12-21-13 – 12-23-13 – Minnesota Part III

The final leg of our trip was the tournament weekend. While we had spent quite a bit of time on the water, confidence in converting seeing them into hooking them wasn’t all that high. With a few rods rigged up with presentations that had caught fish, there wasn’t much else we could do other than fish like we do every day. Day one fish species were bluegill and crappie. Eight of each. Day two was perch and crappie. Once again 8 and 8.

Day 1

With no points going into the event, we were at the back of the line with 76 other two man teams in front of us. The ride over to Wahkon Bay was around 7 miles in the dark. The slush and cold made the ride over take forever. With numerous four wheelers in front of us, the trail was pretty torn up as we rolled through. Once we reached the bay, pretty much every team in the competition was on the two weed patches that we had located pre fishing. Following the pack, we set up on the outer edge of the crowd. Right off we found a few bluegill on the camera and thought it would be a good start.

As fishing time approached, all the fish disappeared. Maybe because they moved somewhere else everyday or maybe because thousands of holes were intruding on their space! Giving it a shot for a while, we couldn’t seem to get a tight line so we plotted to move to our second location on the GPS. While people were near the mark, no one was on it. After punching some holes, we found no fish. Looking to grind out the rest of the day in the area, we sat tight after seeing a few guys pull fish. While we saw a few on the underwater camera and while sight fishing, it wasn’t until 1:45 that Andy put our first and only fish in the bucket. It was only a 9″ crappie but by the looks and sounds of it, we weren’t the only ones struggling. At the weigh in, 36 teams failed to bring in fish.  For the day two line up, we made a jump from 77th to 37th place.

Day 2

With a slightly better starting position, we thought we might get on our spot first thing. The drive was much shorter but the temperatures were still chilly. Driving out it seem as if the line ahead of us was endless but turning the corner into the fishing area, not many people were in the area we pre fished. Pulling up on our mark, we punched holes, and started camering them. With the 8 am starting time ticking closer, we stopped camering and got our rods ready. Setting the shacks over the top of the best looking holes, it was go time.

While the fishing started slow, the more noise that came in around us, the more fish we saw. Unfortunately, I caught a pile of bluegills a day late. Throughout my stellar bluegill bite, the crappie were cruising; I saw probably 15 quality fish. As it turned out, I stuck one and had one suck the head of my jig in several times. Andy had about the same luck. Earlier in the day, we set an end time after which we would go out and target perch in deeper water.

When the time came, we headed out to a 20-30 foot flat. The perch were thick and about the time your jig reached the bottom, it was time to reel back up with one on. Unfortunately, they had no size to them. At the weigh in, we had no crappie but 8 perch. Our limit of perch weighed a whopping 0.92 pounds!

At the weigh in there were some nice fish. While our weights weren’t huge it was a great experience to fish against some of the guys that we have watched on TV for years. After congratulating the winners and saying our goodbyes we hit the road to made the 24 hour drive home.

2013-12-20_08-21-59_93The drive home went smoothly other than snowy condition from when we left until we passed through Wisconsin. These slow going conditions tacked on about 4 hours to our overall trip. By the time we neared Vermont, it was close to 8pm. After dropping other guys off, I pulled into my driveway at 11:30pm and unpacked just so I could pack it back up for the next morning. Yup… You guess it. I went fishing again!

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