Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ice Forming

As the site fishing is starting in Florida, the ice is starting to form on our Ohio waters.

I drove by Indian lake Saturday morning and the channels were starting to ice over. The ponds are starting to freeze over as well. Hopefully some ice fishing will be in order this winter. I might even get all crazy and go out fishing for New Years Eve to catch the first fish of the year come midnight. I've always wanted to do that.

We had our monthly bass club meeting for Twin Rivers last night and have a tentative schedule set for 2011. We have more tournaments scheduled for spring and fall and less for the middle of summer. That should improve fishing for everyone. After the meeting was said and done, I decided that I would not be fishing the weekend series as I was hoping. The club schedule and the ABA weekend series had 3 conflicts, and the BFL and club schedule has 1. I can only have 2 drops in the club to have a chance at being points champ.

The club tourney's are a lot of fun. I have made some really good friends in the club too. If you are starting to fish tournaments I definitely suggest joining a club in your area. It brings fishing fun to a new level.

Besides fishing I have been pretty busy the last couple weeks. I got a promotion at my company and will transferring closer to home. No more 1 hour commute each way. Now I'll be working 7 minutes from home. Closer to home = more fishing time. Now's a good time to make the transition too. I'll be busy getting up to speed for a few months, then it will be time for fishing again.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

New Boat or My Boat?

It's the off season now so I am looking at all of the aspects of next season. What tournaments will I enter? How much will I be able to spend? How far will I be able to travel? What needs to be done to the boat? To the truck? Will I travel South for the winter? Lots of questions to answer.

A big question that I have pondered over the last year has been, will I part ways with my boat this season for a bass boat. I have approval from the wife. She pretty much approves anything when it comes to fishing. What a great life partner I ended up with!

Upon hours of thought, and even listing my boat at one point, I have decided not to sell it. I fish a lot of bass tournaments throughout the year and would love to be in most of them as a boater, but there is a huge responsibility of pre-fishing for the larger tournaments that I do not have the time for. I enjoy being a co-angler and am prepared to continue doing so.

With that in consideration, I can still do club tournaments out of my boat. I can pre-fish out of it, and I can take the whole family out in it. I want them to have fun out on the water too, whether it be fishing or just boating, tubing, or skiing. I can do it all with my boat and that is the reason I went with it in the first place.

There will be a time in the future when I will need a bass boat, but for now I think the need is greater to keep the boat, that has become part of the family.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pictures From Kentucky Lake

Next Year's Plans Becoming More Solid

At our club meeting last night I was talking to some other club members about fishing the American Fishing Series next year. One of the members mentioned that I should do the weekend series put on by the ABA. If I did that he said he would try the BFL. It looks like we will both be fishing the weekend series and the BFL next season.

That sounds like a lot of fun. As long as the schedules do not conflict that is the route I am looking at going now. It would be more fun as I would know several other guys that fish that series. I just don't have the money or time off that I would need to fish the entire American Fishing Series next year. I might see about getting into 1 of the tournaments next year just to experience it.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

End of Season Reflections and Next Years Aspirations

Fishing season is coming to a close for me fast. Tournaments are over, the weather is taking a change for the colder, and I have a lot to do at home that has been neglected all summer.

Time for a little reflection on this season. I think I did decent for my second year of tournament fishing. I stuck with each series and fished every event I set out to. I made the fish off in the club and the regionals in the BFL. The money I made was not great. I'm starting to see that unless you are an exceptional fisherman you'll be lucky to break even. I made just about enough to pay for my entry fees this season. The expenses were more than the entry fees and I had to eat that cost.

I'm not disappointed though. I got to fish almost every weekend from the end of April through the end of October. I saw a lot of different lakes and fished a lot of different types of water. The most important factor is the amount I learned and the confidence I gained this season.

I'm kind of happy winter is coming this year for the first time in years. I'm ready to take a short break from fishing. I'm sure by Thanksgiving I'll be complaining already that winter is taking too long.

Next seasons plans are already being decided. I thought I had some time, but just saw that registration is open for the American Fishing Series next year. I wanted to enter the Central Division if I made the top 40 in the BFL this year. I did that, now I started crunching the numbers. My wife and I have decent jobs but decided to overspend coming out of college. Now I have about 50.00 a week spending money. I usually put it all back for fishing the next year but it would not come close to what I need for next season in 22 weeks. I estimate that between entry fees and expenses I will need to have 5430.00 saved by spring to fish all the events I want too. That amount would be sleeping in a tent or in the van at the overnight events and eating pbj sandwiches.

My plans are to fish the BFL's again. I will also fish the club tournaments. I also made plans with a guy in the club to fish the Wednesday night tournaments here in town. With just those tournaments I am estimating 2330.00 between entry fees and expenses. The American Fishing Series is the one in question and the one that needs the soonest decision. With the payout structures they have next year it is hard to pass up. I would love some experience on the lakes they fish as well.

The main drawback I have - it will take all of my vacation to fish all the tournaments in the series if I make the Championship. My family is in Kansas and I am in Ohio so I need some time to visit them. My wife and I are also trying to get the last of our debt cleared out. That money would clear a good chunk of debt. We are looking at having all of our debt besides the house paid down by the end of next year.

There is still a couple weeks to register before they open the registration to everyone. I have already pulled the money out of savings and am real close to entering the AFS. Christina has given her approval and said that I should do it. At the same time, she was talking about getting a part time job in the evenings to help pay down debt.

I am barely an amature in fishing. I can't imagine what pro's have to go through. This is something that I don't want to put off for a year or two. Unfortunately, I'm not getting any younger and I have aspirations to keep moving up, so there is no better time than now to get started.

Kentucky Lake BFL Regionals

The last tournament of the year for me is now over. I fished the BFL Regional at Kentucky lake this last weekend. The conditions were tough. Going down there I thought there was no way you could not catch fish in that lake. I was partly right as I caught quite a few short bass but the keeper size was harder to catch.

Christina and the kids came down with me to go on some adventures of their own while I was fishing.

Day 1: I drew a great partner that said the fishing was tough and every bite counts. He couldn't have been more right. We started out fishing a cove with a sandy flat. He had one fish blow up on a topwater and miss it. I didn't have any bites. We moved to a marina break wall and I caught 1 short fish on a roboworm. Then we moved to a feeding flat and he caught 3 keepers. I caught 1 fish on a chatterbait. He was only 14 inches but must have weighed well over 2 pounds it was sad putting him back.

We moved to some other areas and I ended up catching a keeper pulling a bomber past the edge of a boat dock in about 8 foot of water. He slammed the bomber and headed straight to wrap me around a post. I pulled him back out from under the docks and got him in the livewell. In a spot close to there we were fishing some bridge rocks. I had a good bite and set the hook with a 10" powerworm. The fish didn't have the hook in its mouth but took half my worm. My boater said he usually only pulls giants off those rocks so that was a little devastating. My boater also had a huge fish pull free from his hook on the same rocks. Shortly after we moved back to the feeding flat where I continued to catch short fish after short fish. It was fun but would have been a blast if they would have been keepers.

At weigh in I had 1 fish for 2 pounds even. I was around 50th place after day 1 with a good shot to move up the next day.

Christina and the kids went to land between the lakes and did some hiking/sight seeing. I took the kids fishing inside the marina break wall once I got back from weigh in. I had spoken to the tournament director's to ensure it would be o.k. to let them fish. They said it was o.k. since it was not tournament waters inside the break wall.

We went out to eat at Oasis Southwest Grill afterwards. I got the surf and turf and Christina go the chicken fried chicken. The steak was cooked perfectly and was of generous size. The pacific shrimp were huge. It also came with 2 sides and rolls for appetizers. Christina's chicken fried chicken was tender and delicious. We had ate there several times last year and we both love the chicken fried chicken.

Once we got back to the lodge I tied on a few lures then went to bed.

Day 2: I drew another great partner for day 2. Unlike several of the other boaters he had located a lot of fish in practice. He had only caught 1 the day before but said he was getting 20 pound bags during practice. We decided to go South to swing for the fences where he knew some good bass were.

We swung and swung until my arm was cramping then swung some more. I caught a lot of bass but no keepers. He said he couldn't believe how many short fish were eating that 10" worm. He caught 1 keeper and I didn't have anything to weigh in.

It was a long ride back North knowing I had nothing to weigh in. Christina and the kids were at weigh in and I really wanted to bring in some fish. My boater offered to let Leo and Gavin carry his fish up to weigh in from the boat. That was pretty awesome of him and the boys really enjoyed that.

Christina, Leo and Gavin did some more hiking on a trail that had a lot of signs with details of the area. Leo was really excited telling me about it. They also went to a safari like area and saw buffalo, fox, owls and some other animals that had sustained injuries and would not be able to survive in the wild.

When I got back to the room, I decided I wanted to drink later and put beers on ice. Then I took the boys down to fish of the courtesy dock at the lodge. I caught a shell cracker and put it on Gavin's line and cast it out so he could reel it in. He got off when I cast it though. We didn't catch any more fish but a couple guys at the end of the dock caught a nice catfish and let Leo and Gavin admire it.

We went out to eat Chinese buffet after that. We got back to the room at a decent time but I was wiped out and went straight to bed instead of drinking any beer.

The next morning we got up and packed the van so we could go get some breakfast. I wanted a nice restaurant breakfast but didn't find a restaurant on the route home so the kids won and we ate McDonald's.

On the way home we drove by Fort Knox and stopped at Patton's museum. It was really informative and free. From there we booked it home. I was feeling pretty bad the whole way home about placing 95th out of 151. Four more pounds and I would have been in the top 12 cut and in the money.

It was still a fun tournament and I learned a ton. I now know how 20 pound bags can be caught even though we didn't do it this tournament. I think all the conditions at the time of the tournament collided and made it tougher than it ever should have been. There was a full moon, so the fish could have been feeding at night. There was a cold front, no moving water, the lake had just been drawn down 6 inches, we had bluebird skies and no wind. I'm sure there were other variables in play.

Somebody will always figure it out though, and I was happy to see Jacob Wheeler figured out enough to get him a check and make it into the All American next year.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Lake Erie Perch

This weekend we put about 500 miles on our vehicles. Saturday Christina, the kids and Gene and I went to King's Island. Christina got free tickets from her company and had a company picnic in the park.

We got back around 10:30 Saturday night and the next morning Gene and I were up at 3:00 to drive to lake erie. Gene's brother Glenn also came with us. We had reserved a spot on a head boat from the Drawbridge Marina to go perch fishing.

They took us out close to Canadian waters. We caught quite a few perch, but only ended up keeping about 18. We found out after the trip that we should have been keeping the small ones instead of throwing them back. They just seemed so small and couldn't have had much meat on them. Eighteen fish of the size we kept was plenty for eating and will provide several meals.

As far as the fun factor goes, perch fishing is not as fun as walleye. We were using a 1 1/2 oz. weight on the spreader to reach the bottom and most of the perch we caught just felt like some added weight when you were bringing them up.

If I were to go out again, I would take an ultralight rod and a lot smaller weights to increase the fight. I would also try to figure out how to catch the great big ones. Those are fun.

We waited several hours for our fish to be cleaned once we got back and had a walleye dinner at Jolly Rogers in Port Clinton. Their dinners are awesome and come with a ton of fish, slaw and waffle fries.

Completely stuffed we went back to Drawbridge Marina and got completely schooled by Gene on how to catch fish after fish on a jighead with a piece of worm. He caught rock bass, bluegill, gobies and bullhead over and over, while Glen and I caught a gobie a piece. I also got 1 bluegill.

The fish were finally cleaned and we headed back home.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Twin Rivers Bassmasters Fish Off Results

The weather cooled off for us this weekend. On Saturday the warmest part of the day was when we arrived to the lake. The wind picked up early. We fished several different areas and I stuck to a roboworm most of the day. The fish were somewhat active at the beginning of the day and I was able to pick up about 1 keeper every hour and a half. Then it got slow.

It started to Drizzle and the temperature dropped more. The fish stopped co-operating. Finally, I started deadsticking the worm. I would cast it and let it sit on the bottom next to the bank for 30 - 40 seconds then real it in and cast to the next spot. I picked up my last 2 fish towards the end of the tournament doing that.

I was in 2nd place after the first day with my 5 fish.

The next morning was cold. We started out the tournament at 46 degrees and it ended at 52. It was raining most of the day and blowing all day 10-15 mph with gusts of 25. It must have been gusting all day.

Fishing was tough on a good lake. There were close to 100 boats going out of the ramp we were going to start at, so we switched ramps. We started out a little later than that tournamnet and squeezed between boats to fish our first spot.

I was casting a buzzbait to start but it was too windy so I switched to a storm swimbait in chartreuse. I had 1 bass chase it so I cast out a similar colored roboworm and caught it. It was a little short. I cast the swimbait some more and had a nice hit. When I got it to the boat it was a nice white bass.

We worked quite a few more areas with no luck. We hit grass, shoreline, rocks, wood, and even a nice ledge with a drop shot and a carolina rig but couldn't get a keeper. I had 3 short fish by 2:30 and no keepers.

With 1 hour left I switched to a purple D.C. finesse worm. I cast next to a lay down and my rod loaded up. I set the hook and pulled in my first keeper. The wind was blowing us down the bank pretty fast so Ken turned the boat around to go back over the three laydowns that were next to each other.

We made it back to the laydown I had caught my first keeper on and I cast back to it. My rod loaded up again and I had my second keeper. The fish were tight to the laydowns. We hurried and fished a few more laydowns in similar types of water. Laydowns next to deep water. We didn't have any luck.

My 2 fish were enough combined with the weight of the first day to keep me in 3rd place. I got 3rd place fish off money plus 3rd place tournament money. It was about as much as I won for 1st place and big bass at another club tournament so I was happy. I wish I had figured out a pattern earlier in the day to win the tournament but just being able to place after my 2nd day was a blessing.

On the way home we decided to take a different route back home to avoid a stop light and traffic in Washington Courthouse. I had thought I came in on highway 50 the first time. I was wrong. Highway 50 took us through Cincinnati and cost us an hour on the way home. I'm sure the guys in the club will have a good laugh on that one.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Fish off Details

Twin Rivers meeting was at 7:00 at the Donato's on Polaris Parkway. I arrived around 6:55 and was the last one to get there. There was pizza along with the drawing and I had a few bud lights too.

All of the fish off qualifiers put in their votes for the lake they wanted then we ate pizza and talked about the lakes. Lake Erie was eliminated due to possible windy conditions this weekend. John the tournament director called it off as it would be unsafe.

After we finished eating we had the waitress draw the lakes. Delaware lake was first so it will be on Saturday. Rocky Fork was drawn second so it will be on Sunday. There will be a big bass pot both days and will be a standard tournament as far as the buy in goes. Anybody in the club can still fish it but only 8 of us will be fishing for the fish off money. If I can squeek out a win that would result in several hundred dollars.

After the meeting a few of us went to Quaker Steak and Lube where another club member was working the patio. We kicked back a few beers and visited for a while. Ken and I agreed to fish together during the tournament. We are using his boat the first day and possibly my boat the second day. It will be more fun and we will be able to get in the side pot both days this way. The side pot is 10 dollars a boat and the boat that brings in the most weight for the day wins the side pot.

They had Lienkrugel (spelling??) Octoberfest on tap, so I tried it. It was one of my favorite beers I have had in a long time. It had a medium full flavor and a nice sort of spice to it. It was better than soda! I would love to try one with a steak and baked beans.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Twin Rivers Fish Off

With the clubs 2-day fish off coming up this weekend we have a meeting tonight to decide the lakes we will be fishing.

The decision will be made from a drawing. Each person that qualified for the fish off gets to include 1 lake we have fished this season. There were 8 of us in the club that qualified. Also, each lake we have fished this season also gets put into a hat for the drawing. We will be fishing 2 different lakes unless lake erie is drawn first. Then we will fish lake erie both days.

Deer Creek will be eliminated out as that lake recently closed due to the Algae problems we have had in some of the lakes around here. Knox lake is also eliminated due to the size limit being 18 inches.

There are some lakes that I like more than others. I am hoping lake erie is not drawn. I don't have enough experience on that lake to have much of a chance. That and I'm scared to take my boat out there. The waves from the other boats out there are enough to scare me.

Here is a list of the lakes we have fished and why I think they would be good or bad for me.

Lake Erie - 8th out of 10 - Poor - Long ways from Columbus to pull my boat. Not enough experience on the water and hard for me to make the decision to boat to the islands. I won't have a partner so I would be alone on Lake Erie.

Delaware - 4th out of 13 - Good - I have quite a bit of experience fishing on Delaware and have a few good bass spots. We had a another club tournament and a large tournament there the same day we fished it and still caught quite a few fish. If we had the lake to our small group we could catch a lot of bass.

C.J. Brown - 6th out of 9 - Neutral - I had a great practice there 2 weeks prior to the tournament 5 keepers in a little over an hour. During the tournament I only caught 1 bass. Nobody in the club did well the day we were there. There are quite a few smallmouth and largemouth in the water but can be difficult to catch.

O'Shaughnessy - 6th out of 14 - Neutral - I have a lot of experience on O'Shaughnessy the last couple years. Mostly bad experience. I know the bass are there and I caught a couple this year. My skills as an angler have improved since last year but not catching a keeper out of there all last year in multiple tournaments has left a sour taste in my mouth.

Clear Fork - 9th out of 11 - Good - I didn't do great at Clear Fork, but it was my first time fishing it and there was another tournament there at the same time. I didn't know where to start for the morning bite and it cost me. If we go back I think I could have a good chance at bringing in a good limit. It is also a big fish lake. Some good ones come out of there.

Griggs - 2nd out of 10 - Good - I had a good practice and a decent catch there. I know where the larger fish are hanging out. It's just a matter of getting them to eat my bait. The lake is low now so that would affect the fishing. Not sure if it would be good or bad though.

Rocky Fork - 1st out of 12 - Good - I won here and have big fish for the year. How could I say Poor. There is a good amount of bass in the lake and it is fun to fish. The only drawback is the distance from the other lakes.

Pleasant Hill - 5th out of 10 - Good - This would be good because we fished here the last tournament. It was like a practice. I learned quite a bit about the lake and would be able to go back and give a decent showing. I have a better idea of what to throw, when and where.

I only get 1 vote and have all these lakes to choose from. Only 3 are below good. This argument has gone on in my head for a while now on which to vote on. Right now it's between Delaware and Clear Fork. Delaware I might have a better shot against the guys I'd be fishing against. Clear Fork was probably my favorite lake I fished this year. For sheer numbers of bass Delaware is a blast but getting a fish longer than 12 inches is tough.

The vote I will put in is Clear Fork. It is still new to me. Fishing is phenomenal there. A lot of patterns work there. It is also a of Columbus, so hopefully it will be drawn and paired with Delaware or Pleasant Hill. Then I can stay between the lakes over night and have fun with the club members.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Late Season Buying Spree

Here are my newest purchases for the end of the season. I ordered the roboworms online. All of the ebay stores shipped quickly. The strike king super finesse worms, the luck e strike, and the bass pro flick n shimmy worms were purchased at bass pro on the way back from the Ohio River.

The first finesse worms I started using this spring were the strike king. They were on sale at Gander Mountain for 2.00 a pack. I have since purchased about 6 other packs at full price. That is why sales work.

Luck e strike are on the lower price scale but work well. I like the cotton candy color. The bass seem to like it to.

This will be my first experience with the flick n shimmy worms. I won't be able to compare them to the flick shake since I had never purchased the flick shake.

I also purchased some flick - it jig heads by buckeye lures. I have missed several fish this year on the hook set. I have used a 1/16th oz. ball jighead all year. Most of the fish I miss I assume are bluegill but if they have been bass and the curve of the hook, or strength of the hook, is preventing a better hookset then I have cost myself hundreds if not thousands of dollars on missed hooksets this year.

The cost is quite a bit higher for these but with the design they look like they can improve my fishing so I have to give them a try. Each improvement I can make will potentially put that many more bass in the boat and hopefully earn me more checks to help me pay for the higher prices I am starting to pay for baits.

I generally go through a lot of worms and not that many jig heads so if they work, they will definitely be worth it.

I have 3 tournaments left for the year. The fish off for the club is a 2 day tournament at two of the lakes we have fished in the regular season. We draw for those this Thursday and fish the fish off Saturday and Sunday.

The next tournament is 2 weeks after that. It will be our clubs Open tournament at Alum Creek.

The last tournament of the year is the regionals at Kentucky Lake the following week. I will need to make another lure purchase for there. I fish Kentucky lake a lot different than most of the lakes around here so I need to stock up on a couple things that worked well for me last fall as well as what I think would be good there.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Ohio River BFL Buckeye Super Tournament

I left work early Friday to make it to the pre-tournament registration early. I didn't run into any problems on the way there and actually registered an hour early. I was ranked 24th in the standings in the FLW BFL Buckeye Division as a co-angler. They mentioned at the meeting that to ensure a top 40 finish for the year I would probably need to catch at least 1 bass. I had already thought that but now I was really feeling the pressure.

After the pairings meeting I visited with a few of the other anglers, one of which was Jacob Wheeler. He's a super nice person and I have a feeling he will be a superstar in this sport eventually. He's already really good. We were talking about next year. I have been doing some thinking on it, and figure that if I can, I should use the FLW to fish some bigger waters. I will probably, if my job allows it, fish the American Fishing Series Central Division or Northern Division next year as a co-angler.

If I can sell my boat this winter and buy a new used bass boat I might also fish the BFL as a boater. I still have a little time to decide. I like being a co-angler but also like to be the decision maker on where to fish and when. In actuality I will probably remain a co-angler if I am fishing the American Fishing Series since I would not have the time off to pre-fish each of the tournaments.

I might go south this winter to fish a BFL tournament as a co-angler on a larger lake. I would like to try Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, or Oklahoma. It would give me a chance to fish for bass while the ice is still on the water here, and I could learn how to fish on some different waters.

I called Dad and talked with him as everyone was leaving the meeting area. I had plans on a place to stay but that fell through so I was thinking of staying at a campground or in the van. I decided to stay the night in the van and met some other cool people doing the same thing.

I ended up going out to get drinks and a sandwich for the next day and drive around to check the area out a little. There was a barbecue place down the road called Big Daddy's Barbecue and Lil Momma's Fixins, or something close to that. I decided to stop in. The pulled pork was great and came in a healthy portion on the bun. My stomach was stretched out from the pulled pork sandwich, onion rings and the 2 corona's I had so I decided to head back to the ramp to sleep.

The ramp area was unlit so I fell asleep pretty quickly. Dreams of poor fishing went through my head. In my dreams I would cast to all these great looking spots and not catch any fish. I woke up and was disappointed in my dreams. They were brought on by my previous experience with the Ohio River.

I got up and prepped my equipment for the day. My partner called and was entering the ramp area. I met up with him and were one of the first to get our boat put in. We were second to last boat to get to leave the area though.

We pulled up to a bank and waited as everyone got to pass us and leave to fish. Finally they called the last 2 numbers and we were off. We made around a 15 minute run and were fishing pretty quickly. My boater caught 2 keepers pretty quick.

I caught a few short fish then had one on that was close. Upon measuring the bass, he was barely short. I caught a few more that were just barely short. Then I was lifting my worm out of the water at one point and a huge bass came up out of the water after it. He just barely missed it and my side of the livewell was still empty.

It was getting later in the afternoon and I was still catching just barely short bass. I kept thinking any one of them could be a keeper but just couldn't bring one in. finally I had a nice bite next to a dock. I set the hook and the fish seemed like it wanted to surface and jump. I kept my rod tip down to keep the fish in the water until I got it to the boat. My boater dipped the net and I brought it up and into the net. It was about a 3 pound catfish. I felt devastated. I really thought it was going to be a keeper bass. I needed 1 bass for points in this tournament.

We continued fishing then my boater said we were going to hit a spot on the main river where he usually can get a keeper.

I had several bites and was getting low on the finesse worms I was having luck on. My boater brought in a barely short bass, and right after that I have a hook up that feels like a nice bass. I get it to the boat and my boater nets it. It was a 14 incher, 2 inches into the keeper category. I sigh of relief ran through me. Then the excitement hit. I was more than likely going to make the regional cut. I looked at the clock. It was 2:30. We had about an hour left to fish. I started working to try to catch a second keeper and try to make the 2nd day.

I caught 2 more nice sized catfish. One of them even jumped completely out of the water when I hooked it. The second 1 I caught came out of the same spot I had brought in the keeper. My boater was retrieving a lure he had caught up and I fought the fish to the boat and into the net thinking I had a big bass, again to turn out to be a catfish.

The time ran down and I weighed in my 1 bass. It was 1 pound 7 ounces, good for around 33rd place out of 72. The cut for the next day was a little more than a half pound away.

I had a good tournament. My boater was really fun to fish with. We caught a ton of fish, just not enough of the right size or right species. The Ohio river left a little better taste in my mouth this time. I look forward to going back now.

Thoughts After the Tournament:

1. The reason I think I caught so many short fish without keepers - the creek we were fishing was not a long ways from Tanners and is pretty well known. There are a lot of tournaments out of Tanners so a lot of the keepers probably get plucked out of there and hauled back to Tanners.

2. There was not a lot of water being pulled on the first day of the tournament. There was abut a 15 minute pull and that is when I caught my keeper. He was in a current break.

3. There were large schools of shad and fish blowing up in them. It might or might not have been a good idea to spend a little more time casting an imitation shad bait right under the balls of shad. Looking back it couldn't have hurt. It might have been a good time to try a swimbait.

4. I went through 2 1/2 bags of worms. It was good fishing.

5. I finished the season in 18th place overall. I'm within the top 40 cut so I get to fish the Kentucky Lake regional tournament October 21st through the 23rd.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Pro Tackle Solutions Ebay

I ordered 5 bags of straight tail roboworms off ebay on Tuesday afternoon. Yesterday, Thursday, I had 1 bag in the mail already. Pro Tackle Solutions had the fastest shipping I've ever seen.

I was expecting to go into this tournament with 2 roboworms left. I have some other finesse worms but like I said in the last post these things are great for me. Now I have 12 and feel a lot more comfortable.

There was a thought in my head that I was going to need to swing by Columbus on the way down to the Ohio River to see if any came in. Now I can go straight down from work and will not have to take the 45 minute detour.

This will be my first 2 day tournament. I can't wait to leave it all out on the water and try to make the second day and the regionals.

My confidence level is soaring way above where it was last year. I have been catching bass this year in all but one trip out, even if they were small. The one time I didn't catch a bass was the Ohio River.

It scares me but at the same time I love tough fishing. I have a bait I know will entice a bite and am starting to get a little experience on the Ohio River. Maybe this will be the time that everything works out.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Roboworm 4.5" Straight Tail ST-B6BF, Folkestad Special

Throughout the year I have been using different finesse worms, colors, and sizes trying to pin down one that outperforms all others.

I have had a lot of luck as of late with Roboworm straight tail worms. There was one color and size at a Dick's Sporting goods store in Kansas and they looked perfect so I bought them. They were a little higher priced than I wanted to pay. Somewhere around 6.00, but I had to have them as they were what I was looking for.

That pack got lost in the shuffle of vacation and I didn't find them again until a few weeks ago. The first time I tried them I caught a 4.7 pound largemouth quite a few smaller largemouth and ended up winning the tournament I was in. Now after 2 tournaments, I only have 2 worms left.

Yesterday I went on a mission to find roboworm with a variation of purple as that seems to be a great color. I can't keep junebug or any purple in my arsenal long as the fish seem to steal that color often and then I'm out again.

I ended up finding the Folkestad Special color of Roboworm and feel that it's everything I've been looking for all season. I still have quite a bit of fishing left this season so I ordered a pack. There was only 1 left where I found them. Luckily the roboworm website sells them too, I think. I also ordered a few other colors as well. I'm excited to get them and put them to work. I doubt they will arrive in time for this weekends tournament. I'll have to make good use out of the 2 I have left.

I have no doubt that the roboworm straight tail will get me a lot more high finishes in the future!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Upcoming BFL Tanner's Creek

I'm off to the Ohio River again Friday for the last of the BFL Buckeye division events this year. We are taking off out of Tanner's creek in this 2 day Super tournament.

Currently, I am ranked 24th. I need to be in the top 40 to make it to the regionals at Kentucky Lake. I think that out of the 3 stops we have made on the Ohio river, Tanner's creek will fish the best.

The weather's supposed to be 79 degrees and partly sunny. That's a 10 degree dip from the rest of the week with a chance of rain the night before.

The Ohio River so far has been tough with only about 38% of the co-anglers catching fish at each event. I failed to catch a fish at Maysville. I only caught 1 out of Carrolton. I have a feeling I will be fishing for 1 bite again Saturday. Hopefully, it will be more and I can cash in another tournament and make it to the regionals.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pleasant Hill Club Tournament

Our final club tournament before the fish off was this Sunday. There were 6 of us in contention of winning 20% of the fish off money for being weekend angler series points leader. I was 1 point back from the leader and had to take a top 3 in order to tie and a top 2 to move ahead if none of the others got a higher place than me or a top 3.

The morning started out great. It was overcast and cool with a little rain coming down. Giant smallmouth were slamming shad on the surface all around us. The forecast said overcast all day. How could it get any better.

Twenty minutes later the fish stopped hitting the surface and we had not figured out how to catch a single one. One of those behemoth smallmouth would have been a tournament breaker and there were tons of them. It was frustrating but we couldn't get them to hit topwater, crankbaits, worms, spoons or anything we threw.

We moved a little and I caught a barely keeper smallmouth next to a grass bed on a twister tail and jig head. I caught another short smallmouth the next cast and thought we were onto something. We worked for another half hour without a bite, then decided to move.

We went to the shallow end of the lake and I caught a largemouth pretty quickly off a rocky shoreline. A little ways down from there I caught another largemouth. Then the sun burned through our overcast day. The bite turned off again.

I missed quite a few other bites throughout the day on a 10" power worm. I would switch to something smaller and not get bit and switch back and get bit again. I would set the hook and my worm would come back all balled up on the hook without a fish. It was very frustrating. We were still having a lot of fun.

I ended up catching another short smallmouth off a point in the deeper part of the lake while Mike was taking a just barely short largemouth off his hook. Again we thought we were onto something but cast away at that point without any success. It became overcast again and a breeze picked up. Conditions seemed favorable for an afternoon bite.

We decided to try our original spot again for 30 minutes then burned the last hour in the shallow end of the lake. Mike had a huge blowup on a buzzbait coming over a log. It sounded like a toilet flushing. I missed a few more solid bites.

It just wasn't my day. I weighed in 3 fish for 3.38 pounds good enough for 4th in the club. Andy took a third with 4 fish and won the WAS points lead and 20% of the fish off money. It was awesome that the last tournament was so close that 6 of us had a shot at it. Andy has been with the club for 20 years and I can't think of anybody more deserving.

We vote on the fish off lakes Sept 30th. I'm torn on the lake I will vote for. We have fished some lakes that would be great that time of the year. The only lake I really don't have a chance at is Lake Erie. You need a lot of experience there to do good, I think. On top of that, I'm scared of the lake in my boat. The waves from the other boats alone are enough to scare me. If it gets windy I think I would stay ashore and concede my season. If it's an inland lake I think we all have an equal opportunity.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Rocky Fork Hog

Monday, September 13, 2010

Griggs photo

Here is a photo from my 2nd place finish at Griggs 2 weeks ago.

Rocky Fork Gargantuan Bass!

Mapquest showed a 1 1/2 hour drive to the ramp the next morning. That's how I decided when to wake up. It takes 15 minutes for me to get ready, 15 minutes to get the boat out of the garage and hooked up and 10 minutes to fill up with gas on the way out of town.

We didn't make it out to prefish or camp as it was supposed to rain Saturday and had been a little chilly at night. If the boys were just a little older we'd have went anyway.

I didn't sleep much the night before and still I had a hard time falling asleep.

Two nights before I had a dream that I was fishing this tournament and had a chance to win it but needed to catch one more bass. In the dream the fishing was tough and the guys in the club were on the bank talking. I needed to keep fishing to have a chance to win and I felt that if I kept putting my lures in the right areas I would eventually pull out the fish I needed to win.

I woke up to my 2nd alarm. The one that lets me know if I sleep any longer I will be pushing it too close.

A couple hours later I was at the ramp. There were a lot of boats and it was apparent there was another big tournament going on at the same time out of the same ramp. I walked through the parking lot looking for another club member but didn't see anybody. Did I have the wrong date. Maybe they put in early since the other tournament was there. I decided to wait until the other tournament got their boats put in before I put my boat in since I was putting the boat in by myself. It doesn't take me long anymore, but they were just about finished.

I got the boat in the water and made it to the other tournaments check in boat as they finished calling boat numbers. I asked if another tournament had left from there. He said they had went to another ramp right before I got to the ramp.

I boated towards the other dock and saw the clubs boats just taking off. I spotted the tournament director and went to talk to him. He asked if I could trailer the fish over to the other ramp. I said I could boat to their ramp and weigh the fish then head back to the other ramp.

I caught 2 fish pretty quickly in the back of a cove. They were just barely short. It hurt throwing them back. I moved out a little deeper and caught my first keeper in the middle of the cove. That felt a little odd. I caught him on the retrieve from a dock and figured maybe he followed it. The last 2 years all of my bass here have been caught off the shoreline or around structure.

I left the area to check out some more of the lake. The other end of the lake had a lot more boats working the shoreline. I stopped and tried 2 areas. The first looked good but had no grass. The fish I had caught before were close to grass. I moved across the lake and tried a second area. There was sparse grass and I had a couple fish hit then had a good one on that came unbuttoned about half way in. He would have been a keeper.

The wind was coming up and making it hard to keep boat position so I decided to go back to my original cove and work it again. I started out near a large grass bed and cast out into it. I got bit and set the hook. The fish felt decent and I ran to the back of the boat to get the net. I got her up close to the boat and got the net ready. Then she dove down. I was pretty sure it was a bass but started thinking it might be a catfish the way it kept diving. My drag was a little tight. She wouldn't have broken my line, but the hook could pull free, so I was adjusting it while I was holding the net and stripping line out of the spool with my hand with the net.

Finally, I got the fish to the surface and I went into shock upon seeing the size. It seemed like 3 minutes getting the net out to her. In reality it was probably the quickest I've ever moved but it seemed like forever.

It was definitely the biggest fish I've caught in Ohio. I worked down the bank a few casts and had another hit. I got the fish to the side of the boat and it dove down. I lifted the rod tip and had the net ready to go in the water as soon as the bass showed himself. Instead the hook came flying up out of the water. Upon inspection the hook was straightened. It was another big bass. Definitely would have been a keeper. That's 2 keepers missed for the day. I felt I was doing the big bass injustice by not getting the other 2 fish in.

I tied on a different hook and went to work down the bank. The sun came out from behind the clouds that had been there all morning and the bite shut down.

I worked the whole huge grass bed with no success then decided to work the other shorelines around there. Shad were surfacing and I saw fish below them but could not get bit. I finally sat in the middle of a cove and tried everything I had that mimicked a shad. I wish I would have had a silver spoon with me. I think that would have been the ticket. I finally got my 3rd fish in the boat with a twister tail fishing like I would for white bass. I kept changing up the bait. There were so many fish chasing the shad that if I could just get the right bait I would make a killing.

I tied on a shad blue worm wacky style and pulled it slowly through the middle of the cove and had a hit. I got him in the boat and it was just over 12 inches so he went into the live well. That would be my last fish of the day. I got back to the ramp just on time. I saw Jason from the club was there and knew with seeing the shad being busted that he had figured it out. He's good like that. I just hoped my big bass would save the day and hold my 4 fish over a 5 fish limit.

At weigh in I had 8 pounds even. Jason had 7.85 pounds and Tim, Jason's partner for the day had 7.9 pounds. I held and have my first win! I also got big bass for the day with 4.7 pounds.

We have one more club tournament before the fish off at Pleasant Hill. There is a lot on the line if I can win it and take over on Weekend Angler Series Points. I will just go fishing and try to figure the fish out like I did the last 2 tournaments. It feels good to be doing as good as I am against this caliber of fishermen.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Upcoming Rocky Fork Tournament and my New Blog

This weekend we have another club tournament at Rocky Fork lake. Earlier in the week, Leo mentioned that he wants to go camping again. We will go down on Saturday to prefish for a bit and do some camping Saturday night as long as they have camping around there.

I've got to say that I am ready to sit around a campfire again myself. There's something about a fire that relaxes and mesmerizes me. With it getting closer to fall, the nights will be getting cooler, and we won't get many more opportunities this season.

I hear Rocky Fork has some big bass. I hope to catch one or more of those big bass this weekend.

With all the other things I have going on in my life on top of fishing and travel I considered adding more about my personal life in this blog. I had started this blog about fishing though, and decided to keep it that way. I started another blog about everything else. If you're interested in checking it out here is the link. http://rhetthickert.blogspot.com/

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Griggs club tourney

Our lake for this weekends tournament was Griggs Reservoir in Columbus. It was nice to be able to get up a little later for a tournament. I still did not sleep last night. I have been pumped for this tournament since we prefished it last Sunday. The fish were biting the way I like to catch them and we had caught a couple large for around here sized bass.

This morning we started out where Gene and I had picked up the 2 decent bass last week. I was using a green finesse worm whacky rigged as we had used last week. I would twitch it along the bottom. All I could get this morning was bluegill though and I had a ton of them hitting. I did have one tiny bass to the boat on a beatle spin but it fell off as I was lifting it in.

Scott went out with me again and he brought in the first keeper smallmouth of the day on a crankbait.

Later in the morning I started switching up colors on my whacky rig to see if I could get the right match for the day. I had 2 purple cabelas 4 inch finesse worms left. I had a couple hits and lost them right away. I had some 4 inch cabelas brand senko style in a similar purple so I gave them a try. I cast it into a bunch of sticks next to a log and had a hit. I set the hook and had my first keeper bass. We fished that shoreline for a while longer with no success so we decided to move down the lake a ways to another stretch of shoreline I had luck on last week.

I cast under a willow tree and caught a squeeker largemouth, just enough to keep. Then about 100 yards down the shoreline I hooked into a smallmouth. Both were on the purple with gold glitter senko style baits.

I caught all 3 fish between 11:15 and 12:30. We fished for a while longer with no bites then I feel a fish and set the hook. This fish was a fighter. I had it up close to the boat and it took a dive. As it did the hook pulled free and I lost it.

Christina, Leo, Gavin, and Gene showed up to the weigh in. I ended up with 3 fish for 3.15 pounds good enough for 2nd place and a little cash for the pocket.

First place had 3 fish for almost 4 pounds. He also had a big fish break him off.

It was a tough day. We seem to hit a lot of those in our club tournaments. A lake will be on fire 2 weeks before we hit it. I can't complain though. I had a game plan and used it to catch the 3 fish I could get. It feels good to finally place in the money at one of these club tournaments.

After the tournament I took Leo, Gene and his girlfriend back out to fish some more. Leo schooled us on fishing and brought in the only bass of the evening. He was reeling in and felt a fish. He yells out, "It's a sweet bass!!" We had been fishing for panfish. He got it in and sure enough it was a "sweet bass". I guess I'm going to have to get used to being outfished by my kids. He's just 4 though, I thought I'd have a little longer.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ohio River Buckeye Division BFL

This weekend was the 4th tournament in the Buckeye Division BFL out of Carrollton, KY on the Ohio River.

I was ready for revenge on the Ohio River after not even getting bit out of Maysville. I had vacation scheduled for Friday but had just taken vacation time the previous Friday for the wedding and that didn't work out to well without having any type of coverage. I decided to just leave work early Friday and leave myself time to get to registration on time.

Everything came up at work and I didn't get to leave until about 4:00. The GPS said I would arrive at 7:09, nine minutes late. Usually that's not a problem as I make it where I'm going sooner than GPS time. This time however, I was traveling through Dayton and Cincinati during rush hour. For the first time that I can remember I purposely sped when I could to make up time.

I made Cincinati in good time but it was stop and go the whole way through the city. Just as I was about to have a panic attack we made it across the Ohio river and I was flying again.

I made it to the registration site with 3 minutes left to register and by the time I got signed in I had 1 minute left. Talk about cutting it close. I found out later you can call in to register then show up to the pretournament meeting for pairings.

I met Jim a guy I had been talking to at the other tournaments and he said that he had an extra bed again at the super 8. I had been planning on camping near there but a hotel is much easier.

We went out to eat at an awesome Mexican place then went back to the hotel. The next morning we had Waffle House and headed to the ramp.

We locked through to go North and ended up having only a few hours to fish up there before we started to head back. I caught my only bass right before we moved back South. It was raining by the time we started fishing and the bass did not want to cooperate. I only had 1 good bite that I missed right after I caught my first fish.

At weigh in I had 1 bass for 1 pound 3 ounces. Only 30 co-anglers brought in fish so I placed in 25th. I also moved from 46th to a tie for 24th in the standings.

Sunday I pre-fished Griggs for this weekends club tournament. I only had a few hours but had some fantastic fishing in the afternoon. Gene went with me and caught a 2 1/2 pounder. I got one around 2 pounds and a couple smaller fish. I also felt a lot of fish hit and figured out a good pattern if it holds.

I would have a nice picture of a decent bass but as we were leaving I pulled up to the boat dock with the trolling motor. By the time I got it raised and went to step out we had floated a ways from the dock. I tried to make the jump as it didn't look that far. It turned out that with the boat swinging as I pushed off and the distance I had to make it were just to much. My feet made it on the dock but my whole body was leaning over the water and my toes were not strong enough to hold me up. My cell phone was in my pocket and there was quite an audience. I felt like a smuck after that one.


Wow, it's been forever since I have posted. I have been really busy with work and traveling for fun and fishing. I have also been playing a lot of online poker as that will be my hobby over the winter while I will not be fishing.

The weekend after the clear fork tournament Christina and I traveled back to Kansas City for Mizike and Kimber's wedding. I was the best man and the wedding turned out great. Except for black tuxes with black shirts in 104 degree heat with a limo that had no A/C taking pictures outdoors all day then an outdoor wedding. I'm not going to complain about that though. The wedding was really cool. They had it in the rose garden in Kansas City and afterwards had the reception and dance at the 4 diamond Hotel Phillips in downtown Kansas City. Kansas City is also a lot more architectural than I thought it would be. There is a lot to see and do in the inner city. I thought it was a lot dirtier and ran down. They must have done a lot to clean it up. I wouldn't mind spending a week there.

It was pretty neat spending the weekend downtown, using cabs or limo's to get around and vallet to park our vehicle. We had a bar downstairs and our rooms were right there while we were at the reception. It was a nice little vacation from reality.

We picked up Leo and Gavin on Sunday after not seeing them for 3 weeks. I think I changed in that 3 weeks. I felt like I had to start being Dad all over again. They had fun back in Kansas. They spent the 1st week with Charity and Kelly's with Bella and David. The second week they spent with my parents and the third week they spent with Cherish and Todd and their 8 cousins. They traveled from Ohio to Eastern Missouri to South Central Kansas to Southwest Kansas and back to Ohio.

They came back with all kinds of stories and memories and Leo even had a black tipped nose from all the scratches caused by running into a tree on a bike.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Clear Fork Tournament

This Sunday we fished a Twin Rivers Bassmasters club tournament at Clear Lake. It was a pleasant change from most of the lakes that we fish as the lake had a lot of vegetation.

The weights were down this weekend for a couple of reasons. The water clarity is not as well as it was a couple weeks ago. Also, there were 2 club tournaments going out on the same day. The Columbus Bassmasters were out there as well.

This was the first time I had fished the lake, but have heard good things about it. I didn't prefish it as it is over an hour and a half from the house.

At the start of the day I did not know where to fish. I was going to fish along the South bank near the boat ramp or around the islands. We drew 2nd to last boat out and the other club had taken off by the time we got started so the South bank and islands were covered with boats.

We went North and found a nice spot that dropped to 9 foot close to shore. It had grass and lily pads. Everything looked good. I made a mistake and went to shore. I am out of practice fishing vegetation. The fish even showed themselves a lot out deep. There were quite a few closer to shore as well but the larger fish were deeper.

We worked topwater for a while with no success and I changed to rubber. About an hour after I started working the shoreline I decided to head out in the middle of a cove to try for the suspended bass that kept working the surface. Dave pulled a 2 1/2 pounder out pretty quickly. As soon as he did the fish quit working the surface and we didn't get another bite there.

We moved to the South shore and I picked up a 1 3/4 pounder pretty quick followed by a 12 1/2 incher. I had caught a few more shorts in the process. As soon as I caught the 12 1/2 incher the bite died considerably.

The rest of the day I pulled out an occasional short fish. Finally around 1:00 I landed another 12 1/2 incher. That would be the last keeper for us.

At the weigh in we heard that most of the boats had their limits by 9:00 and barely caught fish the rest of the day as well. If I was to go back again next week I am sure I could get a quick limit and have a shot.

My 3 fish weighed 3.53 pounds. I finished near the bottom. First place had over 7 pounds and second and third had over 6 pounds.

I will prefish Griggs for our upcoming club tournament. I have to have a few productive spots figured out or I risk not catching a fish. The fish here seem to only feed for a couple hours in the morning. After that it is nearly impossible to catch a keeper.

Monday, August 2, 2010

O'Shaughnessy Club Tournament and Weekend Update

This weekend went fast. I guess they all do anymore.

Friday night was spent playing online poker. I was up around 30.00 when I finished playing.

Saturday Christina and I went to Cedar Point to ride the coasters. We rode a lot of them. The picture below is of Christina standing in line at the Top Thrill Dragster. It was our second coaster of the day. I wasn't too nervous getting on. I should have been. The whole ride lasts 17 seconds. Your body is rocketed to unbelievable speeds in no time. Definately a thrill!

Christina made friends with a couple of 15 year olds on one of the rides in the middle of the day and we rode rides with them the rest of the day. They were a couple of good kids but I am unsure of why they wanted to hang out with people twice their age.

We didn't get back to Columbus until after midnight. I had drank a monster on the way home to stay focused. It stuck with me and I had a really hard time getting to sleep.

A couple hours later I was up getting the boat out of the garage and ready for our club tournament on O'Shaughnessy.

I got to the lake and met Scott who was riding with me at the tournament. I was ready for redemption on the lake.

We started out close to the ramp. Knowing the lakes around here you have to get your fish early and the more time you spend casting the better chance you have of getting in on the early bite.

I caught a bluegill then a keeper pretty quick working down the bank. He was about 13 1/2 inches. We didn't have anymore bites on that bank so we moved up the lake a little to a bridge. It was a little deeper water. I caught a keeper bass right away about the same size as the first. We worked back and forth down the bridge a bit without any more fish. I could see some more working in that area but couldn't get them to bite.

We worked our way out to the shallow point and worked a weed line. As we were pulling out to move Scott was getting a bite so we pulled back in to work the line a little more. No luck.

We moved the opposit direction toward the dam. It was starting to get warmer and the sun was getting above the trees.

We stopped at a cove where I had a few fish break me off last year. I caught a few short bass out of there and a couple more bluegill. The short bass were fat.

I changed out the water in the livewell and noticed that there were a lot of crayfish pieces in the water. I stuck with my finesse worm since it had been working. I'm not sure if that was the right decision.

We worked back along a weed line to another small cove. We came across some sparse weeds and Scott had a couple nice fish hit his bait but get off before he could get them all the way to the boat. He was thinking it was the pole he was using. It didn't have much sensitivity and he wasn't feeling the bite until the fish already had the bait and then he couldn't get a good hook set.

I could have hooked up what he was using as it was starting to show signs of productivity. Yet again I stuck with what I was using. Probably not the best decision even though I still caught a few more short bass and a couple more bluegill.

We fished another larger cove with no luck. The good thing about fishing it is what I learned from it.

The whole cove was filled with 1 inch shad and I saw later that the rest of the lake had an abundance of them as well. When they flashed sideways it looked like the finesse worm I was using when I twitched it. In the main lake the shad were more balled up and not spread as far apart. The fish were feeding on them in the main lake.

The reason I said not switching baits throughout the day was not the best decision was due to the different structures we were fishing. The more I fish with the finesse worm the more I learn about it and realize that it is best for specific uses but not for every lake or structure.

It works great for rock banks. Especially smaller rock. Even better where the water drops quickly. It also works better where the water is cleaner.

Thinking back on the day. I should have used a ribbontail or twist tail worm texas rigged in the weeds. On the shallow banks I should have used a craw. I also wish I would have had a small topwater bait tied on.

I weighed in 2 bass for 2.11 pounds. I finally caught a keeper bass out of O'Shaughnessy. I didn't catch all the weights but think I finished around 6th. There were a lot of 1 or 2 fish catches. Only 2 people had 3 fish. There were also a few people that didn't catch any keepers.

Friday, July 30, 2010

A Whole Lot of Randomness

This weekend Christina and I are going to Cedar Point Amusement Point at Sandusky, OH. They are well know for their roller coasters. Christina has not been to Cedar Point. I went last year and it was awesome. It has been so fun getting to spend quality time with my wife the last week. We are definitely enjoying our time alone together.

We called Charity last night to check on the boys. The boys were already in bed so we could not talk to them. It sounds like they are having fun. Leo and Bella have been swimming a lot and Gavin is a garden picking fool. Charity says they are working with him to make sure he picks the red tomatoes instead of all of the tomatoes. They are lucky he isn't just pulling up the plants. Gavin's a little destructor.

They will be leaving Charity's soon to go to Cherish's for a day or two, then on to Grandma and Grandpa Hickert's for a week. After that they will be back to Cherish's for the next week to spend time with their 8 cousins. Finally, we will meet up with them in Kansas City at Mizike and Kimber's wedding.

I'm glad I didn't have to plan all that.

This Sunday I have a club tournament at O'Shaughnessy. I am yet to catch a keeper bass there. This doesn't discourage me. I am still unhumbled after the Ohio river tournament and know that I can catch bass 10 times better than last year. I am actually excited to go to a lake that I had such a poor experience at many times last year. I know the fishing can be good there and I am going to do what my gut told me to do all last year. Slow down and fish areas with slower presentations. I didn't have confidence in myself last year.

We'll see if confidence will help me out this year. Lets get this thing started. C'mon keeper bass!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Three Weeks Without Kids

The next three weeks will be a change of pace. Christina dropped off the kids at her sisters in Missouri. They will spend the week with her sister Charity. Then they will be shipped to Kansas to spend a week with my parents. For the last week they will be spending time With Cherish and Todd and their 8 cousins.

Christina said that Leo was pretty much pushing her out the door on Sunday. He kept saying, "Are you leaving yet Mom." He was ready to get his vacation started. He was even sick running a 100 degree temperature.

Christina returned Sunday evening and we relaxed and watched some T.V. I was hurting from Saturday. I drank 5 bottles of propel out on the water but somehow still got dehydrated. I was cramping up Saturday evening and night and by Sunday my legs felt like they had went through a meat tenderizer.

Last night we started out the week without the kids right. Christina's work had bought a section of tickets for the Columbus Clippers Minor League Baseball game for Dime a Dog night. Once we arrived at the ballpark we stood in line for 10 dogs and then went to find a beer stand that I had heard had happy hour until 7:00 with 2.00 beers. They didn't have the happy hour so I had to get a beer for 8.00. Then we made our way back to the seats in time for the game to start.

It was my first baseball game other than kids games. At first the crowd did not seem to into the game. Everybody was pretty quiet. As the game went on the Mascot seemed to get the crowd fired up. He was on our side of the field and got the wave started. It took about 7 or 8 tries to get it to circle the field.

The clippers started off good and finished strong for a win. I enjoyed the game but also enjoyed everything else about being at the field. A few rows down a few guys bought hotdogs and had a hotdog eating contest. Baseball is a lot more fun live.

In the next few weeks we have a lot of things we would like to do. A few more dates are in order as well as some house work.

I also listed my boat for sale on craigslist. I would like to sell it and purchase a bass boat so I can take my tournament fishing to another level. I like being a co-angler and will still continue to be co-angler in some events.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Super Tough Tournaments are Awesome!

Super tough tournaments are awesome if you are one of the few to catch a fish. The Ohio River tournament out of Maysville, KY was an especially tough tournament. It had rained a lot down there since Tuesday and the water was muddy. I'm talking barely seeing a chartreuse spinnerbait 2 inches under the surface muddy.

There were a few people that located some fish but not many. Four bass won the boater side with 5-11 and 2 bass won the co-angler side with 4-02. I don't know if you had to be lucky or good in this tournament but I wasn't either of those.

Jay Gillfillan won the boater side. That is awesome! He is a friend of a friend. I had been introduced to him at the Indian Lake BFL and talked to him after registration at this tournament.

I have to say that I am very happy with my experience in the FLW BFL so far. Everybody is so helpful and friendly. I guess we all have something in common. I was going to camp once I got down to the Ohio River. I met Jim Lovelace right away when I got to the tournament site. He had offered to be my guaranteed boater for the Ohio river tournaments so that I could be guaranteed to fish. He said that he had an extra bed at the hotel and offered to let me stay there.

We went out to eat at applebee's. We ran into my boater draw there and talked for a while why we were waiting to be seated.

My boater this tournament had a run of bad luck during prefish and had gotten mud plugged into one of his hoses. That cost him his first practice day as he worked on that and on his second practice day he ran down the river looking for spots to fish during the tournament.

Tournament morning we zoomed down the Ohio River. I knew it was going to be a tough tournament but was positive we would find a fish.

Throughout the day it got hotter and more humid. We fished hard but couldn't get a fish to bite. It was a very humbling experience to skunk in this tournament. I probably would have tried some different areas or techniques if I had my own boat. I really don't think anything I would have tried would have worked any better than what we did. Plain and simple, it was just tough fishing for all.

At one point we started to go upriver. As we were boating toward the power plant on the East side of Maysville, the air started to get hot. Hotter than it already was. It was an unbearable hot. We slowed down to look at a creek that had flowing water into the river. As we were slowing down I noticed the temperature on the electronics was showing 100 degree water temperature. I felt the water and it was hot. We left that area. We were getting low on fuel so we could not get too far away from the ramp so we fished the main river a little ways from the ramp.

It is easy to be a co-angler. All we do is show up and fish. I didn't realize until this week how much more added pressure comes from trying to get your co-angler on fish as well. At the previous 2 tournaments it was easy for the co-anglers to catch a fish, as it was easy for the boaters to know where to find the fish. This week I heard from more than one boater that they were more concerned about getting their co-anglers a fish especially if their co-anglers were doing well in the standings.

I hope my boater don't beat himself up over me not catching a fish. I had a fun rewarding experience even though I did not catch a fish. This was probably the toughest fishing I have experienced. We fished some fishy looking areas. I still can't believe that we didn't even catch a short fish or a bonus other species fish. I was waiting for a bite all day as I put my lure in more than one perfect place for the fish to bite.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Upcoming FLW BFL Buckeye Tournament Ohio River

Tomorrow will be our 3rd FLW BFL Buckeye tournament of the year. We are taking off out of Maysville, KY on the Ohio River. The last 3 tournaments will be on the Ohio River.

From what I have heard and read, it will be tough fishing. There should be a decent early morning bite. Possibly topwater and crankbait in the morning with slower action in the later morning and afternoon.

My confidence is high that I will catch some fish. It seems that I can catch fish almost anywhere with a finesse setup. My hookup ratio has gone up greatly in the last few weeks with a finesse setup. I was thinking that it was the hook that I was using but it was all in my hook set.

I was scared of setting a smaller hook as I wasn't sure if it would grab or pull free. At first I would reel fast to make the hookset or give a half hearted attempt. Now I set the hook just like i was setting the hook with a 3/0, doubling the rod over on the hookset. The more I have fished with the smaller hook I have realized that it gives a much better hookset and is harder to remove once it is set.

I hear the Ohio River is a good place for spinnerbaits as well. I love fishing spinnerbaits. Hopefully I can dial up a spinnerbait bite at some point tomorrow.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Grand Lake St. Marys Algae Bloom

I had heard earlier in the season that Grand Lake St. Marys was experiencing an algae bloom. One of the guys at work had bought a camper and was thinking of parking it there but had not because of the algae bloom.

I had heard of algae blooms at lakes in Kansas but didn't realize it could shut down a fishery. I just read in the Dayton Daily news that the Ohio EPA has banned all human contact with the lake water poisoned by the toxin-spewing cyanobacteria, a blue green algae. The Ohio EPA has banned swimming, boating or eating fish from the lake.

The reports that I am reading say runoff from the entire watershed is causing the problem. A key culprit is the winter application of manure on frozen ground that washes out with snow melt.

They are estimating that it could take decades to restore the lake to its natural state. If they could reduce nitrogen and phosphorous from entering the lake now, in 10 years it could be a nicer place.

From reports at work, the smell is horrible around the lake.

I had finished in 4th place at the FLW BFL tournament there earlier this year and at that time it was a wonderful lake. A lot of the lake is set up for tourism. I hate to see any of our public waterways hurting like this.

C.J. Brown Club Tournament

We had our C.J. Brown Reservoir club tournament on Sunday. There is just 1 word I can think of for the fishing there this week. Tough.

I thought that with the late afternoon bite I had there 2 weeks ago that fishing there early in the morning would be awesome. The bass had a different thought.

I fished hard and finally at noon, 6 hours after the start of the tournament I boated my first keeper. There had been 3 shorts that came earlier in the day. I did miss one decent largemouth early in the morning. He probably would have put me in the money.

One of the short fish I brought in had an s-shape'd body. I'm not sure what happened to him but he was definately deformed.

The keeper came after I had fanned a bank with a red eye shad. I was trying to get a reaction strike or make a bass mad. Then I moved in with a finesse worm and he bit. He measured over 12 1/2 inches but was only .89 pounds, long and skinny. I think I got him to bite by disturbing him then moving in with a slower bait.

I finished 6 out of 9. Three of the club members did not catch a bass. First place had 3 keepers and 2nd place had 2. One of the guys with one fish caught his in the last few minutes before the end of the tournament.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wilson Lake Kansas and Lake of the Ozarks vacation

I didn't fall of the edge of earth but I was right next to it the last week. Cell phone service didn't reach where we were camping and I was unplugged from any computer usage for over a week.

We camped with my in-laws for several days at Wilson lake in Kansas and toward the end of the week celebrated Mizike's bachelor party at a lake house on Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri.

Wilson is an excellent bass fishery. I would have loved to have a boat but bank fishing was phenomenal. I caught tons of smallmouth bass with some big largemouth mixed in. I had a 5-6 pound largemouth come out of the water and shake my lure loose at one point.

The lake reminds me of what I would think lake Meade would look like on a smaller level. There were huge canyons with rock face walls and steep drop offs. There were also areas that were shallower near the bank line with grass, willows and shrubs coming up out of the water.

I didn't get to do a lot of fishing as I was spending time with family but the time that I got was awesome.

My nephew Peyton and I spent some time down below the spillway fishing for catfish and anything that would bite as well. We caught tons of fish down there along with some decent sized catfish. I had a snapping turtle hit my plastic worm as I drug it across his face and had a fun fight with him until the hook finally slipped out. Peyton broke off on a big fish that he couldn't get to the surface or slow down. I did the same thing then lost an 8 to 10 pounder as I was lifting it up the cement wall. Peyton caught a good sized catfish and we got a picture of him with it. The next day he had a 5 - 6 pounder that he brought back to camp in a cooler but we didn't get a picture of that one.

Leo had fun climbing in the trees and swimming with his cousins. Gavin was scared of the water. He had fallen into the deep end of a pool a couple weeks before and was deathly scared of getting close to the water of seeing us out in it. By the end of the week he was back to his daring self running and wading in the water up to his chest.

Leo and Gavin filled cups with rolly polly's and were playing with any bug they could find. Everybody played volleyball, kickball and baseball throughout the week. Peyton, Anton, and David helped me put on a fireworks show on the 4th of July.

Mom and Dad showed up on their way home from visiting family at Council Grove lake. We ate lunch with them and the in-laws at a restaurant in Lucas, KS and visited a place called The Garden of Eden afterward. That is one strange place. There is a huge story about it when you visit. Everything is built out of limestone or cement and everything the guy built represented his religious beliefs or his political beliefs. He built the whole place for tourism. In the mausoleum you can even view his body behind enclosed glass. I would recommend visiting if you ever near the area.

We spent the latter half of the week with Christina's Mom and Dad in a cabin at Wilson. We settled down and played cards and relaxed. One day we went wine tasting and ate at an awesome restaurant in Russell.

The week went quick and I was soon on my way to Lake of the Ozarks. We had a blast there, shooting fireworks, drinking, socializing, swimming, fishing, boating and jumping off cliffs. The place we stayed at LakeWest Rentals was a well kept nice out of the way place with a boat that you can rent while you stay at the cabin. I would have recommended it but was not happy about how some things turned out and how it cost me hundreds of dollars for small mistakes. The owner verbally treated my like I was a little kid.

We took the boat out about an hour before dark to get some evening fishing in. Mizike hooked into a large fish neer the shore that towed us out deep and around a cove not far from the cabin. He fought the fish for over a half hour until it was getting close to dark and finally started wrenching on it to try to get it to the boat eventually breaking his line.

It was getting close to dusk so we turned on the lights to the boat. The back light did not come on. We messed with it for about 10 minutes to get it to turn on and started to the cabin. We went slow for safety reasons on our way back to the cabin and as we were pulling into the cove with the cabin the owner called. He said "I noticed you are not in with the boat yet and it is dark." I told him about the fish that we were fighting and that we were getting ready to dock the boat. He said, "Well the rules say that you cannot have the boat out after dark." I assured him that we were pulling the boat in and it was just past dark.

I got some of my 400.00 deposit for the house and boat back today but he had charged me 200.00 for having the boat out after dark. I had also called him the next morning as we went to the 2 marina's he had marked on his map with the boat and both were out of gas to see what his recommendation would be. He asked us to leave 50.00 on the table for the half tank of gas we had used. He charged me a 25.00 convenience charge for filling the boat up plus 85.00 for gas and 15.00 for oil. We had the boat shut off most the time we were using it and never got more than a half mile from the house. Gas at the marina's was 3.50 on the pumps so he is saying we used 24 gallons of gas and burned through 15.00 of oil. As a boat owner and boat user for 16+years there is no way we used that much gas. Maybe 10-12 gallons max and that's an extremely huge estimate. We only had the boat for 4 hours and fished and swam out of it most of that time with the motor off.

Did we violate the rules, yes. Was he at all forgiving, not at all. We never purposely violated the rules and he charged us for every little mistake. That is why I do not recommend Lake West Rentals.

The trip home seemed like it took forever.

Just some other gripes as I feel like I am losing my mind right now with all that has happened since Sunday. Somebody hit my car at a restaurant and did not report it as we were leaving the lake. They had hit the front driver's side and I did not notice until I noticed the steering was weird and got out and looked. Once at home somebody took a shopping cart down 3 quarters of our van and put a deep scratch in the paint from the front door to the tail light. My wife deposited the money from the cabins I had collected from the others and a 50.00 bill must have stuck to another and the deposit was 50.00 less than I had sent. My cell phone bill went over by 250 minutes, I was making a lot of calls planning then had tons of work calls on vacation.

Don't feel sorry for me I am working through all that. I am just glad we had a good safe trip. The rest is money. Just don't let me catch you damaging my vehicles cuz one more time may set me off.

Practice for C.J. Brown Reservoir

Sunday, June 27th, I had a free day from tournament fishing so Gene, Leo and I went to C.J. Brown to fish the lake. I had not been there so wanted some idea of how the lake layed out.

The front half by the dam was deep and the back half is shallow. They have a lot of sandy or rocky shoreline with a lot of brush hanging over the bank above the water.

We fished some and swam quite a bit. Mainly we were just there to have fun and get an idea of the lake. Oh, I also caught 5 bass! Three were smallmouth and 2 were largemouth. Two were easy keepers and the other 3 might have been as well.

It was extreemly windy, hot, humid and choppy from the fun boaters. I know where I will start out come tournament time this weekend. Most of my spots are main lake shoreline so I will have quite a bit to fish when all of us get our spots.

Delaware Club Tourney 6/26/10

I'm finally catching up from vacation and have tons to write about. I will have to shorten some stories or I will be on the computer for days.

First about my June 26th tournament at Delaware lake. In a previous post I mentioned that I haven't fished the lake for bass but had for crappie many times. I knew the layout of the lake and studied a few different maps to decide where to start.

I pulled into the lake and realized there must be another tournament going out. Shure enough another club tournament was going out of the other ramp in the state park. Not only that, there was a big tournament the next day with lots of people pre-fishing. The water was going to get beat up.

I pulled into my first spot, a high bank that has produced some big crappie. The drop from bank to deep water made me want to give it a shot. I started out a ways from where I wanted to end up since I was the only person to stop at this particular bank. I had a boat pull in behind me after a bit but I was able to work the whole bank area first. The first fish didn't hit the shakey MiRketti until about 8:00, then it was on! The first fish was a good keeper on a point of a small cove and on the other point of the small cove I pulled in another keeper.

I fished quickly to my main area as boats started pulling in quickly and there was a rocky area I wanted to post up on. Once there I pulled several short fish in. I cast a spinnerbait seeing if a larger bass would hit and wham, fight on. I didn't have any more luck on the spinnerbait so I kept fishing the shakey MiRketti trying to work my way through the short fish. There was no shortage of 11 - 11 3/4 inch bass. This lake is going to be great next year.

I caught over 20 bass during the tournament but only had the 3 keepers. I did try a few other areas with laydowns on the main lake and another cove that didn't seem to get as much pressure as some of the rest of the lake.

At the weigh in my fish came to 4.37 pounds after a dead fish penalty for 4th place. I had one die at the ramp while waiting for weigh in. I went through 2 bags of ice throughout the day but needed more. My boat doesn't have a recirculating livewell and the surface water was heating up quickly throughout the day. I feel really bad losing a fish, especially a keeper of that quality. Next tournament I will have rejuvenate and an aerator with lots of ice. The fish did not cost me a place but the crayfish that one of them spit out definately did. It was absolutely huge and if not spit up would have moved me into 3rd place money. It had fascinating colors and I wish I would have taken a picture of it. It had a greenish body with some oranges mixed in and the tips of its claws were blue. That is why you should dip the tips of your claws.

It was still a great club tourney. You can't beat catching 20 bass even if a majority of them are short fish. The talk at weigh in was that everybody whacked short fish.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Thief May Be Caught!

If all goes right tonight there will be a warrant and an arrest of the man that broke out the window on the van and stole my wife's purse.

The detective working the case called the day after and said they think they know who did it. They were gathering the evidence and this evening when the store clerk returns to work they are going to do a line up and have him point out the thief.

We have gotten all the cards cancelled and have opened a new bank account since he had gotten our checks with routing and account numbers. We searched the area to see if we could find the purse. We looked in bushes and trash cans but could not find it. Christina is without a drivers license or any ID right now. She thinks with the police report and some other documentation she will be able to get her Driver's license tomorrow. With that she should be able to get everything else again.

It is a huge hassel. Don't leave anything in your cars. We should get the 106.00 back that the guy used but will still be out 200.00 for a new window, 25.00 for a driver's license, and whatever a cell phone, new purse and all the contents cost.

The guy also used a screwdriver to crack the glass so he damaged the door of the van itself. I'm not paying to fix that. The van has lost so much value already anyway from being keyed top to bottom, hitting a coyote, and hitting a deer. It's had 3 new paint jobs and it's only a 2005. I don't think the groundhog chewing up 700.00 worth of wiring on it will lower the value any more than that since we replaced all that wiring and sensors.

It will be nice to get out on the water tomorrow and not have to worry about any of this for a few hours.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


They got us tonight. Christina took Leo to swimming lessons and somebody broke the drivers side window out of the van and stole her purse with debit and credit cards, ID, checks, and social security cards.

It is a scary feeling knowing somebody has all that information. They spent 106.00 at Marathon gas station before we could get the cards turned off. Who knows what else they spent before we got the cards turned off in the first 30 minutes. Chase would not let me turn off the card when I called. They said she would have to call even though it was a joint account set up by myself.

I was very angered but my Mom and Dad calmed me down and made me realize that it could have been way worse. I love my parents.

I was ready to open season on thieves. The guy signed his own name at a store he goes to regularly and was in front of many security cameras on his bicycle when he used her card. He spent 106.00 on phone cards at Marathon. I hope the police make an effort to catch this guy. I am entrusting this to them. Justin is his first name even though Christina did not see his last name on the receipt.

This is becoming too common. Somebody tries breaking in my car a week and a half ago and now somebody succeeds. Is it time to take matter in my own hands? If I didn't have a wife and kids I think I would make a good vigilante.

Weekend Update - Not Fishing!

I held up on my end of the deal by not fishing this last weekend. It was tough! It was a nice break to spend some time with the family.

Friday night we went shopping at Kohl's. I got some swimming shorts and a nice summer shirt. I don't buy cloths too often but my swimming shorts from a few years ago were unwearable. It was embarrasing when I figured that one out. Mom pointed out that there was a noticable hole between the 2 legs of the shorts.

We had chinese buffett at a new restraunt they opened near home called Go Go Buffett. It was good and had all the regular offerings.

Saturday Leo had a birthday party to attend at The Big Splash in Grove City. We had a blast swimming and playing in the water. Gavin was not scared of the water at all and Leo worked on his swimming as he had just finished his first week of swimming lessons. We are staying really busy keeping him busy this summer.

Christina had a movie party at a co-workers house on Saturday night. I watched the kids as they set up train tracks and played with trains and toy cars all night.

Sunday when we got up Leo said, "Do you have fire on your back? My back is on fire!" Gavin and him had gotten burned despite putting sun screen on them at the pool. I have a base tan so I didn't get burned.

Since I wasn't fishing I ordered some goodies from bass pro and got them in the mail yesterday. I got some zoom speed worms and speed craws to try out this weekend. I also got some Monsoor swim jigs and re-stocked some hooks and bullet weights as I have been going through them this year.

Saturday I have a club tournament at Delaware lake. I know where to find the crappie there but the bass is a different story. I have been studying lake maps to decide where to go. I have several spots picked out to try at the start. If that doesn't produce, I will work some main lake banks and work fallen trees the rest of the day. The good thing about our club is that we will not overfish the lake. Each boat will be able to get to good locations as there are usually only 8 or 9 boats.