Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Leech Lake Walleye Tournament

What a weekend! I fished the Leech Lake Walleye Tournament with my wife Kristine. This was the first tournament we have fished together so she was a little nervous.

We fished against over 150 teams for the first place prize of $12,500. There is a huge strategy when it comes to fishing this tournament. Leech Lake has a slot sizes that must be released of 18 to 26 inches. We were allowed to weigh two fish over the slot so the game is try and catch two big ones and three just under the 18 inch mark. Typically the larger fish are located in the deep, structure filled, part of the lake called Walker Bay and the smaller under fish are located in the main lake.

Prefishing we had found a spot in Walker Bay that was holding fish under the slot and found spots that were holding big fish. So our game plan was to get our five small fish and then go Hawg Hunting! So Day #1 we headed to our spot and by 8:15 we had our five weigh fish and we were ready to look for the monster. We fished several spots and found some active fish on a deep isolated hump. On this hump we caught several fish that were from 20 all the way up to 25 inches. Then around 1:00 Kristine said, "fish!" I looked up as I was snagged and she was doing battle. I grabbed the net and saw a monster emerge from the depths and netted a 29 incher. We were pumped! We still had lots of time to catch another big one. We continued to fish and not too long later another boat, friends of ours, pulled up and started fishing next to us. They also knew there was big ones in this area and not too long later they were hooked up with a monster. I was heartbroken as I saw them net a fish that measured 30.5 inches. That's tournament fishing! So we ended up with one over for the day and we were sitting in 27th place.

Day 2 began and we were on our way to catch our small fish I saw that nobody was on our deep hump. I told Kristine, "lets give it 20 minutes and see if we can boat a big one." So we stopped and it didn't take long for a few boats to pull up. One of the boats was our friends who had caught the monster next to us the day before. As we were fishing pretty close to each other having a conversation and I got bit. I set the hook and told Kristine, "big fish!" With one quick scoop of the net we had a 28 incher in the live-well! Man we were pumped! We had all day to put four more fish in the boat and try for a big one. We stayed on the spot and our friends who caught the monster the day before also boated a 28 incher. We said to each other we should just fish next to each other for the whole day! The fish moved off the hump so we decided to try and go fill out our limit. We went to our under spot and we started catching fish but all the wrong sizes. So it was around 11:00 and I told Kristine that we should probably run out to the main lake to try and fill our limit. So we did and here came the rain. It was a down pour but just before the rain Kristine put two nice keepers in the box. Stuck with only three fish we decided to run back to our under spot in Walker Bay. The rain had stopped and the fish were bitting. Again we caught several fish but all the wrong size except for one. So we had four fish in the boat. Do we stay and try to catch one more under or go for monsters? We decided to stay as I knew would would cash a check with one more fish. We just couldn't find that right size fish.

We ended up weighing in with four fish and received a "non releasable" fish penalty of 3 oz. Bummer as we took second place in the male female division losing by just 2 oz. We ended up taking 18th place out of 155 boats. With one more fish we would have been in the top ten. Should have, could have, would have!

I can't tell you how much fun I had fishing with my wife Kristine. She had caught most of the fish we weighed and we truly just had fun fishing. I think she was more competitive then me! We really had no issues besides one little one and my Crestliner Boat and Mercury Verado worked flawlessly as always.

We targeted the smaller fish using a jig and minnow and the large fish using a Bigtooth Tackle Walleye Snell with a Red Tail Minnow or Leech.

Congrats to my good friends Toby and Dean Kavelevog who placed 3rd.

For complete results of the tournament go to Leech Lake Walleye Tournament Website

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