Friday, May 27, 2016

The Push and My New Team

The end-of-May is near.  Children are looking forward to their last day of school, high school and college seniors are celebrating graduations, and we are looking forward to Memorial Day weekend.  This weekend, the kickoff to summer, is spent enjoying various activities while remembering the service members who died to protect our freedom.  For me, the end of May marks the end of my first fishing tournament, the push to crawl up the leader board.

I started out strong in the KBF North Central Great Lakes tournament.  I had a successful Wisconsin bass opener that put me near the top of the leader board.  As the month has gone on, I have moved down/up/down on the leader board, which I love.  TourneyX's real-time tournament management is a great catalyst for a lively competition.  Holding at 7th place, determined to move up on the board, I left my FeelFree Lure and tackle loaded.  I was poised to hit the water after my day job.  

Last night the stars aligned and I was able to hit the water last night.  But a couple hours before my departure for the lake, I received great news.  I was accepted onto the pro-staff team at Ardent Reels. I was honored to be accepted to this team.  I am a fan of companies that stand behind their product.  Ardent stands behind their product with an amazing 3 year warranty.  I am proud to represent a company who takes pride in their product.  This news made me even more eager to hit the water.
I roll my FeelFree Lure  down the ramp, happy to see glass-like water.  My Bending Branches Angler Pro slices through the water, propelling me to my first destination.  My Garmin Striker 4DV shows water temperature in the low 70s.  The weed mats are growing, my favorite kind of weather, frog weather.  

I eagerly hit the first mat, next to a ledge.  Call me crazy, but the clear water has me disappointed.  This reservoir is typically stained, and fish are most active in stained water.  Unfortunately, recent rains were not enough to wash cow manure from surrounding farmland into the water.

As I stand and sight fish, I spot small bass, countless bluegill, and minnows.  After a few tosses of the frog and buzzbait, I decide to move onto another mat.  This mat sits between a steep ledge and spawning bay.  A perfect spot for frogging.  I work the mat, switching between a Ribbit and Lunkerhunt frog.  Typically alternating the two every few casts results in a few blowup holes within a few minutes.  Tonight, that is not the case.  I finally have a taker.  

Other than the blowups, one of the joys of frog fishing is the surprise.  It is like opening a present.  The gift is the fish and the wrapping paper a large clump of aquatic plants.  I eagerly pull away the sticky muck hopeful the gift inside will move me up in the leader board.  To my disappointment, the bass is slightly smaller than my current smallest fish.  I still take a moment to enjoy the fish.  Though it is barely a "keeper" by Wisconsin regulations, it still has nice coloring and girth.  After working the mat a while longer with no success, I move to another bay.  Daylight is fading and I decided to move away from the mat approach and try for brush.  

I alternate between a jerk bait and Ribbit frog.  Since the water is abnormally clear, I'm able to stand and sight fish.  I spot two large bass patrolling an area on the edge of the brush.  Neither are interested in frogs, so I throw on a senko.  I slowly work it around their territory.  They show interest, one even gives it a taste, but they are ultimately not impressed.  Eventually both swim off into the depths, annoyed by the barrage of plastics tossed their way.

Fishing from a kayak has brought me an entirely new experience to fishing.  I love the lack of reliance on a motor, a battery, or a fuel tank.  I'm able to fish waters even my jon boat cannot reach.  I am also able to stealthily approach bass I would not otherwise see.  Last night I was less than 2 feet away from the circling largemouth and did not spook them.  

I am going to spend the weekend enjoying various activities. I have joined the June North Central Great Lakes Tournament.  With the backing of the great folks at Ardent Reels, I'm excited for things to come.  I wish everyone a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend.  Please take a moment to remember the reason for the holiday, our fallen soldiers.

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