Our 1st tournament of 2015 brought my partner/brother, Mike Thompson and I to the Baxter,MN area to fish the beautiful Gull Lake chain.
We had only one day to pre-fish the lake to try and come up with a game plan. Due to the water temps, time of year (June 12-14) and what we were seeing or a lack of, it was obvious we were in the post-spawn phase.
We scouted mostly Round Lake and a little of Gull Lake. We were after smallies and Round is the only place on the chain to catch them. We located a hand full of nice smallies (3-4lb range) and 20-30 largies on deep breaks and buried in the reeds. The sun was high, the sky's were clear and the lake was like glass so the fish were easy to see. We left most of the fish alone so we could target them on day 1.
Day 1 we headed to Round lake, the clouds were up and we had a 3-5 mph wind making it impossible to see in the water compared to the previous day. We fished the areas where we located the smallies, not getting a bite. The smallies never even showed themselves on the surface, another sign of post spawn. We fished some small flats that lead to reed beds and a few sharp breaks in Round catching our 5 fish limit by 750am. We had nothing huge in the live well but we had all day to cull. We fished a few small cabbage spots (8-12ft in depth) where we were able to upgrade. We left Round around 1100am and headed into Gull. Again we targeted a few areas that had green tall cabbage, there was not a lot of heavy or green weed growth at this time but if you found tall green cabbage you would catch at least 1 fish. We were able to upgrade a few more times (a few ounces each time). We ended up finishing 4th out of 10 with a 5 fish limit of 11.14lbs.
Day 2 was a little clearer and started out with a slight breeze. We opted to start in Gull where we had our 5 fish limit by 730am, we targeted new cabbage and break lines on water we never had a chance to pre-fish. Sometimes "just going fishing" can lead you to gold.....well it lead us to the same size fish as day 1 (1-2lbers). We hit a few of day 1 spots in Gull catching fish again, but once again nothing of size. At approx. 940am we headed back into Round in pursuit of the smallies, we again were disappointed as we never caught any, although we did see two "footballs" cruising, neither were interested in biting. We fished several of the same spots as day 1 and a few new ones, most produced fish. Day 2 resulted in a 5 fish limit of 10.80lbs, only good enough for a 7th place finish out of 10.
Overall locating fish was not a problem it was locating the females, it was quite clear they were recovering from the spawn in deeper water.
How did we catch our fish? We used several different tactics, they are listed below.
•Flipping/Pitching a 4 inch black and blue crazy legs chigger craw and a 4 inch green pumpkin tube craw with a 3/8oz tungsten weight.
• Arashi #3 square bill crank bait, shad color
•5 inch black senko, wacky style
• Small shad color top water popper
Team Thompson (Cody & Mike)