Monday, August 31, 2009

Fort Madison Stren Series: Baits, Patterns and Equipment

As promised, here's a run down of the baits, patterns and equipment that got me a 5th place finish in the Stren Series Central Division Tournament on the Mississippi River at Fort Madison, Iowa.

The baits, in order of importance, and how they were used:
1. Again the Dunn's Big Bite Baits "Honey Bug" comes through catching five of the eleven keepers I weighed in a week ago. I alternated fishing this bait on a 3/16th ounce Penetrater Tungsten weight and a 5/16th ounce weight. Ultimately for the tournament I used the 5/16th weight. I paired this bait with a G Loomis BCFR 894 flipping stick, 20lb Maxima Fluorocarbon line and a 4/0 Straight shank hook. I used this set up when fishing main river laydowns and scattered main river wood. I just can't say enough about the Honey Bug, it flat out catches them!

2. The second best bait in my arsenal was a Lucky Craft 1.5, I caught 3 keepers the first morning on this bait in 30 minutes! I had to change locations for day two due to muddy water in my primary area from day one, my day two efforts did not include any crankbaiting. But I was able to land a nice keeper smallmouth during the finals with this bait. I threw this bait on 15lb Maxima monofilament line on a G Loomis crankbait rod model # cbr847. The RC 1.5 was my go to bait when I fished sections of rock banks on the main river.

3. Bait number three is a bait that I had never thrown during a tournament, I had only used one during practice for a previous event three years ago on the Mississippi River in Wisconsin, and even then I only used this bait a little bit. The bait is a Brovarney swim jig. Specifically designed for a moving presentation. I used this bait in areas of the river that had lily pads. I would slow roll this bait through the shallowest sections of the pads that I could get my boat into, and repeatedly I found fish willing to eat this jig. I threw this bait on 15lb Maxima fluorocarbon line on a G Loomis rod model # bcr854

I have two things to mention before you see the picture of this bait, number one: a huge thank you goes out to Ben Kurtz who loaned me several jigs during the week, and another thank you goes to Tim Domaille who offered more and Casey Hewes (president of Brovarney Baits) for doing his level best to get me some baits before the tournament started. number two: For all you swim jig faithfuls, I know the trailer of choice is a grub. When I first tried the jig in practice, I wanted an electric blue trailer, all I had in that color was one bag of Zoom 6" lizards. After a little "doctoring" I came up with what you are about to see. After getting bit regularly on this bait during practice, I was scared to change anything, even after I got some electric blue grubs. So, go easy one me, it was a confidence thing!

The last two baits did more in practice, than during the tournament. However, with that said, they helped me find two of my most productive areas. I did manage to catch my first keeper on the final day with the Spro frog, and on the second day of practice I found several areas holding fish with the 3/8th ounce black Lunker Lure buzzbait pictured below. Both baits were thrown on a G Loomis Rod model #bcr854

This tournament was a tough one, I was very fortunate to catch a limit on Day one, and to advance to the finals with just three keepers on day two. Regardless of how tough it was, the Lord blessed me immensely, I needed a good tournament to move up in the points standings, and that is exactly what I received, a great tournament finish.

Hopefully, I've shed a little light on how I caught them on the Mississippi River two weeks ago.

Until then, here's a group photo of the baits I used either in practice or the tournament

God Bless,


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