Thursday, April 30, 2009

Start of TNT Series and Goals

What a day! I got up this morning with tourney fishing on the mind, and that's all I can think about. I can't wait until I am at the lake and making that first cast.

Today is shaping up to be quite a day. It has been lightly raining since this morning. The wind is slowly picking up. By 5:00 when i reach the lake we are supposed to have heavy rain, 15-25 mile an hour winds with gusts up to 35 mph and possibly lightning and hail. That kind of weather is not what I'm used to fishing in. I've always made a habit of staying off the water in those kind of elements. If I'm gonna be a tournament bass fisherman I better get used to it though. They don't schedule the tournaments according to weather conditions.

I have a rain suit so I am o.k. with the rain. I've never liked the wind. Growing up in Kansas that is all I ever had. The pontoon is a good boat for high winds. It cuts through the waves for a smoother ride and keeps you dry. It is tough pulling it in the wind. Mizike is picking it up from storage and pulling it to the lake though so I don't have to worry about that today.

I guess I should have practiced for more extreeme conditions like the Jamaican bobsled team did in the movie Cool Runnings.

I am still excited about this evening even with the bad weather and a boat that is not fully operational. I grew up fishing and I've always believed that as long as I am fishing it is a good day. It might even be a great day if we find the bass and can pull off a win.

Mizike thinks the bass will be deeper with the rain and the cooler weather. I think they will still be in the spawning grounds or close to them. I think with the winds churning up the water they will even be actively feeding. We'll see who's right.

I am going to start out with a Brown 6" curltail worm. On my other poles I have a jig and crawtail, a spinnerbait, a crankbait and a swimbait. I will probably only try the swimbait for a short time if it isn't working. I think it could pull out some big fish but what we really need today is a limit. If we get 5 bass in the boat we should place. Even if we get 3 in the boat we might place with this weather.

The big tournament is after the season. My first goal is to do good enough to get into that tournament. I also want to win one tournament and place in several others. The last goal I have is to come out of this series with enough winnings to pay for the entry fees. It would be nice to win more but I would feel successful if I got our money back. I would gladly pay the fuel cost and other costs to go fishing anyway. Oh yeah, more importantly than all of the other goals, I am going to have fun the whole time. I'm fishing with my best friend every week for 20 weeks. This will definately be a memory building season.

Someday when we're sitting around the dining room table talking to our kids and we'll bring up, "Remember the first year we started tournament fishing", and "We had to walk up hill both ways through 6 feet of snow just to make it to the lake, dragging the boat the whole way."

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mizike's Birthday

Today is Mizike's birthday. We went out to Buffalo Wild Wings last night to celebrate. We had a few beers some wings and played some trivia. It was his idea. He couldn't go out tonight since he has to get up early in the morning for a company meeting. I was the bad guy last night and made us come home at 10:00 since I had to be to work this morning.

Tonight I am going to get things ready for our first Thursday night tournament starting tomorrow evening. It is called TNT series for Thursday night tournament series. It will last for 20 weeks alternating between Alum Creek and O'Shaunessey.

It's not a great time to start a series. Both of my boats need to be in a shop. I got the pontoon out this weekend but it has some new problems. Whenever I throttle past half way it acts like it is running out of gas and goes back down to idle speed and sometimes dies. I called the mechanic today and they said it might be something that happened when they replaced some of the parts or tuned it up. I hope they are able to get it running right soon. This will be my 4th trip to the shop this year. I have 2 boats and both of them live there.

The pontoon will at least float and get us across the water until the Nitro is finished. It will be slow, but we can still fish the tournament. It's supposed to be high winds and a thunder storm tomorrow evening. I hope there is a good turnout.

I can't wait to get my Nitro back. I've only had it out once but it is definately nice fishing out of that boat. I have quite a bit to get ready this evening. I have to get our alternate to sign a form, get my fishing gear together, get Mizike a birthday cake, cook up some crappie and fried potatoes, and find my insurance paperwork for the boats so I have that with me tomorrow. I also have to call to see where the launch site for the tournament will be. I have been e-mailing Team Bass Xtreeme to find out information since it is not posted on their web site but have not had any responses in the last 2 months.

I kind of feel like it's one thing after another trying to keep me from getting to these tournaments. I want to fish them but I have to do it under poor poor circumstances. It's as if I am not supposed to be doing this and I think if all the signs are pointing to no then I shouldn't. On the other side, maybe I'm being tested to see how bad I really want this. I've jumped through hoop after hoop just to be able to compete in one tournament so far. I had to use a boat that hadn't even been tested out yet pulled with a truck that's tires were about to fall off. I had no fish finder and had problems with the motor, the wind was blowing hard, it was extreemly cold.

I'm not going to give up, but I sure wish that I didn't have equipment problems so I could concentrate on catching fish. I'm sure we will have everything up to par soon enough. The Blazer is already running better.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Unpaid Time Off. Gotta Love the Economy!

I got to work this morning and my company had sent me an e-mail saying that we had an option to take 1 to 2 weeks of unpaid time off from May 10th to September 19th. They will give you the time off as you want to use it, all at once or a day at a time. They are trying to save money and are giving everybody the option. They are also trying to lessen the pain of having the time off by lowering my pay over 19 weeks for the time I take off.

I thought about it for about 3 minutes and called my wife to tell her I was taking some extra time off work and that it would lower my pay by about 85.00 a week through September. I figured if not enough people signed up for it then it would become mandatory anyway. This way I could get my days that I want off in first. I got approved for the days I wanted off even before I committed to the 10 unpaid days. I think of it as being able to buy some extra vacation. Now instead of 3 weeks of vacation I have 5 weeks.

I called my mother to let her know I would be bringing the kids back to Kansas to visit sometime. She had told me her and dad are going camping at Milford lake the week after Memorial weekend. I was going to be back in Kansas for my youngest son's baptism Memorial weekend anyway so I added that as part of the days I wanted off.

Now I am scheduled off 5 fridays in May and June and the week after Memorial weekend, plus the week after the 4th of July for my wife sons and I's vacation. I will still have 11 days of vacation to use after that. I figure that I can use a week whenever, 3 days for to make a full thanksgiving week and 3 days to make a full Christmas week off.

I think this is going to benefit me way more than it will help the company. I haven't been able to take any extra days off yet this year so to know I have so much time off coming is really great.

I'm thinking maybe the extra week will be a trip to Vegas. It's been a few years and I could definately use some Vegas! Plus extra fishing! This is going to be a good year!

Getting Outfished by a 3 Year Old - Cont.

We got to the lake around 3 PM and started setting up camp. Mizike's girlfriend was watching her new puppy and my wife was watching our 2 kids so I pretty much had to set up camp by myself.

I set up the tent and got out the air mattresses and went to blow them up. My wife mentions that our air filler had been moved from the camping supplies to our bedroom somehow and must still be there. There was a Wal-mart about 15 minutes away so instead of running an hour back home we drove to Wal-mart and picked up a new one that is rechargeable. I had been wanting the rechargeable type anyway.

We got back to the lake about 4 and by 5 had the camp completely set up and were heading to the water. The wind was blowing pretty hard and the lake had 2 foot swells. I was glad we had the pontoon. I knew I could not keep it in one spot even with the trolling motor or anchors so I decided to troll the points to see if we could pick up a Musky or a Walleye. I put a green rapala on my son's scooby pole and I put on a perch colored rapala. We started down the West bank north of Cheshire road where I have had some luck before.

We had not been trolling long. My son was letting his line out a little ways then reeling it back into the boat. He yelled out, "I got one, I got one." I figured it was just the pull of the lure in the water. I looked back and line is singing out of his scooby reel and his 2 1/2 foot rod is doubled over. I put the boat in neutral and reeled my line in. My son would pull up on the rod and reel it back down the drag sounding the whole time. I was pretty impressed with his fishing skill for a 3 year old. He got it close to the boat and handed the pole to his Mom who lifted the fish over the edge of the boat. It was about a 2 1/2 pound white bass. He had caught the 1st fish and there were 2 other witnesses in the boat so I couldn't even get out of that one. It also ended up being the biggest fish for the day and the weekend. I caught one crappie to tie for most that was big for a crappie but not big enough to beat the white bass.

We fished for about an hour then I took everybody back to shore so they could go back to camp and I could try some bass fishing. I fished around the State park boat ramp with a yellow and white spinnerbait but had no luck. It was still windy and I wanted to get supper started so I trailered the boat and headed back to camp.

I started a fire and everybody wanted hot dogs so I found a good stick and carved it into a fine hot dog cooking tool and proceeded to slow cook hot dogs for everybody over a nice bed of coals. We got the kids to bed at a decent time and had a few drinks then the girls went to bed. I stayed up until the fire burned down then went to bed as well.

The next day we got up and I called my buddy. He was planning on coming out on Sunday to fish with us. My wife's cell phone was dying and I needed to know when and where to pick him up. We packed up camp after I cooked up some sausages and toasted some bread over a fire. Then we launched the boat and headed out fishing again.

The sun was pretty intense. I had gotten a bit of a burn the previous day. It was calm in the morning though. I trolled over the spot we had caught the crappie and the white bass to see if we could get into the fish. We didn't have any luck so I boated back to the Northwest side of the lake in a cove by the islands to try a little bass fishing. I cast a brown 6" curltail worm into a shallow area of the cove with lots of fallen branches sticking out of the water. I felt a tap tap tap and set the hook. It was a nice 12" largemouth.

We had trolled all the way back to that spot and had fished around another cove. We also had to idle back to the main lake area so we left that spot to go pick up my buddy. We met him at the Cheshire ramp and had lunch. The girls and kids headed home as everybody was feeling a little burnt and hot. It was about 86 degrees.

While we were eating the wind picked up. I asked my buddy if he wanted to go after some crappie. He said ok. The wind was too strong to hold the boat in one area again on the main lake so we headed back towards the river. We stopped at the first cove on the East side of the lake past hwy 36 and fished it. We didn't get a bite right away so I layed down on the pontoon and fell asleep with my line dangling over in the water.

I woke up about 20 minutes later sweating. My buddy had walked around the cove and did not have any luck. We decided to keep heading up the river. We went under the next bridge (i'm not sure which road that is) and saw a lot of boats and people fishing the west bank. We found a spot that nobody was fishing. I liked it because it had a tiny cove where a little stream ran into the lake. We pulled the boat onto land and walked back into the little cove. It was covered with branches in the water. I cast with a pink jig head and crappie skirt into the branches. I got a bite but missed it. A few casts later my buddy caught a small sunfish and tossed it at my feet in the water. I caught a small sunny a few casts after that and let it go. I walked to the mouth of the cove to try it. I caught a 9 1/2 inch crappie and put it in the livewell. We caught a couple more crappie in that spot but felt we had fished it out for the time being.

Ont the East side there was a cove with a little island. We boated to the backside of the island and saw some trees layed over in the water. We tied off to them and started to fish next to the trees. We found the spot and started smashing the crappie. About every four or five casts we were reeling one in. We ended up keeping about 22 that were mainly over 10 inches and throwing everything else back. I didn't think we had that many or we would have thrown a few more back before leaving. I don't like cleaning a lot of fish at once. We probably caught about 100 crappie out of that spot.

One time I cast under the tree and hooked a crappie. I was pulling him out and he got loose. My lure came flying out of the water and right behind it a gigantic largemouth came out after it. He tried to catch it mid air but missed. I haven't seen a bass that size in Ohio. He was 5 1/2 to 6 lbs. I cast right back in there and caught another crappie. I think the next five casts into that spot I caught a crappie.

We lost a lot of jigs in the structure but had a fantastic day. We left with about an hour of daylight left to get back to the docks by dark. We had to idle 3/4 of the way due to no wake zone. We got back and got the boat unloaded right at dark. We took the boat to storage and headed to find a Chinese buffett. It is a tradition of ours to eat Chinese Buffett after a good day of fishing. We got back to Columbus a little after 10 so by the time we got to the Chinese place it was closed. I was not to hungry and wanted to get the fish cleaned so we parted ways.

I got home and had the fish cleaned and was ready for bed by 11:30. I got a picture of the fish I will try to post on here. It might take me some time to figure it out though.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Getting outfished by a 3 year old

Friday night I arrived at home after work and felt tired. I wanted to lay around and watch T.V. Mizike's girlfriend also our roomate wanted a dog so we ended up driving across Columbus to a pet shop to look at a puppy that she ended up getting. We got back to the house pretty late and had some Chipolte's. I went to bed right away so I could get up early to get the camping gear ready in the morning.

I got up at a decent time and started packing all the camping gear. I keep it in the front of my garage for easy loading when we are ready to go. There were few things we needed at Wal-Mart for the trip so I got a partial list ready for my wife. I was about finished packing and walked inside to wash my hands. When I came back out her and Mizike's girlfriend were gone. I hadn't finished my shopping list, packed the items that needed to go in the van, which they took or talk to them about how we were going to meet up.

I tried to call my wife's cell phone but it went straight to voicemail. I had to have the boat dropped off at the marine and the other picked up by 11 AM. It was about 9:30 when they left. I waited around about a half hour and they had not returned. I was getting pretty upset. We needed ice for the cooler that had meat in it outside and we needed gas and oil for the boat. I was going to have them pick it up on the way but they left and had not communicated with me.

I left to get ice, gas and oil. By the time I got back it was way past the time I needed to leave to make it to the marine while they were open. I was very upset. I have been trying to get the boat to the shop for the last couple weeks and now again after I had packed everything up, and was hoping to camp, I would not have a boat.

I pulled into the developement pulling the Nitro and saw my wife just now unloading things from the van. I threw my phone out the window turned around and started heading for a lake. I was so mad I didn't want them to call me or know where I was for the rest of the weekend.

I got to the other side of the developement and realized I had made a promise to my son to take him fishing. I really didn't want to but I turned around and went back to the house. I pulled up next to the driveway and my wife walked up with my cell phone. I yelled at her saying do you know what time it is. You know I had to be at the marine by 11:00. She tried to tell me she thought I would go on without them. I told her we need to communicate better because she took off without saying a thing or making any plans when she saw I was ready to head out.

I tried to walk inside and get away from her to calm down. She kept following me around and wanting to argue. Finally, after she had taken my phone and thrown it on the ground and broke it in two, I was able to convince her to leave me alone for a while. I had told her she needed to buy me a new phone because mine had gotten scratched when it was thrown out the car window. She took the phone and threw it against the floor. Luckily it is time for my new every 2 years phone.

I know I overreacted. I have a hard time when we are getting ready to go places. I always expect too much from her. It seems like I prep and prep for these things and she wings it at the last minute. She is just that way and is not going to change. I just need to realize that and not get so angry. She is a great wife most of the time.

I finally started to calm down and she came outside to see what we were going to do. I asked her to call the marine to see if they might stay open a little later. She called and they had changed their schedule for spring and summer. Starting this week they were open until 5 PM. Everything had worked out after all and I made a complete fool out of myself.

We continued to the lake and everything went good from there the rest of the weekend. I will continue with the rest of the weekend later.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Rough morning

Not feeling so well today. Last night Mizike and I finished working on the blazer. We got the passenger side hub and rotor changed out then changed out the rear brakes. It was pretty easy once we got the right tools for the job.

After that we ate a pasta dish my wife made up. It was delish! I layed down on the couch and got a text from a friend saying he needed me to come to Buffalo Wild Wings. I went out about 8 and thought I would just have 1 or 2 beers. At 1:00 I finally walked out with 5 big beers and a duck fart (crown and bailey's) in my stomach. I stopped by Mikky D's and got a mcchicken sandwich and headed home. According to my roomate I was pretty smashed. I was having a hard time standing. That's usually not like me after just drinking beer. It hit me hard last night.

I had fun but getting up today was rough.

First thing when I walked in today I found out that we are making more reductions at work. At the end of shift today I have to let 2 more people go. One of them I just had restart. The other has been here longer than I have but has had some medical issues that has caused her to miss quite a bit of work. Both have been doing a really good job but unfortunately the car industry is not.

After work today the wife kids and I are heading to Alum Creek to go camping. It is supposed to be really nice this weekend. I can definately use the rest and relaxation. Tomorrow morning I can go pay for the pontoon and switch the boats out at the shop. Hopefully I will have everything running great soon.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Working on the Blazer

Last night I got home from work and went to work on the Blazer. I was going to get the hubs changed out so it will be ready to take camping this weekend. We started out by taking the tire off. That was pretty easy since I had gotten an air wratchet for christmas last year. We disconnected the brakes to get down to the rotor. Unfortunately, the part that held the brakes in place had stubborn bolts that we could not break. We took off to Lowe's to buy a couple of pipes for 7.00 a piece to use as breaker bars. One was for Mizike and one for me. Neither of us wanted to be without them again. We broke the bolts loose right away and were down to the rotors.

We tried to bang on the back of the rotor with a hammer but it was rusted to the hub. We decided to go ahead and buy new rotors while we had it all torn apart. I wrenched the bolts out of the back of the hub assembly then we headed to Advance Auto parts as they are the lowest price parts store in town. They had a set of rotors for 48.00. That was pretty exciting. We got home and the rotors were not quite the right size. Mizike ran them back to Advance along with the old rotors while I wrenched the new hub in place. He called as I was finishing and said the other part they had was a totally different size. He said they would find out if they could find anything else that would work.

I went inside and had a bowl of Chili. I had gotten a pot stewing as soon as I arrived home from work since I knew I would not have time to cook a big meal. It was good after working out in the high winds with a little chill in the air.

Mizike finally made it back and had the correct part. He said the parts guy looked at the previous years series of the part and it matched up with what we needed. So my 98 blazer is put together with 97 parts. We got everything put back together around 9:30. I had to get to bed and he had to get to work so we only got one side done. Now that we have all the running around done maybe the other side will be quick tonight.

After we got the blazer together we took it out for a test run. It was still howling on the drivers side. Mizike got out and ran beside as I drove. We figured out that the howling was coming from the back drivers side. Not only did it need new bearings, it also needs rear brakes. The front ones are new. So tonight I will be putting on the other hub and buying and putting on rear brakes. I hope this will keep the blazer going through the rest of this year.

I talked to the wife last night and she says she wants to go camping this weekend with the kids so it looks like that will be what we are doing. I will camp at Alumn Creek so I have good fishing and hopefully a spot on the water. I will also be close to the Marine so I can switch out boats on Saturday morning finally.

Don't leave it to me to take over the world. My plans all backfire or are really difficult and take a long time to complete.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Good Old Days Might Be Back

At the beginning of spring I had plans to have everything done in order to be ready to fish fish fish this year. As soon as that tax check came in around March it was looking really good. Then it began to change. I bought a new boat. I entered in a couple of bass tournaments. I booked camping. I was spending money here and there. I had always been good at saving my tax money for upcoming adventures before but this year I just needed that boat. I bought it without thinking about tags, taxes, and all of the little items like ski vests I would need for it. I guess I did think about it but didn't think it would tax our savings so fast.

My wife and I's income covers the cost of our bills. We don't have much left over. I had plans to fish and camp every weekend. Now I don't know how that is going to happen, in what I consider the prime fishing time, early spring. I was counting on our extra money in savings to cover the cost. Summer will be easier if I can sell the pontoon. I have been talking to a guy at work about it and he seems pretty interested.

I do know I will make it out quite a bit this year. I have never let money keep me away from fishing. Even when I was eating Ramen Noodles and drinking Old Milwauki in college I scraped enough change together to make it to the lake all the time. They were some of the best trips too.

One time a friend and I went to a lake in Kansas just after walleye spawn. We saw a guy casting out to the waves that were crashing into shore. The wind was blowing hard that day and had a huge mud line built on the north side of the lake. I tied on a jig head with a 3 inch green and brown grub tail and cast it out. It took a little bit to figure out how to catch the fish. I was joking around and pulled as hard and fast on my line as I could and WHAM! my pole dips and the line starts singing out of the reel. When I got the fish in I saw that it was a 3 pound wiper.

We caught a fish almost every cast like that. A few of them went up to 8 pounds. The more we fished the more we realized the fish were at the edge of the mud line and the mudline was getting further and further out. I took off my shoes and waded out to my knees. The water was really cold and the waves would sometimes splash up to my waistline. My friend did the same thing when he saw I was catching more fish. Before long we were wading out to where we could barely keep our heads above water. It was freezing cold but catching fish like that was worth it.

Later in the evening as the sun was about to set the bite turned off. We kept casting. All of a sudden the walleye moved in and we had our limit of walleye in about 30 minutes.

I burned the drag out of my Eagle Claw spinning real that day. It took the whole 45 minute drive back to campus with the heater on high to get the feeling back in our hands and legs but man was it worth it. Especially when we were able to eat fresh fish instead of Ramen!

I look for a really exciting year this year. My oldest son is 3 now and he is really into the thought of fishing. He has his own scooby doo pole and his own tackle box with some lures that I have given him. Every night he brings me a bass pro or a cabela's magazine and wants to look through it with me. My best friend lives with me and we finally have some weekends off together this year. I have a new boat for funnin' and fishin'. I'll just have to go out when I can and with what money I can and make sure I make the most out of every trip.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Indian Lake Tournament No Go

I got home from work on Friday and the parts had not came in. I e-mailed the person I bought them from and he said that he had shipped them ups instead of priority mail which was what was listed in his description. He said that the tracking shows that it would arrive on Monday.

I got on the computer and looked at a couple different sites to try to try to find some used parts to get me by until the hubs arrived. I found the same year blazer on craigslist that somebody was parting out. I called and he still had those parts but I wouldn't be able to get them until Sunday. That would be too late. I looked into rental cars but they do not allow towing. U-haul only allows you to pull U-haul trailers. I had a hitch lined up that u-haul would install on the mini-van and thought everything was going to work out but I found out that I needed to look at the specs for the van. Insurance will not cover an accident if you are pulling more than what the specs say you can haul. The van can pull 1500 pounds but the boat is close to 3000 pounds. I did find out that I might be able to rent a truck from a dealership but by the time I found that out it was Saturday night and I had to be at the lake by 6 am to register for the tournament and they were not open.

Team MiRketti was not able to make it to the tournament and were out 85.00. We did still want to fish though so we went down to Deer Creek lake and fished the dam for Crappie. I caught the first 10 incher on a 1/16 oz. jig head and black and green skirt and a couple more on a white skirt. Mizike caught quite a few more fish on bobber and minnow. My oldest boy had a few bites on jig and minnow but did not catch any. Mizike added 4 more to the stringer before my son started crying to go home. It was raining and a little chilly.

Friday night we stayed up until 5 AM going to the bar and having some after hours poker. I made up 15.00 that I lost on Sunday so I guess it was not too bad. Saturday I was up around 10 and was feeling pretty good so I watched some more dvr'd tv. When Mizike got up we headed out to do a little garage sale shopping. We only found 2 but got some pretty neat toys for the kids. It was a really nice day on Saturday.

The next 2 weekends Mizike is working so we will not have any tournaments. This weekend is supposed to be a very nice close to 80 degree weekend. I am weighing going camping at Alum Creek and fishing all weekend or loading up the wife and kids and heading to Tennessee, Kentucky, or West Virginia to see some more country.

I moved to Ohio from Kansas about 5 years ago and like to go on little trips each year to see some more of the country. We always find really cool places when we load the car and go. Two years ago we went to West Virginia and found a stream in the middle of nowhere that had lots of free camping all along it. There was hiking and bike trails close. There was also a cave close that had a resteraunt that had a killer breakfast for real reasonable prices. Last year we went to Kentucky on a whim to the cave area. We went down to see Dinosaur land but there was all kinds of things to see and do there.

I kind of like the idea of camping and fishing though. I would like to take my 3 year old and just the 2 of us spend the weekend camping and fishing.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Day before tournament weekend

Well it's now Friday and nothing is ready again. I had ordered parts for my Blazer Monday morning. I thought they would show up by yesterday and they still have not arrived. I did get a IM8 Medium fast action graphite rod in the mail that I had ordered 4 weeks ago on ebay. I hope the parts don't take that long. I made sure to buy from a reputable seller.

If the parts come in today all plans are on. I can get them put on today and switch out the boats at the shop tomorrow and head to the lake to begin pre-fishing. I got ahold of one of my co-workers that lives at the lake to see if he would like to go out with us. I haven't seen him too much since he had been layed off.

If the parts do not come I will have to figure out something else to do this weekend and will be out 60.00 for the tournament. I cannot drive any longer on these bearings. I definately don't want to be pulling a boat if the tire falls off.

I had the money to put the Blazer in the shop pre-spring but Mizike did not believe me that the bearings were going out so he test drove it and said he did not hear the grinding that I was hearing in the fall. I pulled the boat this spring a few times and now it is howling. He believes me now. He does quite a bit of work on vehicles and says that we can fix it pretty easy ourselfs. I wanted to save even more money and bought the parts online. Now I might have messed up our weekend.

All I want to do is fish. It has been one thing after another trying to prevent me. I have overcome most of the obstacles but it just isn't easy getting to the water.

This weekend is supposed to be awesome. It is going to be over 70 for the first time this year on Saturday and Sunday is going to be in the low 60's with rain. It will still be nice weather from what we are used to here.

I watched 4 episodes of City Limits with Mike Iconelli last night. That guy is just awesome. He gets so mad when he isn't catching anything though or if something stops him from getting to the water. It is a pretty cool show. Some of the bass they pull out are monsters. Mike gets extreemly excited and it provides a lot of entertainment value. I hope he keeps up what he has started this season in the Elites.

I will make it to the lake boat or not this weekend but I really want to fish the tournament.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Nitro problems

Yesterday I called the marine to check on the pontoon. I had it in the shop to replace the water pump and the fuel cylanoid. I am prepping it to sell but now with the new boat having problems I need to get it to the shop to get it worked on. I will have to use the pontoon this weekend and put the Nitro in the shop for our second tournament.

The only time I will have to do that is on Saturday. I was hoping to camp Friday and Saturday night at Indian Lake so I could get a full day of fishing in before the tournament on Sunday. I guess I will drop off and pick up the new boat early Saturday and head straight to the lake.

I also have to replace both hub assemblies on the Blazer this week. They are grinding really bad. Hopefully with all the repairs done I will be able to set my mind on fishing. It has been raining the last few days and has been about 50 degrees outside. It is supposed to dry out and warm up tomorrow Friday and Saturday then cool off and rain on Sunday.

I am a little concerned about taking the pontoon to the bass tournament. I will look kinda funny amongst all the bass boats. Oh well I want to fish it and I don't want to burn up the motor on the Nitro. I would like the speed from the 150 HP but the 70 HP will get me to where I need to go, and I am used to fishing out of the pontoon.

I am thinking that the game plan be to try an assortment of styles of lures. I don't want to get stuck on one pattern like we were at Deer Creek. I have been on the lake once and it is shallow with lots of rocks on the shoreline, boat docks and channels all over. I am looking forward to trying out some tubes. I have had luck with them before. I looked at this previous tournaments weights for the last several years and it will take the the 10 fish limit to make it in the top 10. I got a tip from somebody that fishes the lake a lot to use a spinner bait on the East end of the lake. He showed me some of his key spots so we will be starting out there.

There's only a few days left and a lot to do. I hope the wife and kids will give me a break to get some of it completed. I think Mizike is planning on helping me with the hub assemblies.

After this tournament Mizike works the following 2 weekends. I might see if I can get in a small tournament myself. More than likely I will wait for later in the year. They have a bunch of Wednesday and Thursday night tournaments I might try to get into. We are just doing opens now, I would like to get into a small series.

I have lots of plans of fishing this spring and summer. I worked on the house this winter so I would have this time to fish and spend at the lake. Some of the things I want to do this year.

Enter tournaments - win one
Spend a weekend at Lake Erie - fish one day on a head boat for Walleye and go out to Put in Bay.
Take a trip to Kentucky Barkley Lakes for a weekend of bass fishing.
Week trip in July to Chesapeake Bay, Niagara Falls, and the East Coast.
Enter Wednsday Griggs tournament or Thursday O'shaunessey/Alum Creek tournament series.
Camp at least 10 weekends.
Rent a Cabin and hike at Hocking Hills for a weekend with wife kids Mizike and his girlfriend.
Fish Alum Creek early June for Musky on the points.
Camp and fish 3 new lakes in ohio that I have not fished.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Deer Creek Tournament April 11th

We made it to the ramp at 5 am and walked over to the check in stand. We had pre-registered for 60.00. They asked us our boat number and we told them boat number 14. There was still quite a bit of time until first safe light so we got some coffee and headed back to the car. We were still not sure how things were going to take place so we figured we would do what everybody else was doing. We did walk down to look at the water level and seen that the lake was up about 4 foot from the previous week.

Finally at 6:30 people started hauling their boats to the water. We got in line and right at 7:00 we had the boat in the water and headed to get lined up for starting position. On the way I noticed that the tell tale hole was not shooting out any water. I put the boat in neutral and revved the engine and water came out until I throttled back down to idle. The impeller must be about shot for the water pump.

They had written our number on a paper plate and when they called our number we started weaving in and out of boats trying to get to the front of the pack to take off. They had called 4 or 5 more numbers by the time we got to the front to take off. The spot we had fished had somebody in it already. So we went to drive around to find another spot now that we had a boat on the water. Every good looking spot had been taken by the time we made our way down the lake. We were cold due to the near freezing weather so we pulled up to the north bank to fish it.

We fished some structure we saw coming up out of the water for a while. We had done good on crankbaits the week before when it was warmer so we tried those again. We didn't have any in the pearl white that we had used last week but had some new colors to try. We fished the small structures for about an hour and decided to try a new spot. The wind had blown all night and had the northeast corner by the dam really muddy. That's the spot we had decent luck in the week prior though so we headed that direction. The original boat was still casting to the rocks so we stayed out on the mud flat and fished it. Finally they left and we moved in. We fished for about half an hour with the wind blowing straight at the rocks. I was having a hard time maneuvering the boat with the trolling motor to stay in that spot. Finally I figured out the trolling motor so I could hold it in that spot.

Shortly after that a boat with 2 kids pulled up and about hit us as they started fishing the 30 foot of rocks we were fishing. They were squeezing in between boats all day. I thought there was a 50 foot rule in the rules but I guess they didn't care. I'm glad they didn't win.

We didn't catch anything at that spot se we drove around some more. Mizike got splashed by a big wave coming over the bow. So he was wet and cold. We attempted to find a spot out of the wind but there was no such place on this lake. We finally settled into a high bluff with rocks and some downed trees in the water. Mizike got a snag and as we backed towards his line it came loose and he had a fish on a rattletrap about 8 foot deep. It measured 13 inches so we put it in the livewell. Shortly after in the same spot I caught a non keeper. We fished that spot for a long time trying different baits hoping we founds some schooling fish. If they were we couldn't get no more.

We ended up back over by the dam and Mizike caught one more 13 incher on a crank. We got on a crankbait kick, partly because it was easy to use with the wind and we had done good on them the week before. We should've tried jig'n'pig or a slower bait due to the weather conditions.

We didn't catch any more fish and headed back for weigh in. It took us a while to figure out how to trailer the boat. It was a little embarrasing. I could trailer the pontoon easy. Mizike had put the trailer in too deep and the front of the boat would not go high enough. Finally after I had jumped in the lake I had him pull forward and was able to get the nose of the boat high enough that it aligned with the trailer.

We passed people on the way up the ramp with 2 bags with the 5 fish limit. I had thought it was a tough day of fishing. When we got to the tent to weigh in there were only 2 5 fish limits, a few 4 fish bags, a few 3 fish bags, our 2 fish, and a 1 fish bag and 13 boats that did not weigh in fish. We figured it up and we finished 14th out of 28 boats with 2.27 pounds.

It was a fun day of fishing though. I looked at all the things we did wrong and when I got home Sunday I hooked up all of my poles with different presentations so I don't get caught on 1 pattern again. I took out some of the floorboards on the boat and found the connections to the fish finder and hooked it up. We didn't have that all day. I reorganized the boat so I could use the compartments to free up space.

It would have been nice to have been more prepared. Next time, hopefully.

A couple more fish and we would have been in the money. Our next open tournament is at Indian lake on the 19th of April.

I am hoping I get the pontoon back from the shop so I can use it while I put the new boat in the shop to fix the impeller and it has a leaky oil line.

Prepping for Tournament fishing

April 11th 2009 was Team MiRketti's first tournament. It was exciting, painful, and a learning experience.

My partner Mizike and I had been preparing for tournament bass fishing for about 3 months now. We decided we were going to tournament fish this year while we were playing Bass Strike on PS2 and realized how good we were at that game. We have fished together for quite a few years now but mostly for walleye, crappie, catfish, and a few other species. Hardly ever for bass.

I had always considered bass tournaments and even bought my boat with the intentions of getting in some small tournaments. My boat is a 18' fish Spectrum pontoon loaded with livewell, trolling motor, fish finder, four swivel fishing seats, rod holders and many other options.

As the season got closer I started thinking wouldn't it look better if we were going to do the kind of bass fishing we were talking about in a bass boat. I started studying up on boats and figured out a fish and ski model would work out good for family and fishing.

I ended up purchasing a 1998 Nitro f/s with a 150 hp Mercury. It has 2 livewells, a back and front casting deck, 5 seats. Two of them are removable to place on the front and back casting decks. It also has quite a bit of extra storage.

We read everything bass we could get our hands on, talked bass, watched bass fishing on t.v. Broke down spots on the lakes we planned on fishing on contour maps according to what the information we were reading was telling us to fish. When the ice finally melted off the water I caught my first bass of the year. It was about 2 pounds. Pretty good for crappie fishing. We made it out a little later and Mizike caught his first bass casting off some rocks with a small crankbait.

That got us all fired up. We got the pontoon out a couple weekends and bass fished every spot we were supposed to and probably not like we were supposed to and got skunked. I found a good shelf at Delaware lake that was holding quite a few fish on the fish finder. We fished and fished for them. That night I got home and started putting things together. It was pre-spawn for Walleye about a quarter of the lake from the lake from the dam. I had seen this scenario over and over again walleye fishing. With my thoughts only on bass I passed up some excellent walleye fishing. As I have several more times up to this point.

We started getting fishing catalogs in the mail as it started to warm up a little more. We both went crazy at Gander Mountain and Bass Pro stocking up on lures. We were buying up everything we saw on t.v. and read out of books. I was into bass fishing about 10 years ago in high school before I started college. I used to catch a lot of bass so I restocked all of my tackle that I used to use too. Before long I went from 2 tackle boxes to both boxes and 2 regular boxes full of lures, jigs, spinners, worms, etc.

Finally it got down to the week before the tournament. I had just gotten my new boat tagged, registered, and insured. We were taking it to Deer Creek where our first open tournament was. We got there excited to fish, pulled into the boat ramp and the lake was down 14 foot from it's regular summer level. We could not even put in the new boat to test it out. We fished from bank in a promising spot and landed 3 13 inchers and had one decent bass up to bank. He flopped on top of the water right in front of me and spit the lure right by my head. Mizike said it was about 4 pounds. I think more around 2 to 2 1/2. It was definately bigger than the other bass we caught.

The next week was tough. Each day at work all I could think about was the upcoming tournament. We were going to camp as well so I had a lot of things to do before Friday when we took off. Each night of the week my wife worked late until Thursday night. Then she had planned a trip to see Monsters vs Aliens in 3D at the Lennox. Luckily I had Friday off and finished up some things that had to be done to get ready to go. We left the house around 5:00 pm for the lake.

When we got to the lake we set up camp. It had been raining all day so the ground was wet. There was a chill in the air due to the damp air. We set up our tents and got them ready, then built a fire. We roasted hot dogs when the fire burned down to coals. We also had a few adult beverages. My wife and 2 boys went to bed fairly early as it was getting cold out. I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep so Mizike his girlfriend and I stayed up and had some more drinks and kept the fire going until about 10:00 pm.

I slept until about midnight. It got cold and windy. I have camped in that before but never with 2 kids trying to squeeze me out of the sleeping bag and off the air mattress. Mizike's girlfriend was cussing us and wanted to go home. Finally at 4 in the morning Mizike and I got up and told the girls to go ahead and go home. We got our things ready and pulled the boat to the boat ramp to check in for the tournament. It was finally time for our first tournament!