Saturday, May 22, 2010

4th Place finish in FLW BFL Buckeye Division as Co-Angler

I left work yesterday after a very stressful day and headed to Grand Lake St. Mary's to register for the FLW BFL Buckeye Division Tourmanent as a co-angler. I did not have my GPS and had not been there before so I had to make several calls to my wife to get me on the right track.

Once I arrived I checked in and waited around for the pre-tournament meeting. It was all new and exciting to me. There were several people around that helped me so I didn't feel so lost on the process.

Finally it got down to pairings and they called out the boat numbers and the names of the boater and co-angler. I must have misheard the boat number and wrote down boat 13. I went to meet my partner and an individual was calling out boat 13. I raised my hand and we walked off planning the next days meeting area.

On the walk I asked him if he pre-fished the lake. He said that he had not. He then asked me the same and I told him no. I asked him what kind of boat he had and he said a 20 foot Javelin. He then said that he would be bringing 4 poles and asked if that was o.k. I realized that one of us had made a mistake at that point and asked if he was a boater. He said no so we walked back to the FLW trailer and I was actually boat 14. I found my partner Craig that had been looking for me and he found his. Craig and I made meeting arrangements for the morning and I left to stay with a friend at Indian lake.

At Indian we went to eat all you can eat Walleye at Blackhawk Bar and Grill and I had a couple bud light limes. We went back to Chads house and I got my tackle organized for the next day. Finally, at 11:00 I laid down on the couch to catch a few hours of sleep with a plan to wake up at 3:30 AM to head back to Grand Lake.

While asleep, I had a dream that I was fishing in the tournament and caught my first keeper. My adrenaline rushed and I awoke at 1:30 AM. I laid there but was unable to fall back asleep. I felt like I was a kid waiting on Christmas morning to come. Eventually, after I realized that I wasn't falling back asleep I left for the lake.

There were quite a few cars still in the parking lot filled with anglers that were sleeping in their cars. I sat in the Blazer and waited for people to start showing up. There were a few people stirring in and out of their cars.

Craig arrived around 5:00. I loaded my tackle and poles into his boat and we went to get in line to put in the boat. It was still very dark.

Once the boat was in the water and I had parked his truck we sat in the boat and chatted with the other anglers waiting for the start of the tournament. There was a lot of dock talk going on.

I had a plan on what I was going to start out with based on what I had caught fish on last weekend. We were boat #14 so we got our choice of spots. Craig said he had quite a few fish in his areas. We arrived to the first canal we were going to fish and there was a boat there already. Luckily they were panfishing. I was casting a rubber worm and pulled it across a log when a bass swam up onto the log chasing it. It would have been a keeper bass. We continued to work around the channel to a rock shoreline made up of smaller rock. I pulled out a different rod with a 1/16th jig head on it and wacky rigged a drop shot worm on it. From now on I will refer to this as a Wacky MiRketti. It is kind of a cross between a wacky rig and a flick shake.

We worked our way down the rock bank and I got a bite. I set the hook and soon the 2 lb. 14 oz bass was netted and in the livewell. We worked around the corner and I caught a short and a bluegill on the wacky MiRketti.

We worked around the channel a little more then went to try a channel on the opposit side of the lake that Craig had quite a bit of luck on in practice. We made our way into the channel and boats were everywhere. We got to the end of the channel and there was a good rock bank similar to the one we had luck on in the other channel. One boat had just fished it and Craig asked if they would mind if we fished it. They said they would not but they had caught all the fish out of there. They had caught a catfish and a sheephead. I cast into the spot a couple times and was shaking my wacky MiRketti when I had a hit. I called for the net and I had my second bass was in the livewell. It was a 2 lb. 9 oz. beauty.

The rest of the day was tough and all I could catch were some more shorts, 4 total through the day, and a bunch of giant bluegill. We passed a lot of boats and all of them were saying the fishing was tough and most of them had 0 or 1 fish. Things were looking pretty good for me with 2 nice fish in the livewell. I wanted at least 1 more to make sure I made it in the money.

With about 5 minutes left before our return to check in Craig had a hit on his buzzbait. He got it to the boat but it got off at the boat. It was 13-14 inches and he was going to swing it in.

Craig was a great boater and got us in the areas that had fish. It was a pleasure fishing with him and I hope that we will get to fish together again sometime in the future.

I was one of the first to weigh in. My 2 bass weighed 5 lbs 7 oz and I was in the lead on the co-angler side for more than half the weigh in. It felt awesome getting the way to go's and the good jobs from the crowd when I walked off the stage. I figured 5 lbs. 7 oz. was not enough to win but with the tough day on the water I was hoping for a high finish. I was not dissapointed at the end of weigh in with my 4th place finish out of 114 co-anglers.

Now I need to keep up the momentum in tomorrow's Deer Creek club tournament.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mom's Cedar Bluff Bass

Mom and Dad went camping at Cedar Bluffs Reservoir in Kansas a couple weekends ago. That is the site that Dad had the 6 pound Walleye about this time last year. This time Mom got the big fish. They did not measure it. Looking at the picture you can tell it was a nice bass. I didn't ask but I bet she caught it on her zebco while crappie fishing with a minnow under a bobber.

I can't wait for this weekend. I have 2 tournaments then will be going to Kansas Sunday after the tournament to spend the week with Mom and Dad the wife and kids at Glen Elder lake. My grandparents might camp with us too. It is always great when they are at the lake.

It's been a while since I've been to Glen Elder but they have always had slab crappie, good walleye, white bass everywhere, bass, and other bonus fish. Dad and Uncle Monty finished 7th in the money at the Governor's Cup Walleye tournament there when I was younger. The whole family was camping out at the same time, and when they got back to camp after the tournament I was more excited than they could have been. I knew Dad could do good, he was the greatest fisherman ever!

Dad gave me 2 lures he got at the tournament site. I'm not sure if he bought them or if they were given to him. I still have both of them in my treasure box. A box full of lures that I will never use again because they remind me of so many great stories growing up. Those 2 lures will always symbolize the time my Dad followed his dream in fishing and succeeded.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Camping and Knox Lake Club Tournament

The weather was perfect on Friday and I was able to get off a half hour early to get the camping supplies ready and the boat hooked up before Christina got home with the kids.

She got her and the kids cloths ready and we were on the road by 6:30. The campground we were staying was on Kokosing lake about 5 miles from Knox lake where my tournament would be on Sunday.

We got to the lake a little after 8:00. Kimber, Leo and I set up the camp while Christina ran to town for groceries and supplies. The campsite we picked up was on the water so I had Christina pick up some chicken livers so Leo and I could catfish Friday night.

Christina and Kimber went to bed early with Gavin. Leo and I sat on the shore of the lake near the fire and watched our catfish poles until 1:00 AM. I caught one tiny catfish and set the hook on another that I was going to let Leo reel in but he got off while Leo was slowly reeling him in. I let Leo listen to the small catfish while I was unhooking him then I put him in a minnow bucket for Leo to play with while we were fishing.

Leo finally got tired and wanted to go to bed. I sent him to the tent while I cleaned up camp. I dumped the catfish out. The next morning I was up by 5:00 AM. I hadn't slept hardly at all with Gavin trying to crawl underneath me all night.

The first thing I did was set up all my poles with bass rigs. I was going to try a lot of different presentations to figure out the bass. I started out in front of camp. The first thing I tried was a wacky rigged drop shot worm on a 1/16 oz regular jig head. I cast it out and let it sit then lifted the rod tip. As I did the worm would vibrate on it's way up. I caught a 13 inch bass right away. Then I caught a decent 10" crappie that I put in the minnow bucket.

I walked down the shore a little ways to really shallow water with a tree trunk sticking out. I cast to it and lifted the worm. I let it sit on bottom for about 15 seconds when my line started darting off to the side. With a good hook set the fish was on. I could tell that it was a decent fish and I had to run along the bank to keep up with him as he was swimming away. As the battle concluded I lifted the biggest bass I have caught in Ohio out of the water. It was 16 1/2 to 17 inches and was thick.

I woke everybody else in the tent up because I wanted a picture. Kimber came out and snapped a picture of the bass. Leo ended up getting up as well. The first thing he did was go to check on the catfish that we had in the minnow bucket. He opened up the lid. His eyes got big and he yelled out, "It grew". The crappie was quite a bit bigger than the catfish we had caught the night before. I'm glad I had something in there for him. He would have been disappointed to see an empty bucket.

He started fishing first thing when he got up as well. I had already rigged his pole with a crappie set up.

About 10:00 the kids Christina and Kimber went to play at the playground. I was itching to try Knox lake with their 18" length limit. I had already caught a good limit off Kokosing by 8:00 in the morning and hoped the pattern would work for Knox.

The girls wanted to go to town. I had a bass that I was missing next to a stump in front of the camp so I stayed there a while to catch him and try my luck at fly fishing. Both failed. I cleaned the crappie and headed to Knox about 1:00 hoping I could find an afternoon pattern there.

Once I arrived at Knox I figured out that it was a totally different lake than Kokosing. It had a few similarities but there were hardly any reachable structural areas like the one I had caught most of my fish on at Kokosing. I tried a few areas and found one spot with some decent fish on it.

I drove around the lake trying to find spots to fish the next day. There is a stump field on the East side of the lake. The bank on the other side of the stump field looked like the area I had fished in Kokosing. I tried to make it there but only made it about 10 feet into the stump field before I was hitting all kinds of stumps. It took us about a half hour to get back out. The stumps were thick.

The girls and kids met with me at Knox and we went out to try some more fishing and driving around the lake. They had found a red ear slider turtle and brought it along for the kids to play with.

Leo caught a crappie off one spot casting out toward the middle of the lake. I couldn't get any more bass. Then we went to the other end of the lake. We pulled up to one spot near the end of the day and I pulled out the tiny dancer trying to catch us some crappie for a meal that night. I pulled in about 15-20 crappie all of which were small. Leo caught a couple more as well.

My skin was turning red and everybody was ready to get back to camp so we headed in for the evening.

At camp I got a hot dog fire going and we roasted hot dogs and smores. I cast out a catfish pole. Everybody scattered to the tent around 8:00 when it starting drizzling. I stayed out and was poking the fire when my pole started heading towards the lake. I grabbed it just in time and set the hook. I brought in about a 5 pound carp on chicken liver. It was almost a good fight. He fought hard for a minute then turned towards shore and tried to tangle me in a brush pile.

After that I figured I had better get some sleep since I had to be up for the tournament at 5:00 Sunday morning.

Sunday morning I woke up early and headed to Knox lake. I had heard from everybody the day before that the fishing was tough. I hoped that I had something going that they didn't since I had caught a lot of fish early on Saturday.

Ken and I drew boat number 5. He decided to try the spot that I told him I had some fish on the day before. We pulled up to the bank and 2 other boats pulled up to it at the same time. All three boats fished it and only 1 person pulled in a short fish. I guess I caught a crappie right as we were leaving.

We tried a couple more areas in some shallow water before moving to some deeper water. It was getting to mid morning and we had not been bit. We were following a deep bank and had just gotten to shallow water. Ken was going to speed fish the shallow area and started moving the boat faster. I had just cast into an area with a bunch of pipes sticking up out of the water.

I had a hit and I set the hook. My line started going the opposite direction as us. I finally got the fish to turn. As it did I got a side view of the fish. It was huge. I pulled it in a little then it started another run. I pulled to get it to turn direction again and it came unbuttoned. I was really upset as I am sure it would have been big bass for the tournament and possibly big bass for the year in our bass club. When I got the worm back to the boat the fish had hit the worm so that it doubled over and hooked itself again leaving just the point to hold the fish.

We made it down the bank a little further in some deeper water and Ken got hung up. We started to float near a lay down and I had a hit. I set the hook. The fish pulled under the lay down. I was able to change his direction and he swam past the front of the boat. I got to the front of the boat and got the bass to the surface where he rolled onto his side. I went to grab him and as I did he shook his head and spit the lure. I was a millisecond from having him in the boat. He was about 16 inches. I should have swung him into the boat.

Ken had one on a little ways down the bank in a lay down. He fought it a while and it came off. The rest of the morning was uneventful. Ken finally caught a keeper with about an hour left then another short fish and a crappie. Towards the final minutes of the tournament I had a bite. I wasn't taking any chances and had a solid hook set. It was a crappie again. He will have a headache and will swim crooked for a while with the hook set I gave him.

The first tournament of the year resulted with 0 bass for me. I am 15 points back from 1st place so it wasn't a disaster if I can consistently get fish the rest of the year. Big bass was 3.61 pounds and first place had 10.06 pounds. There were 14 of us fishing. Three had a 5 fish limit and three had 0. There was one other that had 4 fish and the rest of the group had 1 or 2.

With fishing the way it was the day before I had confidence that I would go out and at least catch some fish. My next tournament will be at Grand Lake St. Mary's for a FLW BFL event on Saturday, then on Sunday at Deer Creek for a club tournament. I will catch some fish at these tournaments. I know Deer Creek pretty well after last year and I have been waiting for the Grand Lake tournament forever.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Come on Camping Weather!

We will have our first club tournament at Knox lake this Sunday. I have not fished Knox before but here it has excellent bass fishing. It is on the smaller side of lakes I usually fish. It is around 500 acres and has 11 miles of shoreline. The lenght limit is 18" which should help the bass population. We will be doing a paper tournament so that we can count any fish over 12 inches and bring any fish over 18" to the scales.

From the reports I am hearing the bass are starting to bed at Knox. I haven't sight fished before so this will be my first sight fishing experience. I am hoping to camp this weekend so I can pre-fish on Saturday / take Leo fishing. I called a campground close to there today to see if they had any openings. Hopefully they will call back.

I am ready for camping and fishing. Last weekend gave me a little taste but overall I think we only fished for a few hours. Leo is ready for fishing too. He asks every night for me to take him fishing. Gavin is getting into the outdoors as well. It's time to get the tent back out and roast some dog dogs on the fire!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Lake Erie Trip

I did a bad bad thing. I set up a fishing trip on Mother's Day. I just couldn't help myself. Fisherman's Wharf had up pictures on their website of all the walleye being caught on jigs. You have a good shot of catching some big ones this time of year. I spoke with my wife and she didn't seem to have an issue with it so I traded Father's day weekend with her. This was also the only time I could make it to lake Erie since my schedule is full for the remainder of spring and summer on the weekends.

Mike from the club called Friday evening. He said that the weather Saturday was detering him from wanting to fish. With the cold front and winds coming through I agreed that it would not be a great day to fish. That was a bit of a dissapointment as I had not fished the week prior.

We still had the trip to Erie planned so I would still get to fish. Gene showed up around 6:30 Saturday evening. His brother showed up around 7:00 and we started towards the lake and would pick up Chris along the way.

With a few stops on the way we made it to Fisherman's Wharf in Port Clinton around midnight. We figured we would sleep in the van to save money and be there at 6:00 when they opened. It was super cold and windy out that night. Gene was coughing, Chris was shifting, and Glenn was texting. I don't know what I was doing but Chris was the only one that could sleep. I slept for about an hour until the Jet Express came by and blared it's horn to have the draw bridge raised.

After that we all were in and out of the van the rest of the night and had given up on sleep. Finally at 6:00 Fisherman's Wharf opened their doors. We walked in and they said that the headboats would not go out due to the winds blowing so hard and the lake not laying down. They said if they did take us out, the fishing would not be great anyway.

We tried a couple of spots you could fish from the bank. We only got a couple bites. We decided to go try a lake closer to home. After about 20 minutes in the car I said we should try the Sandusky River running through the town of Freemont to see if the White Bass run was going on.

We stopped in Freemont and the river was lined with people. Gene caught the first white bass on a bobber and minnow. I caught the next one on a roadrunner. He caught a couple more. Then I felt a fish hit. I could feel it on my line but I would pull back on the rod and it would barely move. I wondered if it had wrapped around a rock. I pulled the fish closer and closer to bank. Each time I would tug it would come a little closer then just sit there. Once it got close to bank it decided it wasn't coming any closer. It took off for the middle again. My drag quit working and the pressure on my line was enough that my 12 pound test would surely break. I went to grab line and try pulling it off at the reel and all of a sudden there was no fish. I lifted my line expecting to see that it had been broken. Instead the lure had pulled free from the fish. That was a little dissapointing as it was a big fish. Probably a catfish but still big.

I caught a couple white bass pretty quickly after that, then Gene and I continued to catch a few more. Glen and Chris were not as fortunate and were unable to catch a fish.

Chris kept snagging and gave up. He had been sitting up on the rocks for about a half hour when we saw game wardens approaching in each direction checking licenses. They made it to us and Gene Glenn and I showed them our license. They then approached Chris. He tried to tell them that he was not fishing but they said that they had seen him fishing. He did not have a license so they took him over the top of the levy.

After about 45 minutes they came back over the top. Chris told me that he would not be to work on Monday. Then one of the game wardens asked if he worked for me and I told him yes. The game warden proceeded to tell me that in that county if you are not a resident and are caught fishing without a license that they have to put you in jail until you have court and since there was not court on Sunday they would have to take Chris in. He then said that we could get a bond for him and that would cover his court cost and they could release him. I followed the game wardens to the police station and paid for the bond.

By the time Chris and I got back the fishing had slowed quite a bit. We decided to head back home. Glen had lost his hat at the previous place we were fishing on Erie, so we drove back there to look for it first. When we got there, the water was up from where it had been. It had raised about 4-5 foot and the place we were standing was a ways out in the water. Apparently all the wind had created a wind tide that morning and his hat was nowhere to be found.

We drove back to Columbus with 10 white bass on ice. They weighed between 1 - 2 pounds each.

Friday, May 7, 2010

We're All Friends Here

The second soccer practice was a success. As long as a success means most of the kids had fun. I felt a lot better after leaving this practice. Most of the kids were not ready to give it up yet when they had to leave. They wanted to play some more of the games that we played using soccer balls.

The 2 girls that were there did not get into the practice that well today. I will need to find a way to get them more involved and having fun if I can. I think the wild boys on the team scared them too much.

I had the team take some time to decide a name. There were a couple names thrown out there and a couple kids liked my son's idea to call it Leo's team, but we finally reached an agreement that everybody likes. I'm now the head coach of "We're All Friends Here".

I think the parents enjoyed watching their children having fun. I had a blast and am ready for the next practice.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Soccer Practice

I definately could have used some time between figuring out that I was a coach and the first practice. I got home when I was talking to Dad around 9:00 or 9:30 and found out that Christina volunteered me to be a coach. She had asked me earlier in the afternoon if I would be interested in volunteering to help with soccer.

I had told her that I don't know a thing about soccer but I could help out if they were o.k. with me not knowing a thing about soccer. I thought I would be helping a coach not coaching. I got trapped.

I had to come in to work early yesterday. Then had an extreemly busy day thanks to an accident we had on Monday. I had time to stop at home then go straight to the practice. I had no idea what to expect and no clue what was going to happen at the first practice.

I was given the names of my team on a sticky note and they called out the names of the children to get with the coaches.

The head of the soccer league told me that she was placing me and the kids on half of a field. She said to watch the coach on the other half and kinda do what he is doing.

At that point all of the mothers and a couple fathers approached me. Everybody wanted to know what was going on, if we were practicing or playing, rules, team color, who brings snacks and when. I wanted to crawl in a hole. I was so confused. I hadn't been given the slightest clue on what I needed to know and had no time to look up anything prior to showing up.

All the other teams started warming up so I had the kids start doing stretches. One of the mother's that must have had a kid go through soccer before sensed that I didn't know what I was doing and asked if I needed help during the first stretch.

We only did a few stretches and the Mother had some drill ideas so we did those. She was running out of ideas and her son needed her so I told her I could handle it. Lie! I tried to do a couple things but I am only good at one thing with kids. I can get them wired up! Not so good with getting them to settle down. I had them chasing a ball all over the field. I was getting them ready to play a little bit and the hour was over.

One of the coaches sat snacks behind me as I was talking to the kids and I was able to pass out snacks. Didn't think about that one either! I've got to remember that anything I do with kids, they require snacks.

I think the kids had some fun. It will be a lot more fun on Thursday. I have some games to play that use soccer balls and will get them used to kicking. I will have a full practice ready and I am taking help this time. Kimber is going to help me show the kids how to play the games and do the drills.

I felt like a complete idiot as I was leaving the field. The parents of those 9 kids were expecting more. I don't blame them. If I was on the sidelines I would want to see my kid doing more with a soccer ball than I had them doing. I know that I was asked to be coach the night before but they don't know that.

I'm ready to get back out there Thursday now just to prove that I'm not a joke and to get the kids having a lot more fun. There is a game where everybody stands in a circle around the coach then takes turns kicking a ball at the coach. If they hit the coach they get to request that the coach do something funny like act like a different animal or a cartoon character. If that isn't fun for them there is red light green light with a soccer ball. I've got a bunch more ideas thanks to the internet that will make learning the basics of soccer fun.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Official Member of a Bass Club and Soccer Coach

It's official. I am an official member of the Twin Rivers Bassmasters. At the club meeting last night I was asked to leave the room and when I returned the votes where in and I was accepted as a member.

As a member I will now be able to vote on important issues for the club and equally important I will be able to fish the club tournaments.

I had a chance to fish with and against some of the members at the Alum Creek open a couple weekends ago and they are some excellent fishermen. I hope to learn a lot fishing with them and hope to hold my own fishing against them.

I am getting excited. The tournament season is about here. This weekend coming up will be last free weekend for a while. It's not really free as I am fishing for bass with Mike a member of the club on Saturday at Deer Creek, then on Sunday I am going to fish for walleye at Lake Erie with Gene, his brother Glenn and a co-worker Chris.

My weekends are booked until Father's Day weekend June 19th and 20th. That's my wife's weekend. Then full again until October. Booked with fishing, fishing, camping, fishing and more fishing! It's the summer I've always dreamed about and my wonderful wife is being very supportive.

My week nights are filling up fast too. We enrolled my 4 year old son Leo in socker and his first night is tonight. A lady that puts the socker on called yesterday and left a message that they were looking for volunteers to help out on the field. She said it was not important what you know about socker. Christina called me and asked if I would want to volunteer. I said sure, figuring I would be assisting the coaches in training. Nope, I got home from the club meeting and Christina told me I was going to be a coach over 7 - 8 kids starting tonight!

It's kind of exciting but I don't even know if I know all the basics of soccer. I used to play for fun growing up. I think this league is just for the kids to have fun and learn the basic fundamentals of the game. I hope with my competitive nature that I can show the kids how to have fun and learn the game at the same time. I am really unsure what to expect and am very nervous for this evening. It will be a blast to coach a bunch of kids though. I can only imagine what I will hear over the next couple months from a group of 4 year olds. "Kids say the darndest things".