Thursday, August 19, 2010

PMTT Chippewa Flowage

Joe and I just returned from the third Professional Musky Tournament Trail, for the 2010 season, which was held in Hayward, Wi on the famous Chippewa Flowage. We left Thursday morning around 3:30 A.M. and arrived to this massive body of water which was new to us. We didn't have too much information on the lake and we had a ton of work ahead of us and only two days to get it done.

We launched the Crestliner 202 and Mercury Verado which was ready to rock and roll. We pulled up on the first good looking area and we made a few cast and I got bit. I looked at Joe, as there were boats in the area, and whispered, "Joe I have a fish on!". I pulled off the spot and unhooked her in stealth mode. The fish was around the 32 inch mark which wouldn't help us in the tournament but it was a good sign of things to come. By this time it was 90 degrees and flat calm and holy buckets I felt like I was going to tip over. Joe and I fished as many spots as possible with out any action. Well instead of getting heat stroke and casting to fish that didn't want to follow or bit we decided to learn the body of water.

While it's flat calm and sunny this is a great time to take advantage and learn spots. We marked out several areas which looked to have awesome structure. Everything from shallow weed flats, to rock flats along with some great shoreline areas. Our plan was to go back and fish these areas when the sun started to go down. By this time we had several hours on the lake and felt like we had a pretty good handle on where to fish but still didn't have too much to go off because we had not made too many cast on the spots. Evening final came and the temps. dropped, a little, and we went back to the key areas to fish. Joe and I fished into the night without a bite. We felt bruised, battered and defeated and decided to call it a long day!

Day 2 back at to try and put a program together. Well we pretty much had the same results as day one without catching a small one. Yes we had no follows, caught a pike, and had two possible musky hits but we couldn't tell for sure. We had nothin and I have to admit I wasn't too excited to fish two days against some of the best musky anglers around. Speaking with many local guides and tournament anglers it sounds like the bite was about the toughest they have scene in many years. Great! Our game plan was to just go fishing!

Tournament Day the boat was loaded with an assortment of baits and we were ready to rock but not too confident. We were greeted with a flat calm morning with a heavy blanket of fog. Joe and I started on the spot we had caught the fish the first day of pre fishing. We had two local guide boats to compete with but managed to fish the best area with not even a follow. We fished the spot deep, shallow and everywhere in between with nothin! So onto our game plan to fish as many spots as possible and try to put some type of pattern together. Around 1:00 Joe and I found a spot with rock weed mix so I told Joe to cast up to the weeds and I'm going to bang rocks with a deep diving crank-bait. Casting with a mouth full of protein bar I felt the crank-bait contact some rocks and I continued my retrieve and went into the L turn and can you believe it a fish was there and smoked the bait. "Joe got her!" I exclaimed and the fish tall walked down the side of the boat. Joe ask, "You got her?" I was like, "Yes I got her get the freaking net!" and he grabbed the net and made an amazing net job and we were on the board. Yeah buddy! We were pumped and thought we had something to work off of. Well that wasn't the case we fished so much of the same stuff with nothing the rest of the day. We were sitting in 8th place with only one team that had two fish after day #1.

Tournament Day 2 Joe and I were actually pumped and I felt that tingle down my spine when the boats lined up to take off. We had the 202 and Verado rockin at take off and we pulled up to the same area we had caught the fish the day before. Same plan, Joe fish shallow and I fished deep and it didn't take long. Same scenario I made contact with some rocks and right on the L turn a fish came up and smashed the bait! "Joe lets net her right away!" I said and boom she was in the net. Holy Mackerel two fish and we had all day to get another one. Joe and I fished our tails off without another sniff of another muskie besides a 30 inch walleye that got the blood flowing.

(Look at that hair! You can tell that we were rockin!"

So to the awards ceremony with two fish registered which put us into 4th place overall. It's truly amazing what this tournament fishing can do to a competitive angler. Most fisherman and women that fish in these tournaments know what I'm talking about when I say the high and lows are unbelievably dramatic. For instance Joe and I at the last tournament in Eagle River we took fourth and we were disappointed as we were on the winning fish and lost the winning fish. Coming into this tournament we had really nothin and scratched out a 4th place finish which is pretty respectable against some of the best anglers in the business. It can happen so fast. Prior to catching the fish on Day #1 and not having a follow I was determined to figure out a bite but no confident. That is hard to fish "good" and a lesson learned to always fish "good" even when you don't think anything is going to happen. I just had to keep telling myself there are fish bitting somewhere no matter how tough the bite is!

So happy with a another 4th place finish it is now time to get prepared for the next tournament which is held on the St. Louis River near Duluth. This will be an important tournament as we are in the running for anglers of the year if the right people stumble and we have a good couple of days.

Our Presentation:

As you read I made a lure change in the middle of the day which proved to be the right choice. Being able to adapt is such a key decision because sometimes changing works but there are times sticking with what you are doing also pays off. Well in this instance we could do both which worked out. Joe and I dealt with extremely warm water temps which usually pushes the fish super shallow in the oxygen filled weeds or out off the break. We just couldn't get those shallow fish to go and we knew they were there but we had to try something different. I was fishing with deep diving crank bait like the RAPALA X-Rap Magnum casting it out parallel with the weeds. Each cast my goal was to have contact with the rocks which were close to the weeds which was the rock/weed transition area. We got lucky to get two bites considering we didn't have another follow the rest of the tournament hours. That's 14 hours of non stop casting to put it into perspective.

It's so important to have many tools in the tool box and a deep diving crank is one of them.

You can purchase this lure from the worlds largest selection of Rapala Lures at KrugerFarms Super Store You can also receive free shipping by entering JEFFA.

I know that I mention my Crestliner Boat and Mercury Verado in my writing but I'm truly impressed with them. I have put so many hours on the water and both my boat and motor have run flawlessly. I get so many comments on how quite my Mercury Verado is but you should drive this bad boy. I have power stearing and the smart guages work wonders! Check out more here Mercury Verado These motors are top of the line and if you are in the market I'm so confident in saying you won't be disappointed! My Crestliner 202 is also a fishing machine! If your not in the market for a tournament boat Crestliner makes a smaller boat like the Fish Hawk that is pretty much just the smaller version. Check them out at Crestliner Boats I would also be happy to answer any questions that you may have.

"Make a Memory"

Jeff Andersen

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