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Author Topic: Walmart BFL Detroit River 7/14/2012  (Read 2266 times)

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Walmart BFL Detroit River 7/14/2012
« on: July 18, 2012, 07:24:57 PM »

As usual the Coach and I left early Tuesday morning headed for Lake Erie. Our plans for the day were t check old spots 20-35 miles from Elizabeth Park. The weather was decent with 1-2 footers on the lake. We arrived around 8:30 am and headed across the lake. We fished from 8-26 fow with crankbaits, tubes, darters, and drop shots.

We have been killing them on a super soft smoke erie darter on both a drop shot and rigged on a 3/8 oz arkie head. This proved to be the key technique today as the darter was hottt! The jigheaded darter was the hottest and the key depth was 22 fow, although we did catch several cranking in 10-14 fow. We ended the day with two fish at 5-1 and 5-6 and a few other 4+ fish but most were in the 3 1/2 pound range. Our total count for the day was 38 keepers. We did find one sweet spot that produced the largest fish. We did notice the larger fish were rather skinny and the smaller fish were packed.

Wednesday we decided to do more of the same and check areas that we had not checked on Erie. Jonesy, a buddy, was heading to St Clair to fish with a guy fishing the BASS Northern Open and his brother Jason needed a ride so Jason, the Coach, and I headed out to the big water. We fished very similar to how we fished the day before only we hit areas a few miles farther down. It was a slow morning, we did catch a few decent 3+ fish cranking, but were having trouble finding the numbers.

I hit many of my waypoints of where I thought they should be, but most of them failed to produce a single bite. We finally did hit an area that was flat loaded with fish and caught some decent fish off it including Jason's biggest smallie ever weighing in at 4-6 and he soon put another in the boat at 4-2. The sheephead were plentiful as well and easily put over 50 of them in the boat. I also caught 4 walleye in the boat including a 9-1 dandy that smoked my drop shot. We ended the day on a spot that always has fish on it so Jason could have a little more fun and ended up smoking them with most of them being 2 1/2 pounders but we did manage a couple of 4's off of it.

Thursday it was back to just Coach and I. It was very windy in the morning, but we ran about 20 miles anyway. About 3/4 of the way there I noticed a knock in the motor on plane. I tried to ignore it as I thought it was something rattling around in one of the storage compartments, but unfortunately it wasn't to be. We hit a few areas quick and tried the area close to our Tuesday honey hole, but shallower. We ended up catching a 4-10 and a 5-1, but the bite was slow as we only put 3 in the boat.

A quick stop on the sweet spot revealed they were still there as I quickly put 3 over 3 1/2 in the boat. The waves were now 3-4 footers. My teammate Chad Pipkens was also out prefishing the same area we were in. We talked to him a bit and he shared that he was catching them as well. We decided at 11am we better head in to check to see what was up with the motor.

I have a Mercury 250 Pro XS that is only 10 months old so I was hoping it was simple even though it didn't sound simple. It was a long trip back to Erie Metropark as the waves grew the farther we went and were in 5-6 footers by the time we got to the mouth of the river. We pulled out at 3 pm and the news was not good.

There was no obvious sign of anything wrong and I was pretty sure it was in the lower unit. A call to Lake Drive Marine confirmed my fears. I called a few friends and was quickly offered 4 different boats to choose from to borrow for my tourney and they were all less than an hour away. I decided to use Ryan Said's boat, some of you may remember him being an Elite Pro for a year and fishing in the Bassmaster Classic. He's a great friend and I really owe him. My electronics went right onto his boat so I didn't need to switch a bunch of waypoints. This day ended with no more prefishing.

Friday dawned early and windy as the Coach and I decided to stay close and just fish the Detroit River. The mouth was rather dirty and in the first hour we only had a couple shorts and a few rock bass.We ran up into the river and fished a couple areas quick without a bite. It was then that the Coach declared that we needed to head to St Clair so we pulled out and hit the road to St Clair and arrived at 10:30 am.

This proved to be a good move weather wise as there were only 1 footers on St Clair and the water was crystal clear. I figured this was only to be a fish catching trip as I am absolutely an Erie guy and have never ran to fish Lake St Clair from Elizabeth Park, but have many times ran to Erie from St Clair. In short order we began putting fish in the boat in 16 fow around cabbage, including a 4-9 and a 5-1. A couple searches of the same area produced more fish that seemed to be jumping in the boat.

It was then that I decided I better go check some of my other areas as this was now a possibility for tourney day. Our next stop produced a 5-10 and a 4-15 on back to back casts!!!! We then hit some cranking stuff and continued to put a few in the boat although not quite as big.

We ended the day early for meeting day and to get my stuff ready and hit the road at 3:30. I now had a tough decision to make should I hit Erie or head to St Clair with limited practice. The average quality on Erie was better, but the potential for a monster sack seemed better on St Clair. I was going to let my boat number and weather decide where I was going to head.

After drawing boat 70 and talking with Chad who would be starting in the same vicinity I was going to start on Erie I decided not to share water and head to St Clair. It was supposed to be blowing on Erie pretty good on Saturday and I truly liked my chances for a win on St Clair. The morning run was great to St Clair and we arrived at our destination after only a 35 minute run.

It was a rather slow start to the morning, but as soon as the sun popped out the fish went nuts. I was roaming the flat looking for fish on my graph and "video game" fishing for them with a smoke erie darter on a drop shot and catching nearly every fish I marked. In between marks I was tossing a series 5 xd. I kept track of the number of keepers for the day and at days end landed 51! most of which came on the drop shot, but 2 of my 5 weigh fish came on the crankbait. My coangler landed between 20-30 fish as well in what proved to be a "sore thumb" kind of day.

We arrived to weigh in 15 minutes early and quickly heard that the weights coming in weren't great. I knew I didn't have a winning sack but figured in was in the 20 pound range so was looking forward to a good check anyway. The leader as I approached the scales was Jared Rhode who approached me at the tanks to check my bag. He told me he was leading with 20-8. As I went to the scales and set them down the digital readout read 20-10!!! and settled.

I was not paying attention to the tournament director Mark Wcwha and pointed to Jared to jokingly tell him I had him. I then pulled my bag off the scales when I was quickly told by Mark that he had not marked them yet. When I put them back on the scales they now read 20-8. I could not believe my eyes. Mark was just getting ready to mark them at 20-10 when I pulled them off!!! The scales started bouncing between 20-8 and 20-7 but would not settle on one, but they did stay on 20-8 much longer.

The way it works in a BFL is when the scales settle the TD hits the mark button and whatever it marks at is what you get and of course it marked at 20-7 . I was near the end of the weigh in line and pulled off a second place finish. I cannot be disappointed with a 2nd place finish, but it truly was heartbreaking when I thought I had the win.

Mark talked with me after the tourney and told me he was getting ready to announce me as the new leader. All in all is was a great tourney with a good practice. My buddy Chad fished the area on Erie all day where I would have went and finished 3rd with a 20-4 stringer. God Bless everyone!
« Last Edit: July 19, 2012, 03:50:00 PM by djkimmel »

Team houston

Re: Walmart BFL Detroit River 7/14/2012
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2012, 07:02:21 AM »

Another great journal Heath. Did you get your motor fixed yet?


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Re: Walmart BFL Detroit River 7/14/2012
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2012, 03:53:00 PM »

Thanks for coming back and giving us another great story rufus!

You should take your tournament fishing a little more serious! Like 2 ounces worth more serious!! SORRY ;D I know you are taking it as well as anyone can but your story highlights once again how much bass tournament fishing is a game of a few ounces!!

Next time, do the teasing with the check in your hand maybe?!? Just a friendly suggestion. Good job on another great fishing performance.

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 The Bass Federation of Michigan.
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