Trim goes wire-to-wire for Mississippi River victory

Nick Trim goes wire-to-wire to win the 2024 Mercury B.A.S.S. Nation Qualifier at Mississippi River presented by Lowrance with 65 pounds, 4 ounces. More details coming soon.

LA CROSSE, Wis. —  When you’re dialed in, not even losing a big bass can derail the victory train. Just ask Nick Trim, who overcame a final-round frustration to complete a wire-to-wire win in the Mercury B.A.S.S. Nation Qualifier at the Mississippi River presented by Lowrance.

Trim, who makes his home in Galesville, Wis., set the Day 1 high mark with a limit of 24 pounds, 4 ounces — the event’s biggest bag — added a second-round bag that weighed 21-12 and entered Championship Friday with a lead of 4-1. 

Finishing with a Day 3 limit of 19-4, Trim tallied a three-day total of 65-4 and edged fellow Wisconsin angler Cade Laufenberg by 5-14.

Collecting the top prize of $11,072, Trim, along with the rest of the Top 20 finishers, qualified for the 2024 Mercury B.A.S.S. Nation Championship presented by Lowrance, scheduled for Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees in Grove, Okla., Nov. 6-8.

“There’s no place I’d rather do this than right here,” said Trim, who’s also pursuing Bassmaster Elite Series qualification through the Tackle Warehouse Elite Qualifiers (EQ) of the St. Croix Bassmaster Opens presented by SEVIIN. “The motivation is huge to remind myself that I can really do this.”

Trim said he crafted his final-round game plan after the one that delivered his Day 1 success. He started in Pool 8, fished key morning areas and then locked up to Pool 7 where he completed his effort.

In both pools, Trim looked for spawning smallmouth over gravel bottom in 3 to 6 feet of water, with adjacent depths of 12 to 14. Notably, Trim gave his first spot in Pool 8 a rest on Day 2, but he felt it was ready for a final-day look.

“I started on the same spot where I caught 19 pounds on Day 1,” he said. “I thought some fresh fish had moved in and they did and I caught 15-11.

“After that, I locked up to Pool 7, went to my big-fish spot and culled twice up there. I fished really clean, but I lost one 5-pounder at the end of the day. But I guess it didn’t matter.”

At 12:45 p.m., with what would be the winning weight in his livewell, Trim returned to Pool 8 and spent the remains of his day fishing near the tournament site.

Trim said he caught all of his weight on a Ned rig, a wacky-rigged Senko and a Texas-rigged Missile Baits D Bomb in the bruiser flash color with a 3/8-ounce tungsten weight. For the Ned worm and the Senko, he used green pumpkin with chartreuse tails.

“I used that chartreuse tail because the water was a little dirty,” Trim said. “The fish could pick it up a little better.”

While he was unable to spot bedding fish with line of sight observation, Trim said his Garmin LiveScope and Humminbird MEGA 360 helped him locate and monitor spawning bass.

“My fish required multiple casts; my (biggest fish) took 35 minutes to catch,” Trim said. “You couldn’t see the fish, but my electronics allowed me to keep my bait in the beds.”

Hailing from Onalaska, Wis., Laufenberg finished second place with 59-6. His daily weights were 21-9, 20-6 and 17-7.

Splitting his time between pools 8 and 9, Laufenberg fished slack water areas where he targeted spawning smallmouth in 2 to 3 feet. He caught his bass by flipping a Texas-rigged Strike King Rage Bug and a Strike King Menace with 1/8-ounce weights.

“The first two days, I had most of my weight by 10 a.m., but Day 3 was an all-day grind,” Laufenberg said. “I think it was the pressure of all the other boats fishing.

“The biggest key for me to survive and come up with a good bag today was (the fact that) I had identified a particular area in practice where the water temperature wasn’t quite right for spawning. As the tournament progressed, this area got right and I had new groups of fish moving in.”

Laufenberg said his area produced a pair of 4-pounders on Day 2 and another set of 4s in the final round.

Nic Rand of Paw Paw, Mich., finished third place with 57-4. Rand caught limits of 19-3, 19-13 and 18-4.

Kent Johnson of McGregor, Iowa, won the Big Bass award with his 5-15.

Tanner Morgan of Byron, Ill. won the nonboater division with a three-day total of 31-10. Morgan turned in daily weights of 12-10, 10-7 and 8-9.

Derek Ehrhardt of Garnavillo, Iowa, won the Big Bass award among nonboaters with a 5-13.

Explore La Crosse hosted the event.