Fished Minnetonka for the UPL panfish tournament Saturday.
We went out to a point with some good grass on it that was loaded with fish, that we found two weeks before.
It looked like it was recieving little or no fishing pressure, so we were pretty confident we would do well.
When we got there in the morning, some of the top teams were already cutting holes on it, haha.
One spot was still open where I caught a nice slab before, so we cut our holes and got to fishing.
We found loads of crappies just waiting for us, the hot lure in the morning was a two inch plastic tube with a 1/32 oz jig inside. They would come in as you were lowering it down, then I would shake it a bit and they would hit pretty hard.
We had our 8 specks in the bucket in 15 minnutes, then worked on upgrading size.
The bite started to slow and I downsized to a gold 4mm tungsen with a glow nuggie, and put a couple of decent crappies on the ice.
I decided to let Jack continue to chase the slabs, and start working on bluegills and they were stacked in the grass and ready to bite. a 3mm heavy metal tipped with a red J&S ice mite gave me constant action, as long as I moved every 15 minutes or so.
After a couple hours, the plastics bite waned, I switched to larva and started rearing on more gills and a couple of bass. We ended up with 7 # foe 15 panfish, not a bad pail of fish for tonka!
I got to fish the National Ice Fishing Championship qualifier on Pelican lake Sunday. Though I have fished many panfish and bass tournaments, this was our first NAIFC contest.
We decided to practice two days since we never ice fished the north side where the tourney was, and the south side we only fished once 2 years ago. The first day we fished in the community holes near the shanties to get an idea what kind of water people were fishing. We found some fair fish and lots of dinks, but thought mabye we would fish there.
The second day of practice had us looking for some fish in new spots not getting fished so hard. We found an area that looked promising, with the right depths and plenty of good green pondweed, with some sparse stands of milfoil and coontail mixed in, and some patches of weed free hard bottom. there were tons of fish on this spot. No really huge ones, but all the keeper crappies and gills I could catch.
I was really thinking it would take a huge catch to win, so I was a bit concerned with the lack of lunkers.
On Tourny day, we decided to head to our new spot, hoping that the noise and fishing pressure would keep the catches down in the areas most were fishing.
It did have put the bite down quite a bit, but not enough, most of the best weights came from where we were the first day.
We ended up with a mediocre tournament limit that consists of 8 crappies and 8 sunfish.
We startede out for crappies and they were pretty easy to catch with fish flying up almost to the hole to grab my forage minnow spoon, or jig and plastics.
lots of good keepers around a half a pound. I think we may have spent too much time with the crappies trying to get a big slab or two for the "kicker".but none came.
We then hit our bluegill holes, with plenty of fish waiting for us. Unfortunately frustration set in as all we could get were smaller gills. The nicer 'gills we had in practise were nowhere to be found.
I tried downviewing with my camera to see if they were down there and just not biting, but they were not. then finally a decent bluegill came in and gobbled my jig tipped with a wax
worm. But I got excited and set the hook too hard, snapping the line (choke) and got to watch it swim away with a new gold lip ring! uggh, wouldn't have helped anyways without more.
We were running out of time so we couldnt make a big move, so we just kept trying to upgrade the sunfsh without much luck.
The crappies also got in the way with much time spent pulling those in between the sunnies.
We had a good time though and we will be back next year! The tourney was run really well, Hats off to Jack Baker, Mike McNett, and every one who helped make the event a success.
Also good job helping with the kids, NAIFC pros! When I was 4 years old, someone took me ice fishing and it changed my life for the better for sure!
Also impressive was some of these teams, having never fished the lake before, took the time to help these kids ice their first fish, then went out and still placed well, you know who you are.. You are truly "icemen" ! well done! See ya next year!
Red sky in morning, fish take warning:
Cold start! around 15 below zero couldn't stop these guys and gals from chasing down some panfish!
A decent slab I caught during practice on a JR's pannie pill and radical glow tube
weigh in time
Jack was busy here, I believe he did all the bucket transfers! wow!
I peeked in one of the buckets and saw this toad. It got mye thinking I would see some monster weights, but it turned out to be the only hawg caught!
the big one at the weigh in, and a nice prize too!
Congrats to some of the Thorne Brothers pros who did really well !
Lonnie and Dustin taking the win, and Chris and Juan also cashing a check and qualifying for the Nationals next december! well done!
Chris and Juan reveal some of their sucessful stratedgy
I got into some great action with the bluegills this weekend. They were in 17 ft of water just outside the weedlines. my best bait was a 4mm heavy metal jig with various colors of nuggies. green pumpkin, red and black, and motor oil, where good. Also got some on the jumbo wedgee two tone black and silver.
I also got some on spoons. I caught at least 70 between 8 and 10 inches. I needed a good weekend, fishing has been tough so far this year!
Jack had some great action last week down there on the backwaters of the Mississippi river last weekend on the way home from Christmas with his family in Iowa. Catching nice panfish and some jumbo perch. So we decided to head back there for some more this weekend.
Weather changes and high pressure changed the fishing alot this weekend.
No jumbos were to be found. We really had to work for the bites we did get, bluegills came on the 4mm heavy metal jig tipped with a waxworm. I got a few on a nuggie tail, but they did not seem to want to take plastics that well.
Crappies, though theye were really scattered, were more willing to hit a lightly swimming mini eye candy with 2/3 of a green glow LA jumbo wedgee.
We were fishing in 5 to 7 ft. the water was quite murky, we couldn't look downn the hole and see them even that shallow.
Below zero sunrise
Ice conditions have improved dramatically with the snow washed away and the cold temps, but I think these guys are jumping the gun with their full sized trucks!