2017 BLOGS

Ready for Old Man Winter

Posted on December 7th, 2017

It's starting to feel like winter out there and if you are like me you are hoping we are on the cusp of an early ice fishing season (before Christmas would be awesome). As duck season is winding down, the whitefish run is over  and I'm starting to get anxious about being on the ice. First ice is always amazing fishing and I've got a bunch of new tackle from Clam Outdoors to try out.

I'm especially excited about the Clam Kenai Pro Stealth series shanty. It is a 1 man flip over and a true dark house. I have a couple sight fishing opportunities on first ice in my area and that is really going to light things up below the ice. There's also tons of space in the tub for all the ice fishing accessories I could want and tent space for fishing in deep water. It will be super warm with the thermal skin, once you try a thermal shanty there is no going back. It hasn't helped that the ice fishing shows are going on right now. I spent a day at D&R Sports last weekend and this weekend the ClearH2O open house is going on. If it's anything like last year there will be some killer deals down there in Edwardsburg.

Humminbird also has some cool new things coming to the ice. CHIRP Helix ice units are here! The better target separation that CHIRP provides is definitely going to make things even better on the ice. Plus they come with a split screen that allows you to view flasher mode and 2d sonar mode at the same time. Good news for previous Helix ice users, the old units can be updated with a free software update to do the same thing.  

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One Last Hurrah

Posted on November 14, 2017

My rods and reels are safely stowed away for the year, well except the pier gear. Whitefishing is just around the corner and the walleye fishing has been steady. Besides you never know what kind of weird stuff will show up in the channel when the water is cold. At this point I only plan on being in a boat if I'm pursuing ducks, although I wish I had enough time to take advantage of the great November bass fishing out there. I did get to sneak in one last trip with Bryan Plenzler though at the annual Jigs and Pigs Portage Chain open.

I absolutely love this tournament because I love fishing the Portage Chain. I never get to fish there anymore but it is where I began to learn about fall fishing starting way back in high school. I will say the place is changing a bunch though as it has been tougher to catch numbers/size of smallmouth in their typical areas. I'm not sure if their numbers are decreasing or they have moved locations. There is definitely some changes that have occurred to the areas and I think with a little time to explore over there I could dial it in again.

Once again we had a light turnout, 10-12 boats or so, and mostly diehards from the Jackson area. It always cracks me up about these tournaments on the east side, they always seem to get some excitement and another 10 boats that can't wait to fish but never show. That is the amazing thing about the west side, you never have to wonder if people are going to show up. You know a bunch of boats are going to show up every time. Compared to the southeast part of the state we have an amazing tournament scene over here on the lakeshore. I would lump the whole east side together but from what I've seen the Wixom/Sanford Lakes area has some good stuff going on too. Regardless I do not miss the weak turnouts in southeast Michigan.

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Century Mark

Posted on October 24, 2017

Well here we are still moving forward at blog number 100. A lot has changed since the website/blog experience began. We've moved from one side of the state to the other, got married, got a dog, had a baby, and managed to catch a few fish in between it all.

Big thanks to Brandirawks for getting this going and taking the time to post each and every one of them. Working on the website/blog has extremely important for getting new opportunities in the fishing world. It isn't always easy to find the time to sit down and write these things or a lot of fun when you have to tell a story about not catching them. It's impossible for me to tell who reads these but if you have taken a moment to read one of them I really appreciate it!

With things just general chaos this fall and no place of my own to store the boat for the winter. I've already put it away for the year, I did get some amazing smallmouth fishing in before that happened. It felt good to do a little fun fishing, just me and a bunch of savage smallmouths biting whatever moved. But it looks like I'm stuck catching walleyes and whatever else comes in the channel the rest of the year (unless someone takes me fishing). It is a relief to not have to worry about winterizing the boat though. A big reason for that is I really want to just duck hunt with Hutch. He is crushing it in season 2 and we only have a 60 day season to work together. So while I am missing some of the best fishing of the season I'll trade that to watch my buddy do what he lives for.

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2017 D&R Sports Classic

Posted on October 5, 2017

Well a couple things have happened since the last blog. First of all we got some salmon in! I only got to get after them for a day due to all the bass fishing going on, but man was it a blast. They were stacked up and the bite was decent. It is so late compared to years past, but the good part about that is there is no one fishing for them. Tons of room to drive around looking for the mega pod with the Humminbird SOLIX 15. It's so exciting when the screen is just lit up with a school of salmon and you know with any drop of your jig one could smoke it. I didn't get any great footage from that trip, but here is a little teaser on youtube.

Next up was the D&R Sports classic on Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell, where we were going to be fishing for a brand new Tracker boat! There is no other tournament circuit in Michigan that offers this opportunity or anything even close to it. Not to mention the qualifiers payout good too and the bonus money thrown around is crazy. Why this series didn't fill up with boats this year is beyond me. It is a great option no matter where you are from in the state.

We will start at the end and move forward since if you follow my social media you already know what happened. Shaun Ford and I won the tournament and the boat! I don't really know what to say about it other than winning was amazing and means a ton to us. Forget the boat, the trophies, and all that, it is just so tough to win one of these and that means the most. Things really have to go your way to win against 60 plus boats, especially over two days. We've had lots of high finishes with D&R so it was awesome to close the deal on the big one. Winning a boat is also something we can both check off our bucket lists. We can't complain about the timing either since we both have young children at home and some extra cash goes a long way. Now that we know how it ended up, let's start from the beginning.

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2017 State Championship Wrap Up

Posted on September 18, 2017

Before we get to the Michigan Bass Nation State Championship details I'm sure some of you have been very anxious for some salmon news. I'll tell you it has been an incredibly disappointing season in Muskegon. Some fish have been skirting through, but no one has been marking them. I have had a buddy up here on vacation fishing every day for the last two weeks and the only salmon he has seen caught was the one he did. However, there are a bunch of them in the river and who knows what is left to come. Thanks to my buddy Shane I was able to have one fun day in Grand Haven when it was stacked with coho's and a few kings. Unfortunately, they were gone two days later when I took my dad and brother there. It was a fun adventure though since neither of them had ever been on the river before.

I also got to switch things up and do some waterfowling. Fortunately, I did not have a tournament on the Saturday of the youth hunt so Trevor, Hutch, and I went again! No mosquitoes this year since it was in the 40's and it was going to be a great morning for duck hunting. Not only was Trevor excited but so was the Hutch man. I haven't gotten a ton of time to work with the dog since Mabel joined the family this summer (everything has been chaos), so I was curious how ready he would be. It took about two seconds for Hutch to put camo, decoys, and early morning together. He was ready to get in the truck and go. I was impressed with his focus right off the get go, there is no doubt he has matured some. I didn't have to round him up for shooting time, he was right by my side and focused on the skies. Things started off slow, but Trevor picked away at them getting his limit of three wood ducks and a mallard. We did have a four pack of teal in the decoys that would have filled his limit, but they were so close together there was no way for him to take a shot and not hit every bird. Frustrating since he has never gotten to shoot a teal before but he showed great patience in waiting for the right shot or you simply don't shoot (and you definitely don't skybust like a clown).  It was a great morning and we were off the water at 9am with Trevor's four birds and a retriever that performed perfectly!

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Tournament Catch Up part 2

Posted on August 31, 2017

A couple more tournaments and we are all caught up. I've had a nice little break with a vacation up north and some Charlevoix smallies. After that the focus is all on salmon until the Michigan Bass Nation State Championship on Muskegon Lake. I don't have any salmon news to report yet, although I expect that to change tomorrow and throughout labor day weekend. If you haven't picked up your salmon jigging starter pack (with my favorite spoons and hooks) from ClearH2O Tackle now is the time!

Back to the bass, let's start with the West Michigan Bass HOTD tournament on White Lake. Based on our struggles at the D&R tournament we were going to have to find something better if we were going to do well. We had to abandon my favorite areas of the lake, because for some reason they sucked! So I was off with the Humminbird side imaging to find some other places that had what I was looking for. Most times if I could find the right mix of depth and coontail, I could get bit. The side imaging was absolutely critical for covering water quickly and finding the right stuff. It didn't take long to find 6 or 7 new schools that were holding quality fish.

However, those coontail fish move a lot in that place, so I was hoping for half of them to be on during tournament day. Plus I knew with 80 some boats we weren't going to be able to get to all of them. We got to start where we wanted to, which actually wasn't one of the schools, but it was a place we felt was one of our best chances to get one or two fish over 4lbs.

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Tournament Catch Uo

Posted on August 18, 2017

It's time to catch up on some tournament news/details. I've got a couple to go over, the Payback Bass event on the Grand River and the D&R series event on White Lake. You are probably thinking why Shaun and I would go back to the Grand after the beating we took. We just can't help it!

The Payback tournament is a little different than most, 400 dollar entry fee with a 5000 dollar guaranteed first place. Also you have to have your money in ahead of time, so no one is pulling out of the event because of a bad practice. I was hoping to get some more practice time on the river that week, but we ended up going to Lake Huron for work. We did get a day in right before the tournament and tried some vastly different things than we are used to. We had some decent fish going in 4 areas, so we had high hopes for the next day. We started in an area we don't really have much experience in but had a bunch of fish in it. To start out we had a recreational fisherman sitting right where we wanted to be, so we headed on down toward an area we never touched in practice. Our expectations were a couple decent fish with a quick limit. They were on it right away, picking up a 15 incher on a buzzbait and 2 super quick frog fish. The second frog fish took 2 casts to catch and unfortunately he got it right in the tongue somehow. Even worse it was a 2.5 to 2.75lber, which is a solid fish for the river. Going back to my last blog we were going to have to keep a close eye on the fish. It lost a lot of blood and the G Juice wasn't working either, after about 20 minutes we could see it was really struggling. Instead of being stuck with the fish we elected to let it go, since it was likely going to take more weight to win.

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Give Em The Shank

Posted on August 4, 2017

I'm coming off the most disastrous tournament in recent memory (a few weeks ago now). Yes we had a limit of fish on, but even then they weighed about 8lbs. Things Just didn't turn out our way at the Grand River D&R tournament, so we dumped our 3 and got on the road.

I don't have a whole lot of details on this one. Practice was brief for me as Amanda, Mabel, and I came home from the hospital that day. I met Shaun at the lake and immediately had to put the plug in the boat. Meaning practice was starting with me fishing in my underwear, hopefully everyone enjoyed the show. There wasn't much to see in that little bit of time, and we had nothing good to go on. If there is one place where that doesn't mean much it is the river. We just went fishing and despite catching a bunch of fish, the size was terrible.  It wasn't like we were fishing places where little fish were common. But every time one would roll on the rat and then eat a bullet craw, it would be a disappointing 13 incher. That's really about all I've got to say about that one so we are going to move onto something far more important.

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Mabel Bennett Elliott

Posted on July 7, 2017

July 4th was an average day, lunch with the in laws, working on the boat/tackle. Big plans to hit the Grand River in the morning and then work on Lake Michigan all night. Things quickly changed when Amanda's water broke and she jolted out of bed. I grabbed the bags and off we went to Grand Rapids, it was time to have this baby. I will say it was nice having the light traffic in the middle of the night.

I had been desperately pleading with the baby to stay in there until after my D&R tournament on Saturday. But it turns out she wasn't going to listen and the day was finally here (much to Amanda's relief). She has been over pregnancy for a little bit, and we couldn't wait to meet our little surprise. We (well mostly Amanda) wanted the gender to be a surprise at birth so that added one more exciting thing to the whole process. She was right by the way, the surprise at the end was worth it. Besides all that mattered to either of us was a healthy baby and mom.

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Dumpster Fire

Posted on June 22, 2017

Three weeks into the season and things have been going zero or hero. Which is pretty typical for me until the post spawn lull gets out of town and they start eating right. Unfortunately, one of those zeros was in a tournament that mattered. Other than that, I've hopped into a couple random ones and even got Amanda out for one last tournament.
While the tournament I took Amanda on wasn't the most successful tournament fishing, it was a nice relaxed night of fishing. We hopped into the Thursday Night Bite on Muskegon and just had fun. I wasn't driving anywhere fast with an 8-month pregnant lady on board so we even volunteered to be blast off boat. As for the fishing, I spent too much time chasing skittish bed fish or fry guarders and we only ended up with three keepers. However, I'm still glad we gave it a shot!

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The Beast

Posted on June 1, 2017

Finally getting to write about some real fishing action in this blog. After a slow start this year I finally am feeling like I'm getting in a groove or so I thought until the first tournament. Before I get into that fun stuff I've got to talk about an Amazing trip Amanda, Hutch, and I took up north.

We decided to spend 5 days in the Traverse City area as our last trip as a Family of 3. It was predetermined it would be heavy on boat time and the weather could not have worked out more perfectly. While I never got on any good reaction bites because it was so calm, I got to catch them doing what I really love. All the lakes will remain nameless in this one because some of the places I did really well fly under the radar and were lakes I was told about. Anyway we decided to stop at a place I had never fished on the way up. Caught a bunch of perch there but never touched a bass in a couple hours. Not a good start to the trip so we quickly bounced and continued north.

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The Party has Started

Posted on May 11, 2017

Here we go, I feel like I've finally been able to put some time in on the water. I've made a bunch of little trips so far this year, but up until this weekend I haven't really gotten to try and dial it in. I still wasn't able to get everything done I wanted to because the weather was brutal. Cold and extremely windy but hey at least the sun was out. One benefit is I did get to drive the boat in some pretty good waves, and I will say having a hydraulic jackplate makes a ton of difference.

The fishing definitely cooled down some with that weather as well. I thought I was going to be done with having a blade bait in my hand (except for some up north fishing), but with the dip in water temperature it worked its way back into rotation and caught my biggest fish of the weekend. The biggest disappointment was most of the fish that were starting to make beds pulled off. It was so windy over the few largemouths that were still in the vicinity of their beds,

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Boatless No More

Posted on April 22, 2017

We've got a bass boat sitting in the garage again (barely). It's a little trickier getting that dual axle in the garage. It has been a whirlwind picking up the Reel n Smoke boat and getting it to Motorcity Digital and back. I wouldn't have been able to do it all myself since I had some other commitments with working the D&R Sports show for Lew's, Minn Kota, and Humminbird. But my dad and brother stepped in and picked it up and even delivered it to D&R for me. Sorry about the truck tire blow out on the express way, but huge thanks to them for making it happen!

I was able to get it out on the water the following day and get it broken in. I will say I've got a lot to learn as far as using the hydraulic jackplate and getting the most out of the rig. It was choppy on Muskegon Lake so that will have to wait, but I did get to test out its fishability. It was super comfortable to fish out of and drive; now I just have to figure out how to organize it.

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Patiently Waiting

Posted on March 27, 2017

I am ready to fish!

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, by the time I write my next blog I should have a new boat. Was great to hear that good news at the fishing show this weekend! I can absolutely not wait to get it and go fishing!

Going fishing any other way has pretty much stalled (even on the pier) due to the weather the past couple weeks. Seems like we had a longer period of extended cold than we had all winter. While it hasn't been ideal, I've been enjoying the fact that no one else is fishing while I don't have a boat. It also worked out well that the weather wasn't great during the show this weekend. I've been there before where the weather is beautiful and everyone could be fishing. I'm sure when the D&R show rolls around it will be beautiful.

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THE BIG ANNOUNCEMENT

Posted on February 28, 2017

It has been a super busy few weeks and not just with fishing. Lots of fishing related stuff going on right now as we prepare for the season. I will be relieved when all this new stuff comes to fruition. One of the biggest and most exciting of those things is a new boat!

I've settled on a Nitro Z19 with a 200hp Mercury Pro XS. I've never owned a Nitro or a Merc but I am excited to see how they perform. Nothing against the two Skeeters and Yamahas I've owned though, they were great boats and motors, but several other things made me make the switch. I was ready for something different, just to change it up. One of the biggest was what D&R Sports has been doing for bass fishing in West Michigan the last couple years with their tournament trail. Good payouts, ton's of contingency money (especially for running a Nitro/Mercury), and a great tournament.

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New Boat, Here We Come!

Posted on February 9, 2017

It has been a super busy few weeks and not just with fishing. Lots of fishing related stuff going on right now as we prepare for the season. I will be relieved when all this new stuff comes to fruition. One of the biggest and most exciting of those things is a new boat!
I've settled on a Nitro Z19 with a 200hp Mercury Pro XS. I've never owned a Nitro or a Merc but I am excited to see how they perform. Nothing against the two Skeeters and Yamahas I've owned though, they were great boats and motors, but several other things made me make the switch. I was ready for something different, just to change it up. One of the biggest was what D&R Sports has been doing for bass fishing in West Michigan the last couple years with their tournament trail.

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Make Up Your Mind

Posted on January 19, 2017

Mother nature has caught a case of the crazy this winter. There's been just enough polar blasts to keep it interesting, and keep me on top of the ice, but then followed by a bunch of days in a row with above freezing temps and the worst of all...RAIN. Not to mention tugboats and shipping traffic breaking up boat lanes in Muskegon Lake. Needless to say it has been a challenge on the bigger, deeper, waters.

It has also involved a lot of tip toeing around on the ice, especially that first trip to Muskegon Lake. The pressure crack that happened when we were out there made me jump out of my shanty so fast. That was the first time I had ever felt ice move like that, we had to have shifted at least a foot. The next couple trips had much better ice, but the temps and the sun kept things interesting. I don't care how much time I've spent on the ice, or how I know the ice is only popping because it is making ice, watching a crack develop through the hole you are drilling, or hearing/watching it pop with every step, always keeps you on your toes.

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