Art Simms Bass Fishing

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I started bass fishing after watching all of the fishing shows on tv. A few years later I thought I was pretty good, until I entered a few tournaments. I quickly realized that I wasn't as good as I thought and was only donating my money. In 1997 I joined the Viking Bassmasters of the Minnesota Bass Federation to hone my skills with some guys more experienced than me. Since that time I have learned a lot and had some major success. I have been Viking Bassmasters Club Champion three times and won sixteen club tournaments. I was the Fishers of Men Minnesota East division champion in 2006, along with a few money tournament wins and numerous top tens.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Balsam Lake tournament

Saturday morning started out cool & breezy with northwest winds dropping water temps five degrees overnight. We decided to start in a popular small sheltered bay that we know holds fish and we shook off bites in there during prefishing. Since we drew boat number 14 we figured we had a good shot at being one of the first few boats in there. We arrived at the spot to find we were the second boat there, but the other guys were fishing fast probably just looking for spawners. I started fishing Mister Twister Comidas with my new Kistler Helium 2 LTX 6"9"mh and 4" lizards on my 7' medium Helium LTA. Starting just inside the mouth of the bay we continued all the way around without a bite, we then fished the starting area one more time and decided to leave and come back later in the day after the water warmed up. Next we ran to East Balsam to fish an inside weedline we knew of. By this time the wind was much stronger and after about a half hour of being pounded and only a few small dinks it was time to move. We then fished a couple of other shallow areas that we have done well in the past and continued the small dink trend with no keepers, we saw 14 and 15 inch fish but they were very skittish and would just disappear. At this point, thinking the water may have warmed up some, we went back to the bay we started in, again no bites but this time we at least saw some activity. By now it was getting down to crunch time, so after some thought we went to an area we already fished, but figured it had the best potential since we did see lots of keepers cruising. We were going to live or die on this spot in the final hour, the water was warming and our hope was we could wade through enough dinks to catch some keepers. Weigh in was at 2:30 and at 2:00 it started to rain, with no fish in the box and what we had going we gave in and headed to the boat ramp. I later found out a little over 11 pounds won the tournament, which is low compared to past tournaments - usually its 15 - 16 pounds. The team that won were fishing from a jon boat and at the end of the day when we were at the boat ramp we saw him coming out of the mill pond. This is the second time the winner has come from there. Looking back, I think we fished memories and hopes too much and didn't recognize what the fish were really doing!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Balsam lake prefishing

We arrived at Balsam lake Friday morning to do some prefishing for Saturdays tournament. The day started out a beautiful 50 degrees and sunny with a light breeze. We decided to start out in some shallow bays that have produced in the past. Our plan was to locate fish and determine what stage of the spawn they were in. Water temps in the bays were 58-59 but warmed to 61-62 later in the day. Although the bass were not on the beds yet we saw plenty of fish cruising around with lots of them being keepers. For the most part we were throwing Mister Twister Comidas and 4" Pumpkin Lizards, having fun catching the dinks and shaking off lots of better bites, but we did try some topwater & spinner baits. We also checked out some of our deeper spots that were near spawning areas with no success, but we know the potential so we didn't write them off. At the end of the day we knew it would be a tough tournament but we felt confident we could catch a limit by making long casts ahead of the boat to catch the cruisers and hopefully make the money.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

First tournament of the year

Finally it seems the weather is going to cooperate this weekend for my first Fishers of Men tournament on Balsam Lake. This lake can be hit or miss for me as I have made the money two out of four times. Seems like if the weather has been stable for a few days preceding the tournament my partner and I do well, but if the weather has been unusually cold we seem to struggle. The other problem is usually the bass are on the beds and I have never mastered the art of sight fishing, we can see fish but can't catch them so we just end up trying to grind out a limit any way we can. Patience is a big key but it's hard to be patient when you are limited by time and you can't get a fish to bite! This tournament is always won by guys sight fishing so I guess I better learn to do it. I'll report next week how it turned out.