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Author Topic: Wonderland Marine West Open report from my perspective  (Read 4601 times)

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djkimmel

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Wonderland Marine West Open report from my perspective
« on: August 08, 2006, 12:27:15 PM »

Fished the Wonderland Marine West open for the first time. I fished with someone I've known a long time, but never fished with before - Bob Luellen (bobworldwidemarine) of Worldwide Marine Underwriters - GreatLakesBass.com's exclusive marine insurance specialist. Since we recently decided to definitely fish it and since we had limited time (one day) to prepare, Bob agreed to practicing on the St. Clair River where I have a lot more confidence than on my nemesis - the big Lake Erie.

Bob and Worldwide Marine Underwriters also were sponsoring this huge event for the first time so I knew we had to try to not embarrass ourselves by wandering aimlessly among Erie's many little rock piles full of sheephead (my normal experience anyway).

First of all, what huge production and event. What a huge weigh in. If you haven't heard yet, first place was 5 Erie smallies weighing 26 pounds!!! Yikes! The top 16 all had over 20 pounds and 20th place - last in the money was 19-3! Of course, many of the big hitters were there as you'd expect with a $10,000 guaranteed first place prize. Some of our own members were there too and some did themselves quite proud.

I always hesitate to list them because I invariably leave some nice person out only due to my memory not able to grasp the zillions of people I talked to and all the happenings of the long weekend, but... please forgive me in advance - I know SClapper finished pretty high and I believe he tied rufus with almost 21 pounds (or was it almost 22, help me here someone). I know Ben Felton just missed the money, but did not get the full story until later because he has to weigh in right at the beginning and hit the road to welcome a new 'trophy' 6 lbs 9 oz arrival to his family - the little one was nice enough to wait until he weighed in to decide to come into the world - just one of many interesting and exciting things that happened this weekend.

Ben fished with Bish and I think Bish was too tired to give me the full story that afternoon. He left after having a few hot dogs and some Gatorade (I LOVE it when they feed us - thanks to Wonderland Marine West and the Mitter family for the First Class setup, food and beverages, along with all the efforts in a keeping the bass in the livewells right up to weigh in, and then getting them to the release boat - the FLW Outdoors trailer was an especially nice touch - great to see Ron Lappin and the guys again!)

ABA - Anthony Adams had over 20 pounds fishing with cast n blast if I remember correctly. TBF members Bill Vavrina and Derek Cummings were also in the money with 19-something each.

I probably am missing someone. Don't be shy. Just tell - Dan! You forgot me! Many more of our members where there who fished well, but missed the money. I also ran into some more 'lurkers' - thanks for admitting you're out there. I like to know who's reading too!

Anyway, Bob and I made the 50-some mile run up the St. Clair River and brought back an okay 15-12 limit after culling the best we could - we caught a fair number of bass, but the bigger ones apparently moved or weren't cooperating with us. Granted, I had never fished quite the way we were doing it - drifting into the open channel with drop shot rigs - something I'm behind the curve on because I often switch between US and Canadian/Indian water frequently and didn't want any accidents in the past with the rig in US waters, or misunderstandings. Additionally, although a couple of my best fish came on small goby baits, most came on Zoom finesse worms for both of us and we were fishing VERY deep often in 42 to 44 feet of water.

I am not into the real deep stuff, but I'm willing to learn new things and Bob was loving this kind of finesse, light-tough fishing - his favorite and he's good at it. He caught the bigger fish earlier although we both caught a bunch and I got some keepers. I caught a couple cullers late when we moved 'shallower' (26 to 30) another spot I had found Saturday while fishing with Bob's son - Jared.

We did hit some spots on the way down-lake/river because St. Clair had layed down (and tuna boat traffic seemed a lot lighter until we hit the Detroit River - we actually made great time down the middle of St. Clair after taking a wet beating coming up in the morning in an unforecasted easterly wind). No more keepers caught to up our weight.

The Detroit River was ugly as usual for a few miles, but I've seen it a LOT worse (I'm still a little sore though - but very proud because Bob mentioned that my boat, my venerable Ranger 492VS vintage 1993, ran the waves on St. Clair a lot softer than the boat he was in Saturday - and I pushed my Yamaha HPDI 225 to the limit albeit trimmed down so I didn't do any surprise 'moon launches' !!! The old boat continually surprises people and still in one piece after 14 long seasons on the Great Lakes!?! I was also pleasantly surprised to see that I had a lot of gas left yet - just thinking about possibly running farther north next time...hmmm??)

It was a long weekend with leaving right after work Friday (home from work in Flint to Lansing, and then back across to Woodhaven), and helping Bob with a few errands for his sponsorship responsibilities to the tournament, and a couple surprises - Bob ended up subbing in the Stratos Owner's tournament on Saturday at the last minute that morning due to some unforseen circumstances - which is why it was just me and Jared practicing St. Clair together that day after a few stops and starts to get everything worked out.

Jared and I did okay, but nothing Earth-shattering, on Saturday fishing some old spots that can be good this time of year. We caught our 2nd best fish along with another quick keeper in the spot upriver that Bob and I eventually culled our last two smallies on so that helped at least.

We fished well together. Had a good time. Kept Jared up all night Friday apparently due to 'someone's inconsiderate snoring' (I didn't hear anything). Bob got to explain to a number of anglers why getting your boater insurance from someone who deals with 27 different companies only in marine insurance will save you money and get you better coverage from someone who knows the things we do and the kind of coverage we need.

Wonderland put on a class act with the drive through weigh in, the trailer, staff, equipment, organization, fish-handling and the food! And we caught a limit and talked to whole bunch of nice bass anglers! What more can you ask for!?!

I should have a few pictures to add to this thread in a day or two (Bob has them this time).
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Unless clearly stated as such, opinions expressed by Dan Kimmel on this forum are not the opinions or policies of Michigan BASS Nation or TBF of Michigan.

rufus

Re: Wonderland Marine West Open report from my perspective
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2006, 02:47:07 PM »

Jeff Cox and I fished the Wonderland Tourney together and had a blast. We prefished 3 days in 3 totally different areas. On Thursday we hit the St. Clair River and caught some decent fish while getting drenched in a few downpours. We figured we could possibly get 20 pounds, but knew this was not the area to win the tourney for us. On Friday we fished from Colchester to Pelee Island. It was a tough morning, but we put a couple decent fish in the boat. We had to be in at 3:00 so he could take his wife out for their anniversary. At noon we pulled into an area that I had fished before and instantly started putting the sheeps in the boat and they were almost all TOADS. I actually had to pull my jigging spoon out to try and catch up with Jeff 'cause he was whacking me on the ole baaaaaas'. We fished the area thoroughly and found a little something before we had to leave that produced 3 toad smallies. We were planning on expanding on it Friday when th wind blew out of the east and decided to dink around in the Detriot River a little while and found absolutely nothing in their that would help us at all. I have not totally figured that rive rout yet >:(. We decided Sunday morning to make a long run regardless of the weather and it nearly paid off. We had 20 pounds in a little over an hour (after an 1 1/2 hour run) and culled up to 22' 4". I had the worst netting day of my life. I missed the first two Jeff caught, but was still able to get them in. He netted mine flawlessly. After getting our limit he hooked a 5+ which jumped off 3 feet from the net. He then hooked a 5 that I actually had in the net when I fell into the center of the boat and dumped that toad right back into the lake OUCH! >:( It is a good thing Jeff did not throw me in the lake right then and there. We sorted a few 4 pounders and our smallest fish was 4 pounds even along with three others that we sorted of the same size. We decided to leave with an hour and a half to go and got in 30 minutes early. After checking our fish we found that they were struggling to stay alive. We thought we could weigh early and unfortunatley we could not. They opened the scales at 3:10 and our fish had been on recirculate with a livewell full of Rejuvenade for 40 minutes. We ended up losing 3 of them before weigh-in and it cost us a few hundred bucks. If I had known they would not weigh early we would have stayed in the lake and they would have been fine. It was too late to go back in the lake due to the longggg line at Metro. We put all the ice we had left on them but it was not enough. The fish came out of 29-31 feet of water and they were very stressed. We refilled 4 times on the way back and really tried to keep them alive. I have to learn how to fizz properly. We ended up tying Steve Clapper with 20' 14" which was good enough for 11th place. All of our fish came on drop shot gobies and tubes. I hope to see everyone at the next BFL.
God Bless and Good Fishin'!
Rufus
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Skip Johnson

Re: Wonderland Marine West Open report from my perspective
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2006, 05:12:17 PM »

You said it right about the drive through weigh in, our fish were only out of the water for a quick weigh and a guy scooped them up and hauled butt to the tank! It was done the best that it could have been!
the food and shade made a super atmosphere, I should have had my family be there to see it.

Dan it was nice te meet you sorry I couldnt talk.

there was obviously alot of thought planning and hard work put into the event, I will make sure to be there next year just with a different boat!

I broke my port stringer and floorboard AGAIN along with alot of stress cracks on my skeeter zx225!
I have progressive insurance, last time they put a bandaid on it after I sank it(water level) now theyre trying to do the same thing again it sounds like! whats with the commercial with hank parker and jimmy houston sinking the boat and progressive saying dont worry if this happens to you well buy you a new boat!

looks like Im going to miss the ABA 2 dayer at st clair on the 19th and 20th unless I find a real generous soul that would loan me a boat.lol

Ive never been a ranger guy, I liked my skeeter but I hear the rangers handle the big water the best, Im looking at the Z-21 and Z-22! comanche! if anyone has an opinion email me at ajohnson375@hotmail.com

Skip Johnson
« Last Edit: August 08, 2006, 05:24:31 PM by cast n blast »
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BryanP

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Re: Wonderland Marine West Open report from my perspective
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2006, 08:30:05 PM »

I agree it was a well run event.  This was my first year fishing this tournament and we ended up in 7th place (22 pounds after the 8 oz dead fish penalty).  Unfortunately, the dead fish penalty cost us 6th place and Yamaha Bonus Money (for a total of $1200 more).  I still have no idea how that fish died because it was the last one we caught (about 1:00)  before heading in.  Our big fish weighed 5-10.  We fished in the same general area as Rufus for most of the day, and could hear them yelling and high-fiving all day long! LOL!  Got to meet Rufus after/during the weigh-in, even though we've crossed paths at a few Indiana weeknight tournaments already this year.  Even got to talk to Dan for a few minutes before he weighed in. 
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djkimmel

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Re: Wonderland Marine West Open report from my perspective
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2006, 12:34:56 AM »

Hello Bryan and glad to have you aboard. Congrats on the great finish.

Cast n blast - have you seen my building bass boats pages yet? Hope you get that voice back.
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Help stop invasive spcies. Don't move fish between unconnected bodies of water. Clean, drain and dry your boat before launching on another water body.
Unless clearly stated as such, opinions expressed by Dan Kimmel on this forum are not the opinions or policies of Michigan BASS Nation or TBF of Michigan.

Team houston

Re: Wonderland Marine West Open report from my perspective
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2006, 09:03:28 AM »

Great job guys. Always love reading these tournament "journals". Anybody else have one? 
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dartag

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Re: Wonderland Marine West Open report from my perspective
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2006, 12:06:51 PM »

anyone know if the results are posted.  WL site has last years
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Skip Johnson

Re: Wonderland Marine West Open report from my perspective
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2006, 06:59:18 PM »

Dan thanx for the link to building ranger boats!
I just made an appointment to meet with chris at wonderland marine tomarrow! I think the Z-22 is what Im looking for!
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djkimmel

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Re: Wonderland Marine West Open report from my perspective
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2006, 09:35:11 PM »

Make sure and tell them you are a GreatLakesBass.com member.
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Help stop invasive spcies. Don't move fish between unconnected bodies of water. Clean, drain and dry your boat before launching on another water body.
Unless clearly stated as such, opinions expressed by Dan Kimmel on this forum are not the opinions or policies of Michigan BASS Nation or TBF of Michigan.

blakstr1

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Re: Wonderland Marine West Open report from my perspective
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2006, 07:10:34 AM »

I just made an appointment to meet with chris at wonderland marine tomarrow! I think the Z-22 is what Im looking for!

WOWEEEE :o  The Z boats are the nicest out there, DO NOT GO AND LOOK unless your ready to buy ;D...You cannot turn them down!  Congratulations and good luck!

DOWD

Re: Wonderland Marine West Open report from my perspective
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2006, 12:04:31 PM »

My day started great, 3rd cast, 5.50 then the sheep heads started coming. I caught around 75 sh@t heads. Got the 2nd fish around 10:30 am, another fine 4.50 erie beauty. This was after being infrige upon another angler in a Stratos 285 with a Yam. HPDI.
Caught the 3rd at 11:00 am it was a 15" smallie, then caught the last one at 12:30 pm which was 4.00 even. Then made a run to Toledo to fish a honey hole. Got to Toledo, and the alge bloom was in full force, did not catch a fish. Ran back to the river trying for a half hour to catch 2 but it was a no go.


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djkimmel

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Re: Wonderland Marine West Open report from my perspective
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2006, 01:38:04 AM »

If you fish Erie - you gotta catch da sheephead...
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Unless clearly stated as such, opinions expressed by Dan Kimmel on this forum are not the opinions or policies of Michigan BASS Nation or TBF of Michigan.

Bryan26

Re: Wonderland Marine West Open report from my perspective
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2006, 10:28:53 PM »

Hey Dan, thanks for the invite to visit/join your site.  Thought I would pass along a summarized version of the journal from the winning bag from the Wonderland Marine West Open:

Dick & I had planned on a really long run that morning but once we got past the river we realized that our secret spots at the islands were going to have to do.  We arrived on our first spot and immediately began to catch sheepheads.  It took about 20 minutes for me to hook the first fish - 5.38lbs.  It didn't take long and I had #2 in the boat - 4.85lbs.  We moved to our next spot and I picked up #3 - 4.65lbs.  Dick hooked up for #4 - 4.12lbs.  We have an agreement that whoever catches #5 has to weigh all the fish for the rest of the day - wouldn't you guess I caught #5 at 9:30a.m. - 5.23lbs.  Of course Dick helped me weigh them and we were both surprised that our first 5 fish weighed 24.23lbs.  The decision to stay in the general area was an easy one to make.  For the rest of the day we caught 7 more fish.  Before the day was out I caught a 4.76lber that we culled and Dick caught a 5.19lber and 5.35lber to finish our bag.  In between the bass we caught a large number of sheepheads.  A 26lb bag is a dreamlike result for us - completely unexpected - I was catching 3.75 to 4.5 lbers prior to the tournament.

We had really been looking forward to this tournament - it is the highlight of our team tournament season.  The folks at Wonderland Marine West really put on a great show and draw an awesome group of top fishermen.  All the effort they put into this event is greatly appreciated.  I can honestly say we did our best and are looking forward to next years event.

Oh by the way - nice website Dan...

Your newest member,

Bryan Coates

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djkimmel

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Re: Wonderland Marine West Open report from my perspective
« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2006, 11:48:05 PM »

Hey Bryan, thanks so much for signing up and giving a firsthand report of the $10,000 win PLUS the Ranger Cup/Wonderland Bonus! Quite a productive day for you!!! It's much much better to hear it from you - the source - than for me to give some general statement just saying you won with 26 pounds.

That was an amazing limit of smallmouth bass, especially for a summer catch anywhere and I really do appreciate you sharing some of that day and the catch here with us.

Congratulations again to you and your partner on a HUGE win! I'm glad we got a chance to win.

Hopefully, between catching GIANT smallies (and of course lots of sheepheads), you can stop back by from time to time and let us know how things are going. I know you have at least one other major bigtime win under your belt with last year's EverStart so I imagine you'll have more good news to share as the fishing continues. Thanks again.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2006, 12:02:30 AM by djkimmel »
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Help stop invasive spcies. Don't move fish between unconnected bodies of water. Clean, drain and dry your boat before launching on another water body.
Unless clearly stated as such, opinions expressed by Dan Kimmel on this forum are not the opinions or policies of Michigan BASS Nation or TBF of Michigan.

cameraguy

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Re: Wonderland Marine West Open report from my perspective
« Reply #14 on: August 15, 2006, 08:56:27 AM »

What a whopper limit!  Congrats Bryan and great report.  Secret spots on islands, eh?  I need some of those!  I had a (not-so) secret spot on LSC on Wednesday that had 3 to 5lbers all over it, and on Saturday I watched a couple of charters put dozens of bass in coolers from my "secret" spot.  Oh, did I start to rant?  Sorry.  Anyway, nice job and good luck!
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robtheboatman

Re: Wonderland Marine West Open report from my perspective
« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2006, 10:29:57 AM »

Glad to hear everyone had a good time.  Congrats on the win Bryan.  We look forward to doing it again next year.
Rob
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djkimmel

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Pictures from the Wonderland Marine West 2006 Open
« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2006, 03:58:47 PM »

Here are a few pictures of Bob and me on stage at the 2006 Wonderland Marine West Open - no fish in them - if only we had caught some 6 pounders hey Bob (we'll get 'em next year! ;D).


From left to right: FLW Outdoors weighmaster Ron Lappin, partner and owner/event sponsor Worldwide Marine Underwriters insurance Bob Luellen, me and emcee Gary Bowman checking the weight - 29... oh, make that 15...


From left to right: Jose Garza (225XS4Garza200PXL), Ron Lappin, Bob, me and Gary Bowman listen as Ron announces all bass alive and well for the weight.


Bob accepts congratulations from emcee Gary Bowman for his event Worldwide Marine Underwriters sponsorship and a job well down for our day of fishing.

This is a huge event with a ton of backing and some big time fishing by some big time anglers. I look forward to next year.

Here's a link to the full results of the 2006 Wonderland Marine West Open: http://www.wonderlandmarinewest.com/2006%20Results.htm

Here's more pictures from the Open: http://www.wonderlandmarinewest.com/Open%20Pictures.htm
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Help stop invasive spcies. Don't move fish between unconnected bodies of water. Clean, drain and dry your boat before launching on another water body.
Unless clearly stated as such, opinions expressed by Dan Kimmel on this forum are not the opinions or policies of Michigan BASS Nation or TBF of Michigan.
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