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.

Friday, December 24, 2010


Merry Christmas everyone! Have a happy and safe holiday season!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


My fishing year is officially over. The boat is winterized and put away, all my reels are stripped and the drags loosened, I am done for the year!
All that is left now is to thank my great tournament partners - Scott and Shawn, for another successful year, my sponsors - Kistler Rods, FlaMinn lures, Mepps and Mister Twister, and most of all my Family for their support.
Over the winter I plan to blog some how-to articles, some reviews on a few new products I used this year, and whatever else I may think of.
For now, thank you to all my readers and have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Just Hawg Huntin

With the tournament season over and a beautiful day on the horizon, my Brother Scott and I decided to hit one of our favorite North Metro lakes Friday for some hawg hunting. Conditions were sunny and calm with a light South breeze picking up in the afternoon, water temp was 55 degrees. The weather had been stable and with the fall feedbags on, we knew the fish would be biting. We ended up having one of the best frog fishing days we have ever had! Every fish we caught was between 15 and 18 inches with one very fat 19 that Scott hauled in. We estimated out best 5 at around 18lbs!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Simply Fishing Marine tournament - Green Lake, Chisago

I pre-fished Friday and pretty much eliminated the deep bite. The post turnover conditions had the fish very scattered and we only caught a couple of little fish deep. Our plan was to stay shallow, cover water, and hopefully connect with some good fish.
Tournament morning started out a beautiful 50 degrees and sunny with virtually no wind, warming to about 80 in the afternoon, water temp was about 60 degrees.
Our first spot was a row of docks in Little Green, I started skipping a junebug Mister Twister Comida while my partner Shawn was alternating between a FlaMinn Lures spinner bait and a Subwart. After finishing the docks and no fish we ran to another set where we were able to pick up four small keepers on the Comida.
We then went back into the main lake to another set of docks where I connected with a 16 incher to fill our limit. We continued our dock pattern on the main lake, catching some keepers, but only made a couple small culls.
About noon we decided to fish a small bay that was full of milfoil and lined with lily pads. I was throwing a Snagproof frog while Shawn was throwing a Zoom Horny toad. We had worked about half way in and were working back out when Shawn nailed a 14 incher for a cull. A short while later he connected with a 15 incher for another good cull. At this point I also tied on a Horny toad and we continued working the area for about another hour without another bite.
With about an hour left we decided to run back to the docks in Little Green in hopes of culling a couple more times. We managed to catch fish but nothing that would help.
At the weigh in it quickly became apparent that we did not have a good day. We weighed a limit for 8.34lbs for 13th place. There were a few smaller limits and some teams did not even have limits, so we felt good about that, but twelve other teams did pretty well making me believe we missed something. The winner had over 14lbs, and quite a few bags were over 10 lbs.
Thats it for my tournament season, so now its time to just fish for fun, hopefully the weather stays unseasonably warm for a while, I could be fishing well into November.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sunrise Bassmasters Youth Services Bureau - Big Marine

My brother Scott and I arrived at Big Marine Lake to a very chilly 37 degrees and light fog, fortunately the forecast called for sunny skies and light SE winds. The water temp was 49 degrees warming to 59 in the afternoon.
Like every tournament I fish on Big Marine, we decided to start on what used to be my best spot. We were not able to fish exactly were we wanted because another boat was already sitting near the spot, but we were able to position ourselves close enough. After about two hours of casting jigworms to the weedline we managed a small limit with the biggest fish in the 14 inch range.
We next ran to another weedline where Scott caught a 14 incher that replaced a 12. After another hour of working the area and no bites we figured since the better fish were not going deep we would try shallow.
We settled on a reed bed that has produced in the past and started flipping. Almost immediatly I missed a fish that I didn't feel bite. We continued working around the reedbed and Scott connected with a 3 lber which culled our last 12 incher. Next I caught a 14 incher which culled a 13. A short time later I set the hook on another good fish and Scott netted a 18 incher, culling another 13 incher.
At this point we opted to spend the rest of the day flipping the reeds hoping to upgrade the three small keepers we had. The bite slowed but Scott did manage a slight cull with a fatter 14 incher.
The weigh in was typical for Big Marine with mostly 7 and 8 pound limits. We ended up with 10.68 good for 4th place - unfortunately they only paid 3 places. 1st and 2nd place had over 12 lbs and 3rd place was over 11 lbs.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Fishers of Men - Horseshoe Chain

My partner Shawn and I pre-fished a week ago and found the fishing tough, but did manage enough bites to feel confident. We pre-fished again on Friday and located an area holding a lot of fish that hopefully would still be biting the next day.
Our plan was to hit some of my 1-2 fish spots along the way to our larger fish holding area we found Friday.
Tournament morning started out a cool 65 degrees with 10-15 mph SW winds. We drew boat #17 and when our number was called we raced to our first spot, a tree overhanging the shore on a point. We shook off a bite here pre-fishing and hoped we could pick up a quick fish. After about 10 minutes and no bites it was time to go. Our next stop was a shoreline with a mix of docks and wood. On about the third dock I caught a 13 incher on a Mister Twister Comida in watermelon candy. After fishing the rest of the shore with no success we left.
The next spot was a small bay rimmed with lily pads and wood, and a "magical" tree which always produces a good fish. We started on a shoreline pitching B-A-Hawgs and FlaMinn Lures Jigs to the pads and wood. About half way down I connected with another 13 incher. We next headed over to the "Magic" tree where I stuck a 17 incher on the B-A-Hawg. We continued down the shoreline and were rewarded with two 14 inchers from pads - giving us a limit.
With our plan working and having a limit at 9:30 it was time to go to our best spot. This was a large bay filled with lily pads but only one particular area was holding fish. On about my 3rd cast with a white Snag Proof frog I hauled in a 16 incher which culled a 13. We took our time working the area but didn't get another bite so we decided to work through it again. About half way down the shore in the pads was a long dock which I skipped the first time through with no success. This time I was walking the frog parallel to the dock when the frog just disappeared. After a short battle about a 15 1/2 incher was netted, culling another 13 incher. We continued working the area for quite a while but the bite had slowed so we made a call to go to another shoreline that looked similar.
We flipped and frogged the pads and wood with no takers until we reached an open pocket behind the pads and between two trees. After casting the frog to the pocket and twitching it a couple times a fish boiled but missed the frog. After a couple more twitches the fish came back and ate it. When the nerve wracked fight was over, Shawn netted about a 4 1/2 pounder which made about a three pound cull.
At this point I figured we had about 12 lbs but we knew we had to cull our last 14 incher to have a chance for the money. We figured our best bet would be the pad area that had the most fish, so we spent the last hour there where Shawn was able to cull up a couple ounces with a fish a little over 14 inches.
A few teams had already weighed when our fish were put on the scale. We took the lead and although we had a couple scares we never relinquished it. We ended up in first place with 12.73lbs and second big bass at 4.49lbs for a healthy payday.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Fishing again!

After about three weeks of being busy, lousy weather and not feeling well, I finally managed to get out fishing a couple times this week.
On Sunday I went to The Horseshoe Chain to do some pre-fishing for an upcoming tournament. The Chain is fishing tough right now but we caught a few fish with my biggest being about three pounds and found some potential water for tournament day.
On Wednesday I just wanted to whack some fish, so my brother Scott and I decided to head to Rush lake. Again it was tough fishing, mainly due to the strong winds. The bite was pretty slow but we still caught plenty of fish, most were in the 14 - 16 inch range but I did manage one 17 incher.
It felt good to get out fishing again and I'm looking forward to this weekend. I'll be pre-fishing again Friday and fishing the tournament Saturday.
Watch for a blog next week about the tournament.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Full Throttle - Forest Lake

My Brother Scott and I arrived at Forest Lake Saturday to a beautiful sunny, calm morning. The forecast called for sun and light winds but strong storms for the afternoon.
We had put together a pattern pre-fishing Friday and were confident in our plan for the day.
Our first spot was a reed bed that normally produced better quality fish. Armed with our Kistler Helium Flipping rods we went to work. Scott was pitching a 1/2 oz Black/blue FlaMinn Lures jig while I started with A Mister Twister B-A-Hawg in black neon. By the time we left the spot we had four fish in the well that were all 14-15 inches. Not the size we hoped for but a pretty good start.
Our next spot was another reed bed that we shook off numerous bites in on Friday, but after working them thoroughly we had nothing for our efforts.
We decided to run to some docks that produced bigger fish in the past, which turned out to be a good choice, the first dock produced a 16 1/2 incher which filled our limit. On the next set of docks a 15 1/2 incher culled one of the 14's. We ran some other docks but never had another bite on any of them.
With about two hours left we decided to kill the remainder of the tournament on the reeds we started on in hopes of culling the last two 14 inchers. After pitching for about 10 minutes I stuck a 17 incher that replaced one of the 14's.
With about 45 minutes remaining, the storms started rolling in with lots of lightning all around, so we headed in to fish around the weigh in site but did not get another bite.
At the weigh in we ended up with 11.42 lbs with our big fish being 3.11 - which was good for 4th place and a check. 1st place weighed a little over 14 lbs.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Canada pics

A few pics from our recent Canadian fishing trip.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Annual Canada trip

We are back from our annual Canadian fishing trip and what a great time I had with my 9 year old grandson Triston and my wife Monica. The weather could not have been more perfect with temps in the low 70's, light winds and partly cloudy skies all week.
With water temps in the low 60's the fishing was awesome. Fishing slip bobbers and jig/leech combos in 4-8 feet of water in the bays we were catching 30-50 walleye a day and numerous smallmouth of various sizes. We also managed to catch 3 northern pike in the 36" range, along with many smaller ones.
This was the 3rd time Triston went with us and although he had fun the last 2 years, the fishing and weather was terrible and we caught very few fish. This year he saw how good the fishing really is and caught many walleyes, bass and pike, and even caught a few jumbo perch on a bumblebee pattern spinner bait he picked out himself at the sportshow. I'll post some pics in the next couple of days.
Well for now it's back into bass fishing mode, but I'm already looking forward to next years trip.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Boat problems!

I had planned on fishing the Fishers of Men tournament on Clearwater lake Saturday, but due to boat problems I couldn't make it.
Last time I used the boat I noticed the steering was slipping - not a good situation at 60+ mph. Knowing I had a tournament coming up and a fishing trip to Canada next Saturday I had to get it fixed.
After doing some inspecting, I located a leak at one of the hydraulic fittings, which I was able to tighten. The problem began when I attemptd to fill and bleed the system. When I opened one of the bleeder screws the threads came out with it. I scrambled all day Friday to get it fixed, but turns out the only option was to have the steering cylinder replaced. So I called the tournament director and got a refund on my entry fee and then dropped the boat off at Bethel Marine for repair. Hopefully I'll have the boat back Tuesday or Wednesday.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Full Throttle - Balsam Lake

Well, the 2010 Full Throttle Balsam Lake tournament is in the books and I kind of have mixed feelings about the outcome. Traditionally, a limit in this tournament will put you in the money - not this time. Although a limit of 14+ inchers can be tough to get on Balsam this time of year, we managed to fill ours, but so did a lot of other teams, leaving us in 15th place.

Pre-fishing Friday we found water temps in the mid to upper sixties, so we started looking in the shallows to get a feeling for what the fish were doing. We saw lots of small bass cruising but only saw one small male protecting a bed. My feeling was they were, for the most part, done with the spawn. We checked some deep spots to try to locate some post spawn fish but caught nothing but dinks.

Tournament day started partly cloudy with air temps in the low sixties and a light SE breeze. Our plan was to do as we did last year and hit all the docks in spawning areas, confidant some of the post spawn fish moved under them.

Our first spot was a small bay that we caught 3 good keepers from last year. I started throwing a weightless Mister Twister Comida in watermelon candy, while my partner Scott was throwing various moving baits. After working all the way around the bay, fishing the docks and in between them, I finally connected with a 14 incher on the inside edge of some pads.

We then ran to a larger shallow bay where I caught another 14 incher near a dock. A few docks down the line I managed to stick a 15 incher. On the other side of the bay, my partner Scott hooked into a 14 incher, and a short while later I caught another 15. It was now about 10:30 and with a limit in the well we still had over 4 hours to upgrade.

We then ran into East Balsam and fished a few similar areas with no success. It was now raining and a front was pushing through with very strong winds and thunder. We spent about an hour in a small protected bay and again, no keepers.

The front had passed and with about two hours left we decided to fish through the same areas where we had caught our keepers earlier, but after almost 2 hours and no upgrades we headed to weigh in.

We ended up with 8.18lbs. I was thrilled to have a limit, we fished clean all day and caught the fish we were fishing for, unfortunately, we simply were fishing for the wrong size fish.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

new tournament jerseys

I received my new tournament jerseys from Gemini last week and I think they turned out great. I also ordered one for my 9 year old grandson Triston, who fishes some tournaments with me. Here is a pic with Triston modeling his.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Have you ever had one of those tournament days where every decision you made was the right one? On the other hand, have you ever struggled just to try to fill your limit and every decision was the wrong one? I have experienced both kinds of days several times in the past and spent a lot of time thinking about why the bad days were bad, but never coming up with anything except excuses.
About two years ago I found a big piece of the puzzle.
I was watching the Bass Pros on TV and Rick Clunn was talking about fishing by your instinct. He stated that we make decisions based on either instinct or intellect, instinct being a gut feeling and intellect being a decision made after the thought process was complete. It was now starting to click! He went on to explain that the way to tell the difference between instinct and intellect is if your decision is based on fear, it is intellect.
After thinking about some past tournament experiences, I realized how true his theory was.
I remember tournaments where I stayed on a spot too long in fear of someone else getting the spot if I left, even though it was not producing well. And days when I left a spot to fish another before someone else got to it, decisions based on fear! I also found that on the tough days, I tended to over think, which took instinct out of the equation.
I also remembered on my best tournament days I didn't seem to feel any pressure and just fished by instinct (although I didn't realize it at the time) and the days ended with good results. One example is, last year I was fishing a Full Throttle tournament on Green lake. I normally fish a weedline that produces big fish, but this day only small keepers were there and we had about a eight pound limit half way through the day. I had my eye on a row of docks all day for no particular reason, but stuck with the weedline for fear of missing the big fish bite if it occurred. Finally I realized my instinct was telling me to fish the docks and I told my partner we were moving. On the second dock I stuck a fish under the boat lift which turned out to be over 5lbs, bumping our weight to over 12 lbs getting us a 7th place check and another for big bass. Had I not listened to my instinct, we probably would have ended up in the middle of the pack.
Since hearing Clunns theory my mental approach to fishing has changed. By being more aware of my instinct I make better decisions, I try to not overthink and if my gut is telling me something - I listen!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

New stuff

I still have not made it on the water yet but at least I think I am ready now. I had to put new tires on the trailer and replace my deep cycle batteries. I also purchased a few other items, here are some pics.

My new Kistler Rods Z-bone 7'6" heavy.

Quantum Accurist PT AC100HPT burner for the Z-bone

8ft Power-Pole pro series

Monday, May 3, 2010

Skeet Reese

There is no one hotter in professional bass fishing right now than Skeet Reese. Not even the mighty KVD, who seems to have fallen off the face of the Earth since his Classic win. Since Reese's Classic win in February 2009 he has amassed some pretty impressive stats - 11 top tens, 8 of which were top fives, including 2 wins. And with the exception of his 43rd place in the 2010 classic, all of his other finishes were in the twenties - still very respectable! Right now I think Reese could fall out of the boat and come out with a four pounder in his rear end.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Kistler Z-bone LE

My Kistler custom Z-bone LE was waiting for me when I got home yesterday and all I can say is AWESOME! I ordered the ZBLE-5h-76 with split marble cork grip & micro guides. This rod is all I thought it would be. Light as a feather, great feel and balance, and finished flawlessly. Cant wait to get on the water with it!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Getting Ready

The new Kistler Z-bone rod is ordered, the Mister Twister order is in and I got some new finesse jigs from Flaminn lures. I'll be ordering new tournament jerseys within the next couple of days, going shopping this weekend for line, hooks etc, checking into having a Power Pole installed and getting the boat ready. My first tournament is in two weeks - I better get moving!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Kistler build your own rod!

Kistler Rods new build your own Z-bone rod program is up and running. I ordered mine a few days ago and it was very simple. Just go to and click on build your own rod, from there you will be guided step by step through the building process. Choose your rod length, handle length, action, grip, etc. You will also be given choices like standard or split grip handle or the LE handle which includes a balancing kit, standard guides or Micro guides, standard or spiral guide wrap, and even thread color. Give it a try and own a truly one of a kind Kistler rod.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

FLW Red River cancellation

Seems to be quite a debate stirring about whether FLW Outdoors should have cancelled the Red River tournament this week. A large contingent of FLW Pros approached tournament officials before the pre-tournament meeting and voiced their opinions over safety concerns, prompting FLW to cancel the event.
Rivers can be dangerous and accidents can happen under good conditions. Reports are that the river is high, current is fast and the water temp is cold, add in some unusually cold air temps, floating debris, underwater obstructions and over one hundred 70 mph bass boats and you have an accident waiting to happen.
These same conditions also make for some incredibly tough fishing. FLW anglers have been reporting on Facebook all week that fishing is bad with very few bites, some stating they had not had a bite all week. Of course there were some anglers who were against the cancellation because they had fish going or were confident enough in their abilities that they could earn a check, some just wanted to fish because that's what they do.
Safety should always come first, not only for the anglers but also for the co-anglers who are at the mercy of their Pro partner for the day. I do believe though that FLW should have a contingency plan in place for occasions like this. Last year BASS made a last minute change to a different venue for the WBT Championship after they deemed conditions dangerous on the Red River, proving it can be done. These anglers have too much time and money invested to just toss the tournament out leaving no way to recoup their losses.
In my opinion, FLW made the right decision based on angler safety. I do have to wonder though, had those anglers not approached tournament officials with their concerns, would the tournament still have been cancelled? Also, if those same anglers were catching fish, would the prevailing conditions have been an issue?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

2010 Bassmaster Classic

Here are my picks to win the 2010 Bassmaster Classic, held on Alabama's Lay Lake February 19-21.

1. Tommy Biffle - One of my all time heroes, lives or dies with the flippin stick. On somewhat of a hot streak finishing 2nd & 3rd in the two Elite post-season tournaments. He will find fish in skinny water that other anglers miss. A gut feeling.

2. Gerald Swindle - Has turned things around and fished well all year. Fishing what could be considered his home lake, he's looking for revenge after his DQ at the last Lay Lake Classic. His first Bassmaster win could very well be this years Classic.

3. Gary Klein - Always the sentimental favorite. Fishing his 28th Classic, Gary wants the Classic title bad, the only thing missing from his already impressive resume.

Of course there is also KVD and Skeet Reese, but it goes without saying they are a threat anytime, anywhere.