Round Bend Treble. The reason for this is that these baits are notorious for bass “slapping” them instead of actually engulfing them. Crankbaits are generally eaten when dredging bottom or ricocheting off of an object and bass tend to eat them whole making the Trokar Wide Gap and excellent choice. However, being that topwater and jerkbaits are more of an open water presentation, I think bass tend to kill the bait first by slapping at it and that’s where the round bend will do an excellent job of stapling the fish from it’s mouth to it’s tail.

Well that’s all for now! I got a boat to get full of fresh new pimped out crankbaits for my upcoming weekend down on Table Rock Lake for a little pre pre practice for the upcoming Bassmaster Open held there the end of April! With ice-out on most of the Twin Cities lakes I can finally say once again, see you on the water!

Posted in Blog Post

Heaven on Earth

Imagine catching huge bass, one right after the other and catching them in ways you could only dream of. Now snap back to reality, it’s February in Minnesota and the chance of catching lunker largemouth on swimbaits or sight fishing 5 pounders on a dropshot would be heavenly.

Well for myself and good friends Ryan Brant and Paul Coffey, heaven opened its beautiful doors on us for just a day. The air temp when we made our first casts was a bone chilling 8 degrees and though it never did get warmer than the mid twenties, I never felt the cold for a second. Something about slow rolling a big old swimbait and having it get jacked up by a giant bass just warms my insides! Honestly it was one of the best fishing days of our lives. So good I couldn’t find the words to explain so I’ll just let a few of the pictures do the talking.

Posted in Blog Post

Bassmaster Classic Preview

**Photo courtesy of James Overstreet and

The top 49 anglers are only hours away from throwing down on Louisiana’s rat nest known as the Red River and will be competing for the most coveted title in all of bass fishing, the Bassmasters Classic!

The story lines are plentiful.

Skeet Reese, who won the Classic three years ago on these very waters will not be able to defend his title after having a poor 2011 season, he failed to qualify. A tough pill to swallow given the 2010 season that is arguably the best season ever put together by an angler. The theories of what happened to Skeet in ’11 are plentiful but fishing is fishing and things sometimes just don’t come together. I’m sure there’s multiple explanations for why Skeet is on the outside looking in but I’m confident we’ll see him at the top of his game in 2012.

KVD, what can I say? The man’s to good to even refer to him by his real name and now is only known as a 3 lettered fishing god who simply toys with mere mortals. Littered with credentials, he’s earned 6 Angler of the Year titles and won 4 Bassmaster Classics all while racking up over 5 million in winnings alone. Three times a charm right? KVD won the last two Classics respectively and now will have the chance to win his third in a row. The Jedi Zen Master, Rick Clunn had that exact same reality once in his studded career but after going back to back, he came up just shy by placing second. Impressive to say the least but don’t think KVD will finish in second, that spot is usually held for Aaron Martens. You know KVD’s eyes are only set on first, a scary thought for the rest of the field.

Speaking of Aaron Martens, the California Kid is one of my favorite anglers and though I poked at the obvious, 4 second place finishes in Classic competition is in my mind the best resume under Clunn and Van Dam’s. I think this might be the one where he finally claims the top spot and to be honest, there’s no one who deserves it more. My life goal is to qualify for a Classic and Martens is not only a every year contender, he’s threatened the throne more than any other. If he’s the one to hold the trophy over his head, we’ll all get the honor of sharing the emotion with him.

Greg Hackney, the local who’s fishing in his fourth hometown Classic has got his hands full or should I say mind full trying to deal with the lost opportunities of the past. Every serious bass angler dreams of competing in a Bassmaster Classic on their home water, yet the Hack Attack has had that opportunity 3 times before and watched them all slip away. I’ve spoken with him in person about this a couple times and you can’t help but notice how bad it bugs him and how ridiculously bad he wants it. Truth is when you know too much about a body of water it’s easy to catch yourself chasing your tail instead of staying in one or two spots and grinding it out. This year could be the exception, besides the fact that Hackney’s one of the best bass fisherman to ever walk the planet, the word on the water is that the Red River is fishing tough and the clean water is at a minimum. With anglers expecting to be fishing on top of each other and thinning out the fish, Hack’s knowledge of the area could come into play when needing a small out of the way spot to produce a few key bites. I wouldn’t bet against him.

Mike Iaconelli is always a threat anywhere bass swim and his credentials in the crayfish state is mind boggling. Take Skeet Reese out of the 2009 Classic and Iaconelli would be holding his second Classic title in Louisiana. To bad for him, Skeet was in the 2009 field but won’t be now. Will Ike find that same magic? He’s been fishing on top of his game and has some added motivation in that he’s been so close in numerous other events in the past couple years. When the bite’s tough, he’s all the better. No matter what, if he’s on ’em I’m sure I’ll be able to hear it all the way up here in Minnesota! Stay you Ike, we wouldn’t want you any other way!

Now that I’ve talked about the numerous elephants in the room, what about the dark horses? I should be smacked for referring to Denny Brauer as a dark horse as the man’s truly a legend but after being a “every year” classic contender through the 80’s and 90’s, his appearances have been less than spotty over the past decade. What’s in the past is in the past and unfortunately for the competition, Denny’s there and could be flippin’ and pitchin’ his way to his second title.

From legendary status to spring chicken. Brandon Palaniuk has earned his name amongst the best by being thrown to the wolves last year on the Delta but ended by making the cut and banging boats with KVD and the rest of the top 10 on the final day. Brandon came up through the Federation but has since proven that there’s a smooth transition from amateur to professional. His Federation win on this very body of water has got to give him some added motivation as well.

Someone is going to earn the right to hold the trophy high come Sunday and will have earned it against a stacked field that all deserve it. Good luck to the entire 2012 Bassmaster Classic Field!

Posted in Blog Post


Lake Lewisville, Lewsiville, TX

Lake Looserville, Lake Sewerville and the Mud Hole where just some of the names I heard when people where referencing Lake Lewisville just north of Dallas, Texas. In fact, during my week and a half stay down there I heard many other choice names given to the lakes from the locals but I should probably keep this a family site.

Regardless of it’s reputation, I was more than thrilled to be there competing in my first nationally recognized professional event. I knew the bite would be tough well before I signed up but also knew that when dealing with Texas everything is bigger and the bass in Lewisville is no exception. The facts be told, Lewisville is a tough fishery that sees its fair share of pressure but I don’t think anyone could foresee just how rough and tough it was going to treat us while we were throwing everything on the line for the second spot in the 2013 Bassmaster Classic.

Texas as a whole has been facing a record drought and the lack of rain had Lewsiville marked at over six feet low. Days before we arrived for practice the Dallas/Fort Worth area got pounded with heavy rains that raised the water level to just a foot shy of full pool. Texas, as well as the rest of the United States, has been experiencing an unusually warm winter which changed as Mother Nature got wind of a big tournament getting ready to take place and instead delivered us a wicked cold front. The end result was high, muddy and cold water, not the most ideal situations for an already tough fishery.

Practice started very slow and honestly never really got good as bites were few and far between. As the realization of a possible skunk become more and more a reality, I found myself digging to the depths of my boat to find whatever was going to give me that edge. As a self proclaimed “dragger”, I’m often more comfortable locating key areas and slowly milking it for everything it’s worth. I soon realized that this was a recipe for disaster as I was having real problems locating more than one fish in a single area and with the water color being the exact same as that of chocolate milk, bass didn’t have the visibility to see the bait unless it smacked them directly in the face. I shifted my focus to forcing a reaction bite and was rewarded a bit better, they still weren’t jumping into the boat but bites were bites and the ones that were biting had some pretty decent size to them.

My main weapon of choice was a 3/8 oz. Biovex Stangun Spinnerbait (Black), the dark color helped them locate it in the dirty water. I found most of my fish holding in or around small stickups that had grown during the low water period and now had a foot of water on them. Finding these areas around some sort of rock was even better as the rocks retained more heat and warmed the water by maybe a degree but it was just enough to hold these weary bass.

I also practiced around a lot of deep water as I really wanted a few key areas that I could slow down and capitalize on a school of fish. I used the heck out of my Lowrance Units and Navionics Chips looking for that perfect sweet spot and it wasn’t until late in the day on Tuesday that I found a point that held an immense amount of baitfish and an awesome rock spine that jetted out into deep water. The coolest thing was I was able to use my Lowrance DownScan and actually see bass school shad. It was absolutely amazing to see but getting these fish to bite was the most impossible thing ever and yes, I even through the Alabama Rig at them with still no result. I instead focused my efforts at the rock cropping as I figured it may hold inactive bass. I caught a short off it relatively quickly which even though wasn’t the required 14 inches, it was still a bass. The next morning I wanted to see if I had indeed found anything and on about my third or fourth cast with a carolina rig, I set on a solid 4 pounder! This gave me a little bit of confidence that at least I had a little something that could work out if the shallow fish didn’t with the intense cold front that was apparent for the tournament days.

**Bass schooling shad on a deep point with the use of Lowrance DownScan.

I drew boat 10 at registration and though most anglers weren’t on anything strong enough to feel as though they needed an early draw, I felt as though the early bite on my point would be very beneficial to my overall success. Unfortunately for me, the point never produced a bite and after burning two hours up I decided to start running shallow. I knew blanking was a real possibility in this event and even when the hours went by without a single bite, I still stayed focused, kept my composure and put my head down knowing this was going to be a grind. With no fish in the boat and only about an hour left in the day, I decided to leave it all out there on my point and go for broke. Fortunately for me I was rewarded with a small spotted bass that measured just over 14 inches. Nothing to write home to Mom about but that lone fish really took the pressure off. If you fail to weigh a fish in the BASSMASTER Opens, you receive zero points for the event, which really hurts in the overall Angler of the Year points race. I weighed in at a mere 1 fish for 1.5 pounds and found myself sitting in 96th place out of 178 boats. I’d naturally think that I had shot myself in the foot with that disappointing showing but 81 anglers blanked and I was a mere 3 or 4 pounds out of the top 12. We were truly in an all time BASS record tournament for the lowest weights ever!

Day two I once again found myself fishing my rock point but with the 30 mile an hour north wind that was pummeling the area I was forced to move on as it was truly unfishable. I went shallow and since my spinnerbait didn’t produce the day before I switched up to Chatterbait (Green Pumpkin) and matched it up with a Zoom Speed Craw (Okeechobee Craw) as a trailer. I was able to catch a good keeper right away in the morning which gave me the added drive I really needed on a tough Lake Lewisville. Though my pattern of 5000 casts per 1 bite held up and I again took to the scales with only 1 single largemouth bass. I weighed in at 2.8 pounds for a combined 2 day total of 3 pounds and 13 ounces and finished 68th out of 178. I seriously couldn’t believe how tough the fishing was as more anglers blanked on day two than had caught fish. A BASS record for sure.

I had a lot of mixed emotions when it was all said and done regarding my finish. I was so close to the money and was only 5 or 6 pounds away from making the top 12 that I couldn’t help but be disappointed. I try to remind myself of my original goal that I had set for the season of making the top 50 in the points race and growing as a professional bass angler on the national level. I got off to an excellent start. I realize to make this my career, I need to crawl before I can walk and it’s definitely a marathon not a sprint. I gained much confidence by finishing in the upper 35% and edging out numerous Bassmaster Elite Anglers and FLW Pros. I proved to myself that I can play at this level and now want it even more than ever. I know with hard work and discipline, my future will be bright! Now I’m just chomping at the bit to go out there and do it again! Next up, Table Rock Lake! One of the best fisheries in the nation, bring it on!!

I’d like to thank my boy, Strike King pro Brent Homan for a great week as well as my new friends Carlos and Denise for their hospitality as they truly made me feel right at home. The red beans and rice was to die for man and the brownies and ice cream was the exact thing needed after grueling days on the water. Thanks again!

Posted in Blog Post

Makeover for

Hopefully when you checked into my website you noticed the we’re sporting a fresh, new look for the 2012 season. I wanted to showcase Biovex, my title sponsor as well as the rest of my sponsors who without there support, I never would be packing my boat and heading south to throw down in the Bassmaster Central Opens.

Over the years I’ve taken great pride in the Blog portion of my website and am looking forward to continuing to do so well into the future. Since day one, I’ve tried to always give a true and personal look into what all goes into chasing my dream of competing on the largest stages of professional bass fishing. I openly wear my heart on my sleeve and try very hard to portray both the ups and the downs that I face on a regular basis. I’m very thankful to see first hand all the return visitors that continue to follow what I have going on. This started as a personal journal if you will, or as personal as a public blog can be. I’m still amazed by how fast it is growing and I receive emails all the time with people commenting on what they’ve read and personally showing their support which is equally rewarding as it is humbling.

Now that we have so many followers I plan to start doing some fun giveaways and spread the love around to my readers. Biovex, a leader in Japanese Tackle has graciously agreed to donate boat loads of tackle that we’ll be giving away in different contests. Biovex will soon be releasing their products here in the U.S. and the buzz has been overwhelming! I can personally attest to how well these baits perform. They’re the real deal! I’ve been working with them on designing some high quality and even higher performing baits unlike anything else on the market. The amount of detail that goes into designing and manufacturing these baits is second to none and though I’ve been fortunate enough to use these baits to cash paychecks for years, I’m excited to see others get that same opportunity!

Currently we’re looking for some contest ideas to get the ball rolling. If anyone has any ideas that we could use please send me an email at or leave your contest idea on my Facebook page and I’ll add your name to the first drawing for a SWEET Biovex tackle package!

All for now, I got a boat to get tournament ready and unfortunately snow to shovel off the driveway so I can physically get the boat out of the garage. Got to love a Minnesota winter!!

Posted in Blog Post

Tackle Update: Lowrance Introduces Gen 2

I’m happy to announce that I’ve teamed up with Lowrance, the leader in fishing and boating electronics! It honestly couldn’t have come at a better time being that Lowrance just rocked the water world with the release of their new HDS Gen 2. This is perfect timing as now I’ll be fully rigged up and ready to breakdown new and unknown water competing in the 2012 Bassmaster Opens.

Lowrance has always been known for producing the best sonar capabilities on the market. In the past few years they’ve made awesome technological advances in releasing StructureScan as well as introducing the fastest GPS module in the LGC-4000 that actually pings the satellite an impressive five times per second, making course tracking spot on.

Now they’ve really set the standard by introducing StructureMap which allows an angler to combine Navionics mapping data to StructureScan to get a real-time view of the lakes contours as well as the actual lake bottom both underneath and off to the sides of the boat.

After working the Warner’s Dock Open House this past weekend, the buzz with the attendees was terrific and the response was even better. Lots of heads being turned with this kind of new technology!

Lowrance also made the new Gen 2 the fastest chartplotters ever by drastically beefing up its internal processor which provides lightening-fast chart updates, panning and zooming, plus faster start-up and menu options.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions regarding Lowrance or Navionics options or order yours today at Warner’s Dock!

Posted in Blog Post

2012 Bassmaster Central Opens Preview

It’s official! I received notification from B.A.S.S. that I was granted entry into the 2012 Bassmaster Central Opens to compete against some of the best bass fisherman this country has to offer. A challenge I’m not taking lightly but an opportunity I’m taking very seriously.

I’ve been working very hard doing my homework and preparing myself so that when I pull into Lewisville, Texas in a mere month, all I’ll have to focus on is the fishing itself. I’m trying to familiarize myself with bodies of water I’ve never been to by utilizing what I can find on the internet and studying my maps.

Here’s a quick overview of the 2012 schedule.

Lake Lewisville, TX – February 9th-11th

Lake Lewisville located just north of the Dallas/Ft. Worth metropolis will be hosting the first stop of the year. This time last year, B.A.S.S. had this exact same event here and it’s fair to say the lake fished tough. The weather was cold, windy and wet but that’s what one should come to expect when fishing north Texas in February. I myself am planning for the same weather and in many ways would like to see the lake fish the same while I’m down there. I’m not there for a warm vacation, I’m there to compete and being cold is what a guy from Minnesota is used to this time of year.

Last season, Mark Tucker won the event with a 3 day total of 45.15 pounds, 20th place was 12.6 pounds and the last check getter sitting in 40th place caught a mere two day total of 9.9 pounds. A tough bite to say the least and big bites were few and far between. Just because there weren’t many lunkers weighed at the scales doesn’t mean they don’t exist. In 2005, Kevin Van Dam caught an 11 pound 13 ounce monster on this very lake setting the lake record. What’s astonishing is that the record went on to be beat 3 more times in a matter of months until eventually settling out at a whopping 13.63 pounds!

Generally the lake is host to much of Dallas/Ft. Worth’s recreational boating throughout the summer months but being this event falls in the heart of the winter, my guess is the only pressure this lake will be under is heavy fishing pressure.

Table Rock Lake, MO – April 26th-28th

Table Rock, known for it’s deep, clear water is a legendary fishery for both largemouth, spotted and smallmouth bass alike. Generally known as a deep fisherman’s lake, April could very well set up as a sight fishing event as bass should be bundled up on beds preparing to spawn.

All I know is that I’ll be needing to have my dual Power Poles installed by then as well as my Lowrance HDS-10 unit keyed up ready to mark waypoints on all the fish I find on beds.

I’m excited to bring my knowledge of Minnesota finesse fishing to the ultimate finesse style lake east of California. Table Rock has a reputation of being a light-line fishery and though I wouldn’t mind jacking ’em up with 20 pound Seaguar Fluorocarbon, I won’t hesitate to bust out the 8 pound Tatsu either.

Fort Gibson Lake, OK – September 6th-8th

I don’t know much of any of these three lakes and I know even less about Fort Gibson, which is probably why it’s the one I’m excited about the most. I prefer to fish water I’ve never been to as it seems to have away of surprising me at the scales. Something about zero preconceived notions aids me in finding and catching fish.

What I do know is Tommy Biffle’s the man, and he just so happens to reside on this lake and recently won the Bassmaster Elite Series event that was held here. Tommy felt the need to instead of practice, mow is yard and still ran away with the title.

Tommy caught them in away I’m very familiar with and actually prefer to catch them on any given day. Though Mr. Biffle ran away with the title, the rest of his competitors still managed to put together impressive bags even with only a very limited practice. Meaning Ft. Gibson Lake is looking to be alive and well.

I still got much to accomplish before jumping on Interstate 35 South, literally I get on 35 right behind my house and don’t exit till I cross Lewisville Lake in Northern Texas, some 15 hours away. I can’t wait to move south! The gas isn’t cheap but competing against the best bass fisherman in February when Minnesota is frozen over, now that’s gotta be priceless!

Posted in Blog Post

G Loomis Goes Green!

Right before the holidays G Loomis introduced the new NRX Green Series to their already stellar line of fishing rods. I myself have used the original NRX rods for about two years now ever since the very first supply was made available and I can honestly tell you there isn’t a better classic graphite rod on the market. With that said, there wasn’t any changes made to the “Green” NRX with the exception of the cosmetic look so I wasn’t exactly jumping out of my seat to run out and get my hands on these new green rods……until now!

I’m excited to report that the online tackle outlet, The Hooked Up Tackle has made the G Loomis NRX Green Series just a tad greener by offering a recycling program where you can trade out your old rods for stiff discounts on the new NRX Green Series Rods. Trade-in any G Loomis, St. Croix, Daiwa, Shimano or Dobyns rod and get 75% of the original retail value of your trade-in rod towards a new NRX Green rod! Now that’s what I call recycling!

I have dabbled with other rods and pushed away sponsorships from other reputable rod makers through the years and still label myself a die hard Loomis guy. I have zero affiliation with the company except for my complete trust in their products. There’s surely other great rods out there but I will fight to the end to say they’re all chasing the mold that G Loomis continues to break!

The Hooked Up Tackle is offering a great promotion this holiday season, treat yourself and see why I depend on these rods day in and day out! Happy Holidays!

Posted in Blog Post

Tackle Update: Introducing the Biovex Stangun Hyper 7 Spinnerbait

I’ve been receiving email after email wondering about the availability of the highly anticipated Biovex Stangun Hyper 7 Spinnerbait ever since my Bass Angler Magazine article was published this Fall showcasing the benefits of this unique bait. I’m excited to announce that Biovex, a top Japanese tackle manufacturer, has plans to make their products available to the U.S. market very soon, looking at mid 2012 to release their lineup.

The Stangun Real Hyper 7 is unique because of it’s most obvious feature, all seven of its willow blades. This spinnerbait is so intriguing because it resembles a small school of baitfish instead of just one or two single fish. For proof, look at the sensation the Alabama Rig cast on the entire bass fishing community. We’ve been throwing single paddle tail swimbaits for years now with modest success but add five paddle tails on a single rig and all pandemonium breaks out. In similar fashion, we’ve been throwing spinnerbaits for decades if not a better part of a century and have shared that same modest success. Now add in the appealing schooling sensation that the Hyper 7 delivers and hold on, we’ve broke the mold!

I personally was drawn into the Biovex line of baits because of the original Stangun line of spinnerbaits. These spinnerbaits are a direct reflection of exactly what you come to expect from the entire Biovex line, innovative and improved action technology coupled with high detail, super realistic designs.

For more information on the Biovex Stangun Hyper 7 Spinnerbait please read my article in the Fall edition of Bass Angler Magazine or email me directly at Being that so many have shown early interest in the release date for the Hyper 7 to the U.S. market, I will be doing some giveaway contests in the very near future. Check back for more information next week or follow me on Facebook and Twitter to get your chance of being one of the first to whack a big one on the Biovex Stangun Hyper 7 Spinnerbait!

Posted in Blog Post

The Stars are Aligning

The anxiety is ridiculous as I wait for word on whether I’m in or not for the 2012 Bassmaster Central Opens. I’m registered and my deposit has been cashed but it’s a waiting game from here. I’m excited to step up my game to a bigger stage and I know in my heart I’m ready for the all the challenges that come with it.

My main goal for the season is to make the top 50 in the Angler of the Year points. I’m a competitor, there’s no denying that, I work endlessly everyday to put myself in position to accomplish these stiff goals I’ve put on myself. Though I aim to win each and every event I sign up for, it’s important for me to set long term goals as well. Longevity is key in this sport and as I make the transition from semi pro to full on touring pro it’ll take patience and perseverance to reach the heights of professional bass fishing.

As if I needed added motivation, BASS announced that the 2013 Bassmaster Classic will be held at Grand Lake, in northeastern Oklahoma. With the exception of Lake Minnetonka, Grand Lake is the lake I know the most. I’m slowly coming to the realization that I may be getting the opportunity to qualify for the Bassmaster Classic and knowing it will be on a lake I love to fish, really gets me jacked at the chance!

For now I go with the preparation makes perfect approach. I’m banking on the fact that I’ll get in and preparing accordingly. If I don’t then I’ll just have to adjust and look at other avenues to get to where I’m determined to go. I also have my eye on the FLW Central Everstarts, especially the event at LaCrosse, WI. It’s nice that big name tournaments are starting to creep closer and closer to the north.

Bri and I head down to Alabama as well as Tennessee soon to do some future scouting! We’re excited to say the least!

Happy belated turkey day!

Posted in Blog Post

Gearing for the Bassmaster Opens

Today is an exciting day for me but a day that also comes with much anxiety. This morning I officially registered for the 2012 Bassmaster Central Opens Pro Division.

This is just the next step but one that could potentially catapult me into the top ranks of professional bass fishing. It’s an anxious time for me to say the least, just cause I registered doesn’t mean I’m in. I did everything I could to give myself the best shot at it but it’s just not as easy as signing up. I won’t know for sure if I’m in for another 4-6 weeks, which will be only one month before the first event kicks off on Lake Lewisville in Texas. There’s a lot of anglers that want in and unless you’re an Elite Series angler, a top 50 from the previous year or have a BASS title sponsor exemption, then you simply get put on a waiting list, first come first serve. I was early in getting my registration in so we’ll just have to see.

Regardless, tournament mode starts now. My aim is to plan for success so preparation is first on my mind. I’m not setting very lofty goals for my first season fishing at the national professional level. Instead, I’ve aimed my goals at being competitive. I want this for a career, so my main goal is to qualify to fish next season by making the top 50 in the angler of the year points. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll work to win, I’m just too competitive to not think big, but at the same time my goal is to learn and grow to be a dominate force, so for now I’m trying to stay realistic.

I also plan to fish other events this year like the FLW Everstart Series but I need to wait and see how the Opens shake out, then I’ll put together the rest of my schedule.

Here’s the schedule for the 2012 Bassmaster Central Opens.

Lake Lewisville, TX – February 9th-11th, 2012
Table Rock Lake, MO – April 26th-28th, 2012
Fort Gibson Lake, OK – September 6th-8th, 2012

All for now! Wish me luck!

Posted in Blog Post

Aiming for the Record

Most of Minnesota’s outdoor enthusiasts will be headed up north to partake in the opening weekend of deer hunting season. This bassaholic will also be headed to the north woods but not to hunt whitetail, instead to try to break the Minnesota state largemouth record. Sitting strong at 8.15 lbs, Minnesota’s bass fishing legend Mark Raveling bagged the record just a few years back. Not taking nothing away from his accomplishment but I gotta think there’s another bigger one swimming out there in one of our ten thousand lakes and God willing I hope to be visiting that one.

Most every other state that has largemouth bass fisheries have their record set in the books over ten pounds. Rumor has it that a lake in a Minneapolis suburb easily would have held that mark had the gentleman who caught it not began to fillet it. Sounds odd I know, why was he filleting a bass anyway? We’ll just skip over that.

Last year I had the opportunity to fish this little gem of a fishery and had some success getting bit on large swimbaits. I wasn’t catching small fish, these were giants and they would choke a Huddleston Trout like it was a frickin’ Oreo. Insane to say the least and the gene pool certainly has the makeup to produce a 9 pound plus. In addition, here in Minnesota we will be dealing with old man winter shinning his ugly ass head any day now, meaning the bass are eating up to survive the harsh winter, they’re going to be chunks!

My main plan of attack is to throw the big swimbaits in search of my quarry, there’s something to be said about the phrase, “go big or go home”. I’ll surely be chucking the big Huddleston as well as a Matt Lures Tournament Series Bullhead. My secret weapon will be a custom rigged Biovex Kolt Ridge Tail with a gold turtle blade.

I’ll also have my stand-by jig of course, it be cool to whack a true giant on the swimbait but it won’t hurt my feelings none if I’m forced to do it on a jig.
There’s also no way I don’t have a Picasso Football Jig in the boat as well as a Biovex Deep Runner.

I’m excited to have a couple guys from North American Fisherman there to shoot a video. Hopefully the star of the show, the fattest of the fat bass show up. Of course I know catching a true state record is more difficult than anything to accomplish in bass fishing, it’s probably easier to win a Bassmaster Classic, though at the same time if I didn’t set my standards high and believe I actually had a chance to accomplish such a feat, then what in the world is going to keep me warm in the 30 degree potentially snowing weather? Game on!

See you on the water, or on second thought, maybe you’ll see me on the water from your deer stand! Oh yeah, and the lake I speak of is……HAHAHAHA!!! Not a chance!

Posted in Blog Post

Tackle Update: Introducing the Biovex Kolt Ridge Tail

From time to time I find myself very excited about the introduction of a brand new bait. Over this past season, I was very fortunate to be able to test the newly introduced Biovex Kolt Ridge Tail, a internally weighted 4″ paddletail style swimbait.

My first impression of the bait was favorable, the basic design mimics standard size baitfish perfectly and the ridges along the body offer added vibration and better buoyancy while being retrieved. The tail was noticeably beefed up and instead of just pointing down like many standard paddletail swimbaits, this one points up and down, allowing for a very heavy pulsating action while retrieved at slower speeds. In addition, the Ridge Tail has an additional eye on the underside of the body, perfect for adding a treble “stinger” hook or for adding spinner blades for added flash and vibration.

My first outing with the bait and I instantly gained confidence in its ability to catch big fish. I was fishing a riprap bank on the south side of the dam on the Mississippi River, looking for post spawn smallmouth. I had made a few passes and was managing a few bites from time to time but nothing much to brag of. I was going in between baits using a shakey head worm, a flat side balsa crankbait and a texas rigged Reaction Innovations Beaver for the numerous laydowns that lined the bank.

Needing a bigger bite, I decided it was time to debut the Biovex Kolt Ridge Tail. I tied it up to a G Loomis GLX 843 with a Shimano Core 100 Mg and 15 lb. Seaguar Abrazx Fluorocarbon. I let the bait fall to the bottom and at a slow and steady retrieve I got bit on the very first cast, a solid 4 1/2 pound smallie. On the next cast I caught a chunky 3 pounder and on the third I caught another smallie just shy of 5. On my fourth cast, again I got bit but broke off on a good one that got me wrapped around a jagged rock. Unfortunately that was the only prototype of the lure I had but needless to say I had more shipped to me the next day.

All year I secretly used this bait to find and catch fish but it wasn’t until recently that I started adding a spinnerbait blade to the bottom for added appeal. More times than not, the added attraction delivers a few more bites but there are times when just the standard gets the nod. If it’s windy and there’s weather, the blade is a must but on slick sunny days the lone paddletail gets the job done as is.

This upcoming weekend I’ll be shooting a video in northwestern Minnesota throwing swimbaits for late fall largemouth with North American Fisherman. The Biovex Kolt Ridge Tail will be a go-to for putting some pigs in the boat. I guess the secret will be out! Check back for the video soon.

With the new craze of the Alabama Rig sweeping the nation, I can’t think of a better bait to use on this rig. The Biovex Kolt Ridge Tail will be available to the U.S. in early 2012. Check back soon as I’ll be doing a contest where the winner will get their hands on this bait before anyone else in the country!

See you on the flip.

Posted in Blog Post

Tackle Update: Holy Alabama Rig!!

After reading buddy Rich Lindgren’s Blog, as well as fishing with him today, I’ve gotten a overdose of knowledge on a new rigging technique that blew up this weekend on Alabama’s Lake Guntersville. Only fitting, the rig I speak of is known as the Alabama Rig and not only did Paul Elias us it to catch over a 100 pounds of bass to win the FLW Tour event and win by a mouth dropping 17 pounds, but all the final day pros turned to it to make the top 10 as well.

The pre tournament buzz was that this event was going to be a grind and that bites were few and far between. That was until Elias showed up with a staggering 26 pounds and followed it up with a 29-03 the following day. Word didn’t take long before other anglers got wind of what he was throwing and figured a way to get their hands on the hot commodity. The amazing thing was that the weights went up considerably for the anglers that made the adjustment.

Photo Courtesy of BassFan

The Alabama Rig, is an umbrella looking rig consisting of a hard body that trail five wires which have a swivel attached to each wire. What you do with it from here is basically wide open, though Elias used it to fasten five separate five inch swimbaits that when retrieved mimic a small school of shad perfectly.

Using a 7′ 11″ Flippin’ Rod with 65 lb. test braid he targeted ridges and quick-dropping points around the causeways. Out of all the anglers throwing the A-Rig, Elias was definitely fishing it the deepest targeting schools suspending in 20 to 30 feet of water. Other pros in the top 10 reported using the rig much shallower, focusing in on schoolers to catch impressive limits.

Here in Minnesota, this rig would be illegal to use as we are only allowed to use one bait per rod but throughout most the country, numerous baits on a single line is lawful. The Alabama Rig may had been off the radar but after the splash it made this weekend, no pun attended, it guarantees to be an overnight sensation.

For more information on the Alabama Rig visit their site at or check out their YouTube instructional video.

Cost of these rigs is a bit mind numbing but after seeing how much people threw down for Basstrix Paddle Tail Tubes, Chatterbaits and now Reaction Innovations Vixens, $24.95 is peanuts considering what they seem to be able to offer.

I know personally that after seeing what Elias and the rest of the top 10 did, as well as taking into account what other traditional baits weren’t able to do, consider my order in.

Posted in Blog Post

The Brent Homan Story

For those that visit my website or follow my fishing know that when I’m not on the water setting hooks, I’m often busy writing articles about what has worked for me on the water as well as keeping up with this blog dedicated to literally everything I encounter along my avid fishing path.

Recently I signed on with BassEast which promised to be a good opportunity to promote myself and my sponsors. My first task at hand was a bit of a challenge in that I was asked to write about a gentleman by the name of Brent Homan.

To make a long story short, after getting to know who Mr. Homan was I jumped all over the opportunity. In the end, this ended up being to me the single most important thing I’ve ever written in the sport of fishing. For once it wasn’t about me, it was about something much bigger. One man’s sacrifice can truly change others lives, myself included.

Please follow this BassEast Link to read the whole story in it’s entirety.

Posted in Blog Post

Smallie Heaven!

Autumn is in the air. Our exceptionally late summer weather has finally been replaced by chilly nights, stiff northern winds and cooling water temps. Usually we would already be in full on smallmouth smack down by this time but as I mentioned the late 80 degree weather has put everything on hold. Until now.

As I write this entry, the smallies are bunching up into more than impressive schools and are putting on their feed bags in preparation for old man winter’s presence. Some of my favorite guiding holes are just a week away from smallmouth bliss other areas I’ve been fishing are full on snapping!

If interested in information regarding guided smallmouth outings please email me at We offer fully outfitted trips with the best of the line tackle and equipment. The window is short so contact me today!

See you on the water!

Posted in Blog Post

Season in Review

Another bass filled tournament season come and gone leaving time to look back and reflect on some of the higher points of the season as well as some of the lower ones. This reflection process is very important to me as I’m easily my own worst critic. I take a lot of pride in my hard work and am always looking for that added ammunition to continue motivating myself to higher levels.

My main goal at the start of every season is to be a better bass angler when that season ends. This may seem like common place for a guy that spends as much time on the water as I do but in the grand scheme of things it’s not a given. In fact, I think it’s easier to instead get caught up in your norm, sort of rely on what has gotten you there in the first place. This isn’t necessarily laziness or lack of enthusiasm, actually it’s more like stubbornness. Frankly, it’s a challenge to have the confidence to make a change. I feel that confidence if groomed can be what will push me to accomplish my biggest goals.

I feel I did good this year at staying out of my comfort zones and forcing myself to be more versatile. I set out to get a better understanding of my electronics. I have thousands of dollars worth of equipment on my boat but knew that I wasn’t getting near that in return from them. Our electronics are our best tool when on the water, they’re our eyes under the surface. They crack the code of mystery that inhabits the underwater world. These tools expose not only fish but more importantly their forage and even more important, their actual living habitat. Combine Side Imaging and traditional sonar with gps and Navionics mapping data and I don’t have an excuse in the world for not finding fish. It’s right in front of my eyes. I honestly believe one of the biggest differences that separates regular pro bass fisherman from tour level bass fisherman is their understanding of their electronics.

I still have lots to learn in this department but can honestly say that I’ve learned a ton this past season. I’ve always been told by upper echelon bass fisherman that to consistently cash checks you need to consistently have thorough practices. To have the confidence to know fish are there by simply using what your electronics tell you is what separates the men from the boys. It allows you to cover water so much faster. I found myself being able to do just that this season, using my Navionics mapping data to find key looking areas and then idling over them scanning for sweet spots without ever needing to make a cast. Then come back during the tournament and whack a 5 pound largemouth, a fish that if hooked the day prior in practice never would have bit on game day when the money was on the line. This was so evident in helping win one of the biggest tournaments held in Minnesota this year. I put in countless hours scanning unfamiliar areas on Lake Minnetonka to find some hidden jewels which later helped produce a giant winning sack of fish to claim the top spot at the NABC event put on by North American Fisherman and Cabela’s.

Working on different tackle presentations is always a fun yet challenging thing to do. It’s hard to stay with something when you’re more confident using something else but is necessary in making yourself a more rounded angler. I actually find that learning a new technique is the easy part of the job but to master it you need to learn when and where. This is the hard part for me as I tend to run myself a bit thin, to actually master a technique you need not only know the ins and the outs of the presentation but also develop that sixth sense for when and where to employ it. Looking back at this past season I’m very pleased at my progression in that department. I feel more comfortable with a variety of newer tactics and presentations that were missing from my arsenal. Still lots to learn but definitely on the right track.

There’s no denying that I want to consider myself a professional bass fisherman. I’ll be the first to admit there’s still a ways to go to get to the level I desire but there’s a lot of different things that make up this kind of title being it tournament winnings, guiding, writing and all sorts of other business ventures that go with the sport. This past season I stepped up my relationship with Biovex and LoveSoulDream out of Japan. I’ve been associated with this company for a few years now but with their launch into the U.S. market scheduled in Spring of 2012, it’s opened a door for me to become more involved. One highlight of this upgraded partnership was the wrapping of my Ranger Boat which will showcase myself competing in some of the biggest tour qualifying tournaments at the national level. This is HUGE for me in my progression. There’s no denying there will be a learning curve associated with this but I’m jacked up for the challenge. As I said before, I’m my own worst critic but I also have an insane amount of confidence in my ability. So much that there’s no fear in jumping in head first. I’ll take my lumps right on the chin with the best of them but there will be no taking the smile off my face when I succeed.

I also enjoy writing about my passion of bass fishing. It’s odd in that I can’t write out two sentences about something other than bass fishing but when I’m talking shop it just rolls off my fingers. I’m definitely not schooled at this as you can probably see from my numerous grammar mistakes but I’m striving at getting better at that. Writing is important because it’s not only a great avenue for showcasing myself and my sponsors but it’s also a great way to reflect back on all that’s been going on. I’ve been writing for the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Outdoor Page for a year or so now as well as maintaining this blog since I first started my pursuit of competitive fishing. I’ve also had two of my articles published this season in the Spring and Summer edition of Bass Angler Magazine and have just been told that my third one will be in the upcoming Winter edition. Just recently I was added to the Bass East team to not only showcase myself as an upcoming angler but also to expand my writing to other topics within the bass fishing community.

I’m also looking forward to growing my relationship with Navionics from not only being a member of their Pro Staff on the water but also being a contributor to their new digital NewsStand. The Navionics NewsStand is the first to offer a navigation app that provides users access to boating and fishing articles published by the industry’s most recognized magazines conveniently accessible from within the Navionics app.

My guiding business had it’s best year yet. We did a record amount of trips this year and all where a success. Such a success that we’re booking fast with return customers for our excellent Minnesota Fall smallmouth bite. Please feel free to email me if your interested in receiving more information or to book a trip.

All in all I managed to have a pretty successful season, fixed some things that needed fixing, developed some new confidence in areas that were lacking and of course opened up even more that needs to be worked on. The 2012 season is where I’m putting most of my energy now. Developing a game plan for big national level professional tournaments is a challenge I’m looking forward to as well as making an even bigger splash into the business side of the sport.

My main goals to insuring a successful 2012 season is to continue with the same humble approach that I’ve been accustomed to. Continue to work hard, give respect where respect is due, and be sure to always give 110% both on and off the water. The new year may still be a few months away but my 2012 season starts now.

See you on the water!

Posted in Blog Post

North American Bass Circuit World Championship

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.

Posted in Blog Post

Denny’s Super 30

Lake Minnetonka, Wayzata, MN

The seasons are rapidly changing now. Autumn is rearing its head and the cold nights and high winds are starting to change things at a rapid pace. Yesterday was the final Denny’s Super 30 tournament of the season and instead of putting in lots of practice on Minnetonka preparing I instead was way up north getting familiar with Leech Lake, the host of next weekends NABC World Championship, where $20,000 grand is on the line.

I was met with 26 degree mornings while up at Leech with highs in the low 50’s and things weren’t much better down here as I found once I got home and launched on Minnetonka. Things are changing and the fish are moving. After a rough weekend of practice I had wished I had more time in between tournaments to do more work to prepare for this Denny’s event. A lot was on the line, we’ve had some really good finishes on Tonka and were sitting 6th in the overall Team of the Year points where the top 8 in the end cash a rewarding end of the year payout.

A rough practice for me still brings hope, I knew we were fishing big fish areas but the utter lack of overall bites was my worry. The whole weekend was cold, windy and rainy but since race day called for 80 and sunny all a guy could do was hope that change would activate the bite.

Lets say that the bite never got activated and we probably should have adjusted better. Between being stubborn and lacking the confidence to make the right adjustments resulted in the poorest performance of the year and honestly one of the worst tournaments I’ve participated in in a long time. The one good thing that came away from this is that I definitely learned a few things that will make me even more of a threat on the water next season. I feel very confident every time I launch my boat, especially on Lake Minnetonka, being served a piece of humble pie made me open my eyes to an area in my game that is lacking a bit. I can promise you that myself as well as tournament partners Corey and Ryan Brant will have a workload ahead of us but like with anything bass related are super anxious and chomping at the bit to get out there and master it.

We finished this event in 24th place which dropped us from 6th to 10th or 11th in the Team of the Year points. I always look forward to the Denny’s events and am looking forward to participating in as many as I can next summer before heading south. It’s a well ran trail with stiff competition, the best of the best competing on their home waters makes for big bags, nice paychecks and a boat load of bragging rights.

Now time to focus on Leech Lake and the NABC World Championship. Wish us luck!

Posted in Blog Post

MN B.A.S.S. Federation Tournament of Champions

Whitefish Chain of Lakes, Cross Lake, MN

What a week of fishing, literally I’m exhausted. My practice was good though the overall size of fish I was catching was disturbing. At best I figured I was probably looking at only 13 pounds a day, at very best, yet recent tournaments have been posting numbers closer to 18 plus pounds.

Everyday of practice that went by my size kept getting smaller and smaller and the bite in general just got worse and worse. This year smallmouth played a factor in winning weights but I wasn’t able to get a solid pattern on them at all, something kind of disturbing to me as I consider myself a bit of a smallie guru.

Basically I was on a shallow cover and deep structure bite. My best presentation for overall numbers was dropshotting a Biovex Kolt Fish Tail on the edge of productive weedlines. I figured I could bank on this and also whack a kicker or two in the shallow stuff. By the end of practice I figured I needed roughly 12 pounds a day and I’d move on.

First day things started slow but around 10:30 I managed to put together a limit. I fished strong all day and culled all the way up to the final minutes but the culls were only for an ounce here and a ounce there and I finished day one with a disappointing 5 fish for 9.98 pounds though still easily in the top 40 out of 160 and within striking distance of the top 12.

Second day started better but the culling was a minimum, I just never got a big bite in either days of competition. I managed to come in a little better with 10.33 pounds, 2 pounds shy of what was needed with a 2 day total to move on to divisionals. When it was all said and done I finished 28th overall out of 160. Not bad but I was there to get into the top 12 and unfortunately came up a bit short. On the good side my team consisting of myself, Dean Capra, Brad Leifermann and Jim Severson took the top honors for Team of the Year. It’s always nice earning a plaque but I was there to move on and just didn’t come through this time.

Congrats to Jim Severson and Dean Capra from 10,000 Lakes for their 1st and 4th place finishes respectively and also a shout out to the remainder of the top 12 for their impressive showing, it was truly a grind.

Time to shrug this one off and get ready for some big upcoming tournaments on both Minnetonka and Leech. There’s a lot of money to be claimed, hopefully hard work and determination will prevail. In this sport you need to have a short memory.

Posted in Blog Post

On the Grind

September is sweet! An entire month packed full of fishing starting with the B.A.S.S. Federation State Championship on the beautiful Whitefish Chain in northern Minnesota. This tournament is special to me as I have set a goal for the season of qualifying for divisionals and because of my soon to be relocation to Tennessee’s Smokey Mountains this looks like my only opportunity to do so.

I haven’t participated in a State Tournament in a few years since it was held on the Mississippi River and I still have a bad taste in my mouth from that event. I was definitely on a winning sack of fish but a blown injector and a tow off the water caused a zero on the first day, blowing my opportunity. Other tournament obligations kept me from participating the past couple years even though they were held on fisheries that I have a lot of knowledge on in Pokegama and Minnetonka. This year I made State a priority as adding a State Team to my resume would mean a lot to me. I got a lot of work ahead of me in practice but if I fish to the level I’ve come to expect of myself I have every opportunity to find myself in the top 12. Time to put up or shut up.

As soon as State wraps up I’ll head even further north to Leech Lake for a pre practice of the NABC World Championship were $20,000 grand is on the line. I love Leech Lake and though I’ve only fished it once this tournament should be right in my wheelhouse. I’d love to talk shop but we’ll just hold off till the $20,000 dollar payday has been awarded to the deserving team. Lets just hope it’s us.

I hurry home for the last event of the Denny’s Super 30 held on Lake Minnetonka. We’re currently sitting in 6th overall for the Team of the Year points and hopefully we’ll be right in the mix come weigh in time. We’re coming off a couple wins and good showings out there so I’m really confident in our chances.

Finally it’ll be back up to Leech Lake to leave it all out on the water and try our damnedest at claiming the 20K payday!

See you on the water!

Posted in Blog Post

Denny’s Super 30

Lake Minnetonka, Wayzata, MN

Coming off a big win on this body of water just days ago, myself and team tournament partner Corey Brant had considerably high expectations on ourselves. We also had added motivation in that we were sitting 7th overall in the team of the year points and with the top 8 teams in line for a nice payday.

Practice went very well for me especially since I fished all new water or at least water that I hadn’t used to pull off the big win with a ridiculous weight of 5 fish for 23.53 pounds. Each practice day I managed to easily catch at least 28 pounds for my best 8. If we could simply maintain that we would easily place in the money and slide up in the points.

We drew boat 30 out of 52 and decided to run to some decent water in hopes of catching a early kicker or two before running to our better stuff. Unfortunately we left these area with very little to show for it and worse yet our next few areas were all occupied by other competitors. The day continued very tough for us yet we kept our focus and slowly managed to put together a limit.

As the day progressed it was apparent that our bite was going away from us and in hindsight should have probably scrapped the game plan and instead fished more for the moment. In fact if it wasn’t for my last minute flurry we could have really had a rough showing. Instead in the end we weighed in our best 8 for a disappointing 21.3 pounds. Surprisingly enough we were still good enough for a tie for 16th but our big fish knocked us down to 17th. Obviously the bite was tough on a lot of teams though the ones that did catch them knocked it out of the park. Winning weight was 8 for 34.0! Hats off gentleman. I guess it just goes to show that old ‘Tonka is alive and well.

Though a disappointing performance for us, our consistency puts us in prime position as we moved up to 6th overall in the team of the year points with only one event to go. I’m very excited as well as I tend to favor the bite on Minnetonka in the late fall and this event should set up right in our wheelhouse.

Autumn is definitely starting to rear its head though my fishing schedule is getting very busy to say the least. In a week I head up to the Whitefish Chain to partake in the BASS Federation State Championship. After that I head up to Leech Lake for the North American Bass Circuit World Championship pre practice. Then head back for the final showdown of the Denny’s Super 30 and then head back up to Leech to throw down for 20 grand!

As you see September will be very busy but October and November bring some of the best smallmouth action of the year! I’ll be doing a lot of guiding and though I already have lots of trips in the works I still have plenty more room for more! Contact me today!

See you on the water!

Posted in Blog Post

North American Bass Circuit

Lake Minnetonka, Spring Park, MN

Since early Spring I’ve been so excited for this tournament. When I saw that Cabela’s and North American Fisherman was teaming up for the North American Masters Circuit on Lake Minnetonka, I couldn’t wait to send in my entry fee. This event, promising big name anglers, a big payout and a shot at the NABC World Championship held on Leech lake was enough to keep my mind spinning at the thought of winning such an event.

Teaming up with me was none other then my boy, Corey Brant and we both put in a lot of man hours trying to crack the code of these dog day summer lunkers. We managed to catch good bass all week leading up to the event but so was a lot of other anglers. Tonka has been holding up to its reputation to say the least, big bags of largemouth have been consistently coming across the scales so we knew we needed to pull out all the stops for a true run at the leaderboard.

I was a little nervous when I found out we drew boat 42, I was really hoping for a early draw especially since the return times weren’t staggered. None the less we knew we had a solid game plan and plenty a spots to fish that there was no way we would get to everything anyway.

I hate that I can’t get into to much detail being that we have another big event out there in just a couple days but I can say we grinded all day, literally to the very end. We caught them both deep and shallow on a multitude of different baits. It was a perfect team effort all the way by making good decisions, landing quality lunkers and some superb fish landing. So good that we took the top prize with a whopping 5 bass for 23.53 pounds!!! A giant sack to say the least and cashed a very rewarding paycheck. To be honest, the money is great but the hardware saying we bested a stacked field on that lake is truly priceless. This tournament means so much to me, we along with our other partner in crime Ryan Brant have put in countless man hours on that lake and been soooo close so many times. We’ve literally seen way more than our share of wins vanish at the side of the boat. This isn’t my first win and I hope to have many many more but I promise I’ll never let go of this one.

We also qualified for the NABC Championship held on Leech Lake, September 24th and 25th. First place prize is $20,000!!

Check out the full results here.

Up next is the Denny’s Super 30 in just a few days. We find ourselves sitting in 7th place in the Team of the Year points with 2 events to go. Hopefully our pattern holds up and we can continue to move up and make our run at the team of the year.

Posted in Blog Post

Making Sense of the Snell Knot?

A month or so ago I received a email from friend Rich Lindgren with a link to an article titled, “Dispelling Snell Knot Theory?”, by Hale White with

I quickly opened the link to see what kind of foolishness this was as I’ve learned from the best of the best touring pros that this knot is far better than any traditional knot that ties directly to the eye. To catch up any readers that aren’t familiar with the snell knot that me get you caught up.

The snell knot is a knot that goes through the eye of a straight shank hook and then wraps and fastens around the actual shank of the hook. There is numerous reasons why anglers would choose to employ this particular knot but its greatest use would be for heavy flipping and punching. The selling points for this knot is unless you use straight shank hooks that have wielded eyes your guaranteed to loose a fish or two because the knot will eventually find its way through the seam. However the main attraction to this knot is its ability to kick the hook out when using a heavy pegged sinker.

After hearing all the buzz from pros and seeing the “kick out” myself I instantly made the switch. The snell was a bit difficult to learn to tie but like with anything practice made perfect. Soon I was teaching all my buddies how to tie the knot.

I’d say my hook up ratio did get a bit better while flipping all the milfoil that we have scattered across our Minnesota lakes, though I can honestly say that it was my worst hook up ratio out of any other form of bass fishing.

I didn’t really give it anymore thought until I read Mr. White’s article. I just assumed that it was a true combat style of fishing and that lost fish was part of the norm. I’m not going to get into to much detail as to why his article stuck into my brain so much as I’d prefer you visit his website and read the article for yourself, snell knot theory.

What I will tell you is what I read got my wheels spinning, which is exactly what the author wanted. Every theory made sense and in fact showed far more support for why the snell doesn’t work than any so called proven facts of why it does.

This past month I ran a series of tests myself. I stopped using the snell knot and instead just tied a good ole’ palomar knot directly to the eye of the Lazer Trokar Flippin’ Hook (TK130), the baddest straight shank on the market. I was honestly surprised by what I found, I fish 5 days a week and my hook up ratio went up from 50% to an easy 95%. I’ve been using the same hook and same setup for over two years now, the only difference is the knot. Why would I take away from the advantages of the Trokar Flippin’ Hook? Instead, I now will let the hook do its job, what it was made to do, kick bass ass!

As I said, I did notice a slight better hook up ratio once I started employing the snell, though in hindsight it was the switch to the straight shank hook that helped not the knot. The snell was actually working against me.

With this I leave you the same as Mr. White left me. I hope to not convince you but instead make you think, try for yourself and see what works better for you. For me it’s a no brainer, the snell knot is a not!

On another note, is a new website for me and I’m very impressed with the content. It’s packed with quality information that I admit can be against the grain at times but that I can’t disagree with in the end. Do yourself a favor and make them one of your favorites!

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Tackle Update: Shimano Still Claiming the Throne

The anticipation over Shimano’s release of their new line of reels at July’s ICAST Show had me going stir crazy! Being a die hard Shimano guy I always get excited for them to reveal their newest technology. The rumors were flying about these new line of reels and all I heard was great reviews and lower price points. Could this really be the case? Better reels at lower prices?

After seeing them for myself I’m excited to say the rumors held up and so did the expectations. I am particularly excited about the new Shimano Sustain FG. I already have my order in on several of these in the 4000 series. This reel is packed with all the features we’ve come to expect from Shimano but also adds in some newer technology such as X-Ship which provides rigidity and a tremendous amount of cranking power. It also features the new Magnumlite CI4 Rotor which reduces resistance on rotation providing added smoothness. Last but not least, Shimano added Rapid Fire Drag allowing anglers to quickly adjust drag to ideal settings during the fight.

Also new to their lineup is the reconstruction of the famous Citica and Curado lines. Both the Curado G and Citica G will be offered in 5, 6 and 7 speed gear ratios and both come equipped with their new HEG Gearing technology. HEG Gearing provides extra power and torque to a line that already has the reputation for being the toughest reels on the market.

By far my most excitement comes from their new Chronarch E Series, available in either their 50 and 200 series. I already have both these reels in my arsenal and am sure to replace all my older Shimano Chronarchs with these as well. At a lowered price point of $199.99 a guy would be a fool for not picking up 1 or even 10 of them.

I think it’s fair to say the king of reels has maintained their spot on top of the throne!

Posted in Blog Post

Tackle Update: Trokar’s Newest Hooks

Now that the 2011 ICAST is officially wrapped up, I’m very excited to announce Lazer Trokar’s new release of some pretty bad ass hooks!

Everyone has been asking and anticipating for them to jump into the treble hook market. Obviously Trokar wasn’t about to rush perfection and instead waited until they knew they had the best trebles in the game. Introducing the new Lazer Trokar Round Bend Treble and Extra Wide Gap Treble. Both hooks are short shank and are offered in sizes 2, 4, 5 and 6. Size 5 is a very unusual number for trebles but let me let you in on something, when so many high level bass pros demand it, go out and buy it!

The Round Bend is ideal for your smaller finesse and balsa style baits where the Extra Wide Gap is ideal for all your heavy cranking needs.

These hooks live up to all their hype!

Posted in Blog Post

Denny’s Super 30

Lake Minnetonka, Wayzata, MN

I guess it’s fair to say that summer is finally here. With temps in the 100’s and humidity levels soaring over 90, these hot conditions are shaking things up on my favorite body of water, good ole Tonka.

Bass have been moving and if you’re able to stay with them they’re balling up in big schools. All of practice I spent finding these schools and honestly they can be found in all levels of the water column from dirt shallow to as deep as you fell comfortable fishing.

Ryan Brant and I had a pretty good practice and was very enthusiastic to get the deal done come Monday. We started out early when Ryan busted a 4 pounder right out of the gates and I followed up with a nice 3 1/2 to follow. The problem came just after when we tried to get to our better schools and found many boats occupying these areas. We ran around and I was able to pop another nice 3 pounder off a new spot Ryan had found in practice.

Things were going but with a couple hours burnt up we weren’t exactly loving our start, we were able to finally get on some stuff that was holding a few schools and things started to heat up quickly. One area I popped a nice bass just shy of 5 pounds and Ryan finished it off with another nice 3 1/2. Shortly thereafter on a very similar type area I boated another 4 pounder and now we were sitting very good and it was only noon.

Unfortunately for us we weren’t able to keep up with our mid day whack fest and fell short in an attempt to cull out a couple more 2 3/4 bass that where hindering our sack. We caught lots and lots of fish and culled like crazy but just couldn’t muster up enough giants to really tip the scales.

We weighed in our best 8 for 26 pounds only good enough for a 14th place finish. No money but consistency is key when the big money is also tied to the end Team of the Year points. We currently are sitting in 7th and only 12 points out of first with 2 events remaining.

The weather was hot and the fishing was even hotter! We caught lots of fish and I’ll tell you that we busted them real good on the new Trokar Hooks, I just can’t tell you which ones.. That might just give it away.

Posted in Blog Post

Book Your Guided Bass Adventure Today!

Can you believe it’s already mid July? Wow! It’s crazy how fast summer flies by and how slow the winter crawls. I’ve been keeping very busy out floating on the water and I’m happy to admit that the bass have been jumping into the boat to join me. Between guide trips, preparation and actual tournaments, I’ve got the pleasure to see some really nice fish and better yet while out doing guide trips I’ve got the honor of seeing and sharing some fine people’s firsts! First bass, first bass on a frog, first bass sight fished and first four pound bass of the year, I’ve been fortunate to share with the very people that made them happen.

The bass are finally starting to school up in big numbers on their usual summer haunts. This is my favorite time of year to catch them as the potential for a trophy or multiple trophies is never more possible. The long spring slowed down the spawn and really put the vegetation in a funk, with the warmer weather as of late and forecasted into the future things should continue to balance out nicely.

My schedule looks to be filling quickly but there’s still some available space for a few guide trips. I’ve also been getting quite a few inquiries regarding the upcoming fall smallie bite! I personally am hoping for a long fall as the smallmouth action will be off the charts!

Contact me today!!

Posted in Blog Post

Tackle Update: Navionics Teams with Minnesota Based Rapala

Navionics header
WAREHAM, Massachusetts – Navionics, the world leader in electronic navigation charts for dedicated chart plotters and mobile devices is partnering with Rapala lures to provide a winning combination for anglers worldwide.

Rapala will keep anglers updated on their newest products and events by using the Navionics mobile application as a location based communication tool. Navionics mobile is a must have for anglers to help find that perfect fishing spot. “The Navionics App allows anglers to view over 17,000 lakes and the entire coastal region of the US and Canada on their iPhone or Android smart phone” says Don Black, Global VP Sales and Marketing for Navionics. “Navionics mobile combined with product information from Rapala creates an unbeatable combination for the serious angler”.

We are excited to partner with Navionics on this app”, says Kelly Brockpahler, Marketing Director for Rapala USA. “This tool will give anglers information they need, real time, to catch more and bigger fish, wherever they are”.

Navionics is the world’s #1 selling marine application for the Apple iPhone and iPad in HD, and was the first app to be launched on Android smart phone’s and is now available for Nokia smart phones. Ideal for boaters, fishermen and water sports enthusiasts of all kinds. Navionics charts which run on a wide variety of smart phones give user’s access to charts anytime, anywhere. Plan on-the-water adventures; check tides, set routes and markers, record tracks, or access the world’s richest collection of boating and fishing related points-of-interest (POIs). Future free updates will add additional features and now includes the latest Navionics Revolution in charts, “User Generated Content”!

About Rapala Rapala was unofficially founded in 1936 when Lauri Rapala invented the Rapala fishing lure. Rapala has grown from humble beginnings to a market leader in the fishing tackle industry. The Rapala brand’s functionality and high quality are known by fishermen around the world. Rapala maintains its strict standards of craftsmanship while delivering its fishing products to anglers in more than 130 countries. For more information on Rapala, please visit

About Navionics For 25 years, Navionics has developed and manufactured electronic navigation charts and systems for marine, inland lakes and rivers, and for outdoors use. Navionics is based in Massarosa, Italy, and operates sales and manufacturing facilities in seven countries – conducting research and development, operations, production, sales, marketing and distribution. Navionics headquarters in Massarosa, Italy serves Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania, and manages the research, development, and production facilities globally. Navionics US headquarters, based in Wareham, Massachusetts, oversees the Americas. Navionics UK and Navionics Australia provide sales and distribution to their local regions.

For more information on Navionics, please visit or email

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Tackle Update: Introducing Seaguar’s New Kanzen Braid and Senshi Mono

Seaguar has already built a lasting reputation for making the finest fluorocarbon lines on the market but today I’m happy to announce the release of their much anticipated Kanzen Braid and Senshi Monofilament. These two new lines are joining an elite lineup but for very good reason.

Senshi Monofilament is strong yet very supple and has the best cast ability of any line I’ve ever thrown. Senshi makes for great topwater line but I’m very excited to use it in all my carolina rig leaders and even more excited to employ it on my jerkbait rod for those cold days on the water.

I’m stoked about the Kanzen Braid! I’ve been waiting for someone to come out with a braid of this caliber. It has a thin diameter but is as strong as any proven braid on the market. One area in particular that sets this braid apart is that it is a waxless braid, perfect for spinning gear. It doesn’t dig into your spool like other waxed braided lines do. Couple this with a Seaguar Tatsu Fluorocarbon leader and you have all the best elements for the perfect spinning rod setup.

Check out any of the Seaguar lines at your local tackle store and see what it’s like to fish with the world’s #1 fishing line.

Posted in Blog Post

Off and Running

I’m happy to announce that one of Japan’s leaders in tackle manufacturing, Biovex and myself have come to an agreement that will highlight me sporting around the freshly wrapped Ranger showcasing the Biovex logo’s as I partake in some of the highest national level pro tournaments the U.S. has to offer. Taking a giant jump forward in my quest to compete in a Bassmaster Classic and a FLW Forest Wood Cup, as well as attempt qualifying for tour level play.

Biovex is preparing for their highly anticipated release to the U.S. market in early 2012. I’ll be out putting their innovative and quality baits to the ultimate test, trying to work my way towards the top of the pack of professional bass fishing.

My Ranger is in getting wrapped as we speak. Here is a template of my boat and what it will look like when it’s complete.

I’ll be sure to post pictures of the finished product as soon as it’s ready to hit the water.

In anticipation for the 2012 season when I plan to make the jump to the Opens, Everstarts and/or PAA Tour events, I’m using this time to learn and progress myself as much as possible. Preparation is key and though I understand there will be a significant learning curve, I still plan to put myself in position to succeed. This is a major opportunity for me and I plan to take full advantage. I’m working on my weaknesses and mastering my strengths by trying to be on the water every available second. For instance, there’s a certain lake that has always been a tough lake for me when the smallies are shallow. If there not in 25 plus feet than I often enough find myself looking from the outside once it’s time to hand out checks. So when the opportunity came to get out there with my buddy Ryan Brant just for the fun of it, I was all in.

We were able to help each other become a better angler. I helped tune him into a deep bite and at the same time I learned something from him when the bass are shallow. In the end I was slinging 4 pounders on the new Biovex Kolt Fish Tail like I’d been doing it all my life. Now because of that I built confidence in methods that have historically got the better of me, making me a more versatile angler.

All for now, heading out of town soon to one of my favorite places in the world! More details on that soon.

Posted in Blog Post

Denny’s Super 30

Lake Minnetonka, Wayzata, MN

Today was my first event on Lake Minnetonka as my team tournament partners for these events, Ryan and Corey Brant took the first one in early Spring. They were good enough for a rock solid 10th place finish and with this years Team of the Year money being so lucrative, this was a huge start. We’ve never started out this good in the past and historically the early season tournaments aren’t our best showings bit somehow someway we always manage to fight our way to the top through the heart of the summer and into the fall and find ourselves in the top 12 come end of the year shoot-out time.

We seem to have a better handle on the lake come summer and fall but this year we put in some hard fought hours better understanding where these bass are in this odd post spawn transition. I literally found myself on the water every available second the last few days leading up to this tournament. Through a lot of trail and error I was able to figure out a couple things and felt I had enough numbers that my only concern was quality bites. In hindsight, this was probably a good problem to have being that we usually have quality but seem to never have the quantity and always seem to have a teeter totter bag, five giants and 3 rats.

Paired with me was the younger Brant, Corey aka Core Dogg. Corey coming off a quality smallie tournament on Green Lake were he and his brother Ryan finished 4th, was chomping at the bit to get out and cash another check. We all fish a lot of tournaments all over but to a lot of die hard Minnesota bass anglers the Denny’s Minnetonka tournaments are really a big deal, it’s truly the best of the best and the anticipation for these events is honestly very high.

Unfortunately we were boat 50 out of 51, sucks but to be quite honest this was the tournament for this to happen, we really didn’t have any one place we needed to go. I really don’t like to get into details on patterns and tactics on Lake Minnetonka but I will say it was a fun day all together. We caught a ton of fish and a limit was no problem, it was pure pandemonium for a little while, one would set the hook and drop one in the livewell and the other would then set the hook and do the same. We were rotating perfectly for about two hours. The only issue was that we had a limit of two pound bass but we had both landed a nice three to three and a half pounder.

We started looking for kicker fish and really found it to be a challenge, we made a few small culls for around one or two ounces at a crack until Corey busted a nice 4.6 lb largemouth and now we knew we were right there. We still had a couple hours in our day and knew we needed one more to be right there and two more to bust the top three.

We ran as much high percentage big bass spots as we could squeeze in but it wasn’t till about five minutes remaining that I popped a real good bass that surged us up about a pound in a half. We made some last second desperation casts but in the end was one fish away yet again. We weighed in with 24.1 pounds good enough for 9th place. The good start should find us in 2nd or 3rd in the Team of the Year race heading into the summer. In that aspect, neither of us could ask for better. It’s setting up to be a fun season on Lake Minnetonka!

Stay tuned to JD Fishing, I have some real exciting news coming in the next few days!

See you on the water!

Posted in Blog Post

Gopher B.A.S.S. Federation Tournament

Lake O’ Dowd, Shakopee, MN

Preparing for this tournament wasn’t tough at all since I grew up just a couple miles from the boat landing and still do most of my guide trips on this very body of water. One may think I should have this one in the bag and in the summer months when the bass go deep I would consider myself a tough one to out do but this time of year the bass are shallow and big bass at that. It was truly anybodies ball game.

I was paired with fellow fishing buddy Rich Lindgren for this event which wasn’t really the most ideal pairing in that we were sitting first and second in the Angler of the Year race with Rich slightly edging me by less than a pound. I new I had the water to do well in this event but new damn well Rich would stick his fair share of them. We fish together pretty often and are used to sharing the front deck, why would today be any different? We decided we’d just act as if we were out fun fishing and rotate on the trolling motor.

The action starting slow which was a surprise to say the least. I had a stretch that I found in practice that I honestly thought both Rich and I could put 14 pounds in the box within the first 30 minutes. Not the case. Instead we left the first couple spots with nothing to show.

Success was to be had and after a mind boggling start we finally got our act together and started setting some hooks. Rich and I went blow for blow all day, culling lots and often but upgrading only ounces at a time. We joked all day about who had the better bag, both thinking the other did of course. Our main pattern was ultra shallow water because the snowy winter made for some high water and the fish were literally on the bank. Most my fish came on a Lake Fork Ring Fry with a 4/0 Trokar Magworm Hook.

Knowing we needed a kicker fish, Rich and I decided to hit a deeper spot that I knew the bass would use as a transition from shallow water out to the deeper water. Basically the weedline forms a underwater point between to spawning flats and also has some mixed in rocks. Both Rich and I were able to catch a few on football jigs, I was using a 1/2 oz. hand tied Picasso Fantasy Football Jig.

Back at weigh-in I really wasn’t surprised to find out the overall weights were up. This lake is loaded with 5 pounders and I’ve seen my fair share of 6’s and 7’s as well. Actually there was a donkey of a 6.45 lb. largemouth that got weighed in as well.

I finished with 5 for 15.71 lbs. and good ole’ Richy finished with 5 for 16.01 lbs. barely edging me out and adding a few more ounces to his AOY total. If I had my choice I’d take 15.71 pounds for 5 in every tournament I fished and would cash checks in almost every event but this time it was only good enough for 6th. Just like I said to the boys, “I’m on 15 pounds unless I crack a kicker or two.” I had a bag of all 3 pounders and just never popped that big bite I needed to jump up into the top 3. Though I have to admit, Rich and I had a great time whacking on ’em all day that’s for sure!

On another note, Lake O’ Dowd sucks, stay far far away from it. ; )

Posted in Blog Post

Gopher B.A.S.S. Federation Tournament

Medicine Lake, Plymouth, MN

I’ve lived in the Twin Cities most of my life and fished most every lake in my immediate area with one exception, Medicine Lake in Plymouth, MN. I guess whenever I travel to the North West Suburbs I just assume launch the Ranger on good ole’ Lake Minnetonka. Maybe I should reconsider from time to time.

I’m usually fishing Lake Minnetonka this time of year with a three man team in myself, Ryan and Corey Brant. Being that I was wrapped up in a few things this Spring when it came time to divide up the “Tonka” schedule I opted to sit back the first few events out there so that I could take care of some other obligations and set it up to not miss a single other event out there the remaining of the season.

This strategy also made way for me to jump in to some good ole’ Gopher Bassmaster Events and since I had always wanted to fish Medicine I figured this would be the added motivation to get out there.

I always heard very good things about this body of water so I was eager to take a couple days to check it out before the event so I wasn’t running around blind. I was able to get out with my lovely wife Bri on Monday afternoon for a few hours and then again Wednesday morning for another rendezvous. Basically practice was as good as I could expect and as good as I heard it would be. I managed to bag up close to twenty pounds both days and still pulled on a bunch that I never felt needed to get hooked. The bite was good shallow, boat docks and sight fishing. I really couldn’t ask for a better scenario unless I could get freak nasty on ’em out on rock points. Unfortunately I never did find that bite but it would of made it a little cooler.

I was mainly using a few different rigged soft plastics with Trokar Hooks and Lazer Tungsten Weights. With all the panfish activity going on I also managed a few really big bites on the new Biovex Wake.

Tourney day I was last boat to take off and found a few competitors already occupying some rows of boat docks that I had pulled on what I thought to be nice fish. My first few stops provided me with nothing but a bit of anxiety, the boat docks weren’t coughing up a single bite and the bass I had marked on beds seemed to already have moved off.

After two hours without a keeper bite and an attitude that needed a serious adjustment I decided to stick to the plan I had developed and just start looking for productive water. That’s exactly when things started looking up. I figured the stretches I was working earlier in the week probably were getting more daily sunlight and therefor were most likely further ahead then other areas of the lake. So I set out and was rewarded quickly. With the sun getting higher I started seeing fish locked on beds in other areas of the lake. Even though they were on the smaller side I decided I best starting putting fish in the box.

First bass I spotted on a bed I was able to catch rather quickly, nothing to write home about but a bass is a bass. I kept working the bank and skipping docks but mainly kept my eyes peeled for active beds. I came across a nice cruiser and initially tossed a weightless Lake Fork Tackle Ring Fry at it and it just spooked out of sight. I made a Hail Mary type cast in the direction it was darting and wouldn’t you know, “tick”, I set the hook and just like that added a nice 3 pound bass to the box.

The remaining stretch I was able to limit out rather quickly all by sight fishing off of beds though still no quality at all, seriously I’m talking peanuts. I recalled a stretch of docks that sat right off an immediate quick drop and remember thinking to myself that come summer these docks would be insane. Thinking maybe these docks would hold a pissy rehabilitating female I set out and was surprised by what I found, quality largemouth locked and loaded on beds. The first one I came across looked to be about a 4 pounder and it didn’t take much work at all to coax a bite. The remainder of the day I worked over bedding fish and was able to just find the time to cull out every last small one.

Headed back to weigh-in I new the bite had to of been tough on some but also new the potential of big bass in this lake could make for a big sack. I weighed in at 15.98 lbs. and managed to hold the lead until of course the very last boat, my buddy Rich Lindgren tipped the scale with an even more impressive 16.2 pounds, edging me out by only 2 ounces.

The competitor in me was obviously upset and to be edged out in the very end by a good friend whom we’ve always had added competition made it burn just a bit more, but with that said I had one of the better tournaments of my life and flat out had one of the best days on the water I’ve ever had. I’ve obviously caught plenty of bigger sacks in my day but never had I been so successful bed fishing an entire event like that. Every fish I saw and needed I eventually was able to coax into biting. I always thought sight fishing was my worst weakness but after this past year of actually putting in the time I can honestly say it’s one of my strongest suits.

So far this season has been everything I was looking for, a fun, competitive and a educational year before upping the ante next year on the national circuits. Up next, Lake O’Dowd. A true gem.

Posted in Blog Post

A Guided Trip to Remember

These days I spend most all my time preparing and partaking in different bass tournaments that I don’t get the time to do as many guided bass trips as I once did. This is a serious down fall of being a tournament angler because I happen to enjoy being a bass guide. Why wouldn’t I? I get the opportunity to influence someone else and help show them the enjoyments that I cherish with every bone in my body. To just be able to get people out of their element and into mine is rewarding but nothing is as rewarding as seeing the look on their face as they hold up their personal best bass and then watching them let it go to be enjoyed another day.

I guess I could say I’m used to helping people keep a lasting memory that they’ll reflect on for the rest of their life. Understand I don’t take anything I’ve accomplished in bass fishing for granted but it’s hard to remind myself of that when your doing it everyday. Though I have been accustomed to providing long lasting memories for my clients, it wasn’t until a trip last week that some clients provided memories that I’ll soon never forget.

Let me introduce you to two new friends of mine Kalai and Manju, two business men in from India and looking to go out and catch their first bass on lakes not anything like what they’re accustomed to back home.

At first this was a trip very similar to what I’ve been accustomed to, meet them at the boat dock, introduce them to the fast boat and start teaching them to cast. Next came the fish catching and catching we did but it was their true level of sincerity and enthusiasm that slowly started taking me back. The true enjoyment on their faces could of been seen far and wide. It’s their first trip to the U.S. and are feeling very fortunate to be in this situation yet all I could think about was how truly lucky I was to be able to have these two in my boat at that exact time. It goes to show how two far away and much different worlds can collide and provide an equally enjoyable experience for us all. The catching was good and the boat riding was exceptional.

Kalai and Manju, I know you had an awesome day but please know you provided me with an even better one, you helped me get back some of that enthusiasm that maybe I was forgetting. I can now say, I have friends as far away as India. Thank you.

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Gopher B.A.S.S. Federation Tournament

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!!

Posted in Blog Post

Gopher B.A.S.S. Federation Tournament

Mississippi River Pool 2, St. Paul Park, MN

With Bri and I’s upcoming plans to move south, the preparation has found myself on the outside of the hardcore Minnesota bass fishing scene looking in. It’s honestly a tough pill to swallow but is setting the stage for big things and truly preparing me to be able to chase my life long dreams on the big stages all across the U.S.

I told myself that I was going to use this time to go back to the chalk board and remaster the basics and develop more skill that will be necessary to compete with the big boys. One way to do this was to go back to the grass roots of bass fishing and fish with the same individuals that I first cut my teeth with, the Gopher Bassmasters. These guys are some of the best sticks in the state and doing well here says a lot about your fishing ability.

The first tournament of the year was on Saturday and was on a venue that I’m very fond of, the Mississippi River Pool 2. This body of water suites my strengths very well. There’s a lot of main river smallies as well as backwater largemouth.

For the most part, practice was a success though it was different than I had expected. I usually tend to favor the smallmouth on this pool but because of the delayed Spring and the very high water, getting the smallies to cooperate was a huge challenge. I knew they were getting close to grouping up and preparing to spawn but consistency was a big deal.

I instead focused my energy on largemouth and found an ideal backwater slough that I felt would be the ticket with winning this event. The largemouth bass in this area were preparing to spawn. During practice I was able to catch a few off beds with relative ease but with the weekend weather forecast calling for non stop rain and thunderstorms I knew sight fishing would be more than difficult so I instead planned to fish these key backwater areas very slowly and pay extra special attention to my line so that I could detect the very subtle bites.

Tournament morning I was one of the last boats to take off but because of my new Evinrude ETEC H.O. I was one of the first to get back to my key areas. I quickly was able to put together a limit within the first couple hours, because of the low light conditions I wasn’t having to much success flipping the trees so instead I fan casted these areas with a hand tied 1/4 oz. swim jig and was rewarded very quickly. Once I had a decent limit put together I reverted back to flipping but keeping an open mind I instead started catching better bass by flipping the main shoreline where there was an abundance of grass, wood and most importantly rock shoreline. This was very key to have the three types of cover as the bass where spawning in these areas and I had to pay very close attention to my line as detecting these bites was extremely difficult. My main weapon of choice for this tactic was a Reaction Innovation Sweet Beaver with a pegged 1/4 oz. Eagle Claw Lazer Tungsten Weight and most importantly a 4/0 Trokar Magworm Hook. The Trokar hook was seriously a difference maker as the fish were not eating the bait they were simply trying to move the bait from the beds and then would spit it out and the sharpness and the over-sized hook would assure that they fish got stuck and stuck well. I went with 15lb Seaguar Red Label Fluorocarbon which seemed to be a perfect compromise between finesse and power.

Towards the end of the day the pressure really started to get to this area and I decided to take the last hour and try my luck on some smallies. This proved to be a very good decision as I was able to cull twice on two smallies around the 18″ mark.

I weighed in 3 largemouth and 2 smallmouth for an impressive bag of 17.33 pounds and claimed the top spot at the first event of the season! It felt good to notch another victory but it felt even better knowing that I developed a game plan and stuck to it all day, trusted my instincts and kept my head under control the entire day. Something I’ve set out to master this season before throwing down in the years to come.

Tomorrow Pool 4!!! I can’t wait!

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Okoboji Open

Lake Okoboji, Okoboji, IA

Tournament season is finally upon us yet if you went strictly by the outside temperature and the ridiculous weather we’ve been having, you’d feel as if it were still the heart of winter. I’m not complaining, simply just sharing facts, as long as the water isn’t frozen I’ll be happily wetting a line.

I was excited to get in on this years Okoboji Open, the past years Ryan Brant and I had found some success down there. Two years ago we took second in our debut showing and last year Ryan and his good buddy fished the same bite and again found themselves in second place. The only place to go from here is to finally claim the top spot and no better time than now. Maybe the third time’s the charm?

Unfortunately for the both of us we were unable to get in much practice time. With only having one day we decided to search out new water to go with our already successful pattern and hopefully get enough bites throughout the day to put together a winning sack. The practice though proved to be a challenge and finding quality water wasn’t coming as easily as we had hoped. In fact, really we only found one maybe two areas that could possibly pump out a keeper and if we were really lucky would cough up a good one.

Game day didn’t go as planned to say the least. The take off temp was hovering around 30 and with the 20 to 40 mile per hour winds the wind chill was at a staggering 23 degrees. We really struggled in our primary areas as the water temp shot way down over night and was completely effected by the harsh winds. Our hope was that the area would warm as the afternoon sun came out but since the temps never came up enough and the high winds were very persistence the water temp didn’t cooperate. The areas never produced and though we did manage a few descent fish we were never able to fill a limit. A tough pill to swallow considering we banged out three good ones in a matter of twenty minutes. We both managed to leave a couple good bites swimming and in the end was on the outside looking in.

It was easy to find our mistakes, the largest being fishing off of memory. Bottom line our previous check cashing areas hadn’t yet become ripe and are still a couple weeks from maturing. The late spring season has everything set back a bit and we didn’t do a good enough adjusting to that. We also left a few out there and in a tough tournament where you don’t have a lot to work with bites are key and need to get in the livewell. The result was a very disappointing 23rd place finish and to be honest it wouldn’t mattered if we finished 50th, 23rd or 2nd, we came to win it and weren’t even close. We’ll chalk it up to a lesson learned and use it as motivation for bigger and badder tournaments ahead.

Posted in Blog Post

Tackle Update: Introducing the Biovex Amp Jr.

The past week has been awesome! It’s been real cold and nasty around here but lucky for us the ice gave in just before the cold arrived so it’s business as usual for a guy like me. I’ve been without a boat for the last couple weeks as I’m awaiting the arrival of my engine, which I’m happy to announce my brand new Evinrude ETEC 225 H.O. will be strapped on first thing next week! Lucky for me I got some good buddies who have as equally good boats and even better they all share that overwhelming sick desire to withstand the cold temps, 30 mile an hour winds and sideways rains for the chance to jack up on a fat ass dandy!

I’m not kidding either when I say we’ve been dealing with some unseasonable weather. A week and a half ago it was pushing 70 outside, since then we’ve been dealing with highs in the low 40’s and snow. Then take in factor that I’ve been rolling shotgun behind some pretty damn good sticks and you could guess that getting good bites are few and far between when in reality the getting has been good! Real good!

** 6.6 pounds!!

The fish aren’t aggressive at all but lucky for me I found a bait that serves ’em up when the bite is rough and tough. Biovex has a bait perfect for facing these types of conditions, the Amp Jr. crankbait, a micro style crank that runs less then a foot under the surface. It runs similar to the Strike King Pro 1XS but a bit more seductively and blows away all the competition with it’s top of line components and hand crafted good looks. I’ve been throwing this bait with very light 6 lb. monofilament line and the slowest of retrieves produces the biggest bites. I’m mean painstakingly slow, all you feel is the weight and your hooked into a giant.

I recall a tournament I had a couple years ago down on Old Hickory Lake in Tennessee. It was late fall and the lake was drawn down for the winter, all the bass were in the way backs of the creeks pushing balls of shad up into the super shallow coves. For the life of me I couldn’t find the right crankbait that would perfectly imitate the size forage yet still run shallow enough to produce. Since it was fall, the leaves had mostly shed from the trees and sunk to the bottom of the cove making a crankbait that ran more than a foot completely useless as snagging leaves would immediately foul the retrieve. The Biovex Amp Jr. would be perfect in this exact situation as the bait runs terrific at about 6 to 8 inches. A quick stop and go retrieve when the bass are blowing up the shad will fill a limit in no time.

This time of year up in these neck of the woods I’m required to slow up my presentation considerably. The bass are moving shallow by the day but the cold water has got them turned off. A slow dragging presentation works fantastic and a lot of the times the fish will take it on the stop. One major bonus of the Biovex Amp Jr. is that no matter how fast or how slow you work the bait it maintains it’s seductive wiggle.

Biovex baits will be available to the U.S. in the near future, please feel free to contact me for more information about any of their products.

See you on the water!

Posted in Blog Post

One Step Closer

What a day! The sun has been shining, the air temp has been well over 60 and with the future forecast the local lakes will be rid of their ice in no time. Better yet, today I ordered my new Evinrude Etec HO 225 outboard! Dude, I am straight jacked! I’ve put a lot of love into my boat that I just couldn’t get myself to sell it. I have all the top of the line electronics between both Lowrance and Humminbird units and more importantly they are all rigged exactly the way I want them to be. I have a new jackplate and just mid last season I added a brand new Minnkota Fortrex 101 to the bow. All my boat batteries are new last season as well as new seat skins sitting next to me just waiting to be put on.

I also put brand new tires on the trailer as well as all new brakes and master cylinder. I even got a new swing away tongue. All this and my only real issue was my engine that has a bragable 1000 hours on it as well as a warranty that freshly expired.

I looked at pricing out a new boat but in the end, I really really like my boat and now that my new engine is on order I can simply concentrate on fishing and enjoy the fact that I have a all around new boat that is already pimped exactly to my liking.

Next in line will be matching Power Poles and trust me they’ll be mounted on sooner than later.

See you on the water!!

Posted in Blog Post

Northwest Sport Show

Finally! The Sport Show is gone and passed! Don’t get me wrong, I actually enjoy working the shows but the ending of the show means fishing season is underway! The long winter is over and the temps stay steadying in the mid 50’s, the lakes ice is on it’s last stand.

The show itself went great. The Navionics booth was hopping as usual, everybody very excited about the new lake map application by iPhone and Android. The different vendors were very pleased as well as people were out in droves to cash in on all the deals floating around.

I got my new St. Croix Fiberglass Glass Rod for a great price and my boy Ryan Brant picked up a couple Shimano Stradic Ci4 4000 Spinning Reels for just over $160 a piece! Capra’s Sporting Goods was selling G Loomis NRX Rods like they were the last rod made. I guess the words finally out.

I also got the privilege to hang out and have dinner with the walleye legend himself, Tommy Skarlis as well as Navionics own, Jeff Brodeur. Lets just say I’m glad ole’ Tommy stays on the walleye side, I really wouldn’t want to try to compete against that guy on the regular, dude’s a stick! I got the opportunity to hear about whats in the works for Navionics and there continuing efforts of providing the best and most detailed maps available. It’s real easy to represent a company when you have 100% confidence in them.

All in all, the show went great but now that it’s over let the fishing begin! It’s so sweet when I can finally exit a post with…….

See you on the water.

Posted in Blog Post

Northwest Sport Show Preview

Today was my first day working the Northwest Sport Show representing the Navionics booth. I figured I should actually wait to bust out a preview post until I had actually experienced first hand what the show has to offer, before the masses make it out this weekend.
To my surprise the show actually had good attendance for a Thursday afternoon, so I’m banking that the weekend should be jammed packed. I’ll personally be on sight all day for the remainder of the show so be sure to stop by the Navionics booth and talk shop.

There’s some steal deals to be found out there as well. I mean come on, a guys got to get when the getting is good and I’m flat psyched about the new rod I picked up for a good deal at the Capra’s booth. I’m a 100% G Loomis guy but today that changed to about 95% as I hooked into the new St. Croix Mojo Glass Rod. This rod is perfect for what I’m looking for, I won’t tell ya what I paid for it but it retails for only $120 bucks! I know Loomis carries a similar rod, trust me I have a few, but this particular rod I’m banking to be very technique specific. I want to tell ya, but I’m not giving that up!

If you make it out tomorrow, Scott Petersen of Humminbird is slated to give a seminar on fishing electronics. Scott’s the man at pulling your full potential out of today’s electronic units. Don’t be surprised if you see me taking a much needed break from the booth to pull a few secrets away to us on my Humminbird this summer.

See you at the Show!!

Posted in Blog Post

Springing Back to Life!

Let me first admit that I have been in a downright funk the past couple weeks. Thank God for my recent fishing trip out to California or I’d be in a straight jacket right about now. The utter lack of fishing is very disturbing for an individual wired like myself and the fact that we’re so close, yet still so far away is haunting. For my readers that live south of the Minnesota border, you’ll never be able to understand the pure torture us ten thousand lakers have to endure year after year. See our lakes have been ice covered since roughly December and this winter has dealt us a few substantial blows in that we’ve had very cold sub zero weather, record breaking snow falls which also lead to the inevitable, river flooding. The cold doesn’t help in that it continues to make layers of ice on the lakes that adds days to the thaw meter. Yet just when we had some serious warmer weather and all the snow was close to thawed, we get blasted with yet another Canadian clipper that brings in another half foot of snow in the metro, over a foot up north and more temps in the teens. The result, an even longer winter and even worse river flooding which clearly means no fishing anytime in the very near future. Anyone that questions my soon to be move to Tennessee just purely is not wired like a true bass fisherman, or at least not an obsessed bass fisherman that probably has clinical mental concerns when it comes to the sport.

In hindsight, this period has been considerably worse on me than years past and anyone who’s read my posts over the last few years knows that it’s bad every year. I got a lot on my plate in the future and I don’t plan on leaving a single crumb to waste. If things continue to go right, next winter should be my last here in Minnesota and even then I’ll be spending a lot of time down South. Bri and I’s move should have us down in Tennessee a lot next winter planning our living arrangements and my plan to make a run at the sport’s highest levels should have me fishing year round, as I plan to fish events in the PAA Tour, Bassmaster Opens and/or the FLW Everstart Series. My anxiety level is literally off the charts and the one thing in the world that balances me out is simply not an option, but we’re getting close, very close. I’ll have a rod and reel in my hand in no time, right?

Being a junkie fisherman, I probably watch weather just as much as I do tournament broadcasts and now I can officially say we are on the mend. Looking at the 10 day forecast here in the Twin Cities we got highs in the 40’s and 50’s and rain, that’s right I said rain, not snow. Nothing wreaks havoc on ice more than 50’s and rain, except of course 60’s, yes that would be even better but for now I’m focusing all my energy on positives so hip hip hooray for 40’s and 50’s!! Spring is here!

The next few days shouldn’t be to bad for me either as I’ll be working the Navionics booth at the annual Northwest Sport Show held at the Minneapolis Convention Center. A long weekend of talking shop is probably no cure for what I got but at least it’ll burn up a couple more thawing days and at very least take my mind off the fact that I’m not fishing, which talking fishing isn’t exactly the same but it’s kinda close.

What’s more exciting this time of year than watching the ice melt on all the major Minnesota lakes? Since it’s impossible to actually watch the ice melt on all the lakes, the second best thing is the annual website telling us the progress. Follow link here.

I started and am getting closing to finishing a chore that will be rewarding in the end but is also a giant mess and that’s going through all my tackle and cutting off old line, replacing terminal parts and reorganizing everything. This also allows me to figure out what needs restocking and it’s a lot easier getting products now than in the middle of the summer when my favorite color plastics are all sold out.

Some other things that I have on the agenda or have already conquered are cleaning all the corks of my rods and checking guides for any nicks that would need replacing, as well as cleaning all reels that need a bit of love. Making some necessary boat repairs as well as servicing my trailer are also on the check list.

Lately I’ve been getting a influx of guide inquiries and dates are starting to book so if you have any desire to book a guided bass trip this year please feel free to contact me with any questions and to check availability.

Well I’ll end my post and/or bitch session here so that I don’t continue to ramble on and actually put myself back into my funk. Please, if you find yourself at the Sport Show this weekend stop by the Navionics booth and take a look at some of the new things they got in the works or just stop by to talk fishing, trust me I’m all ears!!

Bye bye Winter! Hello Spring!

Posted in Blog Post

Tricks of the Trade – Bed Fishing 101

Before I even get started, if you’re reading this and find bed fishing for bass to be negative in any way possible by all means stop reading. My personal take on this format of fishing is actually better compared to that of hunting but with an even better take as I practice catch and release 100% of the time. With that said, I find bed fishing extremely intense, nerve racking and just a plain old good time. If you question my sportsman ethics than you clearly have no idea who and what I’m all about. I respect everyone’s views, you don’t need to respect mine.

On to the basics.

First and foremost, there is one common thing that a sight fisherman needs, a quality pair of polarized sunglasses. This should be common sense but when your trying to see the bass that you intend to catch, being able to see into the water without glare is highly beneficial. If you haven’t been to the eye doctor in a while be sure you do, prescription sunglasses or contacts will obviously aid your sight. Also a large brimmed hat as well as a hood can also assist in blocking out additional light.

When sight fishing, it’s equally important that you can see the fish and at the same time you don’t want the fish to see you. Keep in mind what your wearing, a red shirt isn’t the best idea. I like to wear colors that match the sky such as certain shades of blue or white and if there is a lot of cover around you than you may want to consider camouflage. I meant it when I said it, it’s more like hunting than fishing.

When it comes to equipment you want to factor which species of bass your going after, whether it be largemouth or smallmouth. In my experience I consider smallmouth bass much easier to catch off a bed and therefor I don’t change up my presentation all that much. I usually just use a spinning rod with 8 lb. fluorocarbon and whatever plastic bait seem to be best. When it comes to smallies you can simply chalk it up to their overall attitude, they don’t care if your right there, they’ll bite it damn it, it’s just that simple. I’ve caught them before and placed them back on the bed just to make another cast with the same lure and catch them again. They got a bad attitude and frankly belong in a loony bin, that’s why I love ’em so much.

Mainly I want to focus on tips to catching largemouth as I consider them much harder to catch while spawning. As a general rule, big mouths are much more finicky and more aware of their surroundings.

Equipment is a very big key in bed fishing. I’ve found a three step process of baits key to triggering a bite. It’s a process, sometimes the first bait will do the trick and other times the third and final bait will do the trick.

My first bait choice is a white 1/2 oz. jig. I like the 1/2 oz. jig because it’s heavier, gets on the bed quick and is easier to bring to life without pulling it off the bed. Really any jig will do but there is a couple modifications that I feel makes the jig more efficient. First I cut the skirt way down, above the bend of the hook. Largemouth aren’t hungry this time of year but they are very territorial. Most of the time they’ll nip at the bait and spit it off the bed, so I try not to leave them nothing to nip at without getting hook. The other thing I do is cut off the weedguard completely, again I don’t want anything to come between me and the fish. I use white so I can see it, not for the fish. Again they’re very territorial, more often than not they don’t care what the bait looks like, they want it gone and there’s only one way to get rid of something, their mouth, if bass had hands we’d never catch them off beds, pure and simple. I also don’t use a trailer, again it’s not necessary, always try to avoid the short strike.

If the area you are fishing is real snag filled than instead of the jig I’d go with a texas rigged plastic such as a weightless senko or a weighted tube or Beaver.

Lastly, I always have a dropshot close by with light line and a very dear to my heart certain plastic. If I wasn’t sponsored by this company I’d honestly never open my mouth about these plastics, they are simply the best. I’ve used them before when they were prototypes on smallmouth and ran out within in hour. At Diamond Valley Lake in California earlier in the month, they outproduced every other plastic I had including California’s precious Roboworm (Mourning Dawn). The bait I reluctantly speak of is the Biovex Kolt Fish Tail, a bait that comes to life in the water and quivers like no other bait I’ve ever seen. Also it floats, this is very key when bed fishing with a dropshot rig because I want that bait to sit right in front of the bass’s face. Additionally the bait has numerous tiny holes going through it that aids in its buoyancy, I find a better trait in that these tiny holes produce small bubbles exactly like a live baitfish would.

On the terminal side of things I go with a heavier weight similar to the same reasons of the jig. I want the bait to get down as quick as possible and when I impart action I want the weight to be an anchor and keep the rig on the bed. The hook is very important and I go with the best out there, a Trokar Dropshot Hook. There isn’t a sharper hook on the market and when I finally get that bass to bite, I want a hook that will bite back. Lastly I use fluorocarbon line mainly 8 lb. test.

One note on line selection that I feel is very important. Usually I try to use the heaviest line I can get away with almost all my regular fishing, the exception being when sight fishing. I know a lot of anglers would argue this point but while sight fishing I want to use the lightest line I can get away with, key words being “that I can get away with”. The reason for this is lighter line will let your bait be more realistic and give it more of a natural action. When the key is soliciting a bite by annoying the bass I find this tip to be very crucial. Fluorocarbon always gets the nod here as well, when sight fishing you need to be always thinking stealth. Invisible is as stealthy as it gets so I’m always going to make sure the bass can’t see my line.

Now that we’re rigged for battle, it’s time to catch some fish. This is by far the most addicting way to catch them for several reasons. This is the best time of year to catch a true trophy, the females are the largest and they’re extra plump now. You can see the fish and have to initiate a strike without spooking her, way easier said than done. When I come across a fish on the bed the first thing I do is move on and make a mental note of where the bass is. Some people will mark the bed with a long stick or a weight/fishing line/bobber combo. This simply aids them in making accurate casts. I haven’t used this but I can see how it could be beneficial. Basically once I spot a bass on her bed I’ll simply trolling motor away and develop a game plan. Remember if you come across one on a bed there’s a good chance the bass already saw you too. So calming the situation is key plus it gives you time as well. I’ll position my boat so that my shadow doesn’t cast over the bed, that would not be a good idea so sun in the face or better yet from the side would be best. I get myself to where I can barely see the bed and use the the fishes lateral line as a visual aid. It’s like one of those 3D pictures, you stare long enough and you’ll see nothing but the hidden image.

Once I feel like I’m in perfect position, I’d ideally drop my Power Poles. Unfortunately, at this time I don’t have this anchor system on my boat but it is a must come this Fall when I’m rigging up my new boat. There are so many advantages to having Power Poles and this is surely one of them.

I’ll start with the jig and make a long pitch past the bed. It’s important to not cast it directly onto the bed as you’ll almost always spook the fish, so instead cast beyond and swim it onto the bed. Now is a crucial time as you can see the mood of the bass. If the bass swims quickly off the bed and doesn’t come back relatively quickly, you may be screwed and need to come back. If the bass spooks off the bed it’s very important that you leave the jig on the bed until she comes back. You may not see the bass anymore but I guarantee she is watching the bed and the fact that there is something foreign in her space will most likely draw her back.

Now that you have a bass on the bed and your jig is also on the bed it’s up to you to use your annoying traits and produce a bite. I start by lightly quivering the jig ever so seductively, meanwhile constantly watching the bass and paying close attention to how it reacts. With some luck on your side the bass will start showing signs of being highly annoyed of your jigs presence. An annoyed bass will nose down on your bait, start fanning it’s fins trying desperately to intimidate your bait into leaving. Remember they’re not hungry therefor they’re not going to eat it, to get your bait in their mouth you need to make the bass feel like the only way this thing gets out of their area is by moving it and lucky for us they need to use their mouths to do just that.

If I haven’t been bit yet, I’ll start getting real erratic with the jig by making quick violent hops with the bait. If the bass turns broadside, I’ll whack her on the belly with the bait, trust me it works, you’ll get a similar reaction as you would if you hit on some UFC fighters girlfriend and then put your finger in his face after he confronts you. Through all this remember, if the white disappears, SET THE HOOK! The bass will simply crush the bait and spit it off the bed, so cat like reflexes are a must!

If all this isn’t initiating a bite or you keep missing on the hook set go to your dropshot and nine out of ten times they grab it instantly. By doing this your creating a reaction bite, the bass was getting conditioned to your jig and all of a sudden another fish jumped on it’s bed, game over.

I hope this gives a few readers a better understanding of bed fishing, it wasn’t that long ago that I thought this style of fishing was by far my worst, but little did I know I’m pretty darn good at it, it just takes patience and practice. Please remember to be responsible during this time of year, the bass are reproducing and it’s important to practice catch and release. There’s no denying that bed fishing has a few negatives that come along with it but honestly I’d much rather catch a fish from it’s bed before it’s even laid eggs than to catch a male while he’s protecting his fry and people do that all the time and not even realize they’re doing it.

No matter what, please practice catch and release, it’s for the livelihood of our sport and if everyone keeps the fishes well being in mind than there’s no reason we can’t all enjoy hunting our favorite quarry.

Posted in Blog Post

Studying the Art of the Spawn

I sit here dwelling on the fact that technically it’s Spring, yet just when all the snow was melting and the lakes ice showing it’s vulnerability, we get blasted by a bunch more snow and a weeks worth of cold weather. To stay sane, I try to look forward to what’s right around the corner and that is bass in the shallows preparing for the spawn. Naturally, I never considered the spawn one of my strong suites, I had tried a few times with less than perfect results but living in Minnesota it’s hard to sharpen your skills. Minnesota has a closed bass season from the end of February through the end of May and usually the largemouth bass have mostly wrapped up the spawn and are already blowing up my frog in the shallow vegetation.

It wasn’t until last April when I traveled down to Oklahoma to take part in a tournament on one of my favorite bodies of water in Grand Lake, just outside Tulsa. Three consecutive years I had made the trip to Grand with my buddies as a way to kick off the season and enjoy some fun fishing. Fun we had and I managed to get on a bite that pumped out giant staging females that were setting up for the spawn. When I found that there was a Bassmaster Weekend Series event going on I was all in.

I made the trip by myself and took part in a tournament that I really thought I had a better than not chance of winning. It didn’t take long at all to realize that the pattern I had come to master the previous few years was a day late and a dollar short. Instead I was finding fish up on the bank spawning. Trust me, had I known this beforehand I would never had the balls to venture all this way and take part in a tournament that would require me to sight fish against a field that employs this technique annually.

To make a long story short, at first I relied on a shakey head to catch these fish by positioning my boat far enough away that I couldn’t even see my quarry. I managed to use this technique to boat four descent bass and it wasn’t until the last hour that I came across a nice one on a bed. I instantly spooked her and without any hesitation she fled for deep water. Knowing I needed this bass to show face at the scales, I made the commitment to stick out the last hour and throw it all in the wind for a chance at catching this fish using a technique that I’ve never found successful in the past.

I pulled my boat back and waited and after about 20 minutes she showed up back on the bed. Staying far enough back so that I could just barely see the bass I started pitching a texas rigged Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver (Xmas Pumpkin) to the bed. To not startle the bass, I would pitch the bait onto the bank and gently pull it into the water and onto the bed. Instantly the bass turned and stared at my bait. I wiggled the bait a bit and the bass moved in for a closer look. After about twenty pitches to the bed the bass was really getting annoyed, fanning her fins hard and trying to kick at the bait with her tail. With time running out I quickly ripped off the Sweet Beaver and rigged on a white tube. As soon as the bait hit the bed I could tell I was going to get my chance, just then the tube disappeared and I set the hook to see a big ole’ mouth come to the surface and just like that I had a 3.6 pound largemouth in the box rounding out a pretty solid limit. I can’t even begin to count how many 3 pound bass I’ve caught in my life but that particular one sits in my top 3 catches of all time.

On my recent trip to Southern California I expected that a bed bite may be the ticket. It didn’t take to long to realize that my assumption was dead on. For three straight days I honed my sight fishing skills and on the last day was even able to guide two friends from Biovex Baits to bed fishing success.

I had never considered myself good at sight fishing but now have all the confidence in the world and actually am looking forward to the next opportunity. Looking at my upcoming tournament schedule I see potential on two of my first events. One will be on Iowa’s Lake Okoboji, which takes place early May. My educated guess tells me that it will be to early in the year but at the same time I’m a firm believer that the bigger fish spawn first and if not the case, having a understanding of where bass spawn will aid me in finding the prespawn females.

Another event will be the TBF Open on Lake Pokegama in early June. This event should definitely offer up some sight fishing opportunities as this lake is located in the far Northern end of Minnesota and the timing should be setting up perfectly.

Check back soon for a “Tricks of the Trade” segment where I plan on laying out some of the tactics that have proven for me. I’ll go through bait, line, rod and reel selection, insight into spawning location, technique and differences between sight fishing smallmouth and largemouth bass.

Check back soon!

Posted in Blog Post

Diamond Valley Lake, Hemet, CA

Diamond Valley Lake, the “Jewel” of Southern California. I’ve fished all over the country but never had the opportunity to head out west and get down on some of the world record breaking reservoirs that litter the golden state. Lucky for me, I had the opportunity thanks to Biovex Lures who was holding a meeting in Long Beach and invited me to come out and spend some time in the beautiful state. As far as the meeting went I do have some very exciting news but lets start with the fishing.

I have to admit I was a bit anxious the weeks leading up to the trip, for many reasons really but two main reasons were the long drive and before I could even fish Cali waters I had to get my boat passed through inspections and from everything I had been hearing, this was no walk in the park. You can imagine my anxiety level accepting the fact that I may be driving all across the country, over 2,000 miles one way and be told I wasn’t fishing. Luckily, this trip was a blast from the very beginning and everything just went right. I passed inspections with flying colors. Basically, the state of California is trying to keep the infestation of the Quagga Mussel out of their precious waters and zero tolerance is zero tolerance. To be honest, they need to be strict with infested waterways such as Lake Havasu and the rest of the Colorado River so near by.

The drive was truly grueling, really much harder and much longer than I ever expected. The trip was so long that I had the new Dr. Dre and Eminem song, “I Need a Doctor” memorized within the first three states of the thirteen total that we traveled through. Try pulling a heavy Ranger Bass Boat through the Vail/Frisco Pass in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains and you’ll have a new appreciation for trailer brakes! Though with all that said, I do it again tomorrow! I got problems, I know.

Helping assist me in passing inspections as well as getting on fish was the local tackle shop Last Chance Bait & Tackle. Don’t be fooled, this is your traditional Mom and Pop type shop but on steroids. I’ve visited tackle shops all over the country and this is easily in my top three, with a fighting chance at being my personal favorite. The husband and wife duo that own and operate the shop, Dan and Megan Merchant, stop at nothing to be sure they are carrying the very best products that the industry has to offer. A guy like me can get lost for hours in the isles looking at all the high end baits but also the very hard to get baits as well, including JDM products. Besides tackle, their staff is also full of local knowledge. This is something that shouldn’t be taken for granted either. Again, I fished everywhere but there isn’t anywhere that fishes like Southern California. Matt Magnone, one of their very experienced employees and a local DVL stick, offered up tremendous knowledge and better yet, I left there a far more experienced angler and know for fact that I’ll take some of those techniques he taught me and cash paychecks all over the Eastern United States. Thanks Matt, your the man!

The fishing started out slow for me to be honest. I had done lots of research on the lake the months leading up to this trip and felt pretty confident in my plan of attack. I felt that the spawn would be just around the corner and that I just needed to probe some near by deep structure and I’d find loads of giant females staging to move up. I studied maps and previous reports and felt I had identified some key pieces of structure that would hold up, though inexperience on these Cali waters proved to much as I’m used to fluctuating water levels but not like this. The trees that I had seen on Google Earth were literally under water. The water that I was hoping to probe in 40ish feet was now in 70?? I still gave it my best and after burning up my entire first day I finally caught what I thought to be a giant ledge donkey and instead ended up being a nice striper. Let me tell you about a rush! You throw a football jig on 50 foot structure, feel that “tap” in your line and hook into what feels like a moving tractor, then tell me the thoughts that run through your head while fishing lakes that pump out potential world records like their hot cakes at a Sunday morning breakfast hot spot. To finally win the battle and see it’s a striper on a football jig?? Cool, but not really..

Finally later in the day, I ventured shallow and started seeing some nice largemouth up on the bank. I worked one and caught my first largemouth of the trip that went roughly 3 1/2 pounds. I never thought of myself as a good bed fisherman but after this trip I’m pretty damn good. Maybe it’s because I can be pretty annoying when I want to be so why wouldn’t that work with my fishing? Let me assure you it did!

The next day I started my morning by heading back out to some deeper stuff and trying that again, a bit stubborn but in my defense I never did see any big females up shallow and was convinced that they were holding up somewhere. After again burning up several hours in the morning I started working shallow and right away was awarded with a quality smallmouth on a wacky rigged senko. I catch four pound smallmouth all the time back in Minnesota, but catching them here with a mountain filled back drop is a bit more rewarding.

After now catching two quality bass off the bank I started working my way around the banks and it didn’t take long to start seeing the bucks up preparing the nests. The rest of the day I spent sharpening my sight fishing skills with success! I basically went between three different lures to do the job. First I would try the new Matt Lures U2 Flat Tail Ultimate Gill (White), this is a bad ass bait and worked real well. I didn’t catch too many on it but it was very effective at annoying the fish so that I could easily catch them on one of my other two baits being a all white 1/2 oz. jig modified to be more effective on bed fish and a drop shot with a Roboworm (Morning Dawn) with a Trokar dropshot hook. There’s really no better hook than these Trokar hooks, they’re simply the best.

Throughout the days the fishing just got better and better. I was mostly catching males though and from time to time I would see giant females sitting in the flooded trees but after hours upon hours of trying to figure a way to yank on one of these toads, I ended up with a attitude of that’s just plain a tough fish to catch. See this lake is known as a light line lake, seriously light line. I never got bit on anything more than ten pound fluorocarbon and that’s even considered heavy line to the locals. The lake is gin clear and these fish aren’t like any I’ve ever fished for, they really make you be on your game. I can foresee this year being very challenging on the fisherman because with the water up so high there is so much cover for these fish to hide in. Even worse, there’s so much cover for these fish to break you off in. There’s a common phrase I hear amongst the locals. Ask them what their big bass is and they’ll spit out a ridiculous number like 11.6 pounds but they’ll all follow it with “I’ve broke off a dozen or so better”. That’s just the beauty of the beast. The Jewel gives it and the Jewel will take it away.

The last day on the water I had the privilege of being joined by Katsushi, the owner of Biovex and Hiro, the owner of Zusho Venture Partners. The reason for my trip to California was to join in on meetings as Biovex who makes awesome Japanese bass baits, will be soon distributing to the United States. This is extremely good news, I’ve been fortunate to be using these high end baits for a few years now and have been very heavily involved in this new expansion. A lot goes into this kind of move and I’ve been assisting in developing a line of baits that will cash many paychecks for tournament anglers all across the US. I’m very lucky to be sporting the Biovex logo in 2012 when fishing the Bassmaster Opens and FLW Everstart Series in my push to qualify for the tour level.

Katsushi brought out some new baits that have been developed and we got to put them to good use. It’s really a good feeling when the company that I represent makes a bait that out performs other baits that I had been using all week!! One such bait was the Biovex Kolt Fish Tail, a four inch morsel of love with a awesome hyper tail. Tip this bait on a drop shot and it comes to life. Another winning bait was the Biovex Kolt Stick and Kolt Shad Tail, these simply catch fish and there’s really no other soft plastic on the market that resembles the detail and action that these particular baits provide.

Katsushi and Hiro went on to catch numerous largemouth their first time bed fishing and we all had a blast doing it. Unfortunately for me I broke off on two giants that day, just as I was explaining before, light line, nasty trees and giant bass don’t mix. I easily broke off the two biggest fish that bit all week. Both were females that finally moved up and both found a way to break me off. Still cool though, in the clear water I got to see everything and so did the camera that was running. Stay tuned for the video of numerous bed fish and the tactics used to catch them! It was truly exciting!

In the end, I was slightly ticked that I was never able to crack that deep bite but with only a few days on the lake I didn’t really have the time I wanted to be able to break it all down and sometimes the most obvious pattern is the one that will produce in a crunch. I still had a boat load of success and am pretty confident if a bed fishing tourney broke off there that I’d be right up in the mix. There wasn’t too many that I couldn’t get to bite after a little bit of work.

I also had a chance to hit the annual Fred Hall Fishing and Outdoor Show. I had a good time and got the opportunity to see some pretty sweet baits as well as rub shoulders with some of California’s best fisherman. One such was Troy Lindner, son of famed Minnesota fisherman Al Lindner. Troy has clearly stepped out from his fathers shadows by making a name for himself on the west coast. Look at tournament results in Southern California and if his name isn’t on the very top, it’s surely a spot or two after. I especially like his Fit 4 Fishing, I take pride in staying in shape and truly believe it’ll give me an advantage over my competition and Troy’s expertise in this field is second to none. Check out his website at for more information.

Now back in Minnesota, Bri and I can say we had one of the best trips of our lives. Besides fishing and the business end of fishing we also had the chance to visit some nice restaurants as well as some sweet vineyards, you know, things to make my beautiful bride happy of course! To be honest, everything went perfect and I’m very excited to know that I get to go back yearly!

On another far more important note, I want to send my condolences to the people of Japan for the catastrophic series of natural events that occurred there. It hit close to home for me when my friends from Japan had to sit and watch the devastation thousands of miles from home. We need to do something to help the country of Japan and it’s people. Here is a link to a donation site if anyone can and wants to help out. Follow Link Here.

Posted in Blog Post

The Wild West

I can’t even begin to explain how busy I’ve been the past few days, hectic living for this guy. I’m not complaining though, honestly a busy Josh is a happy Josh and this winter is really trying a bass addicts nerves. The more time that can fly by and the more business I can accomplish before the ice breaks is all the better cause I plan on wrecking them this spring!

The month of March is really filling up quick as I’m happy to announce that I’ll be working the Navionics and possibly even the Capra’s Outdoors booths this year at the Northwest Sport Show, so be sure to stop by and say hi. If you have any questions about anything fishing swing by and we’ll talk shop.

The last few days have been extra hectic as leave shortly for a upcoming business trip to Southern California and if you don’t know me better, business for me includes a rod and reel in hand. I’ll be fishing Diamond Valley Lake with the people from Biovex, who’ll be in town from Japan. We got a on-water photo shoot planned so I’m hoping the giants show up to help make me look good. I’ll also be attending the Fred Hall Fishing Show in Long Beach.

**The heart of the Jewel

Bri and I still got lots to do before loading up the Ranger and make the trek across country, important things to like unwinterizing the rig, making sure the truck is good to cruise a ridiculous amount of miles but my heart is whaling a mile a minute in pure anxiety of being able to get the opportunity to fish Southern California’s jewel known as DVL.

This is a new man made reservoir that was originally opened to the public in 2002 and was made for the residents in the area for usable drinking water. The lake is loaded with giant florida-strain largemouth bass and is constantly stocked with rainbow trout. It’s also building a reputation as being a trophy smallmouth fishery. This deep rocky reservoir has already shelled out a 16.43 lb. monster largie and smallmouth weights aren’t uncommon in the 4 and 5 pound mark.

Mid March should be a good time to fish the Jewel, the fish should be moving up preparing to spawn and if they’re not up on the banks than they should be out on the points and drops in large schools. They’ve been getting some unusual weather and the water temp is on the cold side so the deep bite may still be where it’s at if the overnight temps don’t start bumping up a bit.

I’ve been doing my fair share of research and I got to admit I feel out of my norm. I was put in touch with the guys at Last Chance Bait and Tackle for some advice as well as some input on passing lake inspections, which is a long and honestly depressing side of California fishing that I just rather not get into and instead focus on all the positives that could come from this trip. When it comes to fishing it seems like a guy’s got to be extremely versatile, it’s no joke, either I’m throwing giant swimbaits with very heavy tackle or I’ll bust out the fairy wands with light 6 lb. test and do work that way. There’s really not much in between. I do plan on throwing some big texas rigged worms, Carolina Rigs, Football Jigs and of course a weightless senko for when I see a cruiser up on the bank. From what I hear it’s not much of a reaction style lake, mainly because the lake is so gin clear. It’s all about deep water or stealth in the shallows and when I say deep, we’re talking 30 to 40 feet.

**Photo of a Matt Lures Bed Bait

There’s always the possibility of busting a giant Chicana off a bed as well. I know the spawn is still a little ways off but I’m a firm believer that the real big ones are the first to get to doing the dirty deed and I just got the bait of all bed baits to break up a happy home. My real good buddy Eric Aske hooked me up with a couple baits for my trip and the bed buster of them all is a smaller white version of the Matt Lures Ultimate Gill. Dude, there’s no way this bait doesn’t get the job done. It’s really an awesome bait!

My goals for this trip are through the roof, honestly though they’re more on the business side of fishing. I got some meetings planned with Biovex that if everything is on track could mean real good things for the future. Of course I still have one main goal and that’s to catch a ten pound giant. I’d really like to accomplish this and where’s a better venue than a Southern California donkey pond? I came close last year on Falcon Lake but just never was able to bust that ten. This year could be my year!

Be sure to check in on my Facebook page for on water status checks and pictures of giants with Real Prey Swimbaits choked half down their throat!! Wish us luck!

Posted in Blog Post

Mapping Your Way to Fishing Success

Being an avid tournament bass fisherman, the competition that I face on a day to day basis is overwhelming. I’m always looking for that new product whether it be tackle, line, electronics, whatever can promise me that edge over my competition.

Over the years I’ve seen things introduced to the fishing world that promises success and guarantees the buyer that they’ll catch more and bigger fish. Whether the product does just that is up to the fisherman, we definitely don’t all fish the same and our styles leave the door wide open for something to be coveted by one angler yet waste away in another ones garage.

When I was first getting into the competitive side of bass fishing I admit I was one who would look for that bait or that product that would cash me paychecks. Most of the time I just ended up a little more broke in the checkbook and carrying a lot more junk in the boat. See the product itself was probably great but my skill at using it wasn’t. I recall a time that I went out and bought a fiberglass rod because I heared KVD preaching the benefits of using these rods when throwing crankbaits. I remember hitting the lake with it and wouldn’t you know I didn’t catch anything. Insulted, I shoved the rod back into my rod locker and I swear it sat there for a better part of six months.

Gimmick? Well had you asked me that then I would have said yes, without a doubt. Ask me that now and the answer would be not at all. See the truth to the matter is I wasn’t seasoned on the technique of deep water crankin’ and just because I buy that specific style of rod doesn’t give me all the inner tools needed to master the technique. Though now that I’ve spent countless hours practicing the technique of deep crankin’, I can wholeheartedly see the benefits as to what KVD was talking about.

There’s a million examples one could come up with very similar to the one I just shared. Though from time to time a company will introduce a product that will set a new standard. A product so useful that it rewrites the way fishermen fish. You can’t fine tune a presentation if you can’t find the fish and the products put out by Navionics are meant to do just that.

Out of everything I own fishing related, what couldn’t I live without? That’s a really tough question to answer and one that was emailed to me by a fisherman looking for some solid advice. My first answer would have to be my boat, I can’t compete or even fish without it. Second would have to be my electronics. Without these I wouldn’t know where to fish. That’s when I got to thinking, my electronics are very important but without my Navionics data cards showing me what is under the waters surface I wouldn’t know where to begin. Even the new addition of Side Imaging is known as a game changer but it wouldn’t be nearly as useful if I didn’t know what structure was underneath me. To be able to just show up and fish a body of water and have all the lake information at the tip of my finger is essential to my and every other anglers success. My Navionics chip is what breathes life into my electronics!

Now Navionics has stepped up there game once again and introduced a new App for both Android and iPhone. This state of the art and already award winning product can now be at anybodies fingertips even if you don’t own a boat. For around ten dollars anyone who owns one of these phones can download Navionics and see exactly what I can see from the deck of my Ranger. Not only can they see but they can follow along with the GPS as well as save waypoints. Talk about a truly good deal, for a ten spot you can turn your phone into a hand held unit? Now were talking about a good deal!

Another key introduction to the Navionics App is the User Generated Content, better known as UGC. This function empowers Navionics customers to modify navigational aids or points of interest on their charts and instantly share it with an entire community of users! Simply input your UGC via your Smart Phone App or PC App and you will join others in creating the best and freshest localized charts available.

No matter your skill level, Navionics offers a product that will benefit you the instant you hit the water. Like any other sport, practice develops your skills. To catch fish you need to be able to think like one, invest in Navionics and take the guess work out of your time on the water. From the crankbait rod to the crankbait itself, it’s all useless if I don’t know the structure that I’m throwing it to. That’s were Navionics gives me my edge!

For more information please contact me via email at or contact Navionics directly at

Posted in Blog Post

Tackle Update: New for Navionics

Navionics header
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Navionics World… Anytime, Anywhere.

Experience the Navionics World
Miami International Boat Show
February 17-21, 2011
Booth #1643

BUY Navionics for your Chart Plotter:

• Get unlimited access to Freshest Data*
• Get a Free Navionics PC App too!

For 1 year when you buy Navionics for your chart plotter you get unlimited access to download the freshest data via our Web Store at
It’s easy! But that’s not all – you are also eligible to download our PC App to view Navionics on your computer. It’s a great value!

NEW! User Generated Content!

Join the Navionics Revolution. User Generated Content (UGC) empowers Navionics customers to modify navigational aids or points of interest on their charts and instantly share it with an entire community of users! Simply input your UGC via your Smart Phone app or PC App and you will join others in creating the best localized charts available.

NEW! Wireless Plotter Sync!

Raymarine and Navionics are pleased to announce the availability of Navionics Mobile with Plotter Sync technology. Plotter Sync enables the wireless exchange of navigation data between Raymarine’s E-Series Widescreen and G-Series navigation displays via mobile devices including the Apple iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.

* Customer registration required. Gold cartography is eligible for freshest data updates which include HotMaps Premium, HotMaps Platinum, Gold, Platinum+ (freshest data available March/April 2011).

For more information please visit

Posted in Blog Post

KVD Wins the 2011 Bassmaster Classic!!

It isn’t everyday that I write about other tournament bass anglers but at the same time I find it important to give credit where credit is due. On that note, the 2011 Bassmaster Classic just wrapped up minutes ago and the venue, the Louisiana Delta proved to be healthy as ever imagined.

This stretch of waterway from New Orleans to Venice, where the Mississippi dumps into the Gulf of Mexico has been under the gun lately by literally catastrophic events. First, the area gets slammed by Hurricane Katrina and if that isn’t enough a couple years later it gets attacked by a BP oil rig that exploded in the Gulf. People all over the world expected this massive waterway to be decimated beyond repair. Many thought the Classic would be relocated, not the case, in fact it was one of the best Classics I can remember. In fact, the final day pumped out sacks close to thirty pounds and the man holding the trophy at the end was the one and only, Kevin VanDam.

**Photo courtesy of

The dude’s simply unreal, by far the best stick in the world and there’s no question. Taking second was Aaron Martens, yes again, Aaron takes second to King Kong. I’m sure he feels like puking on himself right now but should hold his head high, very high. I dream everyday of just qualifying for a Classic, one day God willing I will, but hats off to a guy that not only qualifies but is in the thick of it year after year. There’s no doubt in my mind Aaron will hold that trophy over his head one year very soon.

From all the reports I heard, the top anglers were fishing an an area very close to the take off, literally fishing a cast length apart. While most anglers made super long runs, some claiming to have ran over 700 miles in the three days, for the most part just couldn’t find the fish that the others could. Fog delays may have been part of this but in the end it just seemed like the ones that stayed close were on the fish to do just what they did, whacked ’em.

The top five were KVD with 69-11, Aaron Martens 59-0, Minnesota’s own Derek Remitz with 56-8, rookie Brandon Palaniuk with a very impressive 55-7 and Brent Chapman with a very respectable 54-8.

Some notables were Mike Iaconelli took 11th place with 43-3, Skeet Reese finished 14th with 42-3 and local favorite Greg Hackney finished in a disappointing 42nd place with a weight of 15-1, going to show again that winning on home waters isn’t as easy as one would believe.

Early reports prove that attendance and interest in our sport is at in all time high. It’s said that over a million people were tuning into the live streaming to watch the weigh in. I can’t imagine how many will tune into ESPN 2 next weekend to watch all the on-water action!

Now that the Classic is officially wrapped and in the books, my anxiety to be on the water is through the frickin’ roof! As I write this we are being bombed by yet another snowmeggedon which is supposed to dump another twenty inches of the white stuff all across the Twin Cities. It’s easy to sit here and feel bad for myself but instead I’m going to be grateful it’s now and not two weeks from now when I’ll be headed to California’s Diamond Valley Lake to try my hand at whacking a ten plus pounder! This weather is also securing the move to Tennessee, trust me!

Congrats to KVD and all the rest of the Classic qualifiers and thanks to all of bass fishing sponsors that make our sport even possible!

Posted in Blog Post

Tackle Update: Real Prey Introduces the 5" Shad

Massachusetts swimbait maker, Joe Rainville, owner of Real Prey Swimbaits, just announced the release of his much anticipated 5″ Shad. A 1 oz. bait designed to be fished anywhere from the east coast to the west coast and from Florida to Minnesota. The 5 inch size of this bait is ideal for all size bass no matter where you fish, if there’s shad this bait will shine. In fact, because the bait swims so natural it’ll get bit no matter if the dominant forage is shad, bluegill, trout or alewife. I personally have never thrown a bait that runs as true as a Real Prey and the 5″ Shad is no exception.

Besides the baits irresistible action, there’s other attributes worth pointing out. Unlike more mass produced swimbaits on the market, the Real Prey’s are made of a high module and far more expensive silicone product, instead of more widely used plastisol. The benefits of this silicone favors the buyer far more than the manufacturer. As mentioned the price of the silicone is much more than that of plastisol and the reasoning behind this is because the silicone is far more durable. Durability is very high on my list when spending over twenty bucks per bait. Being that silicone is more expensive you’d think this added expense would be passed along to the consumer, not the case with Real Prey. Instead of being like most companies producing swimbaits who would rather have less expense in manufacturing and less durability in the products so that their consumers would need to buy more product when the baits wear out, Real Prey on the other hand give their customers more value for their buck and depend on old fashioned level of service to produce more and longer lasting customers.

The price of the 5″ Shad is $19.99 and the best way to purchase these baits is through Real Prey directly at and if you spend over $50, shipping is free. Real Prey is in the middle of constructing a brand spanking new website so continue to check in for new developments. If you have any questions or want to order these baits contact

Posted in Blog Post

Staying Warm and Alive in the Frigid Dead of Winter

With the weather forecast finally showing signs of slight compassion, I was extremely eager to get out and take advantage of the rare mid thirty temps by exercising some dormant smallies. Luckily for me, I know just the place.

Yesterday was more of a challenge to get bit and the size wasn’t all fantastic either though the methods employed to catch them made it all worth the trip. I managed to catch around twenty-five smallies and for the majority of them I leaned on soft plastics to produce, though all my big bites came on a Real Prey Alewife Swimbait. The six and a half inch bait put in work on some real nice fish and the viciousness of the bite was mind numbing, numbing because no matter what, I couldn’t put the bait down. The more methodical the cast and retrieve the better the results. I’m telling you, I’m really starting to break the possibilities of these large swimbaits wide open here in Minnesota. Fair warning…..I’m learning.

Dave Cindrich, who originally introduced me to Real Prey’s line of swimbaits also used the exact same bait and had a fantastic time himself. Heck, not only did he introduce me to this swimbait, he introduced me to all swimbaits. I really got to give Dave the credit, if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be the believer I am today, which also means when he calls me to tip me off on a bait that is secretly stacking giant stringers, I shut up and listen.

This day we were throwing matching Real Prey Swimbaits but I had the perch and he was using some sort of shad color. Needless to say they both produced and though the day was slow and the big ones were few and far between, it speaks volumes when one bait caught all the big ones that day, the same fish that passed on the small plastics. See the key to these baits is that they are large but they’re just large enough to perfectly imitate the largest forage. As a man, do you want a 6 oz. petite steak or a 14 oz. Porterhouse? Enough said.

Besides the baits perfect “match the hatch” profile, it’s balance is my favorite feature. I can slow roll it or speed it up at any depth and the bait doesn’t roll on itself at all. I also look at the cost vs. durability factor, I mean for a 30 year old aspiring professional bass fisherman, money can not be spent foolishly. These baits are so strong that I have yet to loose one and they all still look like the day I bought them with the tiny exception for one or two battle scars, scars that I’m honored to tell the story of. These baits are so well put together that I plan to be throwing them on my upcoming trip to California’s, Diamond Valley Lake. Can you just imagine a chunky 13 pounder with a Real Prey choked in her throat? I’m literally loosing sleep.

Switching gears to today and the results were completely different as to were the patterns for success. They were snapping today man and a tube as well as a dropshot is what me and my buddy Chris Campbell were using first thing in the morning. The smallies were far more predictable and I was able to pattern them early by attacking the river break lines. Really it was simple, the bass were active today and were eager to jump on whatever was on the move. I just worked small soft plastics through those natural eddy areas were the smallmouth were stacked up in schools hoarding whatever came down river.

Finally after the bite slowed down a bit, I took some early morning advice from my buddy Andy Young who was fishing in a different area and was catching good ones on a crankbait. I followed suite and it was like I was never there earlier whacking on them. They jumped on it. Good ones too. In the end, I ended with somewhere around 50 fish and my buddy Chris finished somewhere around 30. The size was nice to with most lying right around the 3 pound mark and a couple real nice ones sitting in the 4 pound range.

All in all it was a great couple days, just the thing to temporarily relieve my premature spring fever. Hopefully the weather cooperates a bit better in February and provides for a few more highly anticipated trips. Stay tuned..

Posted in Blog Post

Plans for 2011 and Beyond

Now that the New Year has come and passed, I’m excited to say that the future is looking very bright! I’ve been busy putting together plans for the upcoming 2011 season which, in a nutshell, is preparation for 2012 and on.

With the tournament situation here in Minnesota and Wisconsin taking a dramatic downturn for lots of different reasons, it’s giving me the added motivation to jump in head first into the upper echelons of professional bass fishing. I’m truly not being a negative nelly, it’s just that since there isn’t a lot of professional level tournaments here in my area especially ones that have the potential to qualify a guy into the highest levels, it’s time I get where the getting is good and head south to start making a name for myself on some more well known tournament waters.

This is a move that both my wife Bri and myself have been waiting in anticipation for some time. Though not exactly sure on the location just yet we do know we like the Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia areas and being that they’re so centrally located to most the tour venues, this is a big advantage. Add in the fact that I’ll be able to fish year round and will be able to save thousands of dollars every year in gas money instead of trying to fish these events traveling all the way from Minnesota.

I also want to live right next to a major waterway that suits my style yet exposes me to other methods of fishing that I haven’t yet got the chance to master. Ideally the Tennessee Valley lakes are where we’ll end up. These reservoirs offers all styles of fishing but the biggest is that they offer true ledge fishing, something unheard of hear in the north country. To be able to live minutes from a lake like Chickamauga and still just be a couple hours from Guntersville, Pickwick, Kentucky and Old Hickory is a huge advantage in sharpening my learning curve and aiding me in my campaign at fishing and winning on the highest levels.

Now there’s still a lot of work to be done before we join the birds and migrate south so the time frame for our move is anytime between Spring and Fall of 2012 as this will be the year I pony up and jump into the Bassmaster Opens and FLW Opens and test myself against the best. This is something that I know may take some time to be competitive fishing against guys on their home water, but I’ve never been one to turn down a challenge and actually loose sleep at night chomping at the bit in anticipation. Understand this is what I’ve wanted since I was a little kid and how can something that feels so right be wrong?

As far as 2011 goes I plan to join in on a lot of tournaments and cash some needed checks as well as take on a lot of guide trips, when your planning a big move like we are additional money can never hurt. To be honest, I’m really looking forward to this season even though the tournament scene kinda took a downturn. I look at it as a good thing as it’ll give me more time to hang with my boys, do some fun fishing yet at the same time prepare for the road ahead.

On a another subject, I mentioned in a previous post that there is something big in the works coming soon for my main sponsor Biovex. It’s still a bit premature to throw out but I’m telling you I’m getting very excited. In March, Bri and I will be heading out west to southern California to attend the Fred Hall Fishing Show and do some fishing on SoCal’s jewel, Diamond Valley Lake. I’ll be meeting and fishing with the top dogs of Biovex who will be flying in from Japan. I assure you I’ll have much more information for you as soon as I get back.

All for now. Check back soon.

Wait, one more thing, another reason I’m excited to move, I just looked at the temperature outside here in Minneapolis and it’s sitting at a bone chilling temp of -12 degrees Fahrenheit and with the wind chill it’s supposed to be -30F. Where’s the Uhaul truck?

Posted in Blog Post

I’m Not a Ice Fisherman but I’m Still Catching ‘Em!

Most would assume that here in Minnesota die hard fisherman like myself resort to drilling holes holes in the ice to get our fix. If that’s your assumption I’m eager to inform you that you couldn’t be more wrong.

First off, I’m not a fisherman, I’m a die hard bass fisherman. I don’t have anything against ice fishing, but it’s just not for me. With that said, I still fish open water here in Minnesota all through the winter, you just got to know what your looking for.

So far this winter it’s been more catching than fishing and my last trip was as good as it’s been in years. On a recent trip with buddies Andy Young and Timmy Kuzy we put in work. Odd enough it was weird weather too. Never in my life have I fished in Minnesota and had it down pouring the entire time in the middle of the winter. This must have triggered the smallmouth cause it was one after another for hours. We caught some good ones too. I really think the rain helped aid us in our venture as well. It seemed the smallies had a bit more spunk than usual.

We used a few different tactics to catch them but in the end the tube was the magic ticket. I was disappointed because I forgot my swimbait rod at home and on my last trip I really had some good luck on the Huddleston Shad. On that trip my buddy Eric Aske also put in work on the 6 inch Huddleston if you can believe that? I promise you it’s true, they would just jack it up too, down their throats!

With the weather so brutally cold the next few days I don’t have much planned fishing wise besides sharpening up on my pitching skills around the house. Tomorrow I’ll be out at Warner’s Dock in New Richmond, WI for their open house. Mike Mcclelland and Dion Hibdon will be there doing seminars. Mcclelland is one of my favorite anglers and in my opinion he’s the best structure fisherman this country has to offer. If you don’t have anything going on stop out and check it out, they even feed you a free lunch.

All for now, check back soon and STAY WARM!

Posted in Blog Post

Reflecting Back on 2010

Another year flies by just like that. Unbelievable how quickly time can pass by. It seems like just yesterday I was setting goals for 2010 and now it’s only hours away from being 2011. I had a very busy 2010 and I guess that’s why it seems as time just flew past. What’s the saying? Time flies when your having fun?

Anyway, looking back at this past year I have some mixed reviews of myself and my fishing. Overall I feel like this was my toughest year to date. I just completed my third year of competitive fishing and this year was my worst out of the three as the first two were highly successful. I find this odd as I’m a thousand times better fisherman than I was three years ago and am even more driven. Even more so, I’m a lot better angler now than I was at the start of this season yet it didn’t show at the scales.

When I first started tournament bass fishing I wasn’t very versatile. I was a shallow water jig fisherman and that year that’s what I did, I fished shallow and I took advantage of every good fish that bit my jig and tournament after tournament I collected a nice paycheck. Then the following year I managed to win a real big one down on the Mississippi River. Again not really getting away from what got me there. It wasn’t until the very next tournament, the Silverado on Green Lake, in Spicer, MN. I found a deep bite and was catching rogue smallmouth on every cast. I couldn’t sleep that night, never in my life had I found those true sweet spots that people talk of. I tossed and turned all night as I truly thought I was going back to back major wins.

That tournament day held up to the hype too. Tt was the best single day of fishing I had ever had and the weather was absolutely awful. Four foot waves were coming over the bow of my Ranger every 3 seconds but I must have caught over 60 fish that day. All big ones too, the only problem was they were all around 3 to 3.5 pounds. I simply wasn’t catching the 4’s like I needed to win and like the ones I was catching in practice.

I ended in 16th place, not horrible but not great. Leaving there I had such satisfaction and still know in my heart that had the weather not negatively effected these deep spots so bad I would have won that tournament. Best part, no one else was even close to me all day. I was the only one running that pattern or at least that had the kahunas to actually sit out there and take a beating that day. That drive home I was as excited about my fishing future as I was a week back leaving the boat ramp with a 5 thousand dollar check in my pocket. I truly found a hidden gem, loaded with good ones at that and caught them in ways I only saw on TV. Not the way Josh Douglas usually catches them.

That day, though one of the most exciting days of my fishing career was also one of the most necessary as well. I found how tournaments could be won off the bank, out deep where true big stringers pile up in big schools. I made it my destiny to learn off shore structure. Every chance I got I was learning my electronics, trying to determine what I was fishing under the water and trying to teach myself how to effectively comb deep structure. I found some success and learn relatively quickly though the problem was when do I know where to be and what to do? See when your heart set on banging shallow cover all day, it doesn’t matter what the conditions do because your staying put, your looking for 5 good bites. Most of the time you’ll get those bites however you may never get that big stringer like the guys out working over that deep milfoil or those deeper hard bottom areas. Truth to the matter is I spread myself to thin, trying to milk run everything and just not cleaning up.

There’s no doubt I am a better angler than I was last year at this same time. I not only am comfortable in deep water as I am in shallow water but I now have confidence in a lot more different techniques as well. This all stems from trial and error. I caught my largest bass of a lifetime at over 8 pounds on Falcon Lake last February on a flip shot rig. I helped cash a paycheck this spring throwing wacky rigs and had the smallies coming up and eating jerkbaits all Spring. This Fall I did most all my damage on a crankbait from 1 to 15 feet of water and caught some of my best fish of the year and last but not least, I inspired myself even more the day I caught my first giant on a true swimbait and became straight addicted on the countless rest that followed.

It takes time to learn and be confident with new fishing techniques. If I want to continue climbing the ladder of professional bass fishing than I need to know when to adjust. The only way to learn that is from paying the dues and listening to myself. After all, I’m the one that got me there.

On a very positive note, my business side of bass fishing had probably the best year yet. I cannot tell you how truly important it is to excel on the business side of the sport as well. No one likes to hear it but it’s so true. Professional bass fishing is a 50/50, you need to be as good off the water as you are on the water. This was so apparent at the Bass University last month in Chicago, those guys are talkers as much as they are flippers. There are a lot of great fisherman out there, one’s that could compete on the water with KVD but couldn’t hold his jock strap with a camera in his face. I’m convinced KVD is selling Sexy Shad Series 5 Crankbaits in Pakistan, the dude’s unreal.

This year has been great and I’m looking so forward to 2011 to be even better. I’ve signed on with Trokar which is awesome for me. I only accept business deals with companies I use, baits that I rely on. Being able to work with Trokar and exclusively use the best hook on the market is a no brainer.

I’m also developing a long term relationship with Biovex, a Japanese company that has a lot of big things planned for the future, things that I am very fortunate to be involved with.

Check back in 2011, as I plan to lay out my future agenda and goals for the upcoming season and beyond.

Happy New Year!

Posted in Blog Post

My Christmas List

With Santa hours away from climbing down chimneys and dropping off everyone’s wish list, I thought of a list of things that I would like to see under my tree come tomorrow morning. Of course there’s always the essentials like boxers, socks and long underwear, but I’m talking the real stuff, tackle, rods and reels!

A lot of tackle companies are gearing up for 2011 and are already starting to advertise and release some of their new product lines. I made a list of some notables that I’d like to get my hands on as well as things that are essential come the start of the 2011 tournament season.

First things first, I’d really like to open a box, a very large box I might add, chuck full of Trokar Hooks and Tru Tungsten Weights. This is one of those gifts that no one really loves to buy but every serious fisherman wants a garage full of them. They’re not the most glamorous side of tackle but in my opinion they’re the most important. Sure fancy crankbaits and high speed reels or ultra sensitive rods are more fun but the nuts and bolts of my fishing is what puts weight in my livewells and these two products are the cats booty when it comes to putting together tournament winning sacks. Out of all my tackle in my boat, Tru Tungsten Weights and Trokar Hooks are by far my most relied on, with only a slight exception….

That brings me to my most favorite lure, the one bait that is most responsible for the vast majority of my BIG fish and my even BIGGER paychecks, the jig. There is no better bait available to suit my fishing style. I LOVE FISHING WITH JIGS! Big or small, deep football jigs, finesse style, skipping boat docks, stroking the milfoil or swimming through the tullies, it really doesn’t matter. As long as I have a jig in my hand, I’m confident and we all know that confidence equals success. Like I’ve said before, if I can start any given tournament with 3 or 4 jig rods scattered across my deck and that’s the bite that day, I will be a tough one to beat. The jig gives me my swag.

With that being said, I’ve found myself at a not so appreciated cross road when it comes to which jigs I throw. Anyone who has been seriously fishing long enough knows the feeling of becoming dependent on a bait and then the company changes it or goes out of business and you can no longer get what you’ve come to covet. It sucks, plain and simple. With this said though, I’ve spent endless hours trying to find what I consider to be the cream of the crop in this department, so if Santa has got a in with Tackle Warehouse or Capra Outdoors, hopefully there will be a large and very heavy box of these come tomorrow morning.

Football Jigs – I love me some Picasso Football Jigs (1/2 oz. to 1 oz.). The only modification I make is adding a double tail grub, hand tying a skirt and adding a rattle. The nuts and bolts of this jig is unmatched.

Work Jigs – This is my favorite style of jigs. Whether I’m skipping boat docks or pitching laydowns, this style jig is my work horse and because of this I am ridiculously picky on what jig I use. For this style jig I really only use 3/8 oz. to 1/2 oz. and I want a hand tied skirt basically because I don’t want to foul a cast when I skip the jig. The more efficient I can be on the water, the more successful I will be and fouling casts is just not going to be acceptable. I also need a jig that comes in the colors that I like and that comes equipped with a stout hook. I’m always looking for better but I think I’ve found the best, Shooter Elite Series Jigs. These awesome hand fashioned jigs come with all the qualities I listed above but are also handmade.

Flippin’ Jigs – Again I’ve tried them all but am extremely happy with what I’ve found out of the Strike King Hack Attack Jig. For this I usually lean towards 3/4 oz. and 1 oz. and the fact that they come equipped with a 6/0 tuna hook. Enough said.

Finesse Jigs – Always have been, always will be Jewel Finesse Jigs. I also like their football jigs too.

Swim Jigs – This category I’m a bit spoiled in because the best two companies are somewhat local. Up here on the Mighty Mississippi, we swim jigs a lot and who better to buy from then the experts. I use two kinds, Super K and Brovarney. Super K offers a 5/0 wide gap hook where as Brovarney is a standard 4/0, not better just different and I depend on both given certain situations. Both companies make awesome colors.

Last year was a good year for me, being that I was known as a jig fisherman I secretly started relying on crankbaits as a go to. With that said, I really hope Santa has connections in Japan because if I don’t get a giant box fully loaded with Biovex Deep Runner Crankbaits, I’m screwed next year. This bait simply catches fish and big ones at that. Newly designed and added to an already deadly lineup, Biovex upped the ante when it comes to deep running cranks. In fact, I am so addicted to throwing these baits that I had to add a whole new set up to my repertoire.

This leads me to my next must have and hopefully I’ve been good because my list is getting long and expensive. I really like the new Deep Flex Crankbait line that G Loomis introduced last year. I plan to match my Biovex Deep Runner with a G Loomis Deep Flex Crankin’ rod (CBR 896), a 7′ 5″ heavy action rod, fully equipped with a Shimano Chronarch 100D5 cranking reel. This deadly combination without a doubt will pull dandy’s off of rock piles and ledges all over the country.

Lets see, what else? I am a fisherman and a competitive one at that so being glutenous shouldn’t be much of a surprise. I mean as soon as I catch a 5 pounder I want to catch a bigger one or at very least another one. I win a tournament and I’m not satisfied, I just want to do it again so lets go ahead and pile it on.

I’ve also been in the process of making a significant transition. My mentality from the start is small is better when it comes to reels. I’ve been very accustomed to 2500 series spinning reels. I see a lot of other bass anglers using larger 4000 sizes. In fact, after going to the Bass University I couldn’t help but notice that on all their spinning rods they had large spool reels. I started looking into this further and my findings all made sense on why to make that change though I still couldn’t get the size thing out of my head. The benefits of a larger spinning reel are huge though, first off casting distance will exceed greatly, it manages the line better on the reel and therefor greatly reduces line twist and most important it speeds up the ratio of the reel and helps pick up line quicker, making fighting the fish more efficient. So my plan goes like this, I instead switched to 3000 size reels and in a year or two will again up size to a 4000. Let me tell you so far I love the change, my new 3000 size reels cast further and are just better off when fighting fish. Kind of just wish that I sucked it up and went straight to the 4000 but hey, a plan’s a plan.

With that being said it’s time for me to head out and plow more snow. I’ve never in my 30 years seen so much of it already and it’s not even January. Bri and I made a promise that for fact we will be moving to Tennessee within the next two years, winter is for losers. Though on that note, the fishing has been stunning and probably because of all the low pressure storms we’ve been getting. The smallmouth have been popping and yesterday I couldn’t keep them off my baby Huddleston swimbait. In fact I would have smashed them on the bait had I been able to hook up with them all. My hook up ratio was very much an issue and though I did catch a bunch I had to lean on my tube to catch the bulk of them. Sadly my hook up ratio was only about 10% so last night I developed a new stinger hook setup for these that will surely do the trick. Maybe one day I’ll share? We’ll see.

To everyone please have a terrific and safe holiday. Merry Christmas and I hope Santa will be generous to all his favorite fisherman and women.

Posted in Blog Post

Bass University

Marriott O’Hare, Chicago, IL

I remember about five years ago the Bass University, which at the time was put on by B.A.S.S. itself, had a scheduled stop here in the Twin Cities and I remember how badly I wanted to go. I was just starting to jump full go into competitive bass fishing and had just bought my first Ranger. That was a fantastic winter buying a boat but it was also an expensive one as I had really not much of any equipment and the idea of fishing out of my new shiny bass boat without electronics was awful. Needless to say my priorities kept me from attending the University when it came around but still I promised myself that I would be in attendance the next year when they came back in town.

That next Spring I sported a nice Lowrance unit on my boat and even saved enough to add another to the front deck. I looked the part that year and actually was able to learn a lot over those first few months which was very rewarding because of the exception of a few good friends, I learned a lot of it on my own.

After that first year I felt I was ready to take the step into tournament bass fishing and that off season I looked forward to attending the BASS University to help really sharpen my skills. When I came to learn that the University wouldn’t be coming back to the area I was disappointed I hadn’t gone the year prior.

Business went on as can be expected and year after year I look back at my successes and how quickly I was able to accomplish as much as I have in a relatively short amount of time. I obviously still have much to learn so when I got news that the new Bass University was coming to a city within driving range, I was on the road to Chicago.

I’ll be more than honest with you, the entire drive down there I was pretty skeptical. I was just hoping I wasn’t driving all this way to Chicago to hear a pro tell me what color jig is the magic fish catching color or why their Triton is better than a Bass Cat. I mean, I know a thing or two about catching a bass and for good reason, in the past 5 years I’ve spent every available second I could to catching these fish. Not only do I wake up at absolutely ridiculous hours of the morning, day after day and spend hours after hours wreaking havoc not just physically but mentally as well, just to stay up late scowering magazines and reading internet articles just to absorb more.

Well, I can happily say that in just the first two hours of the first day I felt I had gotten my money and time worth. There was barely any sponsor plugs and when there was it was because someone in attendance asked. I have a knack for the business side of the sport and understand plugging sponsors is as important to a pros career as consistently catching fish. However, it’s unheard of to be able to sit in the same small room with other top echelon sports figures and pick their brain for knowledge.

In fact, I feel as though I may have been more bass savvy than a lot of people attending however I feel like I may have learned some of the most that were in attendance. I know for fact that had I attended this class 5 years ago I’d be even more better off as I am now. Yet, I’m even more impressed by how much more confident I am now.

I wasn’t there to get an autograph, not at all. I couldn’t. Everyday I think of how bad I want to be competing out there against them and though I have a lot to learn I’m now reassured that that very feat could be had with any given cast.

To hear someone like Mike Iaconelli or Brent Ehrler talk to you just like your fishing buddies and to see that they are just like myself, a dude that really, really likes to fish and that the difference is he made an opportunity happen at the right time.

I can honestly say that no matter what your level of bass fishing is you can and will take useful knowledge away from this, knowledge that will help you put more bass in your livewell. When you see a bass pro that has cashed a million dollar paycheck sit in the same seats as the rest of the class and intently listen to his competitor talk and even ask questions to better help himself understand what he is saying. The best thing I learned is that if I continue to work and stay dedicated to my goals, I’ll too cash in on that opportunity when it presents itself.

I did learn a lot of tips and techniques that will better help me excel because of going to this class. Tips that I really don’t care to share but for one exception, one thing that I will live by. The five P’s, as long as I follow the five P’s I will always put myself into contention to succeed.

Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performances

Enough said.

Posted in Blog Post

The Bass University

After a fantastic Thanksgiving out in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, now I’m back home and am looking forward to this weekend where I’ll be traveling down to the Marriott O’Hare in Chicago, Illinois to attend the Bass University, put on by Mike Iaconelli and Pete Gluszek.

Here’s more info on the event. I know its late notice but if you can make the trip it’s supposed to be a fantastic learning experience.

Chicago, Illinois

December 4, 2010 – December 5, 2010

Why we’re coming:

The bass fishing in this area is fantastic! This was the most in demand area for us to come to. The anglers asked and we listened, so here we come Chicago. The bass fishing may be slow in December in this area, so what better time to sit down with the top names of the sport and get a chance to learn some new techniques. The Bass University is coming to Chicago on December 4th and 5th, 2010.


Marriott Chicago O’Hare
8535 W Higgins Rd, Chicago, IL 60631-2806

Special room rate for Bass University students: $89.00 a night. Room availability limited. Book today!

Don’t miss out on all the goodies that come with enrolling!
FREE Year long subscription to Bassin’ Magazine, FREE tackle pack for every student, FREE TBU t-shirt, FREE pen and course booklet for all your note-taking needs
Every student will be entered into a drawing to have a free dinner with the pros, and all students 18 and under will receive a free lunch with the pros!

Registration begins Saturday at 7am. Class runs 8am to 5pm both Saturday and Sunday. Stick around after class to check out our on-site tackle shop or just spend some extra time chatting with the pros.

Pete Gluszek (Dec.5) – Spinnerbait Secrets and Understanding Smallmouth Movements

Mike Iaconelli (Dec. 4th only) – Finding Bass on New Bodies of Water and Football Head Jig Fishing

Brent Ehrler (Dec. 5) – Advanced Drop shotting and the Flick Shake Technique

Mark Zona (Dec. 4th) – Tube jig techniques and Great lake Smallmouth Secrets

Byron Velvick – (Dec 5th) – Swimbait Basics and Advanced Swimbait Techniques

Greg Hackney – (Dec. 4th) – Advanced Jig Fishing and Shallow Cranking

For more information or to sign up follow link to website.

Posted in Blog Post

Happy Turkey Day!

Well there’s no denying it now, winter is right around the corner and the fishing around here has turned ugly, in fact I was skunked for the first time in a few years just a day ago. Actually lets keep it real, I was skunked twice in the past couple days. Water temps have dropped into the high 30’s and the overnight temps have been hitting single digits, everything is covered in snow and as of yesterday, all the lakes have officially froze over.

Sadly, I dropped off my boat to be winterized. Fortunately, I don’t expect it to stay that way long. I plan to head south several times this winter to continue to learn other bodies of water. Still though, it’s depressing dropping the boat off no matter how positive you try to look at it.

I’ve been keeping busy by upgrading some tackle and equipment as well as selling some rods and reels. I’ve also been closely considering which tournaments would fit me best next year. My not so long term goal is to start fishing the Bassmaster Opens and FLW American Series as a pro, though I plan to take 2011 to get ready for that. Looking at new trucks, working out stuff with my sponsors as well as taking one more year to get to know these national level fisheries, to give myself a running shot at making it at the higher level without to many setbacks. I’m already looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead, but sometimes the behind the scenes business is as important to ones success. It’s a commitment I’m more than willing to make, but I’d like to get as much of the odds in my favor as I possibly can. One things for sure, the heart’s in the right place.

Other than that, Bri and I are headed out to Colorado to visit my Dad for the holiday. He bought a bar in Idaho Springs last year and has been eagerly making changes and it’s finally finishing up. The name of the bar is “The Vintage Moose” and it sits a couple blocks away from my Step Mom’s store “The Wild Grape”. Bri and I both are overly thrilled to get out there and enjoy good drinks, great food and nothing but smiles over the weekend!

As soon as I get back though, I’m looking forward to take out my Minnesota Vikings aggression on some winter smallmouths! Seriously, it’s on!

Also, please check out my “Video” portion of the website, I put up a couple new ones. One is on deep water cranking with the Biovex Deep Runner for largemouths and the others on finesse fishing late fall smallies. Both are full of good lessons as well as some quality fish catching action!

Until then, everyone please have a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving! Happy Turkey Day!!

Posted in Blog Post

Tackle Update: TroKar Hooks

Source: Matt Gray, Basszone

Lazer TroKar, the newest and sharpest fishhook on the market is cracking skulls, drawing blood, dominating the competition and battling it out…

Introducing the awe-inspiring line of Lazer TroKar fishhooks… for those who aren’t just out to catch fish, but are out to win. A hook with a point designed in the medical field, shapes perfected on the pro tour and manufactured with cutting edge technologies right here in the USA.

TroKar – The only hook using patented Surgically Sharpened Technology has produced the wickedest fishhook ever made….just ask their Senior VP who managed to embed one in his skull during testing, or Skeet Reese who actually drew blood the first time he handled them. Or maybe Shaw Grigsby, the honorable and venerable Godfather of bass fishing, who was as giddy as a schoolgirl on Christmas morning to get his hands on the first production of TroKar hooks.

The multi-faceted, freakishly sharp point on the TroKar fishhook is only the beginning. They used ultra clean, cold forged high-carbon steel to beef up this bad-boy. They tweaked the tempering process, amped up the wire diameter, perfected the barb profile and wound up with a gnarly instrument that will slice through a jugular. Go ahead, set the hook like you actually mean it. Feel the strength and confidence course through your veins as you realize you are now playing in the big leagues, with big boys and sharp toys.

Posted in Blog Post

The Relapse

Addiction – the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular thing, activity or substance.

Relapse – a deterioration of one’s state after a temporary improvement; to return to a worse state.

It’s been a whole four months now since the day it came crashing into my life and filled me with such a rush, something that I had never before experienced and one that I truly had a taste for. That first cast, what a feeling. It was like I was doing something wrong but everything felt so right. The sound of the bait smashing the water and creating the most enticing ripple, exactly the same sound as feeding bass when their boiling up on bait. The slow and painful yet methodical retrieve of the six inch morsel as it just barely quivers through the water column, looking and acting as natural as can be duplicated without the very hand of God. Slowly pulling the bait through the thickest of vegetation clumps and just as the bait slides through that last clump of foil it gets hit like a freight train, knocking slack into your line just as forceful as one can only imagine.

As you reel down to try to catch up with the chaos that has occurred under the water you set back to penetrate the hook and every muscle in your body restricts as your impeding on nature’s most severe course. The feelings that start flowing in your brain are a blur as your body starts releasing endorphins leaving you in a sedated state of mind. These heightened emotions quickly become frantic fear as you see the mouth of a fat five pound largemouth break the surface with nothing but a single hook of the Weedless Huddleston Swimbait lodged in her mouth. Sure you’ve fought thousands of bass before but none like this, the amount of energy a five pound slonch puts into destroying a six inch swimbait is nothing like anything you’ve experienced before. The brute strength of such an impact is as addicting as it gets.

Finally, as you reach down to lift that fish into the boat, all that emotion comes to a head. What a feeling! Insane to say the least. As you reach your hand all the way into that fishes mouth to pop free your Hudd, you can’t help to let out a scream! You dive to hug your fishing partner like you just caught the game winning pass in the Super Bowl. As you lift nature’s trophy into the air for the picture, your smile shows the evidence of a truly affected soul.

And then it starts. As you lean over the boat to release the fish you feel more like your releasing the moment. As that brute swims back into the darkness your left with that unsatisfied feeling, the urge to want more.

Like I was saying, it’s been four months since the weekend I spent being introduced to the real advantages of throwing large swimbaits. That weekend I learned a lot. There is truly a time and place for those baits and there’s not a body of water in the country that they will not be effective on in the right conditions.

Since then I’ll have to admit that it left me in a different state. I refer to swimbait fishing in my experience as one does to an addiction. To some I may be throwing that word around a bit loosely but really I’m pretty spot on.

Ever since that weekend I’ve wanted nothing more than to relive that but never found the opportunity to do so, or at least never had the kahunas to actually trust in it when the money is on the line. When my same buddies asked me to come up over deer hunting opener and cash in on that late fall bite, I was all in!

My good buddy Eric made the trip with me as he was wanting a taste of the dark side himself. As we dumped in on Saturday morning we were met with a stiff cold wind and temps in the mid 30’s. The water temp was floating around a chilly 42 degrees and all the trees in the area were vacant of their leaves. You could see the blaze orange spots in the woods where deer hunters were sitting in their stands.

I couldn’t have made more than a few casts when I felt that unmistakable rush, that very same feeling that I yearn for. As I flipped that giant into the boat Eric’s eyes light up like a christmas tree as he tripped over the seats desperately trying to get to the swimbait I had given him to tie on.

Just like that it was back, I’m telling you one fisherman to another, there’s no better way to catch them. The thrill itself is so rewarding that I bet a guy can easily remember every swimbait fish he catches. Heck, I can’t get rid of the vision when a big one loads up on the bait and gets off. Talk about being punched right in the gut. It’s utterly painful to endure. The “what if’s” that flow through your mind.

After missing a few bites, my buddy Eric fashioned a stinger hook that was really quite impressive and one that I’ll use 100% of the time I’m throwing these particular baits. In fact, the little invention quickly rewarded him with his first swimbait fish, a bass barely shy of six pounds caught by the stinger! The Hudd strikes again! Let me ask you, do you think he dropped that bait again? Another statistic to swimbait fishing.

For those of you that think swimbaits are just for California and wouldn’t work on your tournament pressured lake, your wrong. It’s weekends like these that prove this theory, I never got bit on any other bait the entire weekend. These baits attract big fish. Before winter freezes up your honey hole, get out and see what your missing. Come and play ball on this side, where the grass is always greener!

See you on the water!

Posted in Blog Post

Finessing Autumn Smallies

As the brisk autumn air continues to bring cooler temps, here in the north country, we’re forced to get things ready and prepare for yet another frigid Minnesota winter. Luckily for guys like me, the smallmouth in the area are forced to follow suit. To prepare for a long winter the bass are loading up in big schools and eating like piranhas, trying to fatten up as much as possible.

My good friend Rich Lindgren and I were excited to be able to get together and set some hooks as well as capture some good video footage for our respected filming ventures. I figured we would have a good day, but being we were getting out on the coldest morning of the year thus far, I didn’t expect it to be as good as it really was.

I awoke to temps in the mid 20’s and after busting out a stocking cap and Under Armour, as well as filling the Thermos with some much needed coffee, Rich and I were on our way.

We were fishing a small feeder river, north of the Twin Cities. Right after we launched we instantly noticed how much current we had to deal with. This past week we had lots of rain as cold fronts started pushing into the area and as a result the water was high, a bit dirty and was kicking substantially more than one would expect for this time of year. Also the water had dropped a good 15 degrees from just a few days ago and was now hovering in the low 40’s. When you start thinking of all that was working against us it was surprising that neither one of us were overly worried. The reason for this is simple, no matter the current conditions, these bass know that their living situations are only about to worsen and if they want to stay healthy through the winter than they need to be sure to get while the getting is good.

Rich and I start by throwing some reaction style baits and working a shoreline not far from the ramp. I started out throwing a Rapala DT-Flat 3 and a Biovex Stay 80 Jerkbait. Rich was going in between a Storm Wiggle Wart and Ima Flit Jerkbait. It didn’t take much time for myself to come to the realization that I needed to finesse it up and right away I found myself switching up to spinning rods equipped with 8 lb. Seaguar Fluorocarbon. Just a few casts and I was quickly rewarded with two solid smallies, both caught on a Jackall Flick Shake Worm with a 1/8 oz. Zappu Inchi Jig Head.

Rich had also made the change the same time I did and was also setting hooks. There was no denying that these fish were a bit thrown off but like I said, they still needed to eat. It just took a little extra coaxing to trigger some bites and probably even more importantly the bait needed to be on the bottom. Never do I recall them grabbing the bait while the bait was falling or even while the bait was moving, to my recollection every fish took the bait while I was deadsticking it. These fish were lethargic enough that they all still had mud on their bellies from tucking down in the muck.

All day we continued to catch fish while employing finesse bottom bouncing baits and not only did we catch quantity, but even better we had nothing but quality. It seemed like every smallmouth was around or well over 3 pounds, we really only caught a few smaller ones. All our good fish came on a mix of 3 baits, the Flick Shake Worm, a 3″ tube and Reaction Innovations Smallie Beaver on a Picasso Shakedown Jig.

In the end it was a great day, we caught lots of good fish and had a great time doing it. Fall is always my favorite time of year and days like this that remind me why. Keep checking in for our video from the day, lots of action and some good points to help you on your next outing.

While winter insists on arriving you’ll know where you can find me living in denial one cast at a time.

See you on the water!

Posted in Blog Post

My Favorite Bass Fishing Magazines and Television Shows

After a much needed vacation back down to where Bri and I used to call home, Florida, we’re finally back home here in Minnesota. During travel I found myself with some added down time and found the best way to deal was to read one of my favorite bass fishing magazines. This got me thinking, I figured I should write a blog on not only my favorite fishing magazines but also on my favorite bass fishing shows. I’m not sure about you but one thing I know is that I have a very understanding wife, not only is our coffee table littered with all sorts of different bass magazines but our DVR is loaded with bass fishing shows.

I’ve watched fishing shows all of my life and would venture to say that I watched more fishing shows and read more fishing magazines as a child than even the most trendy bass fisherman at the time. Call me a nerd but my Mom still has my collection of old In Fisherman magazines that not only did I collect but that I also wrapped in plastic sleeves and organized by date. I once skipped out on a school dance to watch the Bassmaster Classic on whatever country channel that was at the time.

I didn’t have a boat growing up and didn’t have the luxury of having someone to take me fishing every chance I had. I came from a sport family, hockey year round and golf, football, even baseball. In fact, it was only fishing when it was convenient. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely had some very key people that through my young days were very influential in my developing a obsession for fishing. I’m just saying that I didn’t have any one person that was obsessed or even close to as passionate as I was. The point I’m getting at is I used these different publications to learn. In fact, leading up to my very first BASS federation tournament with the Gopher Bassmasters just 3 1/2 years ago, I was 100% taught how to bass fish from magazines and television shows. The kicker, I went on to take second place in that tournament and eventually finishing in 3rd overall in the Angler of the Year points in probably the most skilled bass club in Minnesota.

Now since then then, there has been a lot of key people that have taken me under their wing if you will and helped excel these talents and teach me new techniques. Though I can honestly say that my studying was one of the best ways of learning and still is. I don’t just watch a fishing show, I study it. I rewind a fishing show more than anyone could imagine and can easily turn a half hour show into a two hour ordeal. Trust me, it drives Bri crazy. I don’t always want to hear what the host is plugging, I want to see what the host is doing. In fact I learned how to throw a texas rigged worm all by watching Hank Parker. The funny thing is he wasn’t actually teaching anyone that, but he was using one and I watched his every move. I have no idea who is guest was or what the product was they were plugging that day but he was throwing a Berkley 10″ worm and I was watching his every move, how far his casts were, how he twitched his rod and reeled in the slack, how he set the hook. In fact by the end of the show I could see when he got bit before he ever set the hook. Talk about gaining confidence, the next day I headed to a little lake and put an absolute whacking on them. Thanks Hank!

Now that was a while back and since then I’ve obviously excelled much more and am way more of a well rounded tournament angler but still I’ve only been tournament angling for three years. I’ve never fished as a non boater and am 100% self taught, I’ve made a name for myself in a very short time and cashed my fair share of checks and learned all this from watching fishing shows and reading any publication I could get my hands on. In that amount of time I have developed my favorites if you will and have made a top 5 for each. Keep in mind that a lot of these will help even the savviest of anglers but anglers new to the sport should take my advice and read and watch anything and everything, you can’t possibly learn enough. Also I have a list of each that I really don’t like or that I think have overly sold out. I decided not to post these as I’d rather not hate and instead appreciate.

First off I’ll start with magazines and give a quick explanation for these.

1. BASS ANGLER Magazine: This publication is actually new to me and when I received my first copy I couldn’t believe the content. There is so much awesome info packed between these pages that I can easily say this is my favorite magazine and I can’t wait for the next issue. I don’t care how much you know you’ll learn something and the best part is how easily you’ll learn it. They use pictures and diagrams to demonstrate what their talking about. Even better they haven’t sold out to all the sponsors. You hear what’s really going on from guys that are just like us. I can easily say, if you don’t subscribe to this magazine your missing the boat!

2. BASSWEST USA: This magazine is awesome. The first thing you’ll notice is the pictures, some of which are damn near breathtaking. In these pages you’ll learn a lot about west coast techniques and the influences that other countries like Japan are bringing to the table. New lures and trendy techniques that are helping anglers cash big checks all over the country. This is another must for every serious bass fisherman.

3. BASSMASTER Magazine: This one gets grandfathered in no matter what. If your a bass fisherman and don’t subscribe to BASS than your really not a bass fisherman. This magazine has obviously sold out to sponsors but there’s still a very good reason to read it month in and month out. BASS is largely responsible for the future of our sport and supporting them is key in our growth. Also I’ll say that BASSMASTER which covers the Elite Series hosts the best bass fisherman in the world and to be able to read how and why they caught their fish is a lesson worth reading. When guys like KVD and Skeet Reese talk the rest of the bass fishing world should listen.

4. BASSIN’ Magazine: When it comes to keeping up with new lures on the market, this is where I usually hear about them first. Again, a great magazine that’s been around for a while and usually has some awesome info.

5. FLW Magazine: Last but surely not least. FLW has some of the best writers and some of the trendiest anglers on their tour. Young anglers using new techniques and these anglers understand how to be marketable largely because they have to with so much competition. Sure the magazine has sold to sponsor dollars and you get a lot of certain tackle and boat manufactures shoved down your throat, but if you read in between the lines you’ll take away a lot of quality info.

Here’s is my list of favorite television shows.

1. Classic Patterns: I’m obsessed with these programs. The amount of knowledge that is given to you is awesome. Straight from the cats mouth you’ll learn a new technique or better yet how to read water. I’ve learned more from this show than any other.

2. Bassmaster Elite Series: I can’t wait for these to be aired but like I said watching them is a process. I break it down like you wouldn’t believe. If an angler is simply fishing a bridge I look for the subtle things like which way is the current flowing compared to which way he’s casting? What lure style is he working? What on the bridge is he targeting? I can even tell how deep he’s fishing by counting down his lure after a cast before he starts his retrieve. If he’s throwing a crankbait I pay attention to the retrieve. Is it stop and go? Is he ripping the bait? Burning it? All these things play a pivotal role for me and I assure you I’ll find myself looking at a very similar bridge one day and will have a better idea how to attck it.

3. FLW Tour: For literally all the same reasons as above. If your going to learn, you might as well learn from the best.

4. Ultimate Match Fishing: You can probably see a trend here. In my eyes you get the real deal when guys are casting for big paydays. No editing, just the real deal. Joe Thomas does such a great job of putting the worlds best bass fisherman in straight up one on one mode. Watching Kelly Jordan whack giants on a Kentucky Lake ledge with a 1 ounce spoon was life changing and that’s just one example.

5. World’s Greatest Fishing Show: Which I believe now has gone through a recent name change. This show is just awesome, I don’t usually learn too many techniques but I learn something even more important, to just plain old have fun with it. When your as passionate as I am in the sport it’s way to easy to get all wrapped up in it and Mark Zona does an incredible job of making you forget all that and just have a good frickin’ time. The dude may simply be one of the funniest people in the world and does a great job showing you the real side of these professional anglers.

I hope you found this list intriguing enough and hope if nothing else it helps some of you look into these shows and magazines a little further. Now though I gotta roll, it’s Saturday morning which means there’s all sorts of bass fishing shows on as we speak, class is now in session!

Posted in Blog Post

Greetings from the Sunshine State, the Bass Capital of the World!

As I write this blog update, I’m currently sitting in a hotel room on the Macdill Airforce Base, in Tampa, FL. Bri and I are attending a good friends wedding down here and this past week has been a blast. Being that both of us used to live in the Tampa/St. Pete area a few years back we’ve been fortunate to be able to take some time and get around our old haunts and see old friends.

Our little get away started in Miami last weekend where we pretty much just relaxed and enjoyed the beach and some good food. On our way north towards Tampa we made a pit stop in the everglades were Bri and I got to ride on a air boat and check out the many alligators that inhibit the area. All I know is it was awesome and sometimes I wish I had a air boat to get around the river instead of a 20 foot Ranger.

We also made it a point to swing through Clewiston and more importantly, Lake Okeechobee. You probably already guessed it but I totally stocked up on some much needed, hard to find tackle at Roland Martin’s Marina.

From there we made it to Clearwater Beach, were we stayed in a hotel right on the water. Everything was nice and relaxing until I saw people catching fish in the tide. Saltwater fishing? Surely there’s no bass in the Gulf, but hey I’m game and the next thing you know Bri and I find ourselves at a local tackle shop purchasing a new rod and reel and everything needed to catch some inter coastal fish.

Thus far, it turned into one of the best times on our whole trip for the both of us! We loaded up on some live shrimp and lucky for us the tide was just starting to come in and the fishing was pretty good. We managed to catch some speckled sea trout and lady fish. Nothing gigantic but fun none the less. That day we also saw many sting rays, had tarpon blowing up all around us and even got up close and personal with a manatee. Not to mention our hunt for conch and crabs!

Now that we’re on the base and everyone’s getting ready for the big wedding, I find myself with not much to do. Bri’s off tonight at the bachelorette party, which gives me time to update my blog and the next couple days being that she is in the wedding party and will be busy, I have plans to go bass fishing! Since I have control of the rental car I’ll be pond hopping looking for 10 pounders, yes I said it and I mean it, 10 pounders! In fact, the groom gave me directions to a small golf course pond were his brother recently caught and released a 13 pound giant! Game on!!!

One thing I knew from my time living down here was that if a puddle has water in it, it also has a bass in it. Don’t ask me how they got there cause I have no idea and from everyone I’ve come across either do the locals, but they are and that’s all that matters. I feel a little naked in that I don’t have my regular arsenal of bass whacking equipment but I got myself a St. Croix Spinning rod, some 15 lb. Power Pro, a pack of 5/0 Gamakatsu SuperLine Hooks, some 5/16 oz. Tru Tungsten Worm Weights and a pack of 10″ Ribbon Tail Worms as well as a pack of 5″ Senko’s. I never met a bass anywhere that won’t eat those! Wish me luck!

As soon as I get back home I plan to write a recap of the 2010 bass season as well as some of my tentative plans for 2011. Until then it’s back to my much needed vacation after a long, hard battled tournament season.

Posted in Blog Post

Denny’s Super 30 Shootout

Lake Minnetonka, Wayzata, MN

Two for two! Corey, Ryan and myself again manage to make the Denny’s Super 30 Shootout this year and a bit more convincing than the year prior. Last year was our first year fishing the Denny’s and somehow made a late season push and snuck in the backdoor taking the final spot and rode that to a 3rd place finish in the Shootout. This year consistency was on our side and we rode it to a 9th place overall seeding. We never made it rain but we never got blown out either, in fact we were really only one fish out of the high end paychecks in all but maybe one tourney.

Hopefully this would be our time to shine and up for the task was Corey and myself. The bite had been tough in the days leading up to today though practice we managed enough good bites to think we were on them well enough.

Unfortunately for the two of us things started out slow and worse yet, it never really got better. I broke off on two that probably would have helped and did manage to catch a couple good ones but we never really got the bites we needed to even come close.

In the end, we finished in 12th place, a far cry from what was needed to win. By far Corey and I’s worse day on Tonka all year. Even if I could have a mulligan, I still don’t know what I would have done differently. Probably nothing. We were around good fish but sometimes things just don’t pan out. It’s frustrating but Tonka overall was very good to us this year and we’re really looking forward to our third year, we’re figuring this beast out and catching them all seasons. Hopefully we can notch our first Denny’s win in 2011!

Posted in Blog Post

Denny’s Super 30

Lake Minnetonka, Wayzata, MN

Going into this event Corey and I found ourselves in a very good spot, we were sitting 8th overall in the points and today was the last event before the end of the year shootout. The top 14 qualify for postseason play and we had a pretty good lead over the 15th place team so barring some catastrophic setback, we were pretty confident we were in. Though of course we wanted more, we really wanted to claim our first Denny’s win and throughout practice we got enough bites to give us that extra shot of confidence.

Tournament morning started slow but we managed a small limit relatively easy. Early afternoon things got a bit better when I was able to boat three close to three pound largemouth and Corey really gave us a shot when he yanked a 3 pound and an almost 5 pound largemouth.

Now with still about roughly four hours to go we were sitting with around 20 pounds but still had three babies (12″) in the boat. Still 4 hours on Tonka to cull out 3 rats? Easy! Right? Well I don’t think we ever made another cull the rest of the day. Signs of a tough day, I guess.

We weighed in with just shy of 20 pounds good enough for 10th place and finished in 9th overall in the team of the year standings. Hopefully our bite gets a bit better before the Shootout next week!

Even more importantly, I’d like to wish my beautiful wife Bri a Happy Anniversary! 5 awesome years of marriage to the most perfect wife in the world. Besides how many women understand when their man fishes a bass tournament on their anniversary? Just one of the many reasons she’s the best! Love you Baby!

Posted in Blog Post

Silverado Pro Tour

Horseshoe Chain, Cold Spring, MN

This entry is a hard one for me to write about, so much that I felt I needed to wait until some of my feelings inside developed and digested before I wrote it out. I realize that I write this blog for the public to view but first and foremost it’s a personal diary for me, something that I’ll be able to refer back to and remember both the good and bad trials in my pursuit of professional bass fishing. To some, these entries may not seem like much more than me promoting myself for personal gain. To me, these entries are the product of mine and my families hard work and dedication to a sport I cherish and love more than almost anything else in the world.

Going into this tournament, this venue was one I was excited for since I first saw it was included on the tour schedule. I had never even been on the chain before but from what I had heard, I knew it would fit my style better than any other body of water we were going to be fishing all year. First off, it’s a river system and this section of the Sauk River houses both smallmouth and largemouth bass. The chain is known for it’s stained water and abundance of shallow cover that lines it’s banks. It also has an abundance of rock, some of which is out deeper forming nice structure and others up shallow mostly in the form of riprap banks.

There was also some added pressure because of poor performance’s in the first three stops I needed to win this event to qualify for the post season Tournament of Champions held on Lake Minnetonka were a brand new, fully loaded Ranger bass boat was on the line. Being a part of this post season event meant a lot to me, in fact it was the sole reason I chose the Silverado over other tournament trails. I consider Lake Minnetonka my home water and the opportunity to win a new boat there would mean the world to me.

Throughout practice I was able to build some confidence in multiple different areas targeting largemouth but was concerned by the lack of smallmouth catching. It wasn’t until my final day of practice that I really put in the effort on locating some brown fish. This was partly on purpose because this year smallmouth have really burnt me in the Silverado. Usually I prefer to chase them but after getting punked by them in the last two stops, I wasn’t exactly eager to count on them in a tournament that had so much on the line.

I was able to get my Am partner Lance out for the final day of practice and in the morning we ran around so I could show him what I was planning to fish the next day so he’d have a good idea of what to expect. Every now and then we’d stop and fish some new water and try to find a couple more things that could give us that push and assist in a much needed win. On one of these such stops, Lance fired a spinnerbait and wouldn’t you know it he catches an easy 5 pound smallie. I turned around and fired my crankbait to the same area and landed a solid 2 1/2 pound smallie. This was an extra shot of confidence because this spot was out of the way and I was very confident not many people knew it existed. This way I could leave it until later in the day and hopefully make a few key culls once my largemouth bite slowed down a bit.

I ran a few more areas that I thought may hold some smallies and was able to catch a few, nothing huge but worth the stop. I had found a couple riprap areas and a few deep rock spots as well.

After a late boat draw, I started on a spot that transitioned from riprap to sand. After a few casts with a crankbait I put the first fish in the box, a 15″ largemouth. I then ran some of my spots were I had pulled on some fish and couldn’t buy a bite. After a couple hours with only 1 bass in the box I decided it was time to get to the smallies and see if they were going to actually cooperate with me.

I approached my first spot and noticed it was getting pounded by the wind. I made a few casts with the crankbait and caught 2 keeper largemouth’s right away, only going about 13″ each. I switch to a carolina rig and after a few short strikes I landed a quality 3 pound smallmouth. A cast later and Lance boats a 2 pound smallmouth. Everything was rolling in the right direction when I got another bite, I set the hook and instantly knew I was in trouble as there was to much slack left in the line and before I could adjust I watched a doozer smallmouth jump 3 feet in the air and throw my bait. That hurt but I was able to somewhat shrug it off and after a few more casts with no takers I decided it was time to head out and let that area simmer.

My next area was a riprap bank and it only took three casts with my crankbait and I was hooked up with a huge 4 plus pound smallie. I noticed right away I only had her with the back treble and did an excellent job thumb spooling her and when she was wore down we went in with the net and somehow managed to get the front treble caught in the net and in no time the smallie sprung loose. Ouch, that one really hurt and after visually watching two real nice fish get away I couldn’t help but feel it mentally. I knew this chain of lakes was going to fish tough and that big bites had to be capitalized on and I couldn’t help but have that awful feeling in my stomach.

Still I tried to stay positive but as the day wore on my bite got worse and worse and I couldn’t seem to get a single largemouth to bite. I decided to go back to my riprap spot and after a few casts again hooked up with a bruiser of a smallmouth and after a very short fight wouldn’t you guess, she got off. I checked my crankbait and was just ill when I saw that one of the hooks on the back treble bent out. Insane!

Now still one bass short of a limit, I went into full out panic mode. I knew I was still in it but really wanted to get a limit and after about an hour I finally boated our limit fish on a 3/8 oz. Tru Tungsten Jig. The 13″ largemouth came on a laydown in about 2 feet of water and after fishing the rest of that bank with no more bites I decided I better head to one last spot before time ran out and hope for a hail mary.

After a few casts with a crankbait God himself answered and again I was hooked up with another 4 plus pound smallmouth. I worked liked crazy to keep that fish on and just as the net came in it was like deja vu, the net caught the treble on my crankbait and before my eyes I watched yet another bruiser come off at the boat. I truly felt like I was going to vomit. It was the most disheartening feeling I have ever had in all my days of bass fishing. I knew that I had the tournament all but won and some how managed to throw it all away.

This way of thinking came to a quick reality when I arrived at weigh in and found that most the field failed to come in with limits. I weighed in a limit of bass for 10.2 pounds and took a disappointing 16th place, 5 pounds shy of the winning weight.

I’ve had dropped fish cost me money in tournaments and possibly even a win or two, but never have I had it so obvious to myself and in such a big event. I knew what I had to accomplish and put myself in position to do just that, just to finish in such a gut wrenching way. Sure I left 8 grand on the table and even worse left what could have been my spot in the TOC, but none of that hurt as much as the feeling of knowing what I had to do, being right there and watching it all vanish. In my little world, I’m sure it’s the equivalent of fumbling the football on the goal line with only seconds left in the end of the fourth quarter, with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line.

I waited for all these thoughts to calm in my head before writing this because I now have a better appreciation for the outcome. Sure it eats me like none other but it’s all part of the game and may not even be the last time it happens. This is probably one of the reasons I fish competitively instead of for the simple fun of it. I’m definitely not the only one that can say they had it and then lost it, in fact everyone of my idols in the sport can say the same. Instead of sitting and feeling bad for myself and my misfortune, I’ll instead use this as a motivator. I proved to myself that I could have and maybe even should have won this event, with just a little luck or better execution I could have done exactly what I set out to do against the best Minnesota has to offer.

With all this said, I want to send out a special congratulations to my very good friend and team tournament partner Ryan Brant for besting the field and notching his first big win. I always said to him for the past 3 years we’ve been fishing together, if I can’t win it, I hope he does. Well congrats man, you deserve it! Hat’s off Brant!

Posted in Blog Post

Smashing ‘Em!

The past couple weeks between tournaments, I’ve been out putting in work doing guide trips and testing new sponsor products. One of my favorite things to do when out doing this is to practice and sharpen my skills. There’s a few examples of this and I’m a firm believer that anything I can do to better myself and my fishing will eventually payoff when the money’s on the line.

One is always to be looking for new water. This has got to be one, if not the best way to become a better fisherman. This is a skill that the best have and it shows by continued success at the scales. Bottom line is fish move and you need to be able to move with them. Sure we all have spots that seem to always produce no matter the time of year but that’s very rare. Usually you need to be able to follow the fish as they transition through the seasons. Every time I’m on the water I attempt to find something new or learn something about what the fish are relating to. Even if the lake your on isn’t a big tournament lake, it teaches you to always keep an open mind and how to fish different types of water.

This brings me to my next point. When I’m out on the water and I’m not practicing for a tournament, I try to use baits and styles of retrieve that I don’t have much confidence in. Sometimes I’ll use baits that I do have confidence in to find fish holding areas but then try to switch baits and see if I can trigger them to bite. This is what builds confidence in new tactics and makes me more of a well rounded angler.

The past week or so I’ve had the opportunity to do just that and let me tell you the end reward is far more satisfying then accomplishing the norm. Recently I had a guide trip, I had decided I would meet the client in the city he was staying and fish a lake that is right within minutes of his hotel room.

I had been to this lake before but very rarely ever this time of year and if I was we basically just threw frogs at all the abundant vegetation that makes up this lake. This is a solid pattern on this body of water but it is also the most obvious.

I had been getting bit on lakes in the area fishing deeper and thought that if I could find some nice deep structure I could provide some awesome fishing for my client. I was very happy when after about a whole 5 minutes of Humminbird Side Imaging work along with studying my Navionics Mapping Chip, I located a nice point that had some scattered hard bottom along with some patchy weeds. The target area itself sat in about 14 feet of water. On my first cast with a hand tied 1/2 oz. Picasso Football Jig I landed a chunky 5.6 pound largemouth bass. Awesome!

My client and I went about 4 for 4 each on consecutive casts after that both catching bass no smaller than 3 pounds. Already a good trip and we haven’t been on the water for more than 15 minutes!

I continued this pattern around the lake and located 6 or 7 different spots that all had some of these similarities and also had the same end result. We boated giant after giant in what finished out as one of the best outings I had all year. No joke, we boated a 6 pounder, multiple 5 and 4 pounders and our fair share of 3’s. In fact, I don’t think we caught but 1 that went under 3 and all came on some of my favorite baits, a football jig and an Outkast Tackle jigworm. The kicker was we ended up spending about 2 hours frog fishing the slop without a single blow up. Huh? Things to think about.

Leaving I was obviously excited. I had provided an awesome experience for someone and also got to jack up on some toads. Even better I had challenged myself to find something new and the result was overly rewarding. Still though the competitor in me wanted more so 5 days later I was right back there with a buddy to do some sponsor photos with the many big bass that where available for the picking.

My confidence level was through the roof, I mean these fish were really making it easy on me. I was throwing baits that I have nothing but confidence on, in areas that gave me more confidence then I knew what to do with. We only had 4 hours to fish as my buddy had to be to the Minneapolis Airport by noon. 4 hours? No problem!

I took my buddy to the first spot and gave him the quick rundown, handed him a Picasso Football Jig and told him the technique. I thought I’d just sit back, tie up a couple rods that I was going to need for an upcoming tournament and get ready with the camera. After about 1o minutes with nothing I decided it was time to get up and show him how it’s done. Nothing. Not a bite. OK, OK hold up here. This is a fluke, I mean they were jumping in the boat days ago here, they gotta be at the next spot.

Well after about 2 hours without a bite, my confidence went way down and the new word to describe me would be embarrassed and humbled. Maybe now it’s time to revert back to old faithful and get to the slop with ole’ Kermie.

After about another hour of no bites, no hook sets and just a whole lot of talking, I figured we needed to get back out to the main lake, they had to be there now. We worked all these spots on the way back to the boat ramp and continued to throw the jigworm and football jigs and couldn’t buy a bite. Now I was going from the outing of the year to the first skunk in the past 3 years! Unbelievable!!

On our very last stop, which was also our very first stop this morning, I was accepting defeat. I mean I couldn’t get a bite on spots that where holding giant sacks just days ago and I was throwing baits that I had nothing but confidence throwing. As I was putting my rods and tackle away I saw my new bag of Biovex Deep Runner Crankbaits. This ate at me even worse because I was hoping to get to use these and catch a few nice bass with them so I could send some quality pictures back to Biovex.

Deep cranking is not a strong suit for me, in fact it’s probably the worst technique in my repertoire. I just never had much success with it and really never tried to hard to make it work. Just always kind of had the impression that if they’ll bite a deep crankbait, they’ll definitely bite my jig, carolina rig or worse case a shakey head. Even though I knew this was a invalid and biased opinion some habits are just to hard to break.

With only 10 minutes left before we had to load up and bail out, I decided to tie one up and see how they run. They are a brand new bait released by Biovex and look absolutely amazing, I’m sure they run even better than they look. I took my first cast and had to make just a slight tweak to the line tie and had it running perfect. The bait got down quick and ran nice and tight without to much drag which results in less fatigue to the angler. It took me another cast or two to find the hard spot and about on my third cast I was grinding the plug into the bottom right through the strike zone. Just as I was thinking how cool it would be to one day find this crankin’ bite and ‘WHAM”, my rod loads up on a giant 5+ pound largemouth. That was insane and extremely addicting! I was grinding the Deep Runner over the rocks and the fish just inhaled the bait.

After a couple pictures I released the fish and was immediately overwhelmed with happiness because that was probably the first true deep crank lunker bass I’ve ever caught. I thought I may have activated the school and maybe now I could catch another one and we both started throwing our football jigs and Carolina Rigs, and yet again, nothing. Just then I started thinking it must have been just one solo fish that happened to show up right as my plug came ripping through. Curious I picked up the crankbait and chucked it back across the point and wouldn’t you know it, as soon as it hit the bottom I was instantly whacked and again boated another lunker going an easy 4 pounds. On my next 5 casts with the Biovex Deep Runner I went 4 for 5, all going over 3 pounds. Now if that’s not an eye opener I don’t know what is!

Unfortunately for the both of us we had to get off the water but again similar to 5 days ago when I was leaving this lake I had a smile on my face. Sure we struggled hard, really hard for 95% of our outing, but the last 5% will never be forgotten. One, I now have a ton of confidence in a bait that before just got tucked into the bottom of my boat and two, found that it can be a better option than good old faithful. Those fish didn’t just show up that last 10 mnutes, they were there the whole time and just had no interest in what I had to offer. They were on a reaction bite and wasn’t fooled by the old ball and chain or by dragging a big jig. Again, even though I knew this to be true, I mean there’s a reason crankers like Kevin VanDam have made millions on top of millions throwing this bait, sometimes the only way to truly buy into it is to actually accomplish it. Good for me, once again I had reason to have a smile on my face! There is no such thing as perfect, but hard nosed preparation will get you the closest thing to it.

Up next I’m outta town practicing for the last stop of the Silverado Pro Tour held on the Horseshoe Chain of Lakes near St. Cloud, MN. You think I’ll have a Biovex Deep Runner tied on?

Posted in Blog Post

Tackle Update: New Baits from Biovex

As an aficionado of well made, high end tackle, I pay attention to detail when I see new baits hit the market. I’m not always convinced of the baits that hit the mainstream, in fact there has got to be something that attracts me to the bait. This is why I’m so excited about some of the new products that have been released by one of Japan’s industry leaders, Biovex.

First off, I’d like to introduce the new Biovex Amp Wake, a top of the line wakebait that has a sick action when pulled across the top of the water. Sure the bait is appealing to the eye, but it’s the aggressive action that the bait omits just under the surface that’s the real appeal. This Wake has been a staple for me from the postspawn through the end of Fall. It’s a big fish bait that provides big time action.

Next is the Biovex Amp Stay 80SP, a suspending jerkbait that is the perfect size and action for any bass whether it be spotted, smallmouth or largemouth. I’ve had the best luck with this bait catching cold water smallmouth bass. The Stay 80SP, is a non intimidating bait that hovers in place yet imparts an erratic action when worked appropriately or can be fished with a mellow retrieve when the bite is really tough. Again the size of the 80SP is perfect in my eyes at seducing wary fish.

Last but not least, is the Biovex Amp Deep Runner, a deep running crankbait that has a tight wiggle, is realistic as can be and runs to deep depths. I’ve always been a HUGE fan of the Biovex Midrunner and this is that bait on steroids! On light line this bait will easily hit 15 feet and hits it quick. It’s big lip ricochets off cover with perfection and the size off the bait is very appetizing for large bass. I just got a box of these in the mail and already have been using these as a one, two punch with a football jig to entice deep largemouths. The Deep Runner is already a staple in my tackle box.

I’m very lucky to be sponsored by Biovex as their baits are not yet available to the U.S. market. I’ve been hearing some rumors from the Biovex camp that there may be a big announcement coming some time in the future. That’s exciting news considering I’ve been working with them on designing some new baits that I know are going to be a huge hit. Keep checking in.

I’m also proud to say that both Bri and I have been involved in some of the marketing for the company over in Japan. Here’s an ad from one of Japan’s largest bass magazine’s, Rod and Reel magazine.

Posted in Blog Post

Cabela’s Kids Fishing Event

Today I got the honor of representing myself, Tru Tungsten and the rest of my sponsors by helping out at the Cabela’s Kids Fishing Event. At first I didn’t really know what to expect from this and actually had a little bit of anxiety toward it. This definitely struck me as odd because I’ve done numerous fishing events and have never had a problem, in fact I’m actually pretty good at them. My years of experience in the hospitality industry as well as my true love for fishing makes gabbing about it quite easy, though the idea of entertaining children was actually a little intimidating. Not all these kids get the opportunity to get out and fish and I really wanted to be sure they had an awesome time. They are the next generation of our sport and enthusiasm starts now.

The Cabela’s, located in Owatonna, MN, has two private ponds that are stocked with both bluegills and largemouth bass. Cabela’s provided all the rods, reels, tackle and bait as well as a free lunch for all the children and family. My job was to walk around the ponds and help out in any way I could, mostly by taking fish off, retying rigs, untangling lines and of course putting nightcrawlers on hooks.

I couldn’t believe how many kids showed for this opportunity and better yet just how many fish were caught. I’m talking more slab sunnies than I could imagine and one little girl even caught close to a 3 pound largemouth bass, her first to say the least.

I stayed more than busy and really truly enjoyed myself. There is nothing better than watching kids become hooked on fishing right in front of my eyes. So much of my fishing career is selfish and all about me and how I can be better. It is far more rewarding watching kids fall in love with fishing than to cash a check at a big tournament. It reminded me of when I was a kid and how much I purely loved fishing before the money, sponsors and reputation got involved. To be honest it was humbling and I am very blessed I got the opportunity to be involved. Hats off to Cabela’s for providing this free event, here’s a company that truly cares and stops at nothing to give back to the outdoors.

Next year when this event comes around again, I’ll be sure to do a better job of notifying my followers on my site, via Star Tribune’s Outdoor Page and both Facebook and Twitter.

Posted in Blog Post

Denny’s Super 30

Lake Minnetonka, Wayzata, MN

Pressure’s on! It’s time to make it or break it out on Lake Minnetonka this time of year. Going into this event we found ourselves sitting in good position in the team of the year points with a respectable 9th. With only 2 more tourneys left before the Shootout, it’s time to prove your in for the long haul. The top 14 teams qualify for the year end championship and let me be the first to tell you the competition is stiff, all 51 teams can and will sack ’em and it’s important your one of the teams consistently bagging ’em up.

Ryan and I are the two up for this go round and practice went great. I mean it when I say it we probably had the best practice we have ever had. Not only did we get bites in all the places we wanted to get bites we also never burned a single fish. We were able to pull on every bite, never sacrificing a good one.

We had a early boat draw and decided to start in an area that usually has done us well and things really didn’t start all that great. I caught a couple right away but nothing to get your blood flowing, my biggest was probably 3 pounds.

We went on to fill a limit right away but size was embarrassing to say the least, I mean we had like squeakers in the boat, babies to say the least. Finally we had a decision to make whether to stay and pound it out or head to the other side and start banging out on some water and kind of sling from our hip. I made a suggestion that we stop by an area that had been good to me first and then we’ll make the journey. This proved to be worth the stop because it didn’t take minutes and Ryan was at war with what ended up being a 5.25 pound giant. There’s is nothing more gratifying then culling a 5 pounder out for a 12 inch dink.

Minutes later and I was wrestling with a giant and again we made a sick cull with a 4 pounder and got rid of another little bumper baby. Sticking with this pattern, Ryan suggested an area that was very similar and again another cull. We finished the day by running these areas making a few culls here and there and in the end finished up with a solid 12th place and moved up to a two way tie for 8th place in the Team of the Year standings with only 1 more event left.

We still had a couple small fish in our limit and yet again were oh so close to pulling a top 3, still in the end we’re getting so close we can taste it. We just got to keep putting in the work and we’ll reap the reward soon enough.

Posted in Blog Post

Silverado Pro Tour

Green Lake, Spicer, MN

This was a tournament that proved to be a learning lesson from the very get go. I’ve had some past experience on Green and really thought I’d have an ace in the hole for this event before I even got there. This probably proved to be my biggest mistake.

Last year I finished with a very respectable 14th place while fishing the Silverado in early June. The obvious bite was a spawning bite and the vast majority of the fish were up on spawning flats. I also found great success fishing deep, very deep. Being that this tournament was mid summer, I thought this would be the ticket to cashing a much needed check and turning my luck in this years Silverado events.

Throughout practice I tried like hell to make the deep bite work and really wasn’t getting the bites I thought I would, though when I did get bit it was a giant 4 plus pound smallie.

This caused a good deal of confusion in that I kind of adopted a mentality that all I needed was 6 bites all day and since the quality was there I could easily weigh over 20 pounds. As practiced continued though I realized that there would be a better than not chance that I may not even get 6 bites all day. This was obviously a problem.

Everyday of practice I was able to catch a couple quality fish but patterning them was horrible. I’d catch one out of 30 feet on a dropshot, then I’d catch one out of 2 feet on a spinnerbait. In 3 days of practice I caught roughly 10 smallies going over 3 1/2 pounds and all on different baits out of different depths.

Though I was a bit confused onto what, when, where and how I was going to catch 20 pounds, I knew I was around the fish to do it and just planned to junk fish all day.

To make a long depressing story short, we managed to drop two giant smallmouths in the morning that really hurt. My Am partner Brian Brecka put on a clinic thereafter and really stepped up putting a couple in the box and giving us a shot to still put together a solid limit.

As the day wore on I was able to start making some big culls and caught our biggest bass on a Biovex Midrunner Crankbait and then followed that up with a nice largemouth on a flippin’ bite as well as another lunker smallie on a tube over a rock pile.

In the end we weighed in with 6 bass totaling 15.75 pounds, only good enough for a very disappointing 30th place. It’s really tough when I think of what could of been had we landed those two doozer smallies right away in the morning that got off at the boat. We would have weighed in around 20 pounds and cashed a check as well as moved up greatly in the points with only one tournament to go. With that said though I was still so off in the big picture, most guys whacked the crap out of them and probably threw back 18 to 19 pounds. I was so close, yet so far away.

I’m more than upset with the outcome, this one really hurt. I missed the ticket all together and also missed the opportunity to still put together a bag. It’s disheartening to say the least. I’ve been tournament fishing hard for 3 years now and have always had good success. This year has been horrible, bad practices, bad decision making and bad execution along with bad luck have all combined to have me on the outside looking in. Not a position I’m used to and definitely not a position I will get used to. A little humiliation can be a good thing and will provide the extra motivation necessary to get back on top. Now the only way I make the Shootout on Lake Minnetonka is to win at the last event at the Horseshoe Chain. I’ll never turn down a challenge and am excited at the opportunity.

Up next though, it’s time for the Denny’s Super 30 on Lake Minnetonka where we’re currently sitting 9th in the Team of the Year points race with 2 events remaining. The top 14 teams qualify for the end of the year Shootout. Time to turn this year around, starting now.

Posted in Blog Post

A Weekend to Remember

This past weekend, Bri and I along with our good friends Matt and Luanne, went up to Bri’s family cabin for a fun and relaxing weekend on the water. As I said in my last post, Bri’s cabin is seriously one of my favorite places in the world. The fishing is fantastic but just being off the beaten path and away from the everyday hustle and bustle of the city is a treat all of it’s own. Anyone who knows us knows that sure we grew up in the city but our heart is in the country and we’re doing everything it takes to make the permanent move. I know I’m fortunate to get to many different lake destinations throughout the year but there’s something a bit more satisfying enjoying it with my family and good friends without all pressures of tournament fishing.

We were blessed with beautiful weather that gave way to clear nights with plenty of shooting stars to wish on, while we kicked it around a campfire, enjoying good conversation and roasting delicious pudgy pies. Ahh, pudgy pies, something I have never heard of that will now be a staple for me while sitting around a fire. I’m not sure whether to hate Matt and Lou or love them for it?

Some other highlights from our trip was climbing to the top of the ranger station overlooking the entire area. It’s really a breathtaking view all the way up there and never seems to get old. During a good old booze cruise, we also managed to breakdown in the pontoon on the complete other side of the lake, we couldn’t of been any further from the cabin! After trying like hell to paddle with zero success, finally a couple came to our rescue and towed us all the way back. Thank God for them two, otherwise we may still of been out there.

The fishing was good though it started slow. Matt and I started by fishing reeds with really nothing to show for it. We then went even shallower and started throwing around some topwater frogs through all the cover. The action was better here but still not what I was accustomed to on the lake. There was a lot of fish in these areas but they just weren’t wanting to eat the frog. I think we hooked maybe one for every five blowups. They were just smacking the bait, more pestered by it.

My wheels starting turning and I decided it was time to check another area of the lake. We were finding some action shallow just not with total success yet it was still good enough that I couldn’t get myself to completely abandon the shallows and head for deep water. So instead I picked a area of the lake that had a lot of boat docks but also had some mixed floating vegetation between them. I figured worst case that if we still couldn’t get bit real good on the pads that maybe we could bust a couple under docks.

It didn’t take but the first dock and I knew the answer to the question was found, I caught three good ones under one dock. We continued on that pattern and I don’t think I ever picked up my frog rod again, I just kept slinging jigs under docks and just kept catching fish after fish. The jig we were using was the one and only Tru Tungsten Jig, is there really any other kind?

Matt, who loves to fish more than anything but just doesn’t have the time to fish as much as most the people that get in the boat with me, hadn’t ever skipped a bait under a dock before, let alone a jig on heavy baitcasting gear. Between raising two kids and running his own auto garage, Gustavson Repair, it’s hard to get the time to learn such an advanced technique. You think I’d be easy on him and rig up a spinning rod with a senko on it but where’s the glory in that? If your going to learn something, learn it the right way from the beginning. Instead I handed him the exact same setup and was more than impressed at his determination to conquer it.

In fact it didn’t take to long at all and wouldn’t you know it he sets and lands a nice bass from under a dock on a jig. Not only was it his first dock fish but it was his first jig fish! It took me a long time to catch my first jig fish and he does it in less than an hour and under a boat dock! That’s sick!

After an awesome trip we capped it off with a night out a Zorba’s, yeah that’s right, Zorba’s with a Z. Though come Sunday morning I think we all mutually agreed that Zorba’s was probably the worst idea of the weekend. We were all a bit on the slower side if you know what I mean?

I gotta say that this past weekend was just what I needed, time with my beautiful wife, two dogs and some of our very best friends! I feel relaxed and recharged and chomping at the bit to get back on the water and put my game face on! The Silverado Tour hits Green Lake baby! I can’t wait!

Posted in Blog Post

My Favorite Place in the World

I went from counting down the weeks, to counting down the days and now we’re getting close to counting down the hours. Soon Bri and I, along with two of our good friends Matt and Luanne, will be heading up north to one of my favorite places for both fishing and relaxing, Bri’s cabin in McGregor, MN.

The cabin is just awesome and we’re all in need of some good fun including bar-b-queuing, sitting around the fire and tipping a couple back. The best part is the fishing is untapped! No one is fishing bass on this lake and the bass grow big, real big! In fact, I caught my Minnesota big bass at a lake just down the road tipping the scale at a whopping 7 lbs. 6 oz!

I’m hoping my new G Loomis Swimbait Rod will be in before I go as I plan to chuck the old shoe (Weedless Huddleston) to bass that I guarantee have never seen one before and also plan to power up the Humminbird Side Imager on a lake that has never been scanned for it’s hidden rockpiles. I’m 100% confident that we’ll have plenty of pictures and video to show off our weekend’s results!

I’ve been passing the time by spending some time on the water locally. I’ve been doing some guide trips as well as getting out and doing some camera work. This past weekend we spent out on one of my favorite bodies of water fishing deep structure with my go to favorite bait, the Picasso Fantasy Football Jig. The fish were movie stars as they were more than happy to make their appearances for the video camera. Keep checking in as the video should be up and ready to be viewed very soon.

If anyone is interested in getting in the boat with me for a guided trip contact me sooner than later. The summer largemouth bite is on and the fall smallmouth bite is right around the corner! In fact, last week I did a corporate guide trip for a company out of Wisconsin. Instead of a company golf tournament, it was a company bass tournament. Not only did my boat catch fish, they won the whole tournament! What a outing! These guys really worked me, they had me running from front to back taking off fish and snapping photos. It was just awesome!!

Well, all for now! I got lots to do before I head up for a weekend of partying and setting hooks on donkey largemouth! When I get back it’s back to business and preparing for the next Silverado Pro Tour stop at Green Lake, in Spicer, MN. Talk about a smallie haven!! I’m more than excited! I can already hear my drag spinning!

Posted in Blog Post

Silverado Pro Tour

Lake Minnewaska, Starbuck, MN

I have been thinking about this event for a year now. Almost exactly a year ago on these exact waters, I had my worst bass fishing tournament of my life, nothing went good, seriously nothing. This lake really made me mad, I couldn’t find a pattern at all and I couldn’t catch fish no matter what or where I attempted to do it. The result was to be expected, my worst placing ever and I completely knocked myself out of the Angler of the Year standings, blowing my chances at qualifying for the TOC.

Now you can see why this upcoming tournament weighed so heavily on my mind, this lake really intimidated me. Sure I was determined to get some revenge, but when you spend days on the lake with nothing to show, it’s sets a bit of anxiety up for my return trip.

To offset some of this, I managed to put together a lot of practice time to help me better understand how this lake works. Wouldn’t you know it after my first weekend back I had one of my best outings of the year. I found two spots where in a matter of 10 casts, I caught 5 largemouth weighing over 23 pounds. If that’s not a confidence builder than I don’t know what is. The problem was the tourney was still a few weeks away. Will they stay there? That was the real question and one I wasn’t about to bank on.

**Bri and I camping at Hobo Park on the shores of Lake Minnewaska while practicing for the Silverado.

Lake Minnewaska, known as a good largemouth lake also has an awesome population of good sized smallmouth bass. Last year I had a heck of a time trying to find them and on game day managed to drop three real nice ones. This practice I spent my share of time looking for these elusive ghosts and it didn’t take long to get tangled with a good one. Throughout the remainder of practice I managed to find a half dozen or so spots that were holding good sized smallies, but my one concern was that I couldn’t catch more than one, I wasn’t finding schools but instead single rogues that frequent these areas to feed. So every time I’d check these spots it was hit or miss.

Going into tournament day, I was pretty pumped. I had some areas that were holding really nice largemouth as well as smallies. When I got to registration I found out I drew boat 6 and really got excited. My original plan was to start on my two big largemouth spots, but with that early of a boat draw I knew I could get to one of the few “community” smallie spots and hopefully put a couple big smallies in the box right away. I was confident that no one was on my largies and thought it would be beneficial to roll the dice.

I even checked my starting spot right away in the morning the last day of practice and couldn’t keep the smallmouth off, I pulled on fish after fish and it took a lot to finally get them to spit the bait. I was amped and ready to go! I knew going to bed that night that I had given myself a chance to win this one, a far cry from where I was here a year ago.

Right away tournament morning I raced to my first spot. Nothing. You gotta be kidding me? They were just here! After about 45 minutes I raced to another smallie spot and again, nothing. I probably prefer to fish smallies all in all, but I don’t know why? There’s a reason they call them ghost fish, they’re known to just disappear.

After burning up a good two hours with nothing to show for it, I finally raced to my good largemouth. Maybe the smallies are being fussy, but I’ll get the largies going. Well I did just that, only I left these two spots with a limit of 12 inch fish. Not what I had in mind, but it’s a limit, we’re upgrading from here.

With the temp starting to climb up I decided to go get at those smallies again. This time I was met with a bunch of short strikes and saw a real nice four pound fish follow my bait to the boat. I did manage to land one 14″ and another 16″ smallie.

I knew of a few weedlines that were holding some quality largemouth and decided it was time to head there. It didn’t take to long to upgrade our limit to all 14″ fish and with only 45 minutes to go I decided to finish out the day on one of my largemouth spots where I had previous success. The bite was on and I made a few small culls and with only 20 minutes to go was caught between staying here or trying for that big smallie that followed all the way to the boat. Just then I bang a nice 3.6 pound largemouth and decided to stay.

Looking back now, I wish I would have left right then because one more quality fish and I’d of been way up in the money. Instead I weighed in with a 6 fish limit weighing 12.72 pounds and with a dead fish penalty ended with 12.47 pounds, good enough for 20th place.

My emotions after this one were a bit conflicted. On a personal level I was happy, I finished way better than I had done last year, saved face and moved up in the points. On the other hand, the competitor in me was more than disappointed. I had worked my butt off in practice, found good fish and wanted the win. I don’t fish these tournaments to place mediocre, I fish them cause I want to win them. That’s what it’s all about.

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Tournament Update – Denny’s Super 30 TOY Race

2010 Super 30 Minnetonka

Team of the Year Standings

Team of the Year – 2010 1-Jun 21-Jun 12-Jul Total
1 Brad Cline & Jason Berg 49 48 43 140

2 Ted & Dean Capra 47 38 50 135

3 Cody Zdrazil & Dusty Mahn 46 40 45 131

4 Steve Hauge & Corey Guttenfelder 41 33 48 122

5 Matt Pretzel & Craig Walters 38 39 41 118

6 Brad Leuthner & Jeff Meuwissen 42 28 42 112

7 Rod & Rustin Robinson 33 43 32 108

8 Eric & Greg Schultz 15 44 49 108

9 Josh Douglas & Ryan Brant 37 32 38 107

10 Chuck & John Hengel 18 42 47 107

11 Shane Raveling & Joe Bartusek 50 34 22 106

12 Todd Doege & Bob Hennen 29 41 35 105

13 Mike Vinci & Paul Neumann 17 46 40 103

14 Seth Feider & John Figi 16 49 37 102

Jason Holmer & Jason Dudek 39 25 33 97

Andy Young & Larry Wittig 44 37 15 96

Todd Brezinski & Joe Ecklund 23 45 28 96

Joe & Guy Feldmann 10 47 39 96

Chad Kastenbauer & DaveSicheneder 24 26 44 94

Randy LaTourelle & Corey Weber 10 50 30 90

Corey Larson & Mark Persson 31 24 34 89

Andy Hribar & Randy Hayes 48 30 10 88

Jacob Larson & Toby Ferriel 30 10 46 86

Steve Lee & Ron Feyo 43 14 20 77

Chuck McGannon & Jeremy Bester 20 36 21 77

Mike Carter & Pat Wenning 34 10 29 73

Noah Schultz & Che Johnson 28 19 23 70

John Vig Jr & John Walsh 32 27 10 69

Bruce Smith & Paul Sladek 35 21 13 69

Mike Brill & Andy Peterson 14 20 31 65

Lonnie Murphy & John Nelson 25 29 10 64

Torrie Oswald & Bob Biehler 21 31 10 62

Dalon Schmidt & Brad Lutz 40 10 11 61

Will Pappa & Gary Flicek 36 11 12 59

Pat Bartley & Chris Zakashefski 27 15 17 59

Dennis & Austin Felix 12 22 25 59

Denny Nelson & Bob Younghans 10 23 26 59

Steve Loraus & Matt Burch 13 10 36 59

Chris Luedtke & Tadd Johnson 45 10 x 55

Jeff Gilmer & Randy Wilcox 10 10 27 47

Jay Green & Steph Peterson 19 13 14 46

Gordon Covyeow & Darrell Preston 10 16 19 45

Colby & Brady Bolin 11 17 16 44

Steve Rowe & Tom Zrust 10 10 24 44

John Nugent & Al McColl 22 10 10 42

Steve Karsseboom & Steve Higgins 10 18 10 38

Peter Madonna & Pat Ripley 10 12 10 32

Tim Dedeker & Alan Melby 10 10 10 30

Tom Conboy & Jim Oster 10 10 10 30

So as you can see we’re sitting in good position for qualifying for the post season “Shoot Out”. We’re in a much better place than we were at this point last season and we managed to qualify last year and go on to claim 3rd in the Shoot Out. The plan is to stay the course and try to continue to move up the rankings by cashing a couple checks going out! Wish us luck!

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Tackle Update: G Loomis Introduces the NRX!

G Loomis, what’s there to say? They’ve built a much deserving title as the best rod makers on the market. They set the bar higher and higher with every new development they create. It’s truly legendary, in fact since I was a little kid I used to dream about the day I’d own my own Loomis. I can remember in my very early 20’s when I moved to Florida I started to really get back into bass fishing and I’d go to the local tackle stores and just hold them. I definitely wasn’t in the position financially to be able to actually obtain one, but there was no denying my desire. That desire still runs through me to this very day, six years later and fishing for a money and still G Loomis is the cream of the crop in my eye. They’re who I trust to do work on the water. I don’t have a business relation, in fact I’ve pushed away the opportunity to fish others manufacturers rods for free. Sounds crazy but I guess it’s safe to say that admiration I had when I was just a kid still runs through me today.

If you look in my rod locker right now you’d see close to 20 rods mostly made up of their IMX and GLX series, with a few specialty rods thrown in like their Crankbait and Spinnerbait Series. Not to mention my new rod that’s on order, the Swimbait Series, which shouldn’t come as a surprise given my enthusiasm in my last blog entry.

There’s been a lot of changes recently in the fishing rod market. New companies are emerging from the woodwork all offering high end rods with newer technology and non traditional components still marked around that same price point. G Loomis on the other hand has been sitting back, quietly developing and taking their time perfecting. The outcome is a much astonishing 5 category awards at the 2010 ICAST Show, including the coveted “Best of Show” award for their newest introduction to the bass fishing world, the NRX Series. Move over GLX, a new king has come to claim the throne.

The NRX which is 15 percent lighter, 20 percent stronger and more sensitive than the GLX also offers a few new features such as split cork handles and what I find most intriguing is the use of two different kinds of eyelets. The bottom of the rod makes use of Fugi titanium framed SIC guides, while the top of the rod incorporates the Recoil ion coated nickel – titanium guides, now introduced as the ‘Hybrid Guide System’.

Another key feature that I love is the new ‘skeletonized’ reel seat, where your fingers will never leave the actual rod blank.

Though the G Loomis GLX in my opinion was still the best rod built on the market, even with all sorts of rod building companies taking their jabs at it, it’s really only fitting that’s it’s maker is the one to take it’s title.

Again understand, I don’t have any kind of business relationship with G Loomis or Shimano, these are just the companies I choose to use. I take fishing very very seriously and these are the brands that give me my added confidence. That’s something any other rod manufacturer can’t give me and that’s why G Loomis gets the edge. Like I said in the beginning, they’re simply legendary.

Check in with Capra’s Outdoors as I hear they’ll be one of the first to receive the first shipments.

Posted in Blog Post

Big Bait Posse Minnesota Style

I love to fish and I also enjoy to write, it’s interesting because fishing is really all I like to write about. I guess I can assume that fishing inspires me to the point where I want to write it down for both people to enjoy and me to relive later. Every now and then I come across something while fishing that inspires me above and beyond, so much that I won’t need to relive it someday because truthfully I’ll never forget it. In fact, I don’t think I can get enough of it.

Over the past few days I’ve been out of town practicing for an upcoming tournament. Usually I would just pitch a tent and set up camp or simply sleep in my truck while preparing for upcoming events but this time I got the opportunity to stay with some friends at a cabin. The cabin was a bit of a drive but well worth it for the chance to get in the boat with my buddy Dave Cindrich for his much talked about evening swimbait bite, where catching 4’s and 5’s was supposedly the regular.

I can say that I was skeptical to say the least, but there’s no way I was about to let my ignorance miss out on an opportunity like this. I was more than eager to take the nightly trip.

Lakes in California and Texas are known for huge bass that annihilate huge swimbaits, but we’re talking about ten to twenty pound Florida strain largemouth not our northern strain bass that at best are chunking out between four and seven pounds.

**Above Pictures: 6″ Weedless Huddleston (top) and the Tru Tungsten Tru Life Swimbait (bottom). Both these baits are so big, I know panfish fisherman that would fillet them!

When Cindrich handed me a long rod with a 6 inch Weedless Huddleston tied onto 20 pound Vicious fluorocarbon, I can easily say that my confidence in my first few casts were less than none. I mean I felt like I was chucking a shoe around and barely reeling it back to the boat. Just when you think your reeling too slow, take it down another notch from there, barely turning the reel just making the baits tail quiver as you pull it through the clumps of vegetation. It wasn’t until about my fifth or sixth cast when all of a sudden I felt that unmistakable “tick” in my line, my rod loaded up just for a second and gone. What the? “You gotta be kidding”, I said to myself, “There’s no way that was a bass, had to been a big pike or something”. Just as I was starting to believe that, Cindrich hauls off and sets the hook and all hell breaks loose, a minute later and he’s landed a real chunky largemouth that absolutely inhaled his swimbait like it was a fricken Dorito.

I was like a little kid again, you know that feeling when you were fishing with your Dad or Grandpa not catching anything and all of a sudden someone in the boat catches one. You can’t cast quick enough! That was exactly how I was. I wanted in on that action.

We made another pass and as my bait hit the water on the bank, I made maybe three turns on the reel handle and there it is, this time I follow Dave’s advice and wait until I feel the rod load up and slam that fish! I cannot even begin to express how hard of a fight a bass gives you when they attack a big bait like that. It isn’t like a jig or spinnerbait, they give it everything they have when they hit a bait that is darn near big enough to be a keeper itself. After landing that pig, I had the shakes like I’ve never had before. That’s an adrenaline rush Josh Douglas style! I couldn’t put the rod down the rest of the night and by dark I had totaled three nice largemouth and Dave the same.

That night it was easy to sleep with vision of 5 pounders ripping the rod from my hands. The problem was getting it out of my head the next day while I was practicing for a very important upcoming tournament. All I wanted to do was throw a swimbait. I had heard from many of other fisherman who say that once you get that bite it can change your mentality in a quick hurry, it can turn you into a swimbait addict.

I guess it’s a bad sign when as soon as evening approaches I’m loading up my boat and speeding all the way to jump in and get in on the bite for a second night in a row. If that isn’t signs of a true fishing junkie I don’t know what is.

Night two started slow, real slow, instead of eating the swimbait they would just bump it. It was clear that their presence was there but they weren’t in the mood to eat. Finally I started to rationalize with myself and started flipping around a Berkley Chigger Craw and a jig and thought for sure I could catch them with that. I mean come on a six inch swimbait is not going to outproduce a 1/2 ounce jig, not here in Minnesota. If they’ll hit a swimbait then they definitely would of eaten a jig or a senko, right? That is exactly what my mentality was, key word, was. In fact there is times that all they may hit is a swimbait. These baits like the Weedless Huddleston or the Tru Tungsten Tru Life Swimbait are so realistic and impart the perfect action that even trophy fish can’t tell the difference and they make them big so that they’re more appealing to bigger bass. They waste less energy by eating big instead of exerting all their energy chasing around bite sized meals.

The proof in this came after we still couldn’t get those fish to bite jigs and plastics we reverted back to the Hud. WHAM! Cindrich boats another beast and shortly I followed suit with another good one. Unbelievably awesome! Rest assured I’ll be ordering a swimbait setup in no time.

I hope this will urge other bass fanatics to get out there and give this technique it’s fair shake. Trust me it only takes one fish to change not only your attitude but your life as well! There’s really nothing like it.

Posted in Blog Post

Tackle Update: Introducing Capra’s Outdoors Online

I am more than excited to announce that Minnesota’s leading tackle provider, Capra’s Outdoors, has jumped into the online tackle industry. Not just tackle but all your fishing and boating needs as well as hunting and archery.

Capra’s Outdoors, “Your Hunting and Fishing Headquarters” has been providing Minnesota with top of the line outdoor gear for years, a family run business that is not only into the retail side of the outdoors but also has a reputation both on the water and in the field. This is what separates them from the competition. They truly know what it is we’re looking for and stay on top of the growing industry, providing us with the best equipment at the best prices.

Now that the online store is up and running, you can already start to order and they are adding new stuff everyday. If you don’t see something you need drop them an email or give them a call, if they can get it, you can get it.

Capra’s Outdoors,, toll free 1-800-780-4557, local 763-780-4557.
Posted in Blog Post

Back to the Basics

With over a month between tournaments I find myself with some time to really sit back and enjoy some summer fishing as well as take the time to learn some new tricks. I haven’t had this much time between tournaments before and have to say it’s refreshing. Usually between June and July it’s go, go, go, and it’s hard to find the time to learn new tactics and get out and do some fun fishing. Usually I have to adapt and learn on the fly but lately I’ve been taking the time to get out and find new water and learn new ways to up my arsenal.

I’ve also been working on the Ranger. A few days ago while up at Lake Minnewaska, the stage for the next Silverado Tournament, my bilge pump went out, perfect timing, I have time to get a new one in. I also been rerigging a few things on the boat making it more efficient on the water. One is moving my Lowrance GPS puck from the rear of the boat to the front. I was having all sorts of small issues while fishing that were caused by my puck being in the back. It was much harder to find my tracking when my location is 20 feet behind my actual location. Now I can tell a huge difference and my tracking is much much better. Now I’m going to be moving my Humminbird GPS puck to the rear, since I mainly only use the “Bird” for Side Imaging I want the puck to be as close to the transducer as possible.

I’ve also been going through and organizing my tackle, something that gets completely disorganized while on the road tournament fishing. This is also nice because not only is everything clean and organized but I can easily tell what is low and make sure I get in an order with Dean at Capra Outdoors. There’s nothing worse than good fish biting on a certain bait and I’m all out or only have a couple in the boat.

** Me with a Minnewaska 8 lb. walleye, not what I was looking for, thought it was going to be a big ole bass.

Back to Lake Minnewaska, I’ve been setting aside a lot of time to getting out there and putting in some hard work. I find myself on the outside looking in after the first Silverado stop back in June and with the next stop in a few weeks at Minnewaska, I have a big obstacle to conquer. Last year I did horrible on Minnewaska and this year I’m going with the practice makes perfect mind set, in other words I want to go from geek to sheik or better yet from zero to hero.

I was able to get out there Thursday and Friday and put in some hard work and on the drive home had a much better idea and overall attitude of the lake. After a slow start on Thursday the winds finally let down for a while late in the afternoon and I was able to find some pretty good fish and possibly even establish a pretty defined pattern. Honestly this far out from the tournament that could mean nothing but no matter what it gave me a very confident attitude and I know when I’m confident I’m a tough fisherman to beat. So much of competitive fishing comes down to attitude, you gotta believe and by putting in my time I’ll believe that I did everything I could to prepare. That’s really all I can ask for.

This week I’ll be heading out to Minnewaska again for a couple days and then getting back to fish Minnetonka for the weekend. We got a Denny’s Super 30 tourney out there the following Monday and it’s Ryan and Corey turn at bat. Hopefully with all us three out there putting in a tough practice we’ll be on good fish and be able to keep our top 12 seating in the team of the year race.

Happy Independence Day! Please have a fun and safe holiday!!!

Posted in Blog Post

Denny’s Super 30

Lake Minnetonka, Wayzata, MN

After a solid practice it was clear to see that Tonka was on fire. Corey and I in the 5 days leading up to this event managed to really find some good fish. 4 and 5 pounders were definitely eating and the 3 pounders are definitely starting to school up for the summer.

I used a lot of my practice time putting my new Humminbird Side Imaging unit to good use. I tried to stay away from all my good water and instead use my time to find new areas. By using my 2010 Navionics North Chips along with my Side Imaging features I was able to locate new off shore structure that was holding good bass. I’m telling you there’s no denying that the combination of my Humminbird 998 along with my two Lowrance Units (LCX 27C and LCX 37C) are making me better at finding schools of fish and in a timely manner, something very important to a tournament angler.

With a good practice Corey and I knew we had a lot of water to fish and was confident every single area had the potential to cough up a good bass. The morning started out a bit slow with our first few spots not producing, finally I was able to get a nice bite off a deeper area that I had put in a lot of time in practice getting to know and the result was a nice 4 pound largie.

After not getting another bite we ran a few more spots and Corey and i each put a few more in the boat, but nothing to really get the heart pumping. In fact a lot of our areas throughout the morning really weren’t producing like we thought they would. Most of practice it was hot and sunny and of course this day started cloudy, not sure if that makes a difference in this case or not but something wasn’t right.

Finally half way through the day and we got on a spot that was holding a school of fish and started quickly upgrading our limit. Unfortunately though, we were again upgrading ounces instead of pounds. Finally with about an hour or so to go in the tournament I was able to quickly boat two good ones back to back. We knew we were getting within striking distance and needed at least one more big cull and we would be in the thick of it. With three 4 pounders in the boat, we still had a 2.1 lb. baby in the boat and a couple of mid 2 pounders that we knew we had to get rid of in a quick hurry.

We ran around like crazy, looking for that big bite and just came up empty handed in the end. We weighed in 8 fish for 22.9 lbs., a solid finish but only good enough for 19th place. Disappointed because we didn’t cash a check but happy to see that another consistent finish and we are currently sitting 12th in the Angler of the Year race, with the top 12 making the end of the year Shoot Out. This is good news because last year we were sitting much lower at this point and were still able to make the year end Shoot Out and ride that to a 3rd place finish. Next up will be the brothers Ryan and Corey, hopefully after we all put in another hard practice we should be ripe for a top 5 finish!

Now it’s time to party! My 30th (Golden) Birthday party is this Saturday on the docks of where else, Lake Minnetonka!

See you all on the water!!

Posted in Blog Post

Throwing Frogs with my Good Buddy Parker!

What an awesome change of pace, today I took the morning off of tournament practice to hit one of my favorite little lakes with my good buddy Parker! It may sound a bit odd to hear, in fact I never thought I’d say this in the past, I am so lucky to be able to fish as much as I do, though with that said, it’s work. It takes a different breed to devote this much time into chasing around little green fish. Getting up at 4 am every morning no matter if it’s 80 and sunny or 35 and sleeting, it takes extreme love for the sport. I grew this obsession for bass fishing when I was just a kid and owe some pretty key individuals for introducing me to what I’d grow to covet more than almost anything else life has to offer.

Anyone whom knows me can easily attest that I love to compete but with any competition comes stress, anxiety and both a physical and a mental toll. I’ve come to really cherish any opportunity I can get to get away from the rigors of tournament fishing and be able to go out and just go fishing with friends and family, there’s really nothing better.

This trip I got to get out with my 6th grade buddy Parker who is already a little outdoor veteran. An active waterfowl hunter, fisherman and a great shot with a bow and arrow, carp beware!

I picked him up at his dock at 6 am sharp and first things first we had a much needed baitcasting lesson. I’ve never seen anyone pick it up so fast! Before I knew it he was throwing a topwater frog across the pads like he’d been doing it for years and could even pick out his own backlashes.

Fishing was slow for us but we still managed to boat a couple and Parker landed the very first bass that pasted his frog. I felt the boat rock when he set the hook not to mention he caught the biggest bass of the day. Who’s the pro now?

I’m lucky to have a buddy like Parker to go fishing with, though I might want to be careful, I think he’s going to be beating all of us in no time! Keep up the good work Parker!

Posted in Blog Post

Silverado Pro Tour

Le Homme Dieu Chain, Alexandria, MN

I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I was to get to Alexandria and kick off the first stop of the Silverado Tour. I felt I had a lot to prove to myself after last year. I’ve been very fortunate to have had a lot of early success in my fishing career though all winter I’ve had a horrible taste in my mouth with how I faired last year when it came to the Silverado Tour. I started out strong with a 14th place finish on Green lake, just to do poorly in the last 3 events. I can’t point to any one reason, in fact it was multiple reasons that resulted in poor performances, ineffective practices, boat issues, bad boat draws and dropped fish all took their toll on my fishing.

A good finish on Le Homme Dieu to start the season could really set the tone for the remainder of the year. I was excited to see that they set Le Homme Dieu to be the first stop, two years ago I fished here at this exact same time of year in a Bassmaster Weekend Series Tournament and took a solid 6th place finish. I really felt that I had some good water and could expand and hopefully come in with an even better finish.

Bri and I where able to get out to Alexandria early Wednesday morning and with three full days of practice I split up the lake and decided to fish different areas each day. Throughout the three days I had no problem finding fish though size was a definite issue. I was catching them both shallow and deep but for every 2 1/2 to 3 pound fish i was catching 30 rats. I knew this was typical for Le Homme Dieu but still it’s an uneasy feeling.

At the end of practice I did feel confident that if I kept with my water that I would be able to sort through the fish and end up with a good limit in the end. As usual with the Silverado I drew a late boat draw and knew my first spot would not be an option, so instead I decided to stay close to the ramp and fish some water that me and my Am Cody had seen some good fish on. We where able to box a limit within the first hour but you’d have to look really hard in the livewell to see them.

We were catching them both shallow and deep but just weren’t getting any quality fish. We did manage to cull all day but for ounces at a time and in this event to cash a check you need to be culling pounds not ounces.

In the end I finished with a low weight of 6 fish for only 9.91 lbs. and finished in a very disappointing 32nd place. Looking back I wish I would have played it safe and fished more weedlines where there was more schools of fish, instead I rolled the dice, fished more shallow water than I should have looking for solo “good” fish that historically wins on this lake, which is also the way I finished so well 2 years back in the Bassmaster event. Coulda, shoulda, woulda.

Now unfortunately I have to play catch up the rest of the season to get myself in the Tournament of Champions, lucky for me, I’m up to the challenge. Hard work and a one tournament at a time mentality and I’ll be there. Wish me luck!!

P.S. Bri my love, I had an awesome time camping with you. Looking forward to Minnewaska, especially since the caterpillars will have turned to butterfly’s and it can’t possibly rain that much again, right?!

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