YANKTON, S.D. — South Dakota dominated the last BASS Federation Northern Divisional held at Lewis and Clark Reservoir nearly a decade ago, but this time a veteran Wisconsin team taught the locals a lesson.
South Dakota BASS Federation President Kyle Helseth admitted that his team learned a lesson from Wisconsin, which won the team competition of the 2004 CITGO BASS Federation Northern Divisional presented by Busch Beer with 258 pounds, 9 ounces, while the South Dakota squad finished a distant second with 208 pounds, 3 ounces. In the last three years, South Dakota anglers have been winning tournaments on Lewis and Clark by keying on smallmouth bass, but the Wisconsin team targeted largemouth to win the Divisional.
"The key to victory is that we worked as a team before we ever came out here," said Dave Snyder, Wisconsin Federation vice president. "We did a lot of prefishing, probably averaging 14 days per man. We also had a team meeting every night, and even if it took until midnight, we aired out every possible angle that we could."
All the Wisconsin anglers keyed on the same pattern of swimming jigs and tubes in the current along wood cover. The pattern is similar to what most of the Wisconsin team members employ back home on the Mississippi River. "Most of us are river fishermen, and we have a lot of talent on our team," said Snyder." I think everybody on our team has been to the Divisional more than once."
Like father, like son
The Fralick family always seems to have a family member competing on the South Dakota team in the CITGO BASS Federation Northern Divisional. This year Monte Fralick of the South Central Bass Club and his son, Jami, of the Bonhomme Bass Club, both made the South Dakota team, and Jami Fralick finished third in the overall standings. Monte has qualified for 15 Northern Divisionals and Jami has made 10. They have also qualified together for eight Divisionals in a row.
The former Bassmaster Classic qualifier must have been trying a little too hard the last day as his boat hit a sandbar, went airborne and plopped down in a stand of bulrushes and muck. It took 13 volunteers and two bass boats to dislodge Dove's boat from the muck.