Wednesday, June 9, 2010

In The Money!

Fishing Mille Lacs as much as I do often prompts the question from my friends and colleagues, "Do you fish any tournaments on the lake?"  Mille Lacs is a popular lake for both professional as well as amateur tournament events.   Professional organizations include the Masters Walleye Circuit, FLW Walleye Tour, and Cabela's National Team Championship.  This events are the big money tourney's with top rated pros like Gary Parsons, Ted Takasaki, and others with total winnings in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.  The amateurs events include the Wave Wacker, various resort sponsored tournaments, and the Minnesota Tournament Trail (MTT).  My answer is always the same...............Fishing tournaments are too much work as I would rather just have fun.  True, I am pretty competitive in the boat and the thought had often crossed my mind yet the opportunity never presented itself until Sunday.  My friend Mark Applen had received a slot in any MTT walleye tournament as a charitable gift auction item for his Eric Nicolin Applen Charity Golf Event.  Not wanting to waste a good prize, Mark and I bought the position for the full amount, maximizing the charitable gift.  We decided that we would fish day 2 of the MTT on June 6th, 2010.  It will be a fishing trip I'll never forget.

The tourney was held at Hunter's Point Resort located on the east side of the lake.  There were a total of 87 two man teams registered  for the day's fishing.  The first 50 boats would leave at 7:00 returning at 3:00 while the second flight, boats 51 - 87 left at 7:30 returning at 3:30.  The rules were simple, 8 fish per boat allowed, 6 could be weighed.  This would help to accommodate the no culling rule and define each teams overall strategy.  Rules included only fish under 18 inches or 1 fish 28 inches or better.  This meant that if your fish measured 18 inches, you would be disqualified but a fish could be on the 28 inch line and be fine.  The money strategy was simple, catch 7 fish under 18 then go look for the hawg.  This way you would have your 6 fish to weigh and if you got a big fish you could swap it out and include it in.  Looking at the results from the day before, no one caught a 28 inch fish.  With the no cull and lack of big fish caught we decided to get 8 fish over 17 inches to maximize or position.

Mark and I did some prefishing on Saturday night to validate a possible location strategy.  It has been a deep water bite with most coming out of 25 feet and deeper.  Going out at 7:00 on Saturday night we checked out a shallow rock/weed spot in 10 feet of water.  In an hour we had 5 walleyes measuring in that sweet spot of 17 - 17.9 inches long.  We decided that would be a good place to start in the morning.  Arriving at Hunter's at 6:30 I signed the necessary paperwork, attached a ribbon to my bow eye, and had the boat inspected.  The first flight took off on schedule and we got out a half hour later.  Heading south we arrived at our spot only to see a boat from the earlier flight parked 50 feet from our spot, working the area.  Fortunately they were off the mark as we began to fish the weed line.   Within 5 minutes Mark had our first fish.  Keeping the net low, we managed to boat our first keeper while our company was oblivious to our quick strike.  After cutting them off as they approached, it became apparent to them that the fish were not shallow.   10 minutes later they fired up the engine and left, leaving us by ourselves.  Apparently they did not see us net our fish, foolish move.   In the next 3 hours we proceeded to get our 8 fish, with at least 5 of them over 17.25 and a couple in the 16+ range.  Almost all the fish were caught on night crawlers with spinners in 10 feet of water.  As stated, the rare 28+ fish prompted our strategy to weigh 6 fish over 17 and with a penalty for dead fish, we headed back to Hunter's to weigh them.  Being the first in, they were somewhat taken back but acknowledge we had done well.  Our fish weighed 10.71 pounds, good enough for fist place!  Done for the day and turning our fish over, we decided to try some lead line tactics.  Within 30 minutes the rain showed up so we headed back to load up the boat and watch the weigh in.  We knew a big fish would knock us out and as luck would have it a 7.56 pound walleye showed up.  After all said and done we ended up with 3rd, just 1.44 ounces behind the 2nd place team.  Not bad out of 87 boats.  Mark and I had agreed before hand that in the rare chance we would win, all monies would be donated back to the charity.  Along with a side bet, we netted $1046 for winning and $168 on the side bet.  Not bad for 3 hours of work.  Keeping the side bet money to cover our expenses, the balance of the monies went for an excellent cause.  Check out to learn more about our charity.  As far as my ego, sorry it got a pretty good boost on Sunday, one I will never forget!


Dewey said...

Hey Dave - You guys did it up right and the money went to a great cause. Congratulations!

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service said...

I'm living vicariously through you you know. Hope you don't quit your job and get the itch to be a full timer on the circuit. Although hearing "Anderson" in the mix with Roach, Takasaki, Good, Parsons, et al does have a nice ring to it.


Jeff King said...

Wow....very good. One G is real money and a karma builder the way you handled it. So I have one really important question to get right down to the secrets of this outstanding performance.....what kind of music were you listening to?

Dewey said...

Knowing Mr. Anderson, it was probably something by ABBA... However, I do like your cap Dave.

NeenahPete said...

I enjoy reading posts like this because it shows how fun and good causes can go hand in hand. Glad your heart was fixed well because it's a big one. Oh, and it's just fine that your ego got a boost too.