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Author Topic: My Regional Recap  (Read 2475 times)

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My Regional Recap
« on: October 08, 2007, 09:29:41 AM »

I just returned from 7 straight days on the mighty Mississippi River on pools 18,19, and 20. The tournament was held out of Captain Kirk's Marina in Fort Madison, Iowa on pool 19 which is also known as Lake Cooper. It is the widest pool on the Mississippi and fishes more like a reservoir than a river in the lower end and the upper end and pools 18 and 20 are mainly just fast moving river with a few chutes that hold fish that mostly live on wood and rock.

The lower end of 19 has the largest lily pad (lotus) fields I have ever seen. The pad field in Montrose, Iowa is at least 1000 acres!!! (Yeah, I know where do you start.) After my skunking on the same pool last year in regionals, Grandpa and I decided to expand our search a little more this year to the upper end. Early on the first practice day after catching two 3 pounders flipping wood on a jig, Grandpa grabbed the trolling motor and hit a stump which snapped the shaft right in two! Thank the Lord for spares. We headed back to the ramp and switched out for the spare and headed back out.

The rest of our practice went without accident and went much better than last year. We found no more wood fish in the upper end, except for in a little community chute that I did not want to fish unless I had to. The next few days we spent in the lower end of 19 and a half day in 20. The water was extremely dirty this year and visibility was about 6 inches, except for in the pads where the water was extremely clear. I was catching fish all week on a $1.00 spinnerbait I found at a local tackle shop. It was lime green with a single copper Colorado blade. I picked up a couple more after the fish had showed a lot of interest. I will skip most of my practice report due to the fact I always write too long of a story.

My best day included 8 keepers with my best 5 going around 13 pounds. We never hit ony of the same spots twice and worked hard to find more areas that duplicated my pattern. I had found fish relating to eel grass beds that were in 2-3 fow on the edge of steep drops.

The real key to the pattern, though, was there had to be light current sweeping across the grass. I ended up finding 5 areas that all held fish and one other area where I caught some giant frog fish back in the pads. My whole pattern was dependent on the power company generating, which I was confident would be done due to the hot weather. They don't have a generation schedule, it is soley dependent on demand and always starts everyday at 6 am. The day before the tourney was very cool and there was little current. Although we did not hit the prime areas, you could tell the fishing was tough. It was our worst practice day with only one 3 pounder being caught and 4 short fish. I had not touched my best spot in 3 days when tourney day dawned and I was itching to get started to see what I could come up with.

Tourney morning dawned hot and humid with 160 boats ready for the take off. I made the 15 minute run to my prime area and pulled in to find no one else their. This was a relief. I began with my ugly spinnerbait and noticed that the water had cleared a lotttttt overnight. I could see at least 2 foot. I caught a dink quickly. The shad were busting all over and the bass were going nuts.

I had a gut feeling that a rat-l-trap was going to catch these fish. I quickly grabbed my trap rod out of the locker and quickly started to catch shorts and in about ten minutes had my first keeper a chunky 2 pounder. After an hour with a few more shorts I ran to my rat fish. I fished for about 25 minutes without a single blowup when all of a sudden kablooey a good 3+ fish sucked it down. The first jump was fatal and he threw my rat right back at me.

My very next cast produced another good 3+ fish only to have this fish also jump and throw my rat right back at me. My coangler also hooked a good fish and lost it to the jump in the same spot. We stayed and beat on this area another 30 minutes without another hit. I then ran back to my starting spot and noticed the current had picked up. About ten minutes into it I catch a 3+ on a trap. About 4 more dinks and 30 minutes later, I decided to hit a couple of my other areas that were similar.

My first spot once again produced two back to back fish. The first was well over 3 and jumped off a spinnerbait and the second was a solid 15 inch fish that also jumped off. This day was becoming a nightmare in the making. We left this area and went to the next and never had a single hit in the next area. I noticed the next two spots had very little current and decided then and their to live or die the rest of the day on my starting spot.

I returned to my starting spot with 4 hours left to fish. I had 2 and my coangler had 0. I began trapping and never put it down the rest of the day. My co did as well, although he had never caught a fish on a trap. He even asked me how many I had caught on it prefishing and I told him that I hadn't even through it in prefish. Within 2 hours I finished my limit and sorted one and my co put 4 in the boat including a 4 pounder.

I ended the day with 5 fish that went 11'9" which put me in 20th place (24 got a check) and only 14 ounces out of the top 12 cut which fished on Saturday. I definitley had a shot going inot Friday. My coangler's 4 fish went 10'1" and he was in 6th. He was ecstatic, but drew a guy for Friday that zeroed so he was a little worried.

I had figured out on Thursday that the shad were being slowly swept down the current and when they hit this particular eel grass bed they would hold in it as long as they could because it formed an eddy. Every time this would occur I would catch fish, but there were long lulls between this happening. I decided that if the current was flowing on Friday I would live or die by this spot unless I got a quick 12 pound limit, which I would then try for a few frog fish.

Friday dawned hot and muggy once again so I hoped it to be a duplicate day. My coangler for the second day had 3 fish for 5'5" so he had a shot if he got a good sack. I pulled into my spot to find 4 other boats sitting on it and all of them were throwing traps. I had not seen a single other boat the first day throwing a trap so it amazed me to say the least. I had only seen 3 other boats the first day and they all quickly passed through and were throwing only spinnerbaits.

I put my head down and began throwing my trap anyway and pulled into my primary spot. I had a boat on each side of me. I watched as one boat quickly put a 3+ in the boat. I caught a 16 incher quickly and then the spot went dead. I told my co we were going to wait them out. The boat with the fish left and the other stayed with us the rest of the day.

I asked how they both did the first day and the boater had 0 and the co had 2 small ones. I explained that I had a shot at the All American and would appreciate some room if they didn't mind. My wish was not granted and he decided that he was going to stay. An hour later he and his co each caught a nice keeper one of them being over 3 pounds. My co and I doubled a little later and both had 15 inchers. About and hour later I had my third fish, a chunky 14 1/2. Another boat pulled in and his co caught 2 keeps in the next hour with one being a 3+.

I tried to stay focused on the task at hand and chucked my trap til my arms ached. With 2 hours to go I catch my 4th fish another chunky 14 1/2. I knew I needed a good fish to have a chance.

About ten minutes later I hooked a solid fish that will haunt me for a while. It was definitely a solid fish by the hit and then jumped to reveal a fish well over 3 which quickly gave my trap back to me. I was very upset and when I went to make another cast noticed that something didn't feel quite right. I checked my trap to find it was only a half a trap. The fish had broken it in two pieces and then began jumping to try and throw out the other half.

He jumped at least 4 times in front of us. It was a brand new trap, but apparently me slapping the eel grass off of it all day had weakened it. It was a different one than I had used the day before so I knew it only had one day's beating on it. I quickly tied on another trap and was hoping a flurry had started. I hooked another fish around 2 1/2 and lost him when I tried to swing him in the boat. With an hour to go and no other bites my co began throwing a swim jig and began connecting on short fish. I tied one on and once again hooked a solid 2 1/2 and once again lost this fish.

At the end of the day I headed to the ramp with only 4 in the box. I ended the tourney where I started in 20th place and cashed a chekc for $500. It was not my goal for the week, but eased a little of the pain. I missed the final day top 12 cut by 3'3". I don't know if my fish could have held up for one more day, but I should would have liked to try. All in all I had a blast. I enjoy fishing the BFL's more than anyhting I do. They take a lot of time and money, but I don't mind and can't wait for next season to begin. Until then a big buck, a few giant smallies and a lot of ice fishing are yet ahead. God Bless and Good Fishing Everyone!
« Last Edit: October 13, 2007, 01:35:26 PM by djkimmel »

Durand Dan

Re: My Regional Recap
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2007, 09:47:23 AM »

Thanks for the report. Great reading!  :)


Re: My Regional Recap
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2007, 10:51:18 AM »

Heath Great report!
Do I get to work on your TM again?


Team houston

Re: My Regional Recap
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2007, 12:06:09 PM »

Great job as always Heath and great write up. Sounds like you had the fish on to make the cut. I expect you will be talking to the people at Rattletrap, I would. Maybe you can get a couple of free baits out of it? Don't forget to post when you find out something about Cherokee.


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Re: My Regional Recap
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2007, 01:38:25 PM »

GREAT report as usual rufus! Thanks for taking the time - your reports are always popular. I added in some paragraph breaks for you to make it easier for everyone reading. You do the hard creative part and I'll just do a little formatting - hope you don't mind.

Sounds like you were really on them as usual. Sounds like the fishing there is a lot better than it was back in 2000-01.

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.

Skip Johnson

Re: My Regional Recap
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2007, 08:05:57 AM »

I havent been there before but let me tell ya it was REAL good fishing, I had the fish to make the cut but somehow the fuji boat beat me to my best 3 spots on day 1 so I had a bad first day with only 2 keepers,
I never seen him during practice.
day 2 went better but I broke off a 4lb+ so I weighed 4 fish for 10 lbs on day 2 >:(
Im pretty bummed were not going back in 2008 but it will be on my list of places I will return, dont get me wrong we have it good in michigan but that was real bass fishing I loved it!
Go Big or Go Home!


Re: My Regional Recap
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2007, 09:27:26 PM »


Great write-up and great job !! I wasn't there this year but I remember from 06 what a tough fishery Ft. Madison was.

Sounds like your 1st day coangler got a little chatty with some boater friends, that's too bad.

Take Care, Kev
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