First off it's that time of year for one of the most fun outdoor activities Michigan has to offer. It is time to hit the drowned river mouth lakes and do some salmon jigging. It's been going on for awhile up north but is just getting going down this way. There are few things that are more fun than having a big king on bass tackle. You can find a little more information on it in the latest FishSens blog. We've had a lot of happenings in the bass game since the last blog with one particular day standing out more than the others. We finally had our last D&R tournament of the season on Muskegon Lake. We were pumped for this one as we have a pretty good track record on Muskegon and we were leading AOY by 2 points. Things weren't really lining up for it to be easy for us though the particular areas we can usually count on haven't really been the deal this year. Not a big deal though you have to constantly evolve on the lakeshore as dominant techniques and areas are always changing. Practice wasn't anything spectacular but we had couple things going. One that could have been lights out but was all going to depend on boat number (we drew boat 67 so that was out). The secondary plan had produced the right bites also and we had a bunch of other stuff to run that we never touched.
Being boat 67 we had to bypass our next primary area due to boats but caught a 2.5 pounder on our first stop. It's always nice to get that first fish in the boat and while we didn't want to weigh that one in it was a good start. Then we fished a bunch of other good stuff for 5 hours without a bite. We simply just couldn't get bit no matter what we did. We finally caught a 14.5 incher about noon and we were definitely in catch a limit mode at this point. However it didn't matter what we did we just couldn't get a bite. We hit a place that we always hit for 5 to 10 minutes on Muskegon and had a 3.5 pounder eat a football jig before it hit the bottom. It may have been 1 o'clock but we had plenty of time to find a couple more fish and maybe make some culls. Things were definitely looking up! It wouldn't be the first time we have rallied from having absolutely nothing in the livewell late in the day to a 15 pound bag. While it seems we would be in total panic mode at this point it's simply just another day at the lake. You never know when they are going to bite so giving up is not an option. The only option is to keep working hardand not get spun out, you never know when things are going to start going your way.
With about 45 minutes left we got another quality bite. The net was tangled up in some rods and the fish was coming fast. It was chaos and we went for the flip as the net was just getting untangled. Unfortunately we watched the hook come out and the fish fade away right before our eyes. It was right there and oh so close. Who knows if we had babied it until the net was ready if we would have gotten it the difference was just a matter of a second or 2. Regardless I'd be lying if I didn't say that one stung bad, pretty heartbreaking really. No we had to make up 2 bites in the last 45 minutes and despite our best efforts we could never make it happen. Talk about a shock rolling into Fisherman's Landing with 3 fish. While we are no Muskegon Lake experts, give us 8 hours there and we can come up with 12 pounds just about any day of the week. It's usually not easy to catch big ones there but catching a limit isn't very difficult on most days. This simply was just the day of no bites and a weird deal all around. I wish I could come up with a good excuse but I don't really have one. We worked hard to do well at this one and it just didn't work out. I don't even really have an explanation for getting no bites, there was no living or dying on techniques or spots. It definitely hurt because at the beginning of the year AOY is my number 1 goal and I know there aren't going to be many opportunities to lock it up like we had in this last event.
But there's no point in moping around after a bad tournament like that because at the end of the day it's just fishing. I put that behind myself on the way home and it was time for the next one. Luckily I didn't have to wait long to get back at it as the Dylan Compagner Memorial Open was the next day. I had been catching them pretty well up there so I was really looking forward to it. My buddy Billy and the founder of Reel n Smoke was coming out to fish it again this year. Once again it looked like some inclement weather and high winds were coming as it seems like that happens every year at this event. He was prepared with rain gear this year at least.
We caught a bunch of fish that day and some good ones too! However we needed a really big one or a couple big ones to make any noise. They were really biting good for everyone as we finished 8th with 16.68, at least we squeaked out a check. The weights were impressive though as it took over 19lbs to win and there were 4 bags over 18. The storm we got during the tournament was also really impressive. It was not exciting watching a white wall of wind and water coming at us from across the lake. We put the Minn Kota talons down and rode out the storm and electricity in the air. The bilge pump definitely got a workout after the storm. It was a weird year for me on White Lake as spinning rods factored in heavily for me again. I miss the years on that lake where I could put 5 flipping sticks on the front deck and just go. Hopefully we can get some good sunlight next spring to get those weed beds growing well again.
I was back at White Lake the next weekend for West Michigan Bass HOTD. It was more of the same and once again a lot of bites. But it was unbelievably frustrating, we couldn't get away from 2 pounders no matter what we did. We ended up getting 4 quality bites all day, landing 2 of them and losing 2 of them (that came on back to back casts). We definitely had the bites to cash a check but instead ended up with 12.55. Both Bryan and I had to drive to the east side of the state immediately following the weigh in so the only bonus was getting on the road a little earlier.
We also finished up our Monday night league which is a sure sign summer is over. We had a bunch of fun and caught a few fish throughout the series. Definitely crashed and burned a few times but ended up 2nd in the points over all. Which means we qualified for the classic however I'm not sure that will be a possibility with a little one due within a few weeks of the classic date. I'm not ruling out just going up there and fishing for the tournament just yet though.
Speaking of classics we finally found out where the D&R Classic is going to be...Cadillac and Mitchell. As with everyone else it's pretty hard to hide a little disappointment. Not because it's Cadillac and Mitchell but because the fishery is in a major down turn. It's hard to get excited about going to a place where 10-13 pounds has been winning large tournaments all year. When it's the only real fishing trip you take every fall it is a lot more fun to go places where there are big ones. Not to mention when a fishery clearly has some issue going on I'm not sure it's a great idea to go put more pressure on it. But as far as a place that we have a good history on things couldn't get much better. Neither of us have been there since we won the classic the last time D&R visited it. I'm sure there are going to be quite a few changes but at least we are familiar with it. We aren't going to pre practice at all so I'm hoping we can figure out something quickly during our day of official practice. I'm certainly not going to dwell on the venue and am going to make the most of it while I'm up there. We've got a great crew to stay with so regardless of the fishing we are going to have a great time!
Until that tournament I'm going to be mostly focused on salmon with a little bass fishing thrown in here and there. I'm going to have to try and get my smallmouth fix in before things really get crazy with a new baby, hunting season, and life in general. These are fun times and I am loving it!