B.A.S.S. Midwest College Qualifier Recap

Pro-staff Contributor: Michaela Anderson

Last week was the B.A.S.S. Midwest Qualifier in Fort Madison, Iowa. The tournament was supposed to be on pools 18, 19 and 20 of the Mississippi River where we spent six days prefishing.  The conditions of the river were less than ideal during prefishing.  The current on the main river was so strong it was almost impossible to fish. Additionally, there was less than an inch of water clarity—one of our competitors said it was like fishing Willy Wonka’s Chocolate River—which made fishing the creek channels our only option. The water temps dropped from the 68-70 degree range down to 65 degrees in the week leading up to the tournament because of rain and water they were letting down from northern pools. Yet, in these conditions, we were able to catch fish flipping a Black Blue Purple Terminator jig and really soaking it. We knew we were on good fish and heard from many other teams that never had a bite, so we thought we would have a good chance at being in the top 10 and qualifying for the National Championship.

Michaela and Brian during weigh-in on Day 1.

Michaela and Brian during weigh-in on Day 1.

Then there was a sudden twist of events. The river was at flood stage all weekend and storms were predicted for the entire week leading up to the tournament. A flood warning was issued, and the river was expected to go another five feet above flood stage, which would make the river extremely dangerous. B.A.S.S. was forced to make a quick decision and for safety reasons moved the event to a different body of water.

Iowa does not have very many lakes, especially larger ones, so we moved to the closest lake near Fort Madison: Lake Sugema. It is a 500-acre lake with a slot limit of 10-12 inch fish or fish larger than 18-inches. There were 53 teams so we really filled up the water! Every team had one day to prefish, so we decided to spend the day looking for fish deep because we knew that the banks would be pounded. We fished areas with standing timber and a few points with rocks but only caught an 8-inch walleye in the timber and a 5-inch bass in the deeper areas.

We knew the tournament was going to be an extreme game of bumper boats and it truly was. At any point during the day I could see five other competitors. We caught a ton of fish flipping a Black Blue Purple Terminator jig and a Blueberry Candy Goo Bug but they were all in-between 12 and 18 inches so we couldn’t keep them. We did, however, catch a few small fish in the 10-12-inch range on a Red Crawdad Rapala Clackin’ Crank 55.

Over all it was very disappointing to not qualify for the National Championship but I was able to learn a ton about fishing fluctuating water levels and current flow on the river.

Michaela Anderson is a college angler fishing the FLW, B.A.S.S. College Circuits and select FLW Walmart Tour events representing krugerfarms.com, Trigger X and the University of St. Thomas. You can follow her on Twitter (@MichaelaFishing) and like her on Facebook (facebook.com/MichaelaAndersonFishing).

A panoramic of Lake Sugema during take-off on Day 2.

A panoramic of Lake Sugema during take-off on Day 2.

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2 Responses to “B.A.S.S. Midwest College Qualifier Recap”

  1. That’s a tricky situation that no one want’s to be in, but congrats for finding some fish and making it through one heck of a learning experience!

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