My preparation for the third stop of the NWT on Green Bay was delayed for good reason. I had the honor of hosting an episode of Lund The Ultimate Fishing Experience. We had two days set aside to make sure we had enough footage for the show. Unfortunately, the Lake Mendota walleye's had moved off of structure and they were camera shy. Luckily, we caught a lot of nice smallmouth bass and I think it will be a great show!
Because of the show and a busy time of the year with work I wasn't ready for Green Bay. I spent Sunday morning preparing my gear and packing and finally got on the water around 4. I picked up my Co-angler, Sargeant Rich and we hit some structure on the east side. We had a perfect wind for the spot and we got into fish right away, nice ones too! Catching fish on the first spot in pre-fishing is like winning your first hand of poker! At a minimum I was going to have some sleepless nights wondering if those fish would still be there for the tournament.
These fish were fat as they had an all you can eat buffet of alewives that were being blown into the structure. In two hours we had three fish over 7 pounds, including a double, along with fish from 14" to 25". I would guess over 30 pounds. Hmm this is easy!
My past tournaments this time of year on Green Bay usually went like this: Catch big fish in the mud during pre-fishing, fish move, I don't adapt, crappy finish. I changed my approach last year at the NWT on Little Bay de Noc and concentrated on structure. I followed that same approach and concentrated on east shoreline structure. This was all new water to me as I had not fished much north of Vincent Point. I was really optimistic especially after day one of pre-fishing!
My back up plan was to look for fish on the mud flats. Again, we found fish right away! My cousin Sam joined us on Monday of pre-fishing. Because I fish alone it is nice to have others in my boat to help me search for fish. Only those that are fishing in the tournament can fish the last two days of pre-fishing so we got Sam in the Lund to search for fish in the mud.
We caught 12-14 fish from 23" to 27". I think Sam thinks this walleye fishing is easy. He pre-fished with me last year in the Cedar River area and we crushed them.
My buddy Mark Michael joined us the rest of the week. This area was hot with some monster fish caught like this 10 pounder.
I checked the area and by Thursday I had lost them. It was a blast catching them though!
I checked my spot on the east side two other times and only caught one 22" walleye. However, the wind wasn't right if there was wind at all. The wind was forecasted to be out of the SW at 10-20 for day one of the tournament. That is the wind I wanted so I spent the rest of practice looking for other places on the east side. I was nervous going into day one but I thought I could pull 25-30 pounds in my primary spot. If time permitted I had a few spots on the way back that made me feel better.
I drew a great partner on day one, John Kukulka. We made the 30 plus mile trek to my primary spot. The wind was blowing as predicted but we were fishing by 8:00. I always try to find spots off the beaten path and this was one of them. In the two days of fishing only one other boat fished the area and that was only for about an hour.
The bite wasn't fast and furious but we were catching a walleye on every pass. At first they were 15"-22" but then we caught a 25 and 26" walleye on consecutive passes. We slowly put a decent basket of fish together and made the trip back. We ended up weighing 24.64 pounds good for 35th place. I was only 3 spots out of the money and was confident that I could catch at least what I did on day one. Usually if you match your weight on day one you will move up in the standings. If I could get to 50 pounds for the two days I was confident that would make for a nice check!
On day 2 I drew my pre-fishing partner, Sargeant Rich. I couldn't have been happier as Rich knows how I fish, knew the spot we were fishing and happens to be a good fisherman. The wind had switched from the NW. As long as there was wind I was confident.
We got to the spot and the bite was slower than day one. Most of the fish came on the shallow side of the break. We did get one around three pounds that I threw back but that was it. After three passes I moved out to the deep side of the break and we caught a 22" walleye that I kept. We caught a 25" and a 26" walleye each of the next two passes. We caught another 22" that I threw back as I thought we had them figured out. I was sure we were going to get 2-3 more 25 to 26 inchers. That was around 11:30 which also was about the time the wind died and we did not catch another fish! After seeing weights that came in I was really bummed that I threw those fish back. However, I am sure there were a lot of people that did the same.
The three fish weighed 14.96 pounds which dropped me to 50th place NWT GB Results. I had a great game plan and executed well for a day and a half. Unfortunately, that is not good enough when you are fishing against a talented field of anglers. I will learn from this tournament and apply my learnings in the future. I am looking forward to fishing the championship on Devil's Lake. This will be my first time on Devil's Lake. I will have a lot of water to cover by myself in a short amount of time but I think I can put a plan together to finish the year strong!