The big bass run is certainly in full swing, and this past weekend was about as good as it gets. We’ve got fish in every stage of the spawn, and many different presentations are producing fish. Mike Lee from Lakeville, MN and his father Dick from Owatonna, MN joined me on Friday to chase smallmouth on Chequamegon Bay. We had a steady morning catching lots of fish in 4′ – 6′ of water on plastics. Cloudy, foggy, and cool conditions persisted, but we were certainly encouraged with the activity we had. After lunch, things got crazy good. The fish lit up, and the Lee men taught them a lesson. We put big numbers of fish in the boat as well as some magnums. Mike landed two 21″ fish, and we had several in the 19″ – 20″ range. Plastics were the key for us throughout the day, and I couldn’t have had two better guys in the boat to work them. Dick has spent many years fishing smallies Minnesota streams, and his experience translated well to the big water. I spent the entire afternoon running back and forth between fish without much of a break. I can deal with that workout plan! By the time we were finished, we’d put together some big numbers and big fish. Water temps were 58 – 61 degrees. Congratulations Mike and Dick on the most fish put in our boat so far this year, and thanks for all of the exercise!!!
Our old friends Don Fenske (Porter, IN), Dan Fenske (DeWitt, IA), and Jacob Fenske (DeWitt, IA) returned to try and top the day they had last year with us. Mission accomplished! Once again, our morning was steady as we caught plenty of fish on plastics. The fog finally started to break up, and we even got to see a bit of sun. Finally!!! Again, the fish went nuts in the afternoon. I’m not sure what’s been triggering the PM bite, but I certainly like it… Jacob is a top ranked high school wrestler in Iowa (that’s saying something), and he let his grandfather and dad know that he’s a top ranked fishermen as well… He put on one heck of a show throughout the day, and it was awesome to watch three generations of Fenskes have a ball blasting bruiser smallies up to 21″ in 3″ – 5′ of water. Plastics were our most productive presentation, but we did have some good topwater action in the morning as well as a few fish caught on crankbaits. As the water warms the topwater bite should continue to get better, and it’s always a good idea to have your favorite surface lure on the ready. It’s taken us awhile this spring, but we finally got into a run of magnum fish on the bay, and the Fenske’s landed several in the 20″ class. This may be hard to believe, but I did get Don to smile for one of his pictures. Just wish I could find it… Water temps ranged from 59 – 62 degrees. Big thanks to the Fenskes for an incredible day that will be hard to top. Good luck on the mat Jacob. We’ll be rooting for you!!!
Josh Stanek (Grand Rapids, MN) and his father Rob (Champlin, MN) are cursed with bad weather. They tried to get on Chequamegon Bay with me last year, but a nasty cold front chased us inland. With a gloomy forecast for Sunday, I thought we might have the same fate for this year’s trip. The weather man had mercy on us (It was the least he could do), and we were able to squeeze the trip in that these guys have been waiting two years for. It’s always a pleasure to fish with Josh and Rob. They’re both excellent fishermen and willing to experiment with different lures and presentations. The steady morning bite repeated itself again as we put good numbers of fish in the boat on on plastics and swimbaits. Our afternoon started out hot as we popped quite a few good fish right off the bat. Several wind switches seemed to put the fish in the goofy mood, and we went through a slow stretch with one here and one there through mid afternoon. Late in the day, things cranked up again as we kept covering water and running into schools of active fish in 3′ – 5′ of water. They came in bunches, and we’d catch 2 – 3 fish in spurts. Josh pulled out his custom hair jigs that he makes, and Rob stuck with the plastics that produced throughout the day. I was able to stir up some topwater action as well, and we came really close to landing a triple on three different baits. So close!!! After flirting with 20 inches throughout the day, Rob finally landed his personal best smallie that was a touch over 20″. What a fish, and what a day! Water temps spiked at 63 degrees as we were finally given some warm weather and sunny skies. I could get used to that! Thanks to the Staneks for another great day, and thanks for the awesome gift. I’ll be using those Mad Duck ice rods soon enough fellas!!!