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Author Topic: Don Watts and Jeff Denny win Lake Drive Championship on Burt and Mullett Lakes  (Read 14800 times)

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djkimmel

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Don Watts and Jeff Denny win Lake Drive Championship on Burt and Mullett Lakes

The team of Don Watts and Jeff Denny won the September 23-24, 2011 Lake Drive Marine championship on Burt and Mullett Lakes with 9 bass weighing 44.69 pounds to take the top prize of a new boat. A 6.27 pounds kicker smallmouth bass today sealed the victory caught on a Poor Boy's Dixie Darter. Watts reports that most of their smallmouth bass were caught on the larger Dixie Darter.

Read complete story on GreatLakesBass.com Tournament News.
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djkimmel

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Don Watts with two of their 4 final day toad smallies caught during their Lake Drive Marine championship win!
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PIGSMALLIE


Congratulations to Don on another great win.. :o
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LGMOUTH


I'm going to give everyone a day by day account of my fishing experience up at Burt and Mullett lakes and maybe it will help someone else out if they ever find themselves in a similar situation.

 The lakes were off limits since Sept 5th and I hadn't gotten a chance to get up there before the cutoff. My partner Jeff Denny went up there the last few days and did have a couple of areas that held some fish but nothing that would win. So after getting a few helpful pointers from a few other Friends I headed up there on Sept 20th to start pre fishing the next two days. Jeff wouldn't be up there until Thursday since he had to work on Wednesday so I was on my own until then.

Day 1 Practice
When I got up in the morning the wind was blowing pretty good out of the east so I decided to fish Mullett since my partners stuff was on the east side. I launched on the north west side around 7:15am. My first stop was the Cheboygan river at the north end of Mullett. I started out in front of the river with no success so I worked my way up into the river throwing tube baits and spinnerbaits since these are the baits I was told worked the best.

Oh and by the way I forgot to mention that this was my very first time on Burt and Mullett lakes. Anyway after fishing the river for about an hour with not even a bite and seeing 3 or 4 other boats fishing the same stuff and no one was catching anything I was getting ready to leave when I got hung on some wood or rocks or something and broke off. Instead of retying a tube bait I picked up another rod that had a Dixie Darter on it.

The next three casts would set up the rest of my week. I was fishing in one of the deeper holes and had made at least 10 casts or more into it with the tube bait. When I switched to the darter I caught two 4lbers and a 2.5lber in three consecutive casts. I remember thinking to myself that I might be onto something but it was still early and it might just be a fluke. Of course I left with out making another cast.

After leaving the river I headed over to the east side. I did alot of idling around looking for weeds and rocks and whatever else might be there. I settled on a couple points that looked good with some rock on them. After about 15 minutes or so I picked up one about 4lbs on a spinnerbait. Fished around another 15 to 20 minutes without another bite.

I tried crankbaits, spinnerbaits and darters but just couldn't get anything else. I tried shallow and deep out to about 15 feet. So I moved down the lake. I found some weeds up in the 6 to 8 ft range in one area. Caught another one around the 4lb range on a spinnerbait and again nothing for the next 15 minutes. So I picked up the Dixie Darter and a couple casts later I got another one around 4lbs. I put the rod down and headed on down the lake.

I fished quite a few more points and flats with no luck. Around 1o'clock I found another stretch of weeds that looked good so I stopped and fished it. I couldn't get a bite on anything fast moving so I picked up the darter again and it only took a few casts and I had another good one. Now I'm really thinking I might have something with the darter. One thing about these lakes, they are big, I didn't realize I didn't have much gas in the tank and after running around for 6 hours I was getting low on fuel so I decided to head in, get fuel and head to Burt since now the wind had shifted and was blowing pretty hard from the west.

On my way in I decided to head back over to the river to see if those fish would bite later in the day. When I got there another boat was fishing the spot that I wanted to go to and another one was coming back out so I hung back until they left before I pulled up to the spot. I did notice that they were throwing tube baits. It only took one cast to find out if they would bite. This fish was around the 6lb mark. I didn't get it in the boat, as soon as I seen it I gave it slack line and a few head shakes it was off. This gave me high hopes on this spot and of course the darter. I packed everything up and headed in to get some fuel.

I launched in the Indian river where we would be launching for the tournament. It took about 15 minutes to get to Burt from there. It was around 4 o'clock and I decided to head up the lake to the north end where I was told there were some rock flats. After fishing them for about an hour I headed even farther up. I worked my way up shallow on a 6 ft flat that had some wood and weeds. I wound up catching one around 4 1/2lbs on a jerkbait but nothing else.

After fishing around the area for another hour or so with out a bite I decided it was time to start heading back. What I didn't realize was the wind really picked up and it was very rough, it took me along time to get back to the river and it now was around 7 o'clock. I stopped in the river to check out a spot that looked really good. Two casts later with the darter I had another 4 1/4 and 4 3/4 in the boat. So I decided that it was time to leave.

Day 2 Practice
With Jeff in the boat I figured today we would really figure something out. Although I did catch some good fish the first day of practice for the most part they were scattered and I really didn't have much confidence in the numbers except maybe the Cheboygan river. I told Jeff that I felt way more confident on Mullett than Burt but we had to go to Burt to see if the fish in the river would bite first thing.

So we started there. We launched out of the state park on the south end, its not very far from the river mouth so we idled over to it. When we got close we realized there were two other boats already there so we just started fishing our way to the hot spot. After about a half hour or so and a third boat we finally made it to the hole.

We didn't see anyone else catch a fish, doesn't mean that they didn't we just didn't see anyone catch any, I was telling Jeff about what had happened with the tube and darter. Not sure if he thought I was nuts but he said OK we will see. Anyway we get over to it and we made three casts between us before we caught one. I turned to Jeff and said, what did I tell you.

I think maybe he still thought I was a little off but the next two days would prove me right. After Jeff got the fish to the boat we went back to the state park and loaded the boat back up and headed to Mullett. Still thinking that I caught more fish there and I could find more spots. As it turned out after the weigh ins that Burt had the bigger fish in it since both days first, second, and third big basses all came from Burt.

I probably should of spent that last practice day on Burt instead of Mullet. The rest of the day was very disappointing to me, we only wound up catching one bass there and it wasn't very big. We didn't find anything else like I was hoping to do. I didn't go to anything that I had from the day before so I didn't know if it was just the day or the spots.

I found a lot of good looking areas out there that should of had fish on them and they looked just like what I was fishing the day before but we just couldn't get bit. Our day ended at 3 o'clock so we could head to the meeting.

After today's prefishing I was a bit concerned about what to do on day one of the tournament. I wouldn't decide exactly what to do until our number was called to take off. The decision on where to start was between the Cheboygan river or the Indian river. I knew both of them would be crowded and being boat 18 I wasn't sure if we could get either of the spots.

My number one spot would of been the Cheboygan, I did catch more fish there and I also had other spots on Mullet, my second choice was the Indian river. To make matters worse or as it turned out made them great was that the team of Andy Schueller and Stuart Cavner who we were sharing a cottage with had found the same fish that I did in the Cheboygan river and they had a better boat number than we did.

As we were talking the night before the tournament we realized we were on the same fish. Of course being friends they wouldn't mind sharing the spot but I think that would of just hurt both of us so I had to make a decision. Go there and at least have more stuff to fish or go down by Burt and only have one thing to fish. This would haunt me all night long.

Tomorrow I will give you the details of the tournament itself and prove that the Dixie Darter was the key to those big fish. Thanks for sticking with this prefishing post. I think the tournament post will be a little shorter and hopefully better reading.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2011, 11:28:04 PM by djkimmel »
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djkimmel

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GreatLakesBass.com members Don Watts (L) and Jeff Denny (R) with their 2011 Lake Drive championship plaques from the September 23-24 bass tournament on Burt and Mullett Lakes.
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djkimmel

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The winning team of Don Watts and Jeff Denny hold 4 of their 9 smallmouth bass weighing 44.69 pounds caught during the September 23-24, 2011 Lake Drive Marine championship on Burt and Mullett Lakes. They caught almost all of their big bass on Poor Boy's Dixie Darters.
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djkimmel

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Jeff Denny and Don Watts with their first place prize Skeeter bass boat with Yamaha outboard motor for winning the 2011 Lake Drive Marine championship September 23-24 on Burt and Mullett Lakes.
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djkimmel

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Sounds like a pretty good story to me! Thanks Don!
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Redbone


Sounds like a pretty good story to me! Thanks Don!

+1 :)
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Cy

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Thanks for sharing Don.  Looking forward to ready the rest.
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oldjigger


good story Don can't wait to read more.  I remember when Don was just another one of the guys when Wendell & I were fishing Tri State and other team tourneys whom we beat more times than they beat us, by the way but now when Don WaTTS  comes to the tournament you hear oh s--t WATTS is here.  I thought a lot of this today and I'm wondering if because his shadow doesn't go accross the water as far as most people and he doesn't spook them

 :D
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TCook


Your the man Don, great tournament. I'm really kicking myself right now we planned on hitting that exact spot first thing in the morning. We got one just under 5 on the first cast to it in practice and thought the bigger fish might be filtering in. Well we were supposed to take off 9th but couldn't hear Jeff at take off and ended up 14th out. The second boat ahead of us heading to Burt stopped but on the wrong side we decided to give them there space and headed to our primary area since conditions were ideal for it day 1. Not that we could have caught what you did but we made the wrong decision obviously. Nicely done!
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gr@ssmonkey


man :( were is "THE REST OF MY STORY", hurry up DW i gotta get to bed ;D.........
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LGMOUTH


Day 1 of the tournament

As we launched we still didn't know for sure which spot to go to first. On the one hand we had the Cheboygan river and at least 4 other spots on Mullet and on the other we had the Indian river and maybe only one other spot on Burt. Knowing that Andy and Stew were headed up to the Chegoygan river made the decision a little easier. We decided if we didn't see that many boats headed toward Burt we would go that way. If a bunch of boats went toward Burt we would go to Mullet.

As it turned out it was kind of foggy on the river that morning and kind of a cluster with 50 boats trying to get into order. I guess I must have missed a few boats because I only figured about 5 boats or so went that way. When we pulled up to the tournament director so he could check the live wells my partner Jeff looks over and asked which way we going. As I turned the boat toward Burt Jeff said I'm ok with that. As we idled toward Burt we could see a few boats ahead of us, a couple of turns later we could see that there were a few more than I thought but we were determined to see it out.

As TCook mentioned there was a boat on the opposite side of the river from where we were catching them and about 30 yards back. Knowing the specific spot that I wanted to fish I felt fine with going past the spot and fishing back to it. One thing I noticed in practice is that we caught our fish fishing against the current. I know it is contrary to what you read but it was working.

It only took about 5 casts to hook into my first fish. As a matter of fact there were still boats coming up the river. This fish fought as hard as any fish I have ever caught. It literally took 2 to 3 minutes to get that fish in. It wound up being 5.94lbs and was our big fish. About 10 minutes later I hooked into fish number 2. Again this fish fought extremely hard. After a minute or so it was coming up with Jeff right there to net it and made a few wild turns under the boat and came off. Needless to say my stomach was just turning knowing that it was another monster. The guys on the other side of the channel asked how big that one was and I told them how big it was. They looked at each other and turned back to us and said that we were fishing exactly where they wanted to and if we were going to be there a while. I said that we were going to be a while and they said good luck and said that they were going to leave. I said thanks and they were on there way.

About 50 yards the other way was another couple of friends, Forrest Brown and Jeff Homkes, as they worked there way toward us Jeff hooks into fish number three. After a few minutes fish number 2 is in the livewell and its just over 4lbs. It takes about 15 minutes to hook into fish number 4. This one is another toad. Again they just fight so hard it takes another 2 to 3 minutes to get this fish in and its around the 5lb mark now we have three for about 15lbs. I remember Forrest saying something about what I was using and I told him it was an erie darter.

As they are looking for some erie darters I hook into fish number 5. Again after a massive fight we get this fish into the net and fish number 4 in the live well and a weight close to 20lbs. Everyone of these fish came from the exact spot. I believe they would just move up to feed one at a time and we would catch them when they got there. As the next hour or so go by with out a bite we decided to work our way up to the end of the hole which is only about 20 yards up and hasn't been touched yet. As soon as we get there I make one cast to it and hook into fish number 6. At this point Forrest and Jeff are just up from us and were actually cheering us on. That was actually pretty cool of them. We get this fish in with some relief and we had our 5th fish in the boat and 24.50lbs.

It was right around 9 o'clock and we really didn't know what to do. Do we keep fishing, do we tie up and stay all day and not fish any more, or do we go to Mullet and try and get a real big fish out of the Cheboygan river. I guess I should clarify something before I go on. I'm not much for guessing how big these fish are. They aren't that long but they are fat. We were kind of guessing around 21 or maybe 22lbs with out getting them out and weighing them. We wouldn't know how big they were until later on Mullet.

At 9:30am we decided to go to Mullet. We told Forrest and Jeff that we weren't going to fish here any more and that we were leaving, they kind of gave us a weird look and asked if they could fish there since they haven't even had a bite. I said I didn't care and I hope they catchem but try not to beat them up to bad since we had to fish the next day. They said thanks and we were on our way.

We got to the Cheboygan river around 10:40 and of course Andy and Stew were right on the sweet spot. As we worked our way toward them I caught about a 3lber, flipped it into the boat, unhooked it and tossed it back so they could see. I turned to Jeff and said That's got to hurt. Joking of course since I didn't know what they had and of course they are friends. We get close enough to talk without interfering with them. They had 3 good ones but it was tough. As we sat there and talked for about an hour Jeff puts two in the boat and one that was 4lbs. We did get to see them put there big fish in the boat which gave them 4 good ones so we decided to leave and give them a chance to get their 5th. Of course they asked what we were catching them on since we pulled up and caught three right in front of them. We told them about the Darter. I decided to cull down to 5 since we had 6 in the livewell. When I pulled them out we kind of got a look at what we had. I was pretty impressed. I figured out which two were the smallest and stuck them on the balance beam. After tagging fish number 5 I took the fish that was going to be tossed back and weighed it. It went 4lbs even. This is when we new we had a huge bag of fish knowing that we had three fish that were at least 5 if not more.  

After culling we headed to my other spots. For the next hour and a half we didn't have a bite. It was pretty calm and some sun and I don't think those fish were very active on the weeds.

We headed back around 1 o'clock since Jeff had to leave to go back to  Middleville for a Highschool football game, Asst Coach and all. This gave me about an hour on my own so I headed back to Burt. As I round the last corner I see Forrest and Jeff still on the spot. My first thought was that we really screwed up and should of stayed. As I pull up to them they told me they just got back there around 1:30 and havent had a bite. As it turned out they didn't have any fish and hadn't had a bite on that spot all day. Forrest tells me to come on over to my spot and catch one. The funny thing is it only took 3 casts and I had one on. I remember Forrest saying something not very nice, joking of course, and then asking me if I wanted him to net it for me. I just laughed at him and told him I think I can handle it. Well as it turned out it was at least a 4 1/2lber and would of helped. I actually got it into the net before it came off and jump back out before I could get it into the boat. I was a little bumbed. Well it was time to go in and I was feeling pretty good.

As it turned out Andy and Stew went over to where we caught the ones by them and finally caught there 5th fish around 1o'clock and wound up leading day 1 with 24.81lbs. We were in second with 24.50lbs. and third had 23.45lbs and they had a 7lber.

We were feeling pretty good going into day 2 knowing that we left our fish, I went back and had one on and Andy and Stew struggled all day and also that third had a 7plus which would be hard to do again. Also 4th place only had roughly 20 1/2.

Ok its getting late so I will finish tomorrow.



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djkimmel

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Aww man. You can sleep later. You probably don't sleep anyway!! You're just laying there thinking about catching more big fish! ;D
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LennyB

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Great story. How did you rig the darter, Texas style, drop shot????
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Cy

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Don,

Poor Boys should be thrilled.  Darter sales will be going way up!!!
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Waterfoul

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Come on Don... where's Day 2's story!!!
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TCook


Results:

http://lakedrivemarine.com/weekend-bass-tour.htm

Alot of big fish weighed but bites were at a premium especially day 2
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Mike S.

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Good story.  Now, day 2?
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