Tough Fishing Conditions … Slow Down!

Well the first tournament of the year on the Mississippi River is in the books and what an event it was. The annual St. Jude Bass Classic went off despite the river levels being above flood stage, which forced the anglers to adapt on the water as the river continued to climb and water temperatures remained cold for the first week of May.

Before I get into the details on our fishing, it is important to note that this event surpassed last year's record setting fundraising mark, by raising just over $231,000 for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital!

As I highlighted in my blog last week the conditions we face were less than ideal, but we had to make due and figure out the bass.

My tournament partner and I found a backwater area that had clean water in and deep water close by, so as the water warmed up, the bass could move up from the deeper water to the shoreline to feed and stage for spawning. We ended up catching 11 of our 12 keepers out of this area. We had to work our baits slow and fish methodically to get the bass to bite.

I relied on a ¼-ounce single Colorado blade spinnerbait, which I worked very slowly with a 6.2:1 geared baitcaster. The goal was to keep the bait in contact with the bottom regularly to garner as much attention as possible. As my presentation was meant to provoke a reaction strike, my partner slowly worked a jig around the submerged wood behind me to coax inactive bass into biting.

The end result of several long, cold days prefishing and two tournament days was a two-day (12 fish) limit of 27.88 pounds, which put us in 11th place out of 70 teams. This is a good way to get my tournament season in Minnesota kicked off and rebound from a less than stellar finish down in Oklahoma.

After this difficult event, the lesson I relearned is that good areas hold fish and are worth slowing down and fishing correctly.

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