By Kelly Jordan
Yamaha Pro Staff
It’s been an interesting summer so far. It all started with the northern swing of the Bassmaster Elite Series Tour and back-to-back events in Wisconsin. I was very disappointed with the Wisconsin events. I’d never fished there before, and I found the fish, but I was in the wrong rotation.
Todd Faircloth, another Yamaha Pro won the event, and he was fishing in the same spot that I was, only he was there earlier in the morning. He’d get there early and fish until about 10:30 and I’d get there around 11:00 and fish through the afternoon.
I’d located a bunch of good fish in that spot in practice where the fish were jumping all over the baits, and I couldn’t figure out why it had changed so much for the tournament. Afterwards I’d found out that they’d been beaten on before I got there, so the fish had already been picked through and what was left had shut down.
That’s just part of tournament fishing. Sometimes you go to spots that other anglers have been fishing hard and had success in, and by the time you get there the fish are shut down. Sometimes you show up later and they bite for you, but didn’t bite earlier in the day.
That was on the Mississippi River in LaCrosse, Wisconsin and I was running about 30 miles one way each day. My boat has been running very fast—I had a partner in that event that weighed about 150-pounds, and we were running 75.8 mph downriver with a one knot current. I was spinning a 25 inch Yamaha prop in the very warm weather.
That’s not the fastest I’ve run all year, but I sure do have a fast boat this year. I’m running the Skeeter FX 20 with 250 h.p. Yamaha VMAX SHO four stroke outboard, and when the weather is a little cooler I can spin the 27 inch Yamaha prop and get 78.4 mph out of that boat and motor combination, so I’ve got plenty of speed going for me.
From there I went to Green Bay, Wisconsin where we were running in some very rough conditions. Just about everyone in the event was making the 25 mile run to Little Sturgeon Bay and looking for a few big fish still up on the spawning beds. The guys who found them the first day did well, but after that the spawning fish moved off and everyone was in the same game.
I’m currently fishing the Poco Bueno Blue Marlin Tournament out of Port O’Connor, Texas, and I think it might get called off today, or at least pushed back one more day. I’ve fished one blue marlin tournament before, and it’s been very different from the bass events. Just to give you an idea, the boat I’m fishing is 61’ long and has an enclosed cabin with air conditioning, so it’s a lot different than what I’m used to when bass fishing.
Then next week I’m going down to the Florida Keys to Marathon for the opening day of lobster diving season in Florida. I did that last year and it was a blast. I haven’t done a lot of diving, but the reefs are really shallow in the Keys so you can snorkel, and they’re just covered with lobster, so I’m really looking forward to that.
Snorkeling for lobster is really different from anything we do in Texas, and the fishing there isn’t any easier. I’ve never caught a bonefish or permit, so I’ll probably put in a day or two targeting them on the flats while I’m there.
Then mid-August I make another run north to Oneida Lake in Syracuse, which I’m really looking forward to. It will still be pretty warm in Syracuse, but the mornings should be nice. I usually do pretty well there.
The key on Oneida is to find a good mixed bag of largemouths and smallmouths. I don’t think you can win the event with just smallmouths, so you have to find some largemouths to fit your bag.
Most likely we’ll be flippin’ and fishing a lot of frogs in that event, but you never know, a crankbait or Carolina rigged worm may really produce big there. Once you find a pattern that works, it’s pretty easy to stick with it and do well on those big northern lakes, but that doesn’t mean it will be the winning pattern. Whoever finds the winning pattern will likely pull out in front of the field from the first day.