Wednesday, April 20, 2011

2011: Off to a good start!

I recently competed in the Champaign County Bassmasters Tournament at Lake Springfield and the Anglers Choice Team Tournament at Clinton Lake.  It was a busy weekend between trying to work and fish back-to-back events.

I practiced for the Anglers Choice tournament on Friday with my tournament partner.  We were able to boat a few fish and were looking forward to flipping with some baits we have been pouring ourselves.  We had to load up kind of early and head back to town as I had to work 3-11pm.  The morning came fast as I had to rise early to meet another buddy in Mahomet to caravan over to Lake Springfield.

It was a long day but I was able to boat 3 keepers that weighed 7.14.  Two my my keepers came on a Poor Boys Erie Darter ( and the third on a Strike King KVD square bill.  I caught several small fish throughout day also.  

In the end, Roger Oaks came out on top with 7.15.  Congrats Roger!  After collecting my 2nd place check and plaque I headed directly back to town to work again till 11pm.

It seemed as though the next morning came even faster as I rose early again to be picked up by my partner, Lance Freeman, to head to Clinton Lake for the Anglers Choice Tournament.  The conditions had changed from our practice day, but thankfully we were able to adapt and ended the day with 3 fish that weighed 11.85 landing us in 8th place.  We caught all of our fish on spinnerbaits on wind blown banks.  It was a good start for a strong points finish.

Next up is the FLW Outdoors Walmart BFL at Lake Shelbyville.  Hopefully, I will be blessed to get off to a strong start in the BFL's as well!


Friday, November 19, 2010

IBF Classic - Pool 19

This tournament fared better than a couple of my previous outings at Pool 19.  I had struggled to catch keepers in my last two outings at this pond.  I was always able to catch lots of short ones, but the keepers eluded me until this time! 

My dad and I traveled to Pool 19 Wednesday evening so we could start practice early Thursday morning.  Over the next day and a half we got some bites, but only pinned down one area we really felt confident in.  As it turned out, a handful of other guys found the same fish.  The area was the entrance to a Marina and the points on both sides were holding fish.  The two guys that got there first stayed all day.  Both guys finished in the top 10 and cashed checks.

I continued to fish in the area both days and weighed in a total of three keepers.  All of my keepers came on a Poor Boys Baits Erie Darter.  I did catch a lot of fish on a Strike King Red Eye Shad, which is what my partner caught one of his keepers on.  I ended the tournament in 25th place, out of 40 anglers, with a total of 5.51 pounds.

It wasn't the best showing, but it could have been worse.  It was also nice to know I was around the right kind of fish to cash a check.

This is the last tournament we fished this year and have been busy this last month with work, getting the boat winterized, taking an inventory of tackle, and trying to map out our plans for next year. 

Check back soon as we continue to develop our plans for next year and what we hope to accomplish!        

Monday, October 11, 2010

BFL Regional - Lake Barkley

This past weekend my brother and I fished the BFL Regional Championship Tournament at Kentucky / Barkley Lakes out of Kuttawa, KY.  I arrived late Friday night so that I would be ready to go for the first day of practice on Saturday, 10/02/10.

After 5 days of practice, I felt like I would be able to catch about 5 to 8 pounds a day.  Thats about what we averaged everyday during practice.  The fish had a different idea though once the tournament started.  I blanked on day 1 and boated 1 keeper fish on day 2.  I think I finished the tournament somewhere near 106th place. 

Thats enough about me.  My brother, Travis, who was fishing the tournament on the co-angler side, put a whipping on the fish.  He came in the first day with 3 fish that weighed 7+ pounds and was sitting in the top 10.  Travis caught a limit of fish on day 2 weighing 10+ pounds and was leading the tournament.  Unfortunately, Travis and his boater partner struggled on the final day of the tournament and were only able to boat one keeper fish each.  Travis finished the tournament in 4th place and qualified for the 2011 BFL All American where he will fish for $50,000!  That tournament will take place next May at Cross Lake out of Shreveport, LA.

During practice and the tournament, we caught several fish on Custom Cast Lures 3/16 oz shakey head and a 5/16 oz All Purpose Jig in the color Jacks Craw.  Throughout the tournament we also caught fish on a Texas rigged Poor Boy's Erie Darter, Carolina Rigs, lipless crankbaits, and shallow diving crankbaits. 

Unfortunately, during the second day of the tournament there was a fatal boat accident involving a fisherman from our tournament.  The co-angler of the boat from our tournament died on scene.  Our prayers go out to his family and friends as they go through this very difficult time.

The Illinois Bass Federation Classic is the last tournament I am scheduled to compete in this year.  It will be held on the Mississippi River Pool 19 out of Ft. Madison, IA.  Hopefully, I will be able to get myself in contention for a win!  Check back soon to see how it turns out!


Monday, September 27, 2010

BFL Illini Division Super Tournament

This past weekend we competed in the final tournament of the BFL Illini Division.  The tournament was on the Ohio River out of Golconda, Illinois.  My dad and I left for the tournament early Wensday morning so that we could get in a good couple days of practice. 

I had a pretty strong practice day on Thursday where my best 5 fish probably weighed about 12 to 13 pounds.  We had found some quality fish in a few different locations on the Cumberland River.  After Thursday, I was ready to get the tournament started!

I was boat number 61 out of 63 when we took off tournament morning.  I headed for the lock so that I could get down to the Cumberland River.  My first spot was loaded with boats and there was nowhere for me to squeeze in.  I decided to idle over to the dam and start fishing there.  I had 4 fish by about 10:15 on a scrounger head with a plastic jerkbait.

A few boats had left the stretch I initially wanted to start on, so I idled over to that stretch of bank.  After only catching a short fish and a catfish, I decided to head back up the river.

A few casts with a Poor Boys Erie Darter at the next spot produced my 5th keeper.  I continued down the stretch and was able to catch another keeper on the Erie Darter to cull out one of my smaller fish.  After a few more short fish we continued on.

My next spot only produced one small keeper and a short fish.  I had a barge piling that we caught two solid keepers on Thurday and I headed for it.  We arrived at the barge piling and immediately started catching fish.  I caught another good keeper on the Erie Darter to cull out another fish.  At this spot my co-angler was able to boat 3 keepers to finish out his limit. 

Time was running out as we needed to be back at the lock at 1:30.  I stopped on one more stretch and started throwing a crankbait.  I saw some shad busting and fired my crankbait over there.  One crushed my crankbait and I was able to again cull a smaller fish.  By the time I culled the fish, 5 or 6 boats had gone flying by.  I strapped the rods down and took off for the lock.

I figured I had 7 or 8 pounds and was hoping it would be good enough to make the second day of the tournament and get paid!  Once we locked back through I was only able to catch a couple small fish.  I headed for the weigh-in.

My 5 fish weighed 8lbs 1oz and I ended up in 18th place overall.  The top 12 made the cut to fish the second day.  The 12th place angler had 9lbs even.  I was 11oz's out of making the cut and getting paid!

The positive side of it is that I ended up 11th place overall in the points standings and qualified for my third straight BFL Regional Championship.  The Regional Championship will be held at Kentucky / Barkley Lakes in October.  Hopefully, I will locate some good fish and ultimately qualify for the All American Championship Tournament.

A big congratulations goes out to my brother Travis who fished 5th overall in the points and qualified for his second consecutive Regional Championship Tournament!


Monday, September 20, 2010

A Win at Lake Springfield!

Well, everything came together and we got the win yesterday at Lake Springfield! 

We were unable to practice for this event due to Brian fishing an Anglers Choice tournament on Saturday and I had to work some overtime.  So, I got up at 3:30 AM and drove to Springfield to meet Brian at the boat ramp.  At 7:00 AM we took off in the rain and headed to our first spot.  The first area we fished only yielded a hand full of short fish.  As soon as we arrived at our second area, I caught the first keeper of the day on a spinnerbait.  The keeper was only just over the 14 inch minimum, but it got the momentum going.  After a few more short fish, we decided to head to the entire other end of the lake where I had some success earlier this year. 

As we were nearing the area I had in mind, I saw a large tree sticking out of the water and told Brian we should fish that as we headed back down the lake.  We fished our third area and only boated more short fish.  We moved to the area where the large tree was.  We didn't catch anything off the tree, but we soon found out that 100 yard stretch of bank was holding some fish.  Brian boated number 2 on a beaver style bait and a few minutes later I boated number 3 on a tube. 

We idled up the lake from the tree and worked our way back towards it.  I pitched my tube up by a little patch of grass near a sea wall.  My line suddenly took off to the right and I set the hook!  The fish came up to the top before making a run and I could see it was a big one!  The fish made a run under the boat before we were finally able to get it in the net!  We estimated it was between 4 1/2 and 5 pounds.

Brian and I continued working that stretch and I boated another solid fish on the tube to finish off our limit at about 12:45 PM.  Brian and I decided to finish the day on that stretch of bank to try and cull out the 14 inch fish.  At about 1:30 PM Brian caught another good keeper on the beaver style bait and we were able to cull the 14 inch fish.  I conservatively estimated that our limit of fish weighed about 12 1/2 to 13 pounds.  We caught 9 keepers on the day.

At 2:30 PM we headed in to weigh our bag of fish.  The buzz at the ramp was that a lot of fish were being brought in!  Our fish weighed 14.75 pounds with our big fish weighing 4.82 pounds.  We landed in first place and had big bass!  Brian and I took home a total of $900 for our efforts.

The next tournament is the BFL super tournament at Golconda on the Ohio River.  Hopefully, I can catch a good bag of fish and cash another check!


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Catching up on the 2010 Season

I wanted to start off by catching up on what has been happening this season.  I just finished up the regular season this past weekend with my local bass club, the Champaign County Bassmasters.  I had a pretty good year as I won the Angler of the Year race and had overall big bass for the year!  This is the second time I have won Angler of the Year in the club, however, it is the first time I have won big bass for the year.

I have also been fishing well in the FLW Illini Division BFL's.  I am currently sitting in 12th place in the points with one more tournament to go.  The last tournament will be later this month on the Ohio River at Golconda.  My goal for the year was to finish in the top 10 in points, so I got one more chance to get my goal accomplished.   I should end up in the top 40 in the points and make the regional championship at Kentucky Lake.

One a side note, my brother, Travis, is sitting in 6th place in the points on the co-angler side.  He has a shot at winning Angler of the Year if everything goes right for him. 

The Illinois Bass Federation Open Trail didn't go as well as I had hoped for.  I ended up 41st overall in the points, which is ONE place out of making the IBF Classic!  I was blessed and got a call yesterday from the tournament director letting me know I had made the Classic field.  The tournament director said the full Classic field was 42 anglers, with the 2 extra being wild card slots.  He told me only 1 person qualified as a wild card, so they took the 41st person in the points to make the full field!  So, come October I will be headed to the Mississippi River Pool 19 in my quest for a second IBF Classic victory.

This coming weekend, September 19, there will be a Shriner's Children Hospital benefit tournament at Lake Springfield.  It should be a good tournament to help benefit the hospital.  My buddy, Brian Baker, and I will be headed over to see if we can catch a couple fish.

Well, that should pretty much bring you up to speed as to how my season has progressed so far.  Keep checking back as there is still a lot of fishing left to do before the season is over!