Off we go again, headed to Toledo Bend for the next Elite Series event in a very busy month of tournaments.
After next week’s Toledo Bend tourney, I drive home for my Detroit Lions/KVD Charity Bass tournament (June 12) on Kent Lake, Mich., then head to La Crosse, Wis., the following week for an Elite Series event on the Mississippi River.
After that tournament, we go immediately to Green Bay to fish Lake Michigan for giant smallmouth.
The good news is that we have back-to-back tournaments within a close driving range and in my neck of the woods. That’s rare considering where I live and where most tournaments are held.
I’m looking forward to fishing all of these waters, each of which present new challenges.
While I’ve fished Toledo Bend before, I’ve never been on it this time of year. The lake level has risen to normal levels since the drought and the fish will be in the summer patterns. There’s a lot of grass, too, so multiple patterns will be working. We should be able to catch them deep on jigs, crankbaits and big worms, or go shallow and flip the grass.
I’ve never fished the Mississippi at La Crosse, but I hear great things about it. It’s a good fishery; and since a lot of guys haven’t been there, it should be an interesting tournament.
The Green Bay event the following week is a wild card as it’s the site of the “Mystery Lake” that was kept a secret until prior to Memorial Day.
I’ve never fished that side of Lake Michigan but have fished Grand Traverse Bay on the Michigan side many times. I expect to encounter similar conditions and believe it will take a lot of big smallies to win, as much as 20 to 25 pounds a day, to stay in the hunt.
It’s going to be a cool tourney for a number of reasons. First, very few Elite pros have been there, although my nephew, Elite pro Jonathon VanDam, fished a tournament nearby at Sturgeon Bay with my brother two weeks ago. They didn’t win but they caught a ton of fish.
I think all the guys will enjoy this tournament since they love going north where the lakes get little fishing pressure, the weather is cooler and everyone loves catching big smallmouth.
I suspect the fish will be postspawn by then and transitioning to summer patterns. I doubt if they will be deep like they are on Lake Erie, and I imagine that soft plastic baits – tube jigs and drop shotting – will rule. But you never know what these guys will pull out of their hats to catch ’em good.
My biggest concern is the wind, although June weather is typically 80 degrees and stable. I just don’t want it to blow during practice where we can’t get out and look around.
Green Bay has some big tournaments but has never hosted a national bass fishing event like ours. It’s going to put Green Bay on the national radar and prove to the bass fishing world what a crown jewel that smallmouth fishery has to offer.
Remember, it’s all about the attitude!