Archive for the ‘Tournament Fishing’ Tag



Big money purses and national sponsors make this tournament different from crappie tournaments of the past. Crappie USA is coming to Lake of Egypt March 10 and 11, 2017.  With a total guaranteed local purse of $10,000 plus and chances at a national purse of $125,000 plus.  Local sponsors are the folks at Williamson County Tourism Bureau.

Information on the event is available from the Williamson County Tourism Bureau at 1-800-GEESE-99. It also is available at Informaton.  Advance registration is required.  The weigh-in site is Mack’s Lake of Egypt Marina, 12024 Laguna Dr., Marion, IL 62959.

Crappie USA is a national organization formed in 1996 to establish and expand family-oriented, cost effective and competitive tournaments for amateur and semi-professional crappie anglers. Nationally there are tournaments in numerous states.  Anglers compete for a place in the field for the “super bowl of crappie fishing” the $125,000 Cabela’s Crappie USA Classic to be held on Kentucky/Barkley Lakes out of Paris, TN October 26 to 28, 2017.

Although the tournament is the main attraction it is not the entire event. On the evening before the tournament many national sponsor field test teams and local experts will be present to answer questions in a seminar.  The seminar site, which is open to the public, will be the Williamson County Pavilion, 1601 Sioux Drive, Marion, IL.  Starting time is 7:00 p.m.

On March 11, 2017 there will be a Crappie Kids Rodeo for kids 12 and under accompanied by an adult. Just bring your fishing pole.  There is a sign up period from 8-9 a.m. and the fishing tournament will run from 9-11 a.m.   All participants will be eligible to win one of six &1,000 scholarships to be drawn in October at the Crappie USA Classic.  The site of the Crappie Kids Rodeo is the Marion Elks Lodge Pavilion located on the north end of Lake of Egypt near the dam.

Information regarding the event is available from Williamson County Tourism Bureau, 1602 Sioux Drive, Marion, IL 62959 or by calling 1-800-GEESE-99.  Information is also available online at, the Williamson County Tourism Bureau website.  Their e-mail address is




Square billed crankbaits and spinners in the natural colors of crawfish and shad produce better results than the plastics the bass angler has been using all summer. Baits with gold and copper hues work well in stained water.  In clear water blue, silver or white lures are better.

If the weather continues to be warm, then Texas-rigged plastic worms should continue to produce. If the water cools try moving to crankbaits.

If the water is clear try a swimbait. This is sight fishing at its finest.

In weed choked bays and coves the use of a frog or weedless spoon is required.

Carolina rigged finesse worms work on occasion worked parallel to the shore over a changing bottom structure.



The last holiday weekend of summer presents an opportunity to reinforce the fun of fishing in the minds of youngsters. School begins soon and they need fond memories of the summer past.

For children to enjoy fishing, it is important to know the child. Pre-school children are more interested in chasing minnows and casting rocks than they are in spending a day “chunkin’ and winding” a bass rod.  It is important adults recognize the short attention span of young children.  To them fishing is something that you do for a little while until bored.

Adults need to watch for signs of boredom and then switch the activity either temporarily or for the day. It is important youngsters catch fish in order to maintain interest in the activity.  Just sitting and watching a bobber float on the water will get old in a hurry.  That is why bluegill and sunfish are such a great fish for kids.  They are also easy to find in the late summer and early fall.  Youngsters can actually see the fish swimming in the water.  Small sunfish are voracious eaters and will take a piece of night crawler presented by young anglers.  The tug on the line is exciting to the novice angler even if it is not from a giant bass.

Regardless of how many fish the youngster catches it is important to be able to recognize the opportunity of teaching “catch and release.”

Picnic lunches and snacks are good alternatives to fishing for the bored child. Remember that children get hungry more quickly than an adult.  Talk along a cooler with snacks and plenty of liquids.  Be sure that everyone stays hydrated.  Nothing can ruin a future fisherman’s love of the sport than a trip to the hospital for an IV to combat dehydration.

A bat and ball or football to throw around can be a break from the rigors of fishing.

It is important to have and use sun blocker. Fond memories of a trip will be ruined by sunburn.  It is also a good idea to have any child near water wear a personal floatation device.  You cannot watch them every second.  Kids have a way of finding a way of falling into the water when you are not looking.

The ultimate idea is to make fishing a fun time and then youngsters regard it as an experience they will wait with anticipation all winter to repeat.



Recently a computer program has entered the field of competitive fishing. It promises to be great for anglers, tournament officials, their friends and family as well as provide marine information for fisheries officials and increase survival rates of the fish.

Waiting for the results of a fishing tournament can be about as exciting as watching paint dry. Take it from one who has spent thousands of hours doing just that to get story material or in response to a magazine assignment.  Sure it can be fun renewing old acquaintances but sometimes one has to cover several tournaments in a day or has a deadline and editors wanting material right now.

In the traditional tournament the anglers bring their catch of the day to a weigh-in and then they tally the totals to decide the winners. The officials announce the winners.  All this takes a lot of time especially with large entry fields.  Unfortunately often the crowd goes home and some fish die before the end of the festivities.

Mike Christopher of Dallas, TX points out that the main purpose of fishing tournaments comes in 4 aspects. The primary purpose is a protection of the resource both during the tournament and by supplying data to fisheries biologists to aid in management of the fishery.  Secondly is the promotion of fishing ethics while maintaining the third segment safety on the water.  And of course it is promote fun in fishing competition.

Christopher provides technical support in the use of iANGLER. The program is available on either the App Store or Google Apps.

iANGLER consists of two components. The web portal handles all aspects of the management of a tournament.  These consist of things such as promotion, assignment of crew members, scoring, weather and a live leaderboard.  The mobile application which is available to participants and remote viewers handles such aspects of a tournament as registration, logging successful catches, weather updates and the live leaderboard.

During a tournament the participants use the mobile app to photograph their catch and record basic information while still on the water. The image record immediately goes to the web portal.  The tournament director reviews it if there is an internet connection the transmission takes seconds.  If a digital camera is used the transmission is made later via the chip from the camera.

Once a catch record scoring is completed it is posted to the live leaderboard. If a catch is rejected the angler is notified immediately by email.  For those viewing the leaderboard either by cellphone on the water or with a laptop it is possible to hole the cursor on a particular creel and see a thumbnail image of the individual fish.  The tournament audience is able to monitor the angler progress on the leaderboard.

Once the contest is completed it is possible to finalize the results very quickly.

In addition to quickly determining the winners of the event, this system allows the quick release of fish within seconds. This goes a long way in saving fish lives.

Fishery biologists like the system as it opens up data for them to assess fish dynamics and habitat needs. All events fitted into the program have the identifying information of the angler removed before submitting the data to fisheries managers.

Tournament angling has long been involved in the digital age but this system is an advancement of the involvement. For more information about this program for your next tournament check out their website at

IT IS FROG TIME   Leave a comment

Pivot Frog 1

As the water temperature rises it is time to try out a new frog lure from Sebile. It is the Sebile Pivot Frog.

Not much of a frog fisherman, or for that matter a bass fisherman, this is going to present difficulties. As with most plastic lures one tends to wait too long to set the hook or does so too soon.

Most frog lures are for heavy vegetation. But they do work in clear water.  This weighted frog walks true through the water.  Unlike other frog imitations which have two hooks this lure has a single 6/0 wide-gap hook.  The hook point is within the body of the lure.  The body will collapse when a fish takes it.  Otherwise the lure moves through vegetation almost weedless.

As with other such lures you intermittently pause to give it action. Kevin Jarnagin, Blue Heron Communication spokesman, uses the Pivot Frog on 50-pound braided line to fish around grass edges.  By walking the frog easily on a slack line or with short strokes, he dips the frog just below the surface.

With poor depth perception the easiest way for me to fish it is to cast up on the shore and then drag it back so as to plop into the water like a frog jumping off the shore. Using care I make it land inches away from the shore as a natural frog would do.  From a boat one walks the lure back with the rod tip down while pausing occasionally.

The frog design is for fishing heavy vegetation. Boaters can move their craft into the grass and then fan cast along the edge.

For the ground pounder work the lure parallel to the bank about 3-feet out using the same retrieval. Keep to the more shaded areas.  This technique seems best early in the morning and later in the afternoon when the water is at its coolest.

If minnows or other small marine life is present and actively moving about cast the frog to the other side and walk the lure through the activity.

2016 HOBIE BASS OPEN   Leave a comment


Perhaps the fastest growing segment of the marine industry is the kayak. Both as the oldest and newest addition to the fishing scene, these craft are increasing popular with anglers.

The first visitors to the North American continent came by way of the Bering Strait either by dog sled or kayak. Those craft were nothing more than animal skins stretched over a wooden frame.  They were a fry cry from the modern materials of today’s craft.

The early kayaks were to gather meat and fish for survival. Today anglers fish from them but also engage in the increasingly popular fishing contests.

A couple of weeks ago over 100 kayakers gathered at the Kentucky Dam Village near Gilbertsville, KY to complete for total cash prizes of over $11,000 and merchandise prizes from event sponsors.  The event is the second of a series of 5-qualifying events being held across the U.S. and Canada.  More details are available at

The contestants have a chance to fish both Kentucky and Barkley Lakes. The event is a Catch, Photo and Release format.  Each angler records his catch by placing it on a Bump board that has inches and fractions marked on it.  He places a token given to him at registration on the fish to verify his catch.  He photographs the fish with either an iPhone or point and shoot camera and the fish released.

If using an iPhone, the image is immediately sent to contest headquarters via, an online service that records the catch and keeps a up to the minute status of each angler. The top three fish of each angler counts toward his/her final score.

First place in the adult division wins not only $3,500 but also is entitled to fish in the 2016 Hobie Fishing Worlds Championship in Lafourche Parish, LA on December 4-11. He also receives an all-expense paid trip to the event.  Second place also qualifies for the Championship and a check for $2,300.  Third place gets a check for $1,500.

The top 5 anglers receive an invitation to the Tournament of Champions held in November on Lake Fork, TX.





Bass fishing with jigs is a tried and true technique for the bass angler with a boat. Shore anglers are beginning to use more with success by fan casting. There are a number of types of jigs on the market.

The little finesse jig with its smaller profile are popular. Some people think that the only place you can use them is in clear water situations or rocky lakes. They work well in stained water as well. It is just a smaller profile jig with thinner wire hook and weed guard. The finesse jig requires lighter line. Anglers usually add a small crawfish or small chunk. Staying with basic colors of brown, pumpkin or green/pumpkin enhances the natural look of a jig. Because crawfish are a basic food for bass, the trailer helps to make the jig appear like one. Staying with the 1/4 ounce to half-ounce size it is possible to go with 3/8 ounce is best.

Bigger jigs that have been popular for years still work. Some people call them Bubba jigs. The best technique in the summer is to punch the jigs through the grass in 8 to 15 feet of water. One usually uses a one and one quarter ounce jig with a big craw on it. This rig has proven itself year after year.

Many people lack confidence in the jig as a bait. Pros recommend that one stick with the basic colors of black, blue, brown and pumpkin. It is good to try to develop a feel for the jig whenever you go fishing. Confidence is a key to jig fishing. If you lack confidence, the only way you will get it is by using the jig. You might not get a whole lot of bites the first time. However, if you just experiment and keep trying eventually you will have a day with a bunch of bites. That builds your confidence. You have to develop a feel for it.

When fishing in grass, use the jig on braided line. If fishing in wood or grass then the fluorocarbon line is best. It is a lot more sensitive than monofilament line. Swim the jig around wood type cover. Many people too often fish the jig only on the bottom. If fishing a lay down in a river, try using a 3/8th ounce jig and not let it hit the bottom. Just swim it through the branches. Fish like to suspend in such areas. The urge is to throw into the branches, allow the jig to fall to the bottom and then bring it back to the boat. Keep it swimming through the branches for those suspended fish.

Larger jigs have more buoyancy than the smaller profile jig. You can also put a larger craw on it. Some people tight line a jig. They do not let the jig fall naturally. When fishing a jig on the bottom toss it to the bottom by allowing a slack line. Do not lose contact with the jig. It will fall more naturally than letting it fall with a tight line. If you feel something heavy on the line set the hook. If hoping it immediately releases more line to the jig. The idea is to let the jig fall naturally. It comes with practice. Sometimes fish just want the jig on the bottom. If that is the plan then do not use a lot or rod movement. Crawl the jig along the bottom.

If you are not having any success with that bring the rod from the nine o’clock position to 12 o’clock and hop it. If the fish really want it way up off the bottom then you can continue to a 3 o’clock position. It is a reaction strike and it is something you just have to play with to see if they want one on the bottom or higher up.

Another technique is swimming the jig around boat docks. Many times after the spawn, fish will suspend around boat docks. Target the foam. Look for the dock or marina that has foam around it. Use a light jig because the fish are feeding on shad. Fish the jig like a spinnerbait around that stuff. You just cast up there and hop it back with a swimming action. Keep the jig just under the water as you would a spinnerbait working boat docks.

If fishing a chunk or craw on the back of the jig, try adding a rattle for sound. It can really make a difference. If one takes a Rattleback jig and shakes it in his hand it makes a lot of noise. However, if you put it in the water it does not really make a whole lot of noise. If you put the rattle in the plastic trailer, it makes a lot of noise due to the movement of the plastic.

Another change in a jig is to create a small profile jig by trimming the skirt. You can vary the weight of a jig by thinning the trailer or skirt. It is possible to take a half-ounce jig and make a 3/8 ounce jig out of it by trimming the skirt and thinning the trailer. Trim the skirt about a half inch below the hook.

In cooler weather, stay with dark colors. In hot weather, move to the light color jigs and skirts. Although browns are good, the pumpkin colors work well in summer. Pumpkin/green and watermelon work well in the summer.

Black/brown/amber catches fish in summer. Camo jigs will work in summer.

The jig is a popular lure. One can use it throughout the year. It really shines in the cooler months. You can fish it from a half foot of water to 30 foot deep. In summation, if you want to be an above average angler it is a bit of tackle that you really need to add to your arsenal.

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