DOUGLAS S. WEIGHS A TOURNAMENT SMALLMOUTH BASS IN
ALEX JAMES IS READY TO HAUL HIS 16' LUND GENERAL LEE TO THE FALL CLASSIC
ALEX JAMES WITH DOUGLAS S. AT THE TOURNAMENT LAUNCH
ALEX SHOWS HIS GAME FACE, READY TO LAUNCH!!
32 ANGLERS, 16 TEAMS, 15 BOATS, 2 KAYAKS, $640+Prizes....
On October 14th, 2017, 32 anglers competed on the Dairyland Reservoir in the JAMES GANG FALL FLAMBEAU CLASSIC. With a $20 entry fee per angler, the total winnings handed out was $640, which was 100% payout of the entry fees collected. The 16 teams battled wind, afternoon rain, and a tricky fall finesse bite, in hopes of splitting $480 with their partner, as well as taking home the trophies. Also up for grabs for all 32 anglers was the Big Bass Award, given out to the angler that landed the "daily lunker," the heaviest single bass of the day. The Dairyland Reservoir has been known in the past for having some giant trophy smallmouth in it. Even though the last decade has reduced the crawfish population, thus reducing girths and body weights of the smallmouths, our tournament produced one very respectable smallmouth by the end of the day.
WE WERE VERY PROUD OF THE 32 ANGLER TURNOUT THIS WEEKEND!
The tournament preparations started around 9 AM, with the kayakers showing up for their PIN cards first. They were cleared to launch at 9:15AM, but chose to allow all the motor boats to go first, so they would get the community park bay and dam rip rap areas to themselves after the wakes settled.
SMALL CRAFT OUTFITTERS GUIDE TYLER THEIDE POSES WITH ALEX & HIS FEEL FREE KAYAK
Dewey Lor & Tou Xiong started off the tournament red hot. Within the first hour or so, Dewey and Tou landed around TEN POUNDS of legal bass! They took a huge lead that held most of the day. They fished a sand point and pounded smallmouth after smallmouth in a very short time.
DEWEY LOR & TOU XIONG HAMMERED OUT 10 LBS OF SMALLMOUTH TO TAKE A LARGE EARLY LEAD IN THEIR 18 HP JONBOAT
Local ace, and tournament favorite Doug Helmuth, and his partner Zach Nelson, were not messing around either. Only 37 minutes into the tournament, Doug landed his biggest Flambeau smallmouth in years, a beautiful 4 pound 1 ounce fish, long body, huge head, nice girthy belly. This bass would be very difficult to top for the Big Bass Award, but with an entire day of fishing ahead of the other 30 anglers, it was definately possible to get one a few ounces larger to beat Doug.
LOCAL ACE DOUG HELMUTH LANDED THIS 4 LB 1 OZ BASS TO START THE DAY
I had a decent month of pre-fishing the Dairyland Reservoir, and found most of my success fishing deep water with BABY SQUID BAITS. Naturally, this was how I started my day. Alex threw a green pumpkin Senko wacky rigged, while I worked the squid in 8-10 feet of water along weed edges, near boat docks, and along wood cover. I also carolina-rigged a Strike King Baby Rodent green pumpkin creature/beaver style craw bait at times. I had multiple very light hits early, and hooked about a 10" smallmouth that threw the hook halfway to the boat in 8 feet of water. Soon after that, I made a run upriver towards the County I bridge, and had multiple bites in one retrieve on the Baby Squid Bait. I felt like a school of smallmouth may be present. I casted again, and hooked into a possible 3lb or more smallmouth, much larger than any I ever caught on this body of water. I handed the rod to Alex and hoped he would land this beauty. I turned on the video camera and got ready to grab the net when the 9 year old angler accidentally allowed the smallmouth to gain some slack in the line, jump near the boat, and throw the hook. It was a tough moment for the young angler, and from that point on, in combination of wind & rain, he completely lost focus on fishing for the day. The rest of his day was spent snacking from his cooler and watching Dad cast and cast and cast without a single bite the rest of the tournament. It really hurt to land ZERO fish in a tournament that we threw, but after the tournament was over, we understood what worked for the other anglers, and learned a lot from our mistakes, making us better fall fisherman for the future.
TODD LUNDQUIST PUT THIS 17" SMALLMOUTH INTO THE LUND FOR A TOURNAMENT ENTRY AND A PHOTO BY HIS SON, ARRIAN
As the day progressed, Kevin Rogalski and his partner Alex Whitmire boated a few here and there in short flurries in their 16' Crestliner. I returned to my spot where Alex lost his 3 lb bass two more times, trying carolina rigs, jerkbaits, senkos, and spinner baits. Still no luck. Later Team Rogalski/Whitmire hit the same area in which I felt a school was present, and landed 3 more legal tournament smallmouth on finesse baits. During this time, Mat Eichinger and John Beaudette caught a few on spinners, then went into a shallow bay with reeds and tried experimenting with topwater. Mat threw his custom HENG OUTDOORS airbrushed hard baits, and found a 38.5" musky, a pike, and a legal tournament smallmouth on his custom Whopper Plopper.
KEVIN ROGALSKI REGISTERS ANOTHER FINESSE SMALLMOUTH
ALEX WHITMIRE HELPS HIS TEAMMATE STAY IN THE GAME WITH ANOTHER BASS
STAN & 10 YR OLD DOUGLAS WORK THE COUNTY I BRIDGE SHALLOWS NEAR DOUG HELMUTH & ZACH NELSON
As the day progressed, a few boats could just simply not get bites, while others absolutely lit it up! Team Helmuth/Nelson kept their steady pace and climbed to the top. Scott Wilczek and his 8th grader nephew Carson, got onto some quality smallmouths. Carson also boated his first ever musky, at 35" long! Team Rogalski/Whitmire hit a small drought, biteless for a while. Mike Etzel was getting help from his teammate Tony Nelson, as their weight totals were slowly creeping up through the field. Dewey and Tou made another quick charge boating a quick 3 more pounds to the 10 they pounded at the start of the tournament. Then Anthony Xiong caught a true Wisconsin giant - a walleye weighing EIGHT POUNDS!! He also landed a nice smallmouth and got he and his partner Josh rolling....
ANTHONY XIONG WITH A WISCONSIN TROPHY WALLEYE
CARSON S. WITH HIS FIRST MUSKY!!! CONGRATS CARSON!!
UNCLE SCOTT WILCZEK LANDS ANOTHER NICE RIVER CHANNEL BASS
As Alex and I continued our disgusting struggles trying to get a bite, we paid less attention to fishing, and more attention to Scoretracker Live. We seen Mat and John make a steady climb, and saw their boat off in the distance. We wanted to catch up with them and BS a bit, but as we approached, John made a power hook set and hooked into a fish that refused to budge. I started the video and we were rolling footage. Here John's Beetle Spin hooked at 43" MUSKY!!!! We captured all of it on video, it was a crazy moment. I still can't believe the timing of this fish, it ended up being the largest fish (that didn't count) of the day. John was very proud of the beast and we got some great pictures of his catch.
JOHN BEAUDETTE WITH HIS 43" BEETLE SPIN MUSKY!
Getting towards the end of the tournament, the wind and rain picked up. The boats that were fish-less headed back to the ramp and called it a day. There was a 4 team race in contention for the win, including Dewey & Tou, Mat & John, Doug & Zach, and a late charge by Mike & Tony. Doug and Zach became the team to beat, but Mike Etzel got in a groove and found a school of smallies that were falling hard for his senkos. Mat & John squeaked out in front of Dewey and Tou by just ounces, then Mike turned up the heat in the final hour, landing a 2 lb 9 oz smallmouth, finishing the day with Tony's help by pounding out 20 lbs and 1 oz! They edged out the local aces Doug Helmuth & Zach Nelson's very impressive 15 lb 13 oz finish. Doug actually ran a shoreline with Zach right after I zeroed out on it, and landed 7 quick scorable fish in front of me. His early 4 lb 1 oz smallmouth held on for the Big Bass Award win after a long day of anglers aiming to beat it. These guys are very talented on their Flambeau waters!! Mat Eichinger and John Beaudette managed to take 3rd place with 13 lbs 12 oz on 9 fish. Kevin Rogalski & Alex Whitmire barely held of Scott & Carson, as Carson pulled a beautiful 2 lb 6 oz smallmouth just minutes before the tournament ended! After the fish was weighed, they were only behind Kevin & Alex by THREE OUNCES! What an intense tournament, and what a blast that was held by all!!
MIKE ETZEL'S 2 LB 9 OZ SMALLMOUTH, ONE OF SEVERAL LATE TOURNAMENT FISH LANDED WITH HIS PARTNER AND CO-CHAMPION TONY NELSON
THE TOURNAMENT ANGLERS RETURN TO CALL IT A DAY AT 5:30 PM
2017 JAMES GANG FALL FLAMBEAU CLASSIC CHAMPIONS MIKE ETZEL & TONY NELSON - $480 CASH & WINNERS OF OUR TROPHY
BIG BASS AWARD WINNER & 2ND PLACE TEAM FINISHER DOUG HELMUTH w/ALEX
DOUG'S TEAMMATE, 2ND PLACE FINISHER ZACH NELSON, WINNERS OF $112 FISHING TACKLE
THANK YOU EVERYONE!!!
a special thanks to PROTEKT (SCOTT & MIKE) and all of the James Gang Fishing pro-staffers for making this event happen, and a total SUCCESS!!!!
Jesse James is an avid fisherman that loves smallmouth bass fishing, loves spending time with his family, with other family-orientated people, and loves seeing children fish. A huge fan of BASSMASTER Elite Mike Iaconelli, like Mike, he is known to be a little strange, and obnoxious, but only to have fun and make people laugh.