Archive for the Tournament Updates Category

Q&A with Korey Sprengel on Masters Walleye Circuit in Wisconsin

Posted in Fishing Tips, Tournament Updates with tags , , , on June 6, 2013 by

It is National Fishing Week, so we thought you’d all enjoy an interview with Korey Sprengel after another successful tournament!

So, Korey, tell us a little about last weekend’s walleye tournament?

I participated in the Masters Walleye Circuit on Green Bay in Oconto, WI and took home fourth place (out of 103 boats) with a total of 49lbs 5oz.  I received $3350 for my win—which is awesome. I’m pretty happy with how everything went, and how I finished…well, besides the fact that I lost one big fish.

What were your thoughts before going into the tournament?

Prefishing was great—we caught up to forty fish in a day and many of them were in the 26-29” range. We went into the tournament knowing the winds were going to change, so we had to keep in mind that we needed to remain flexible.  We took what we learned from practice and focused on fishing areas where the wind was right.

What gear did you use during the tournament?

We used off-shore planer boards, pulling crawler harnesses with 1/2oz inlines, #5 Colorado blades, or #4 1/2 willow blades in gold or perch patterns.  We also used Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon for leader material at 1.1-1.3 mph and switched to Berkley #9 Flicker Shads to pick up a few fish.

What was your biggest challenge?

Definitely trying to keep up with the ever changing winds.  It would switch from calm to windy and vice versa.  Each area we fished had its own ideal conditions—the shallow areas needed wind and the deep areas didn’t, but they were 12 miles apart which complicated things.

Any closing thoughts?

I have to say that my Ranger boat was a key to my success during this tournament—we travelled up to 70 miles a day through 4-5 foot waves and didn’t beat ourselves up or our fish.

I’m getting excited about the NWT tournament next week at Lake Erie. Bill Shimota and Dusty Minke will also be participating. We’re getting ready to head there to prefish and are hoping for another strong finish!

Korey on the water during the Masters Walleye Circuit Event.

Korey on the water during the Masters Walleye Circuit Event.


Q&A with Dusty Minke on 3rd Place Finish at Leech Lake Walleye Tournament

Posted in Fishing Tips, Tournament Updates with tags , , , , , , on June 5, 2013 by

We got a chance to catch up with Dusty Minke after his 3rd place finish in the Leech Lake Walleye Tournament last weekend:

First, the basics, what was the tournament and where did it take place?

Last weekend I participated in the Leech Lake Walleye Tournament (LLWT) in Walker, MN. Walker is my favorite town in the world—seriously, someday I will live or have a cabin there. It’s truly heaven…especially in the summer!

What were your thoughts before going into the tournament?

Dusty prefishing for the LLWT.

Dusty prefishing for the LLWT.

I was very excited about the tournament—fishing on the lake was good and prefishing went well. We weren’t sure of where we were going to start; we knew the winds were changing 180 degrees—moving from the South all week to a strong Northern wind—so we made the decision in the morning that we were going to fish main lake points with a Northern wind blowing into them. My partner, Coach, and I had to return to work after the Memorial weekend and couldn’t get back to the lake until Thursday, but that was fine because I honestly think prefishing too much on Leech can hurt you. We knew where the fish were and just needed to concentrate on getting fish in the boat plus our one “over” fish. This lake has a slot limit and tournament rules of six fish with only one measuring over 26” per day. Our other fish had to be 14” to 18” so any fish between 18” and 26” had to be released because they were in the “protected slot”. For this reason, concentrating on spots that had “over” and “under” fish was key.

How does this tournament differ from others you’ve participated in?

This is a big tournament, with 155 boats, so there is a lot of great competition—especially because most of the participants are locals and northern MN fishermen, the best of the best! It differs from some tournaments because it is a team format which allows you to pick your partner.

This is also a very special tournament and place to me because this is where my tournament craze started back in 2001. That was when my dad and I decided to fish the PWT as co-anglers to get a taste of what tournament fishing offers. We had a blast and it was a huge learning experience for us! At the end of the tournament, I walked away nearly in last place and told my dad that I would be running the boat and calling the shots during the next pro/am event—I was 18 years old at the time!

After my first experience at Leech Lake, I started fishing this event with my friends Jamie Fehrenbacher, then Jeff Andersen, and eventually returned with my dad in 2005 to finish in 8th place. I guess participating in tournaments at Leech Lake has directed my life in a lot of ways because that same year my good friend Jeff Andersen introduced me to Jeff Gustafson and Toby Kvalevog. These three individuals are probably the best fisherman I could have surrounded myself with and are now my long time good friends…I guess that’s just a little history for ya!

What gear did you use during the tournament?

I used 6’ 8” Dobyns Savvy and Shimano Crucial rods (medium-fast action) paired with Shimano Stradic reels(Stradic reels now on sale!). These were teamed up with 8-pound Sufix Fluoro line. Of course, I relied on “Sparkie” the Ranger, with the help of Evinrude, Humminbird, Minn Kota, and Optima Batteries for a flawless ride.

What was your biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge of this event was finding the fish over 26”. On the first day, Coach slammed a 26.5” fish at 9:30 in the morning and made the rest of our day pretty easy. We ended up going through about thirty fish to ensure all of our “under” fish ranged from 16″ to 18″. On day two, the wind died down and because this is a wind-driven lake it made us a little nervous! However, we kept our heads high and our confidence up to make the right decisions. We decided to drop a “creek chub” (minnow) down at 11:00am and we brought eight fish in the boat within twenty minutes—all of them were 22” to 26” so we were able to keep an “over” fish. Then we ran to several spots jigging spot-tailed shiners with Blue White VMC Dominator Hammer Head jigs to fill out our limit for the day. We knew we had a good bag but would have liked a little more time to put some “under” fish in the boat!

Dusty and Coach with their wall bling.

Dusty and Coach with their wall bling.

How did you finish and what did you win?

We took third place—winning $4,000 along with some nice wall bling!

What are the lessons that you’ll apply to next time?

We learned something very important about when the wind dies and the skies are high… but I can’t give out all of the secrets! However, I will say that that we should have given more time to our main spot when the wind picked up towards the afternoon!

Any closing thoughts?

Dusty and the Crown Royal Blended Whisky girls in Nisswa.

Dusty and the Crown Royal Blended Whisky girls in Nisswa.

I want to thank everyone involved this week that made it very special and fun. I wish the time did not go by so quickly! The LLWT is a great event—thanks to all of the volunteers and the city of Walker. You can find “southern hospitality” in this small, Northern-Minnesota town—that’s for sure!

I also want to thank Coach (aka. Troy Jutting), my partner for keeping me in line and helping make critical decisions during the event! Finally, I want to thank those that got me to this point: Dad, my brother Kyle Minke, Toby and Dean Kvalevog, Jeff Andersen, John Hoyer and the rest of the LOA crew.

If any of you guys will be near Aberdeen on June 27th, come join me at a Crown Royal Blended Whisky event. We had a great event in Nisswa earlier this month with Nerissa and Kylle!

All in all, it was a great week and I’m already looking forward to next year!

Dusty Minke is a professional angler and avid outdoorsman from Forest Lake, Minnesota. You will see him fishing the NWT circuits as well as other fishing tournaments in the Midwest. You can like his page on Facebook ( and follow him on Twitter (@DustyMinke).

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

Posted in Tournament Updates with tags , , , , on June 3, 2013 by

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, Trigger X and the University of St. Thomas. You can follow her on Twitter (@MichaelaFishing) and like her on Facebook (

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

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

Lake Eufaula FLW Tour Recap

Posted in Fishing Tips, FLW Tournaments, Tournament Updates with tags , , , , , on May 22, 2013 by

Pro-staff Contributor: Jeff Gustafson

Stop four on the 2013 FLW Tour took place this past weekend at Alabama’s Lake Eufaula.  For me, this event was a humbling experience to say the least.

Gussy's dad, Jim Gustafson, with a nice largemouth from practice.

Gussy’s dad, Jim Gustafson, with a nice largemouth from practice.

My Dad was down with me for this event and fished his first tournament as a co-angler.  I did little research for this tournament prior to launching the boat on the first morning of practice.  My approach to fishing these new lakes is to get the boat in the water and try to break it down as quickly as possible to get some sort of pattern established.  Instead of doing a bunch of research like I usually do, I decided that for this one I would just try to fish the moment and figure it out as things were happening.  We basically launched the boat and started fishing: starting shallow, then trying some deeper water, then moving to shallow water again. We fished the main channel of the lake as well as several creek arms.

We caught a good number of fish on the first day of practice, including several in the two- to three- pound range by casting crankbaits on main lake points in three to six feet of water.  My best bait was a Jackall MC/60 MR crankbait in the Ghost Bluegill color.  My Dad was throwing this bait and was laying a beating on me so we quickly figured out that this was a lure that the fish wanted.  We probably caught twenty keepers that first day—which was a great start.

The second day of practice was tougher, we stayed with the same pattern and tried to cover a little more water in hopes of finding as many fishing spots as possible.  We didn’t catch nearly as many fish so I wasn’t sure if my pattern was dying or if I had just found a good area that first day.  I generally don’t like to fish the same places in practice because it’s so important to keep looking for new water all the time in order to find as many areas as possible.

On the last day of practice we went farther south on the lake and tried a large creek arm that I had not been into over the first couple days.  Almost immediately we started catching fish, including a couple of large four- and five- pounders.  Now I was getting excited!  I had a large area that had what seemed like good numbers of big fish in it so I was ready to get the tournament started.  We caught these fish on a wacky rigged Jackall Flick Shake 5.8″ worm.  They wanted a slow presentation and this worm was out-fishing everything else that we tried.

The first day of the tournament I caught a few fish on the Flick Shake worm in the morning and managed to catch a couple of big ones at the end of the day on a Jackall Iobee Frog.  I caught these fish during my last twenty minutes of fishing and they helped me out significantly.  My co-angler also caught a five pounder, which helped him land a tournament leading catch of 15-03 in his division.  My limit of 13-06 landed me in 38th place, which I was very happy with.  More importantly I felt like I had learned a lot heading into day two.  I was optimistic there were more big fish in the shallow grass area where we caught the big ones at the end of the day.

Day two turned out to be a nightmare.  The weather was not significantly different from day one—it was hot with a light breeze.  For whatever reason, the fish just didn’t bite. I caught a bunch of “short” fish (under 14”) and had two big blow ups on the frog which I didn’t connect with.  After a while I started running around to some of the places where I thought I could catch numbers and just couldn’t make it happen.  When you don’t have fish in your livewell the day goes by quickly, so before I knew it, it was time for weigh-in.  I fished my butt off all day long and just didn’t get the bites.

So, I’ve decided to absorb what I’ve learned here, move on to the next one and forget about this event.  Next stop on the schedule is Grand Lake, Oklahoma, June 6 – 9.

Jeff Gustafson is a professional angler living in Kenora, Ontario on the shores of Lake of the Woods. Outdoor writer, fishing promoter and host of “Fishing with Gussy.” You’ll see him fishing the Walmart FLW Tour representing and Lund boats among others. You can follow him on Twitter (@GussyOutdoors) and like him on Facebook (

A line up of the Jackall Baits that Gussy caught fish on during the week at Eufaula.

A line up of the Jackall Baits that Gussy caught fish on during the week at Eufaula.

How to Become a College Tournament Angler

Posted in Fishing Tips, FLW Tournaments, Tournament Updates with tags , , , , , on May 20, 2013 by

Pro-staff Contributor: Michaela Anderson

There are many ways to get started fishing college tournaments. The best way is to start before you enter college by competing in small and local tournaments.  Your first tournaments should focus on lakes that you are already comfortable fishing and know well. This will allow you to remain confident while using your knowledge of different spots on the lake to adapt your strategy during the tournament—because the fish always seem to change their patterns on tournament days. Local clubs and youth programs are also a great way to start.

Michaela with her mentor, Mark Fisher.

Michaela with her mentor, Mark Fisher.

Youth & High School Fishing

For kids, youth programs offer an amazing learning experience. Now some states even have high school fishing as a varsity sport! There are a few different organizations that have state tournaments that provide kids with the opportunity to fish in regional and national tournaments in other states. The best way to find these organizations is to look for information on your DNR page, or the FLW and BASS pages, or of course you could just Google it! One other option you have is to email your local TBF contact to find out where the nearest youth club opportunities are located.

Youth tournaments provide a lot of opportunities such as college scholarships and experience traveling to fish in other states. During youth tournaments you do not need to provide your own boat—you just need to show up with a life jacket, rod and reel. The boaters become amazing mentors and help teach kids during the day out on the water. You are able to make many new friends and many connections for the future. Unfortunately, at 18 you become too old to fish the youth tournaments and you must move to adult and college tournaments.

Stepping up to College Tournament Angling

College tournaments provide a great opportunity to travel to many different lakes across the country and learn a lot about other types of fisheries. Many schools have clubs, which allow you to fish in the FLW, BASS, and Boat USA college tournaments. There are also a few schools that have bass fishing teams and some offer scholarships for fishing! Each tournament trail is run a little differently but the basic format is that you fish in the qualifying events in hopes of making it to the National Championship. These tournaments take your angling to a whole new level and test your skills on lakes across the country. It is a great way to make new friends and to establish a strong network.

Becoming a Professional

Once you graduate you have a few choices. In Minnesota, and most states I have traveled to, they have many local tournaments— you could fish a tournament every weekend if you wanted to. If you want to take a step up to another level, check out Rich Lindgren’s blog about getting started in the BASS and FLW leagues.  These tournaments will test your skills against some of the best anglers in the country—so it will give you a good idea of your competitive skill level.

One key reminder I would give you is that the best way to learn is to be out on the water. The more you get out fishing the more you will learn. Force yourself to learn new techniques and practice even the basic skills like casting. If you work hard at building your skill level, and take advantage of the resources and links I mentioned earlier—you can have a fun and rewarding experience as a college tournament angler like I have. It’s definitely worth the effort!

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

Michaela and her team mate, Brian, at the 2012 B.A.S.S. National Championship

Michaela and her teammate, Brian, at the 2012 B.A.S.S. National Championship

Interviews from the Mississippi River National Walleye Tournament

Posted in Tournament Updates with tags , , , , , , , on May 1, 2013 by
The team after the NWT event!

The team after the NWT event!

We had an awesome team of anglers on the Mississippi River this weekend for the National Walleye Tour—including the tournament winner, Korey Sprengel, as well as Dusty Minke and Bill Shimota! With each angler bringing his own experience and expertise, we wanted to give you a taste of what they all had to share about the event. We’re hoping this will give you an idea of the life of a tournament angler—be sure to leave a comment and let us know if there is anything else you’d like us to ask!

 Have you all been fishing together in the past?

Korey – Dusty, Bill and I have been teamed up for three years. It has been working very well because we all have something different to bring to the table which makes us a very well rounded team.

Dusty – We work together as a team. In this way, we can dissect water and patterns in a short period of time. We started hanging out a few years ago and started the team last year on Bay De Noc in MI. Korey won that event and Bill and I both landed in the top 10. I guess it’s no surprise that during this first 2013 tournament Korey won again—I’m very proud of him and excited to be able to fish together.

How much experience have you had in tournament fishing and/or fishing this specific location?

Dusty at weigh-in. Photo courtesy of Bear Solis.

Dusty at weigh-in. Photo courtesy of Bear Solis Outdoors.

Korey – I have been fishing walleye tournaments for seven years. My first time fishing a tournament in Red Wing, MN was in 2011.

Bill – I consider this stretch of the Mississippi River my home waters and have had several top ten finishes here including a couple tournament wins.

Dusty – I have fished the Mississippi River in Red Wing a lot over the years – it is a very challenging place to fish but it also can be a lot of fun because I prefer a tough bite. I have probably fished ten big tournaments on this body of water over the years—it offers a good challenge every time.

What were your thoughts going into the tournament?

Dusty – Going into the tournament, I’m not going to lie, I was a bit nervous! The bite on the river had changed a lot during prefishing. Originally, there were lots of fish in certain areas by the dam. Then they opened the gates at the dam, creating a different flow and the water temp went from 38 to 44 degrees in less than 4 days. This caused a lot of the fish to move down stream and the fisherman who figured that out did the best! I was confident I could get some fish but getting the big bite was what a guy needed! I guess we didn’t have much a game plan but we did find some key areas that ended up getting Korey the win!

Korey – Going into the first day, I wasn’t really sure what to expect, because as Dusty said, prefishing was tough and the river was changing every day. I wasn’t sure if I could catch a limit each day.

Bill – Pretty much what Dusty said, I figured we could catch a small limit every day and hoped to get a couple of lucky big bites. This was hands-down the toughest bite I’ve ever seen in April on pool four—the late spring has the fish very confused.

It sounds like the water temps changed quite a bit between prefishing and the tournament. That was due to the dam and the weather, right?

Korey – The weather went from highs in the 30’s with a couple inches of snow during prefishing to sunny and highs in the 70’s by tournament day. With the warmer days leading to the tournament the water temp started to rise and with it the activity started to grow. By tournament day, the water temps got to 42-45 degrees and the bite seemed to pick up by the afternoon.

How did you approach day one and day two? Did you change any of your tactics or stick with what you had previous success with?

Bill at the event. Photo courtesy of Bear Solis Outdoors.

Bill at the event. Photo courtesy of Bear Solis Outdoors.

Bill – Day one was very frustrating for me; I tried to play it safe and just catch a limit. All I could come up with was one 19″ walleye and a few that were too short to keep. I was pretty bummed about going in with one fish until I found out that there were 52 guys that had zeroed and most guys had only taken 1-3 fish. That gave me some hope for day two.

I pretty much hand-lined for most of the tournament. It’s a technique I am very confident in and with a tough bite I figured I could catch enough doing it. I started the morning of day two looking to get a big bite but after a couple of hours, with nothing to show, I went back to hand-lining. I picked up one here and there. Then, at about 1:00pm, I ran to a spot that really turned on. We started catching them pretty quickly until the boat traffic got so bad that I decided to leave. I saw several more fish caught on Day 2 across the board, but was surprised to find out Korey and I had two of only a handful of limits caught.

Dusty – I started each day 3-way rigging with a Northland Slurp Jig and Trigger-X Walleye Fishing Grub back to a live bait rig with a minnow–this is how I caught the four fish I brought to weigh-in. I fished some areas that had heavy pressure by the dam and an area called Hay Creek—it was spitting out some good fish but unfortunately our boat never got the big bite we needed!

Korey – When I started the tournament, my first tactic was pitching Berkley Rib worms with 1/4 oz jigs against rip rap shorelines. I spent the first few hours pitching for big bites, and after I got one bite I moved to hand-lining Rapala Original Floaters to try and put a limit in the boat. After a few hours, and only one fish in the boat, I went back to pitching rib worms and pulled into a spot where four out of six pitches landed three fish ranging from 3-5 lbs to finish my limit.

I started day two in fourth place and decided to start where I caught my big fish on day one. I was going to spend most the day there and wait them out, but by about noon I only had two fish. I switched to hand-lining to try to get a limit and in an hour I caught the three fish needed to finish my limit. I then made the decision that I could upgrade by ounces there or go for big fish and upgrade by pounds—so I went back to pitching…with no prevail.

So, how’d you finish?

Dusty – I landed right out of the money, in 46th place. On day one I weighed in two fish at 3.37 pounds. On day two I had three fish at 4.85—making my total weight 8.22 pounds.

Bill – I took 19th place with a $5780 pay out. I ended day one with one fish at 2.36 pounds and day two with a five fish limit at 12.08—for a total of 14.44 pounds.

Korey – I won the tournament with a total of 26.81 pounds. I took in 16.69 pounds on the first day and 10.12 on the second. For winning the National Walleye Tour at Red Wing, I received a Ranger 620 boat and $16,000.

NWT winner Korey Sprengel

Korey with his massive trophy.

When are your next tournaments?

Dusty – My next tournament is the Sturgeon Bay Bass Open with Dave Bennet on May 17-18th.

Bill – My next stop is the National Walleye Tour event on Lake Erie, June 14-15th.

Korey – My next tournament will be the Masters Walleye Circuit event at Oconto, WI on Green Bay, May 31st – June 1st. Then I’ll be joining Bill and Dusty at the next NWT event on Lake Erie.

Any parting thoughts?

Bill – I’m pretty satisfied with the way this one turned out. There were miserable weather conditions during practice and about the toughest bite we could’ve faced. However, as always, we all worked extremely hard on and off the water to put enough together to get the job done. I’m looking forward to the next one!

Dusty – It was a great way to kick off the NWT tournaments. The organization and planning worked great! Our new tournament directors and crew are top notch. I also had a blast helping out the NPAA—getting the kids set up with new rods and tackle. I bet we gave out more than 100 rods! Nothing is better than seeing a kid smile and introducing them to the best sport ever! A big thanks to the town of Red Wing for hosting the event –it’s a great town with awesome people. Also, I couldn’t do this without my sponsors (, Crown Royal, ICP, Ranger, Evinrude, Minn Kota, Humminbird, SPY, Arctic Ice, Rapala, MK, Under Armour, Optima Batteries, Formula Propeller , Northland)—thank you all.

Korey – It feels great to win—I wasn’t expecting it! I just never got the big bites I wanted to get but couldn’t be happier! I’d like to thank my sponsors Ranger, Mercury,, Lowrance, Berkley, Offshore Tackle, M-W Marine, Federal Mogul, and most of all my family, I couldn’t do it without all of them.

 We’ll be checking back with these guys throughout the season, but if you want to see more updates be sure to connect with them on social media. You can like Dusty on Facebook and follow him on Twitter. You can also connect with Korey and Bill on Facebook.  We’re also providing tournament updates and news about our anglers on the Twitter and Facebook accounts—come join us!

Red River Bassmaster Open: Q&A with Andy Young

Posted in Fishing Tips, Tournament Updates with tags , , , on April 30, 2013 by

We sat down with Andy Young to discuss his experience fishing the Bassmaster Open on the Red River last weekend. It was a good conversation filled with smiles and lessons learned.

Andy Young during the tournament.

Andy Young during the tournament.

What were your thoughts before going into the tournament?

It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to be able to compete at this level and I’m just grateful to have a chance. I was hoping to get out of there with a check, but it didn’t happen…this time.

How much experience have you had in tournament fishing and, specifically, fishing this location?

I’ve been fishing tournaments since 1997 but have never fished this body of water (the Red River).

I prefished for five days, and found what I thought was the right fish, but unfortunately didn’t catch them. I think this was mainly due to the fishing pressure, there were a lot of elite guys out there before me that may have cleaned up the area before I got there.

I stuck to my game plan, and that might have hurt me because I stayed in my starting spot too long on day one. However, day two went pretty well. If I could have performed on both days like I did on day two, I would have had a stronger finish and would have been in the money.

What gear did you use during the tournament?

On day one, I used a Biovex crank bait and a Zoom fluke. On day two, I used a Biovex wake bait and a Biovex spinner bait and also an Outcast swim jig. I caught my biggest fish on the Biovex wake bait in one to four feet water with lilypads stumps and mixed in vegetation.

How did you finish?

I finished 89th place out of 189 boats. It’s obviously not what I wanted but I took home some lessons for next time and I’m looking to redeem myself in September for the second Bassmaster Open on the Arkansas River.

What were the lessons you’ll apply to next time?

The biggest lesson I learned was to not try to make it happen if it’s not going to happen (chuckles). The pros at this level are like vacuum cleaners and can easily clean the fish out of an area. Next time, if I find that my game-plan location is not leading to any big bites, I will be on the move.

Andy Young is a pro angler, fishing the Bassmaster Open tournaments. You can like him on Facebook here for updates on his fishing experience. He is also a host of the Miller High Life/ Big Bass Derby. Enter for a chance to fish in the Big Bass Derby with him here (21+ yo, US citizens)!