38.5 water temsp. Ice off 5 days prior. Fish still in slow mo. After 3 hours of fishing and 4 fish in the boat, a pattern started to emerge. Over the next 4 hours I was able to get the total up to 15. When fishing for giant Smallies, numbers don't always tell the story. On this day however, the best 8 went over 42lbs. Big fish was a 6.45lb mule. 6 others over 5lbs. These are Smallies that I dreamed about for years! One of the keys on cold water days like this is to fish slow, but fish slow in the right spots. If you are not on fish, the day will slip away really fast with poor results. I like to hit key spots, work a few slow casts, then determine if it has fish or to keep moving. Once you find a depth and type of structure, it's pretty easy to jump other spots that are identical and keep catching fish.
Lyal has his Lund 2075 Pro V Bass ready for action. The only thing left is to mount the graphs when they show up. 12' Talons on the back installed with tilt brackets. 10" Atlas heavy duty jackplate. Hydrowave H2 on the bow. We just mounted Bass Boat Technologies plates on our console and bow to hold our Solix 15's. Our lakes have water around the edges and a warm forecast for the next 12 days!
Started yesterdays rigging by making a custom engine lift plate. Took a flat plate with rings already attached and rated for 1000 lbs. I made a 4.5" circle and split it into 3. After drilling out the holes I used grade 8.8 10mm bolts to secure the plate to the flywheel. My Dad brought his tractor with a bucket and some chain. We carefully put tension on the engine and took the 4 bolts out. After cleaning the silicone that was still pretty fresh from the initial engine install at the factory just weeks ago, we put new silicone circles around the bolt holes and mounted the Atlas 10" heavy duty jack plate. Once that was tight we put the motor back in place and finished mounting it back to the jack plate. After this was done I tucked it back in the garage and was ready to tackle some other items.
I started the install of Talon brackets. Once these were on I put both 12' Talons in their place. I then ran the wire and finished the install. After syncing the controllers this part was finished. Now I ran the jackplate gauge wires and up and down wires to the console. I hooked these up to the dual trim lever on the steering wheel and the gauge in the dash. Everything went smooth and is operational. The last few items I worked on were the hydrowave, G-Force handle and G-Force Eliminator prop nut. Right now everything is ready and waiting the arrival of the Solix 15's.
I have a great start on getting the boat rigged for the 2017 season. The Minn-Kota Ultrex is on and ready to do work! The batteries and onboard charger are all in place and ready to go. The Atlas jackplate, Minn-Kota Talons and Humminbird Solix units are going to be here soon. I'll post more pictures as these items get installed. This season is going to be a great one!
Lyal and Casey were added to the Lund pro-staff team this season. Both will be running a new 2075 Pro V Bass for 2017. The boats are being rigged by Bass Brawl Outdoors and will be ready to go when the lakes open up. Some of the key accessories include 12' Minn-Kota Talons on the rear, a 10" Atlas Jackplate, 15" Humminbird Solix on the console, 2 15" Humminbird Solix on the bow, Minn-Kota Ultrex on the bow, Humminbird 360 on the bow and a T-H Marine Hydrowave on the bow. Both boats will be fish catching machines and put to use on a bunch of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota lakes. If you like what you see, please stop at Ray's Marine in Moorhead, MN and ask for Mike Olson. Tell him Bass Brawl Outdoors sent you. They will take care of you before and after the sale. Lund offers both an 18' and 20' model.
Our last tournament of the season was on Little Cormorant. The "Top 6" teams from the season based off of 5 events qualified for this event. Lyal and I spent our time prefishing by doing a lot of scanning and game planning and not actually fishing. We had a plan for both shallow and deep fish and used the first 15 minutes of the day to determine what we were going to do. Our first stop was to see if a top water bite was going. We were hoping to get a couple quick 4 pound fish in the boat in short order then go deep and spend the day picking off fish. We didn't catch a keeper in the first 15 minutes and knew right then we were pulling the plug. We had 52 waypoints to hit out deep. Each waypoint was the spot on the spot and an easy indicator of where to pull in and drop the Fortrex with the 360 hanging off the front. No wasted time, no wasted casts, no wasted anything. After 5 quick stops we were using the trolling motor on high to move from one waypoint 50yds to the next. A white streak appeared 40' to the 2 o'clock position and we both fired a drop shot right at the spot. My cast hit the bottom and a few shakes later a 3.94 was in the livewell. We ran to the next spot and doubled up on our first 2 casts. For the next 90 minutes it was pure insanity. Doubles, singles, doubles - there wasn't a time we didn't catch a fish on one of our casts. All of a sudden we had 8 fish for 34lbs in the boat and had our work cut out in trying to cull 4lb fish. After the bite slowed we jumped a bunch of other waypoints waiting for the magic spot to reload. We caught fish on almost every waypoint we hit but they were under 3lbs and no help. On our first stop back at the magic spot Lyal shook his drop shot and stuck a giant. After a perfect fight on the spinning combo a 5+ was netted. We gained a full pound on the cull. The bite slowed again and we let it rest. Right at the end we went back and gave it one more try. Again Lyal set the hook and battled another 5+ to the boat where I netted it. Another 1lb upgrade and we were sitting close to 37lbs. At the weigh-in there was a 32lb bag weighed which is a huge sack in Minnesota. Then a really big bag that went over 34lbs was weighed. We were hoping our scale was right and when our big bag was weighed it hit 36.96lbs. A crazy bag of fish.
So how, what and why? How - We used our electronics to first find the key areas. I'm not talking about scanning for an hour and calling it good. I'm talking many many hours. I have records of scans from 8 years ago and every year since. Plus I put in over 6 hours on the main motor in one day just rechecking and looking for new stuff. This wasn't a 30,000 acre reservoir but a small 1,000 acre lake. The key areas of lake were scanned on 200' passes, 100' on each side of the boat, over the entire lake. Not missing an inch of bottom on our scans. After that was done we uploaded that data to our Reefmaster program on the computer. Now is where the fun begins. You can zoom way in on the scans and make a mosaic where you can see the WHOLE bottom of the lake at once. I can follow the weedlines, the sand spots, the gravel, the rocks and put paths and waypoints on every spot. Once this is done we put the waypoints and paths back in our Humminbird units and we are ready for the attack. Why - this saves a TON of time. With the 360, we pull up to the waypoint on the "spot on the spot" and know we are in position to see it on our screen and make pinpoint casts to the area. No wasted casts - NONE. No casts at just a waypoint with no 360 wondering if the fish are there, wondering if the cast is in the right area, wondering why you're not feeling rocks. Another key which is critical is it allows you to fish in front of the boat, keeping the boat off the sweet spot and not scaring the fish away. We see the structure on our screens, which could be sand, rocks, gravel, etc and make every cast count. Efficiency is unbelievable, every cast you know where you lure is. If the fish are all showing up on the left side of the spot and you don't have a 360, you could be wasting many casts trying to fan cast your waypoint and by the time you get to the "right" side it's the "wrong side" cause the fish moved and you had no idea. When we found the magic spot this day, it was a small 30' by 30' gravel patch with a few big rocks on the side. EVERY SINGLE fish came from that 30' by 30' area. Every time we pitched our drop shots in front of the boat they were on the right spot, and were rewarded with a big fish.
If you have good electronics, put in the time to really learn them and use them. If you are on the fence and not sure they worth it, believe me when I say if you are willing to learn them and use them, they are worth their weight in gold.
Using the 360 lets you make precise casts to fish in front, to the side, or to the rear of your boat as you see them on your screen. This really shines when fishing lakes with little weed growth. When 4 to 5 pound smallies are on bare sand, mud, or rocks they can't hide from the 360. I set my range to 55' so I get use to the distance of a full cast and shorter depending on how far the fish are away from the boat. Once you get use to it, a fish that shows at 37.5' to the 2 o'clock will soon have a bait in it's face.
We were hoping to get on a good topwater bite but were greeted at the lake with green pea soup water. Didn't take long to figure out the fish were in a funk and you had to put your bait right on their head to get a bite. Using our electronics we found a group of smallies on a small sand patch mixed in some rocks. It was a tight space but the 360 kept us casting to precise targets. The end result was 34 smallies which 20 were over 4lbs and a big fish of 5.5lbs. It was a great day on the water!
Been on an awesome Gill bite of platter size trophies! Using our electronics makes it quick to find these fish and catch them. All of the fish have been released to fight another day and keep our lakes healthy!
These brown fish won't loosen their grip on us! Hours and hours of effort into cracking these things on a few key lakes is starting to pay off. When you set the hook and know it's a 95% chance that the fish is going to be over 4lbs it's a pretty crazy feeling. We have some of the best fishing in the country 20 miles from our door but when you find fish built like this you drive the extra miles and it's worth everything we put into it!