SHAKEDOWN CRUISE

Posted on March 29th, 2018

The boat is home and it is time to get the party started. After a couple weeks of snow every other day I finally got a window to go pick it up right before the Grand Rapids show. I got hit with some nasty bug while I was there that I am just getting over. So I've yet to get out on the water but let's hope this is the week!

We had a successful show last week in Grand Rapids for Minn Kota and Humminbird. Show numbers were down overall but we had a ton of people in our booth. It seemed like the crowd who only stops by because of the bright lights was missing. But the people who really wanted to get some more info about our units turned out big time. It was great to see all the interest in SOLIX, I'll be running 2 of them this year and I highly recommend them. They offer quite a few advantages for people who are really going to get in depth with their electronics. So it was great to be able to spend a bunch of time talking about them. However it wasn't fun feeling like death all weekend from whatever plague I caught. It actually was a miserable week immediately following and ruined my plans of getting down to the ClearH2O open house on Saturday. I know I missed a few people at the show but it was good to catch up with a bunch of friends.

Since the boat has been home, I've been busy prepping it and loading it to get out on the water. One other important thing I've been doing is making sure the software in my electronics and Ultrex is up to date. I cannot tell you how important it is to keep up on your updates to get the best performance from your units. Little glitches are fixed, performance/speed is enhanced, and best of all new features are added in. So if you haven't been keeping up on that, now is the time to take a look at it. All you need is an SD card and computer to update your Humminbirds or a bluetooth capable unit and the Humminbird FishSmart app (more on that in the next one). To update your Ultrex you only need a smartphone and the Minn Kota i-pilot app. You can find a quick tutorial about that on my facebook or YouTube pages.

Let's talk tournament plans for this season now. I finally saw an announcement today from West Michigan Bass that there will be a Tom Cook Memorial day open on Muskegon this year. That definitely looks like how I will start my season off. Looking at the major trails over here the D&R Sports trail and WMB Hair of the Dog series stand out. Shaun and I are definitely doing the D&R series again and I hope to make most of the HOTD series events. I'm really glad that they have no events scheduled on top of each other this year. The 3 other tournaments that are on my list are the Dylan Compagner Memorial tournament, Muskegon BFL, and Muskegon Payback Bass. I will say Payback Bass has some good things going on, I'll be excited to see more details on their classic as they come out. It is shaping up to be a great year for tournament fishing in west Michigan.

Now in between when I started this blog and when I finished it I actually got to go fishing. It doesn't always work where I get to finish these all at one time unfortunately. Anyway I got a little window to go fish and decided to do some exploring. So I headed off to find a bluegill forage based lake and give the boat a little shakedown cruise. I wasn't expecting anything spectacular being on new water without a front graph (waiting for that SOLIX 10 to show up). Things started off slowly but eventually I got dialed into something with the MEGA imaging. It always gets me pumped up to see a wad of them on MEGA and turn around and catch them. The first pod I found like that I caught 9 in row. That area had a bunch  of fish, and I had found a couple more areas where I caught a few. They were getting right because of the wind, so it was just a matter of time. Wind is such a huge factor this time of year (even in 40.7 degree water), it just makes them so predictable. It can really make them school up in little corners and turns that the wind is pushing into. There is a perfect scenario that can unfold with the right winds and the right spots. There is a particular type of "spot" I look for in this situation and this lake had 2. The ones I could find and catch with MEGA were are a lot more work than these 2 particular spots. The switch turned on when I headed back to check those 2 places and I caught them just about every cast for an hour plus off spot 1. It was absolutely ridiculous and got to the point where I was bored of catching them there because I needed to know what was going on at spot 2. I figured I would see how many casts I could get them in a row at spot 2, my streak ended at 23 when I snagged up some coontail on cast 24. Speaking of the coontail that was the key, they were glued to the edge and just outside of it in 9-13 feet. I could see them swimming by on the MEGA imaging while spot lock was holding me still, there were just so many! That silly ned rig was the star of the show but I would throw in a blade bait once in awhile to catch them on something different. It truly is amazing the power of a spinning rod with a jighead and simple plastic in early spring. I also caught some good ones covering water with a jerkbait, although I never got on anything more than a couple fish in an area with it. But it was responsible for some of the bigger bites. By the end of the evening I had caught over 100 and I still never got to a bunch of the fish I found. It was also fun to get a little exploring in and even better that it worked out well. Definitely a good start to the year, hopefully I can get out somewhere else new next week.

I hope to be doing some more frequent blogging now that we are getting back to bass fishing. So be sure to check back often to see what kind of techniques have been working for me and whatever else I've been up to.