Thursday, August 18, 2016

Metro Hawg Hunters July 31st tournament on Lake Minnetonka

The 4th stop on the Metro Hawg Hunters schedule brought us to Lake Minnetonka on July 31st.  The forecast was for highs in the mid-80’s with light winds.  My partner, Spencer, and I spent a considerable amount of time on the lake in the weeks leading up to the tournament and we found a good deep weedline bite that was getting better every day.  We also found a couple of mid-depth spots with decent milfoil growing on them that also were producing, but we spent the majority of our prefishing time dialing in the deep weedline pattern. 
We were boat 6 launching out of Halstead Bay and decided to fish the shallower milfoil spots right away in the morning to possibly turn a big fish right out of the gate.  After 45 minutes we only had one small keeper to show for our efforts.  Spencer and I are still scratching our heads as to where those fish went, but it was obvious that we needed to go to our deep fish to see if they would cooperate.  After a long run to the eastern part of the lake, we got to our first deep spot and started throwing jigworms and football head jigs around on a very deep weedline with a sand and gravel bottom.  On my second cast, I stuck a big fish on a jigworm that buried down in the coontail.  I was able to work the fish free and we got it into boat.  The short, fat fish looked to be around 4 pounds and we were hoping we fired up the school.  In the next 15 minutes we were able to fill out the rest of our limit with fish in the 2 to 2-1/2lb range.  After the bite cooled down on that spot we ran around fishing very small, specific hard bottom areas looking for bigger bites.  Depths ranged from 15 to 25 feet.  We caught numbers of fish on almost every stop, but those 3+ pounders were elusive.  Around 11:00 as the recreational boat traffic picked up considerably, I boated a 3-1/2 followed by another 4 pounder within a couple minutes of each other.  After another short move, Spencer boated a 3-1/4 pounder on a jigworm and all of the sudden our bag was pushing 17 pounds.  We had a 2.6lb bass in the well that needed to go.  Both Spencer and I hooked up with fish in the 3.5 to 4 pound range late in the day that got down in the grass and came off.  We felt like our inability to cull that smaller fish had cost us a chance at winning, but our 16lbs 14oz was enough to pull it out.  Our team also won big bass honors with a 3lb 14oz bass. 
Here is a list of our most productive baits:
·       1/8oz All-Terrain Mighty Jig with a 7” Berkley Power Worm (various colors)
·       3/4oz All-Terrain Football Head Jig (watermelon/red) with a 4” Berkley Chigger Craw (green pumpkin)
Our next tournament takes place on August 21st on Washington/Stella near Dassel.  For updated results, standings, and information about our club, please visit our website at metrohawghunters.com.

Team Lahr (Brad and Spencer)

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

MN Hawg Hunters June 7th 2016 Lake Calhoun Tournament Review #2

The "Calhoun Chain of Lakes" is one of the cities most well kept secrets in the bass fishing community.  I am sure this is primarily due to the fact that you cannot run an outboard on the lake, it is trolling motor only. This limited pressure produces some big fish that bite when you get a bait around them.  20 pound bags are common for a 5 fish limit.  Any time you run into that situation, its a hot lake.

The day started off quickly with a limit in about the first 30 minutes of fishing that weighed around 12-14 lbs.  Primary pattern was to focus on grass points with senkos and creature soft plastics.  This bite started to shift about half way through the day and we knew we had to make a move out to the main lake area.  We put the trolling motor on 100 and made a quick move.

Our focus was the same on the main lake, but the switch in location started to produce bigger fish moving out from the recent spawn.  We quickly culled up to our final weigh of over 17 lbs on a couple key fish close to the weed edge. Our 4+ lb kicker came with about an hour left in the day which would eventually push us over the top.  This Calhoun giant came on the beaver fished with a pegged slip sinker. 

A great start to the season for our team.  Looking forward to the next event on Buffalo Lake.
   

MN Hawg Hunters June 7th 2016 Lake Calhoun Tournament Review

The long tournament off season was finally over. Our first stop for the Metro Hawg Hunters Bass Club was June 7th on the Lake Calhoun chain (Lake of the Isles & Cedar), nestled in SW Minneapolis. This lake is an electric motor only so it made decision making extra important with the slow travel times.We opted to fish on a Tuesday to avoid the weekend traffic and to make parking easier with the big rigs. 

My partner for 2016, Mike Thompson and I were unable to pre-fish the lake but looked over some maps and committed to fish Calhoun for most, if not all the day. The weather was in the low 60s with a NNW wind around 8mph. The water temp was approx. 67 degrees, a clear indication the spawn was over and the fish would be off shore and you would need to work for them.

We started off drifting over a main lake weed flat where we picked up a 2 lber on one of the first few casts. We alternated between a jig worm setup (3/16 oz white mushroom head jig tipped with a 7.5inch black culprit worm) and a 1/2 oz pegged plastic ( chigger craw, power worm, tube craw).We didn't catch anything after fishing the area for another 15mins. We proceeded to the south side of the lake where we caught our limit of 2lbers, culling several times to gain a few ounces. The key to catching fish was pitching the Texas rig into large open pockets of weeds, the depth where the fish were holding was between 4-6ft but out on the main lake. 

We eventually proceeded back to where we caught our first fish witch was a popular location. We ended upgrading several times with some nice healthy 3lbers, again the jig worm and Texas rig was working. My partner was able to get that big bite we were looking for, a dandy 5.7lber on a Texas rig tube craw. This weed flat varried from 8-12ft in depth, the fish keyed mostly to the deeper outside edge.

With only 1.5hrs left we opted to head to Lake of the Isles looking for one last big bite. Lake of the Isles is much different than Calhoun, more weeds and dirtier water but know for some big fish. We located a few "bait balls" in the weeds and were able to upgrade a few ounces after catching a male who was over 3lbs. The bait balls are always guarded by a male after the spawn and can be very aggressive, it's a pretty fun way to fish if you haven't tried it.

We headed back to the scales with our best 5 that weighed in at 17.42lbs, good enough for second. The winning team had 17.52lbs (not a typo). All in all we caught around 25 fish. A great day on the lake, especially with out pre fishing. 

Please "Like" our Facebook page( Metro Hawg Hunters Bass Club Minnesota) and check out our club website for more! We hope to have some giveaways over the summer! Tight lines!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Metro Hawg Hunters Team Lahr review from the July 12th tournament on Lake Waconia, MN.

The 4th stop on the Metro Hawg Hunters schedule brought us to Lake Waconia on July 12th.  This lake is a great all around fishing lake that receives a ton of pressure from walleye, muskie, panfish, and bass anglers alike.  Also, the recreational boat traffic can be very heavy at times.  Waconia is not a huge lake by any means, but can be kind of intimidating because of the expansive weed flats and a decent amount of shallow cover.  We had a warm week leading up to the tournament and the forecast was for hot, humid weather with heat indexes over 100 degrees the day of the derby.  Given the conditions, we were hoping for a good deep water bite. 
My partner, Spencer, and I spent a few hours on the lake the day before the tournament checking deep weedlines, but we also spent some time up shallow looking at a few docks and slop areas.  We caught fish on points and inside turns off the flats, but we also found a few around docks.  No giants, just decent fish.  If we rolled one on a spot, we would just mark it and leave, not knowing for sure the quality of fish that lived there.  We decided to start on a short stretch of docks right away in the morning, just to make sure we weren’t missing anything.  
The morning of the tourney was warm, humid, and cloudy.  We were the last boat out of the gate, but we reached our dock area without any company.  Our hopes were that the overcast conditions might make for a decent shallow bite.  After catching a quick limit of small fish, Spencer and I wrote off the shallow cover and decided to fish deep the rest of the day.  We flew up to the north end where I had lost a 3-pounder the previous day.  It was a steep drop off the end of a flat.  We culled up a couple of times with 2-pounders and then I hooked something more substantial.  At first I thought I might have had a pike or muskie, but when my line started coming up we knew it was a bass.  After a heart-stopping jump and 3 runs under the boat, we got it in the net.  The fish went 20 inches even and we had a kicker!!  Now, we needed to find something to go with it.  We spent the rest of the day running that pattern and consistently catching fish with a nice one mixed in here and there.  I caught a 3-1/2 pounder off a point on the south end and a 4 pounder off a hard bottom point on the west end.  We went back to that same point with about an hour to go and ran into a fired up school of bass.  Spencer caught a 3-1/2 pounder in the last half hour to push our total weight up to a point where we felt like we might be able to make a run at a win. 
The weights were very tight between the four teams at the top.  Spencer and I weighed a 5-fish limit for 18.94 pounds which on this day was only good enough for 4th place.  Lee Farber and Jeff Lueck were the winners with 19.52 pounds.  Obviously, there were some big fish weighed in, but our 5.32 pound brute ended up being big fish of the day.
Here is a list of our most productive baits:
·       3/8oz All-Terrain Finesse Jig (green pumpkin) with matching twin tail grub
·       5” whacky-rigged Senko (various colors) fished on a VMC whacky jighead (1/8oz)
·       1/8oz All-Terrain Mighty Jig with a 7” Berkley Power Worm (various colors)
·       Drop Shot – Zoom Finesse Worm (watermelon/red flake) fished on a #1 VMC Spinshot hook with a 1/4oz dropshot weight
·       1/2oz All-Terrain Football Head Jig (watermelon/red) with a 4” Berkley Chigger Craw (green pumpkin)
Our last tournament of the regular season takes place Friday, July 24 on Lake Minnetonka.  The points race is tight and only the top 5 teams make the Tournament of Champions in September.  For updated results, standings, and more information about our club check out our website at metrohawghunters.com.

Team Lahr (Brad and Spencer)

             

Monday, July 6, 2015

Metro Hawg Hunters Kenny Weyandt gives his review of their latest tournament on Clearwater Lake in Annandale, MN.

An important thing Adam and I have learned is trying to estimate what it will take to win because that should factor in how you approach a lake. We felt like 14lbs + would be a strong weight and our other two tourneys here we only weighed 12lbs so we knew we had to take some risks. 

Another thing that we have learned in tournament fishing over the past few years  is you only need 5 good fish and you typically find them in heavy cover in MN lakes. With that in mind we threw out all our previously fished spots and sort of just flew by the seats of our pants. 

We started on reeds/bullrushes up shallow flipping and frogging. Not a lot of fish but put one in the boat that was just under 3lbs on a frog. As the sun came up we began to push deeper and fished some rocks but found nothing. As we worked back to our next spot we worked a steep drop off with nice cover. Adam was rigged wacky and I was flipping a jig. Adam caught a couple from the back of the boat that were just under 3lbs. That got me thinking to slow down and possibly dead stick a little. 

Our next spot that same pattern seemed to work. Although I was flipping an edge with a black/blue 1/2 ounce Flammin Jig I was letting it sit on the bottom for 5-7 seconds and sure enough, that's when our biggest of the day came at 3.4lbs!

We continued that pattern and Adam caught one last one over 3lbs using a weightless wacky rig again which we though would put us over 14lbs. We went to flipping patches of milfoil to see if we could find one over 4lbs but no suck luck. 

Much like last tournament we did not catch a ton of fish and actually didn't have a limit until almost 10am. We headed into weigh in and realized that not one keeper came on a spot that we have ever fished before. 

Total weighed in at 14.34lbs which was half a pound behind Jeff and Lee. We knew these league points would be crucial because our next two lakes (Waconia/Tonka) have not been very friendly for us. 

Last time it took almost 20 pounds to win Waconia and the only time we fished it we weighed 12lbs so looks like we have our work cut out for us again! 

Kenny and Adam

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Team Lahr of Metro Hawg Hunters breakdown their latest tournament on the Clearwater Chain in Annandale, MN

The Clearwater Chain is a very familiar to my fishing partner/brother, Spencer and I.  We’ve had some good finishes out there, including a couple of wins.  Because the chain is fed by the Clearwater River, water levels and clarity can change quickly, as has been the case this spring.  In May, the lakes in the chain were low and gin clear, but with recent rains, lake levels have risen and the water has a stain to it.  We’ve also had warm, stable weather the past couple of weeks which has pushed water temps into the low-80’s.  The spawn is complete and the fish are migrating toward their traditional summertime locales. 

Spencer and I each spent a few hours prefishing and found that the deeper weeds, especially the cabbage, is either behind schedule or non-existent.  We spent the majority of our prefishing time checking deep breaks for any signs of green weed growth.  We ended up finding 8 or 10 spots to rotate through and with the limited fishing we did, each of us caught a 4-pounder.  There are two sayings we like to throw around when describing Clearwater:
1
.                  95% of the fish are in 5% of the water.
2         You absolutely have to catch a 4-pounder to have any chance of winning.

The morning started warm, but cloudy with a slight breeze.  We drew boat 7 for takeoff and were able to make it up to our starting spot first.  This was an area with a sharp dropoff that ran near the reeds.  It has a hard bottom and scattered vegetation off the break.  The majority of our spots fit the same description.  We put 5 keepers in the boat within the first 40 minutes with the biggest going 2-1/4 pounds.  After pulling up to our second spot, we combined to catch 6 keepers in 6 casts and swung at least 15 over the rail in just a few minutes.  That pushed our total weight into the 10-11 pound range.  Then, the sun came out and the wind died down completely.  The deeper fish seemed less affected by the change.  Spencer and I hoped if we hit enough spots and ran through enough fish, we would end up with 5 nice ones.  We narrowed our rotation down to about 4 spots and hit them periodically throughout the day.  Some of the schools were holding in areas only 3 boat-lengths long.  After returning to a spot, sometimes we needed to change up baits or colors to fire them up again.  We culled up a few ounces at a time all day long and boated in the neighborhood of 40-60 fish, but our boat never ran into a pod of those 3.5 to 4 pounders that it takes to win. Spencer and I ended up finishing 3rd with 13.27 pounds, a pound and a half behind the winners, Lee Farber and Jeff Lueck.  Considering we never caught that elusive kicker fish, we were happy to escape with a third place finish.

Here’s a list of our most productive baits:
·       5/16oz All-Terrain Swim jig (black/blue) with a matching 4” twin tail grub
·       Jigworm – 1/8oz All-Terrain Mighty Jig with a 7” Berkley Power Worm (various colors)
·       5” Senko – wacky rigged, weighted and unweighted (various colors)
·       3/8oz All-Terrain Finesse Jig (green pumpkin) with matching 4” twin tail grub

Our next Metro Hawg Hunters tournament takes place on July 12th at Lake Waconia.  For updated results, standings, and more information about our club check us out at metrohawghunters.com.


-Team Lahr (Brad & Spencer)

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Read what the Metro Hawg Hunters league champs the last three years had to say regarding the first tournament of 2015 on Gull Lake in Brianerd, MN. Feel free to leave a comment or ask the a question!

Heading into the weekend at Gull Lake Brady and I really didn't know what to expect.  We had never been on Gull before and we really werent sure what we would find.  As we looked at the weather forecast the week leading up to the event, I could tell it was going to be stable.  A good sign for a traditional bite and a chance for the fish to setup in predictable spots.  

Our one practice day included hitting docks, finding grass, and looking for back pockets that held fish.    The last spot of the day we stumbled on the mother load . 4 pound fish everywhere and they were hungry.  We quickly left hoping that they would stay because we knew what a 4 pounder meant on this lake...lights out.

After a warm night, we went back to our honey hole only to find that they moved out. we only caught one keeper in what we thought was our "best spot".  Luckily, we had a solid back up plan we found the day before.  Frogs and flipping. 

We were able to put together a solid limit of fish over 13 pounds but lost a heartbreaker 3.5 pounder on a frog mid morning.  Overall good enough for 2nd place.

Day 2 brought more change. The only thing consistent about the bite was the frog.  The flip bite had died.  Had to switch up presentations early in the day.  It was a grind but we figured out how to put some solid fish in the boat.  About an hour before weigh in, we pulled up on a big weed flat and went to work.  We boated about 30 fish over the next hour.  It was almost every other cast!  Problem was they only helped us by ounces not pounds.  Day 2 heartbreak set in when we lost a 3.5 pounder at the boat just before weigh in time. 

All-in-all a good weekend.  Ended day 2 with a little under 13 pounds which landed is in 3rd for the day and 1st for the cumulative two day total.  

Our key this event was just trying something different and not being afraid to switch it up.  Nothing can replace time on the water when trying to learn this skill.

 -Colby Bolin.