Posted by admin on July 10, 2017
Zach with the Best Catch from His Guide Trip with His Dad on 07/08/2017
Got back on the big pond, Lake Erie, July 4th after spending the last week and a half in Brewerton, NY for the Bassmaster Northern Open on Oneida Lake. It was a crazy past week and I’m grateful for having good friends and a big support network. After being struck by another boat during official practice, I had to borrow my good friend Ben Wright’s boat for the tournament. Thankfully, I was able to get a bit of quality practice in before official practice. Unfortunately I was unable to pull off the finish I was looking for and am looking forward to the next Open on the James.
I truly have some of the greatest friends. I was able to borrow my good buddy Jeff Hippert’s boat to do a couple of guide trips now that I am home. My girlfriend, Meghan, and I drove from our home in Grove City, PA to Buffalo, NY to pick up his boat the evening of July 3rd and hightailed it back toward Erie that evening to Erie to get a day in on the Fourth. We decided to have some fun and made an impromptu camping trip in Northeast, PA. We stopped for the night with our dog, Bama, roasted some marshmallows, and slept in the cab of the pickup.
SCOPING OUT ERIE & PRESQUE ISLE
The boating traffic on Lake Erie is always crazy on the Fourth of July; despite that, there were still bass to be caught. I spent a good portion of the morning fishing the main lake which was pretty slow going. Around lunch time, I headed to the bay. Once I made it to Presque Isle things quickly turned around.
The smallmouth are on their way out of the bay after completing their yearly spawning ritual, but you can still catch em as they work their way out. I quickly hooked up with a fish which ended up being a Walleye – it made a great appetizer for the next evening, haha. Soon thereafter, I caught a number of quality largemouth and smallmouth from a small area on drop shots and crankbaits.
BIG FAT BASS ON LAKE ERIE
Over the weekend I cancelled a trip for July 6th because at that point I was unsure if I would be able to get a boat. Luckily Jeff came through. Big Fat Bass Guide Service’s next trip wasn’t until Saturday the 8th.
I arrived bright and early Saturday morning, 6AM, to meet Zach and his father Bill. We departed from Presque Isle Bay and started our day within its confines. It was a cool day with a Northwest wind pushing through – it never quite got above 70 degrees. Zach and Bill caught a number of two and three pound largemouth in the 8–15 foot range.
After spending a few hours in the bay we decided to take a trip out to the lake. We were greeted by strong winds pushing in toward shore. After hitting a couple spots, Zach connected with a quality smallmouth on a drop shot. Soon after his catch, we headed into rougher waters in search of more Lake Erie bronze. Not too long after stopping, we hooked up and manage to catch a few more including the big fish of the day caught by Zach.
It was a fun day and I really enjoyed the company – Zach and Bill were great. Zach was very knowledgeable about bass fishing. One of my favorite things about being a guide is sharing my knowledge and passion for bass fishing with others and every once in a while you get a guy like Zach that already has a lot of skill and passion for the sport. Bill earned the Sheephead’s crown for the day by catching crazy piles of sheephead throughout the day.
DROP SHOT RIGGING 101
For more on the technique that led to catching some quality smallmouth, check out my article for Mystery Tackle Box: Drop Shot Rigging 101 – Unraveling The Mystery Of Drop Shot Fishing.
Posted by admin on May 20, 2017
Posted by admin on February 26, 2017
Like most years, the 2017 tournament season started out with a whole lot of craziness. I tried to avoid it a bit this year and put a lot of time in on the front end organizing, preparing, and doing some boat and truck maintenance. During the last month or two in 2016 that really slowed down without tournaments or much guiding I spent hours and hours weeding out my tackle and narrowing it down to what I really need to make packing for tournaments easier and things more efficient on the boat. The guys at Boater’s Point in Port Clinton, OH did a great job getting my boat ready for the 2017 season.
At the beginning of January my girlfriend and I packed up the boat and truck after a break in the snow and I headed to my buddy Dan’s in Richmond, VA. I thought I was leaving the snow behind but the biggest storm of the year hit and we spent our time shoveling snow, plowing, and brushing off cars for hours. In the South the snow really shuts everything down and I had to wait a few days to head to Southeastern Marine in Richmond to pick up my new prop. They were a huge help last year and one of the coolest guys, Butch, really helped me out.
I kept heading south and spent some time with family in Charleston, SC. I had a great time with my Aunt and Uncle and spent some time setting myself up for the Harris Chain tournament that was coming up. I further organized my boat and truck and made myself some bags of snacks for each day on the water with two of my staples: Duke’s Smoked Meats and GoGo SqueeZ.
As soon as I got to Florida I went right to my buddy Mike Schnupp’s in Apopka and started practicing. Mike and his family are great friends, great people, and awesome hosts. I had a busy and productive practice. I sampled every lake on the Chain and landed on spending day one on Harris. I wanted to maximize my fishing time instead of locking. I landed a great draw and was in the first flight which solidified my plans.
Day one I got to the areas where I knew there were some great fish on beds. Sight fishing was tough – I couldn’t see any of the girls on beds that I did in practice. I waited for the sun to come up and tried to make it work but the water was still really cloudy; a lot of the fish I had marked I still couldn’t see or they had left.
After catching a few small bucks I pulled the plug and ran to a popular community hole to scrounge together what I could to stay alive. I never got a quality bite which is what it’s all about in Florida.
Day two I had a long day and decided to run to a lake on the chain that gets a lot less pressure than Harris and some of the others. I didn’t have a solid day of practice there but I knew if I could get the bites I could make it happen. I knew where they lived and things started off well; I was able to flip up some quality fish in short order and decided to put my head down and keep flipping. Things slowed down pretty fast and I left that spot about noon or so. I ran to Harris to hopefully get a limit and get a big bite. I filled the limit, made a small cull and finished day two with about ten pounds.
Harris started off the season with a tough tournament. I am disappointed in my finish but in hindsight I fished clean and never lost one. The key to a good finish in Florida is a big bite each day and I never did hook one. Toho 2016 I was fortunate enough to catch quality bites day one, day two I caught them but never did get that big bite. A six or seven pounder will go a long way in Florida especially when the weights are close.
As always, it was a great experience and opportunity to learn. No tournament is ever wasted – you can always build upon what you learn, good or bad. Fortunately, I am in Florida until May and will be able to put some more time in on Harris Chain. I will put the time in and figure out how to have a better tournament in the future. I recently signed up for the FLW tour event on Harris in March as a co to hopefully learn something that can help me out down the line. I’m looking forward to the rest of the 2017 season. Tight lines.