Art Simms Bass Fishing

My photo
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.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

ABA - day 2

I was a lot more confidant going into Big Marine than I was in Coon, but I was still bummed after my poor day one performance. I figured I had blown any chance for a good finish, but a fellow angler told me that a lot of guys who do well on day one seem to bomb on day two. Based on my previous high finishes on Big Marine, this gave me some hope of making a good comeback. I was going to put yesterday behind me, fish hard and try to make it back into the top five.

Day two started cloudy, foggy & humid with rain and possible storms predicted for the day. Since it had always been sunny during the previous tournaments, I was a little concerned that the fish on my spot would scatter. Also, after drawing boat #21 I was worried someone would get to the spot before me, knowing a lot of guys has seen me sitting there all day.

While waiting for take off, I decided I was going to the spot regardless if anyone was there or not. It is a small area and odds are no one would find the exact spot anyway, if someone was there I would get as close as possible and do my best.

Finally my number was called and I was off. Arriving at the spot, I was relieved to find no one on it. I grabbed my Kistler Helium 7 foot medium with a FlaMinn Lures 1/8 oz mushroom head and a 4" worm, lined up the boat and made my first cast.

Normally I would start catching fish immediately, but I went the first 1/2 hour with no bites. I started thinking I may be right and the fish scattered, so I started moving around and finally caught a 15 incher. I thought I had located the school but I didn't catch another fish there, so I kept working around the area. After working my way back to the original spot I finally connected with the school. First a 14 incher, I threw back and stuck a 16, then another 16. Then, on my next cast, I felt the bite, set the hook and broke off. I quickly retied and started casting again but the broken off fish seemed to shut down the school.

An hour went by without another bite, it was now raining, I was cold and frustrated and only had four fish. I was starting to wonder if I was going to catch my fifth fish when finally I hooked into one, after a nerve wracking battle I put a nice 17 incher in the livewell. Now I was excited, I had a limit and a very good start to another big bag, with plenty of time left to cull.

A short time later I hooked into what felt like another good fish. After carefully playing the fish to the boat I scooped up a fat 18 incher, which culled the 14 from earlier. The next fish felt better than any of the others, after a long battle I netted a 19 incher. This fish culled the 15 incher and put me around 15 - 16 lbs. At this point I could hardly believe it! 16 pounds is a monster bag for Big Marine, and I was thinking about culling 16 inch fish to increase my weight, knowing it was very possible.

Over the next couple hours I caught a few fish that didn't help, but with about a half hour left, I set the hook into another good fish, a 16+ that culled my smallest 16 incher. I was sure I had over 16 pounds now and didn't want to take any chances, so with about twenty minutes to go I wrapped up and headed in.

After all the boats were in I went up to watch the weigh in since it would be a while before I weighed. I heard lots of grumbling about tough fishing and small fish, which made me feel pretty good. I couldn't believe what I was seeing, lots of 5-7 pound bags and lots of 2&3 fish bags. When boats 16 - 21 were called to weigh, I bagged my fish and proudly walked to the scale. My big fish was 4.35 and my total weight for the day was 16.26lbs. I released my fish and watched the remainder of the weigh in with the closest bag to mine being in the 11lb range. When the weigh in was over I knew I had big fish for the day and made up some ground, but I had no idea where I was going to end up in the tournament or year end standings.

I waited with anticipation as the totals were calculated, and when it was all over I walked away with big bass for day two, 5th place for the tournament with a total weight of 21.54lbs, and 3rd place in the year end standings for a total of 825.00.

Although I was happy with the way I finished, it was somewhat bittersweet knowing if I had done better on Coon I would have placed even higher.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

ABA two day, Coon/BigMarine 9/6-9/7/08

I was a little nervous going into the two day tournament, I was sitting in 4th place overall with the top 5 at year end getting a check, in addition to any tournament money.
I wasn't worried about Big Marine because I knew my spot would still hold up, but after two days of prefishing Coon I had not put together a viable pattern. I knew I would need 10-12 pounds on Coon to be in contention for the second day, but at this point I was concerned about even getting a limit.
Tournament morning was a cool 50 degrees with a 10-15 mph West wind. I drew boat #4 and while waiting for take off I still wasn't sure where I wanted to start. My instinct was telling me to go to docks, but I had caught a couple of good fish and shook off a few others in the reeds by the beach, so I decided to start there. My number was called and I headed for the reeds. After take off was complete I realized I had the reeds to myself. My plan was to fish slow and spend a few hours there feeling confidant I could get a few fish. After two hours with no bites it was time to move.
I ran to a deep weed spot I found in practice and fished it for about 15 minutes - no bites. I then headed over to the west side to some pads I had previously done well on. The wind was blowing on them which usually makes them even better. After a while I finally hooked up with a 16 incher, which was a good start. I then worked the docks in the same area picking up a 14 incher. I went back to the same pads and worked them again but with no more bites. Next I went to a small bay with pads & docks and flipped a creature bait around, while working my way out I managed to pick up another 14 incher on a dock.
Having now convinced myself I should have listened to my instincts, I decided I would spend the rest of the day flipping docks. I stayed on the west side and fished all the docks I could without any bites. I then ran back to the east side to find bass boats lined up on the docks. Thinking it would be useless to fish behind all the other boats, I ran back to the reed bed hoping the bite had picked up. I worked the reedbed again with nothing to show for my efforts.
I had about an hour to go and I only needed two more fish for my limit, at this point I didn't even care if they were 12 inchers. I went back to some docks which now didn't have as many boats fishing them. I ran into one of the other guys who told me he only had three fish also and he had heard it was very tough for most of the guys. I spent the rest of the time committed to the docks, fishing them slowly and methodically but by now they were beat to death.
I weighed in with three fish for about 5 1/2 pounds. Turned out it was pretty tough for most, although a few guys seem to always find them. The leader after day one had over 21lbs, then a few 14lb bags then weights dropped from there. There was no way I was going to win now, so I just hoped I could get a good bag on Big Marine and stay in the top five for the year.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

FOM Legacy, Big Marine 8/30/08

I fished a Legacy tournament on the Horseshoe Chain last year with my then six year old grandson Triston. We both had a great time and took 7th place with about 11.5 lbs. But Triston was a little disappointed that he did not catch a bass. Although I let him reel in the bass I hooked, it just wasn't the same.
I was determined to make sure he caught bass this time and Big Marine was the perfect lake. I knew the fish would still be on the same spot - a deep coontail patch - as in the ABA tournament I won a couple weeks ago, so I rigged up a rod with a slip bobber and a FlaMinn Lures Ultimate mushroom jig and a 4" worm. Now Triston could fish the coontail but not get hung up too much. I would be fishing the same setup but without the slip bobber.
Tournament morning started out cool with a light Southwest breeze. Triston was as anxious as me to get to our spot and start fishing. Our number was finally called and we were off, arriving to our spot to find we had it to ourselves. I showed Triston how to fish the slip bobber rig and then we started fishing. I immediately hooked up with a keeper which Triston netted expertly. On the next cast I got bit again and told Triston to get the net, but he said he couldn't because he also had one on, so I grabbed the net and scooped up both fish - a couple of nice 16 inchers. The bite continued and we had a limit and made several culls in less than an hour. When Triston wasn't catching fish I would let him crank mine in. We were having a great time and very excited about the possibility of a high finish.
About 11am the bite had slowed and Triston started getting a little bored. I knew we could catch more fish if we stayed, but I decided to go to a different spot just to relieve the boredom.
At the next spot I caught a 15 incher on my first cast which culled a smaller fish, then Triston caught a 12 incher which didn't help, and some smaller fish - but at least he was catching them.
It was getting close to weigh in so I thought we would give my best spot one more try. We motored back and started fishing, within a few minutes I hooked up with a chunky 17 incher which made a good cull and really got us excited. It was now time to head in and hope we did well.
We were one of the first few boats to weigh and had 11.21lbs. We were in first place for a while until another team weighed 11.26, then another weighed 13lbs. Finally there were no more to weigh. Triston was very excited when I told him we took 3rd place and we would win plaques and money. I was also excited, and very proud of him since he contributed to the catch this time and earned his awards.