Top 10 Twitter Accounts to Follow for Bass Fishing

Pro-staff Contributor: Rich Lindgren

Twitter got popular by people following the likes of Paris Hilton and Ashton Kutcher, but I think you’ll find it’s a great source for rapid, relevant information and news on the topics you are most interested in.  For me, I am most interested in sports and in particular, bass fishing!

So whether you are a long time tweep or just interested in getting started, here are my Top 10 suggested follows for all things bass fishing.  My criterion is a mix of things, but all of these accounts must tweet regularly, have some longevity and bring interesting tweets to the mix.


BassFan covers all things bass fishing, from tournaments, to industry news, record catches and more.



Wired2Fish is similar to BassFan but with more how-tos, tips & tricks, and product reviews.



Alton Jones is a Bassmaster Elites Series pro that connects with his fans through Twitter and Facebook better than most.  He also responds to a great number of tweets and sends out tips via tweets.  As a bonus he keeps you plugged into the Baylor Lady Bears and other Baylor sports.


Bass Utopia@BassUtopia

Bass Utopia is the first of its kind, community-driven, bass fishing site that reaches out to its members via all forms of social media–their Twitter account is no different.  They offer truly entertaining videos, monthly big fish photo contests, news, information sharing and much more.


Bass Parade@BassParade

BassParade tweets out their daily Bass Blaster which is jam packed with news and original insight on what is happening in bass fishing.  I especially appreciate Jay Kumar’s fresh perspective.



Bass EAST works tightly with many BASS & FLW pros to bring you articles, videos, tips and news.



Tackle Tour has taken fishing tackle and gear reviews to new levels. Their Twitter feed will help you stay up-to-date with the hottest products in bass fishing.



FLW Outdoors does an amazing job tweeting during FLW Tour events as they follow pros all around the lakes—giving updates and a true feel for what is happening on the water.  Plus, they keep you posted on tournament results and other FLW related tournament fishing news.  If that is not enough, they tweet reminders for free contests and fantasy fishing.



Bassmaster not only tweets on-the-water tournament updates, but they do a great job of connecting with their followers by answering questions and posting member’s bass photos.  Ultimately, BASS is the icon of bass fishing, so how can you not follow them?


Jacob Wheeler@WheelerFishing

Jacob Wheeler is one of many FLW pros that do a great job of keeping their fans up to speed on their practice and their travels from venue to venue, but he does it in a fun way!  Plus, he is the reigning Forrest Wood Cup Champ!


If you are not on Twitter, maybe now is a time to test the waters, if you already area, then make sure you add these to your follow list.  If you are hungry for more, you can also follow me @HellaBass and @krugerfarms–not to mention the rest of the pro team (@Gussy Outdoors, @DustyMinke, @MichaelaFishing, and @BillShimota).  They have tons of info to share on fishing and hunting news and events.

Rich Lindgren is a tournament bass angler living in Lakeville, MN chasing bass all over Minnesota and its adjoining states. Bass blogger, podcaster and fishing promoter. You’ll see him fishing the Minnesota bass tournament scene representing and Dobyns Rods among others. You can like him on Facebook (

Q&A with Andy Young—Winner of the June 2013 Denny’s Super 30

We got a chance to catch up with Andy Young to chat about his tournament win in the Denny’s Super 30.

Where does the Denny’s Super 30 take place and how often?

There are five tournaments, all on Lake Minnetonka, in Minnesota, the first one is in May and the last one is in September.Andy Young Denny's Super 30

There are a lot of regular anglers in these tournaments. Do you fish every one? 

There is a limit of 50 boats in each tournament, and yes I do fish all of them. The tournament fills up every year, and you usually have to fish all five of them to get in.

How does the game change when there are a lot of anglers that are familiar with the lake and the tournament?

Well, most of the fisherman in this tourney are from this area and have been fishing tournaments on Tonka for many years. So there are very few, if any, secret spots. In most cases, it takes a 3 1/2 pound average to even cash a check and it usually takes over a 4 pound average to win.

So, how’d you do?

We had 8 fish for 28.9 pounds and we won.

How does it feel to win?

It feels great to win. We have had a handful of second place finishes, and a bunch of top-five finishes but the last Denny’s tournament that we won on Minnetonka was way back in 2004.

What tactics and lures did you use to get your huge bag and how’d you catch that Swamp Donkey?

AndyWe caught all of our fish by sight-fishing on beds. Our main baits were a 3-inch Biovex Klot Fish Tail, an Outkast Tackle Finesse jig with a Zoom Little Critter Craw trailer, and a 4-inch Senko.

We located that big swamp donkey the day before the tournament—it was on a big flat, in about three feet of water, way out in the middle of nowhere, so I thought there was a really good chance that we would get it. When we went to this location on the morning of the tournament, it was there!  On the first cast that I made to it, it instantly grabbed my jig but I committed the cardinal sin and set the hook way too hard—breaking it off. My partner was screaming and yelling at me and I was almost in tears—ha ha. So I picked up a spinning rod with a little 4-inch Senko with 10-pound line. In two casts it bit again. The fight was on! My partner Larry started screaming and yelling again, freaking out, running around the boat with a 10′ net. But we got her—it was pretty cool!

When is your next tournament?

I’ll be returning to the Denny’s Super 30 on Lake Minnetonka on July 15, 2013.

Did you pick up any tricks from this tourney to apply to the next one?

Yes, I learned that you should fish the conditions that the day offers you. Yesterday it was bright, sunny and fairly calm so we decided to put the trolling motor on high to cover a ton of water looking for spawning fish on beds—and, sure enough, we found them.

Any parting thoughts or words of wisdom?

Don’t give up on a spawning fish even if you break it off—if it’s an aggressive fish, it will bite again.

Andy Young is a pro angler, fishing the Bassmaster Open tournaments. You can like him on Facebook here for updates on his fishing experience.

Andy and Partner after Win

Recap of National Walleye Tour-Lake Erie Event

The anglers had another strong NWT tournament on Lake Erie in Port Clinton, OH. Even though the tournament was unexpectedly cut down to one day, every one of them landed in the money! We sat down with Dusty Minke, Korey Sprengel and Bill Shimota again to get their thoughts.

So, first things first, how did you guys finish?

Dusty – I took home $11,000 for finishing in 9th place with 44.15 pounds.

Dusty on Lake Erie.

Dusty on Lake Erie.

Korey – I took 16th place with 42.87 pounds and won $6,555.

Bill – I ended in 24th place with 41.11 pounds for $4,770 in winnings.

Nice job guys!  What were your thoughts before going into the tournament?

Dusty – Honestly, I felt pretty good even though practice was short for me—I was only able to prefish Monday through Wednesday.  The bite was good during practice and our walleye team had a game plan going into the event! We had a great crew; everyone pitched in and worked hard.

Bill – I was pretty confident going into the event, and I told myself that I would be disappointed if I came in with less than forty pounds.  At the same time, I knew most of my competitors would have the same kind of prefishing experience so it would come down to getting the 9-10 pounders instead of 7-8 pound fish.

Korey – I thought that we all had a shot at having a good finish.  Prefishing went great, as it did for everyone else, but we stumbled upon an area in prefishing that had quality fish that weighed more than average fish of the same length.

How much experience have you had fishing this specific location? How did the weather affect your prefishing?

Bill – I have competed in about eight tournaments on Lake Erie.  The weather during practice was great; we were able to go where we needed to fish almost every day, which is pretty rare for Lake Erie.

Korey – This was my first tournament on Lake Erie but I felt confident because I had learned a lot about what to expect and where to look for the right fish. The weather was fairly good when we were prefishing, we only lost one day due to wind—the day before the tournament.

Dusty – This was the second event for me on Lake Erie.  Like Bill said, the weather was nice for the short time I was prefishing but we had our work cut out for us and a lot of miles to cover because Canada was in play—I really put Sparkie, the Ranger Evinrude, to work!  Peely Island and the Canadian side offer endless fishable water, making it hard to dissect in a short amount of time.

The tournament was postponed on Day One and didn’t start until June 15th. Why did that happen?

Dusty – There was a wind and small craft advisory—basically the waves were too big to let us out of the gate.  We were running around 25 miles so that could have taken a long time in that wind…

Korey – The winds were gusting over 30 mph.

Dusty – …Some other teams were running 50 miles one way to the East, so I couldn’t imagine that would have been ideal in those conditions.

What were your thoughts when Day One was postponed?

Bill – I think it was a good call but I was disappointed because I was so excited to get out to those big walleyes again!

Korey – I was kind of relieved knowing that I was making a 25-mile run on the lake no matter the weather conditions, but it may have played to our advantage if we would have started the tournament on the 14th as planned.

Korey on Lake Erie.

Korey on Lake Erie.

Dusty – Honestly I was ready to go! But when I looked at the main water I could see it was brutal and that the tournament director made the right call! We prepare ourselves to compete and fish but when it comes down to it, the tournament has to consider the safety of the anglers. No matter what we have to respect the director’s call!

What tactics and lures did you use to fish?

Korey – We trolled Chartreuse Crawler harnesses with gold or antifreeze blades in Colorado, pulling them behind 3oz weights. The key was to keep moving around to find active fish—after about 2-3 passes on a school they would scatter or quit biting.

Bill – I pulled Jolly Roger Spinners and in-line weights.

Dusty – I was fishing with spinners and crawlers—using a mixture of VMC, Northland and Jolly Rogers spinners in Gold and Chartreuse with the gold-orange–green and chartreuse beads. I also used 1-1/2 and 2 ounce inline weights, fishing from 20 to 30 feet behind off-shore planer boards in 40 Feet of water.  Typically, I’d be moving around .9-1.3mph. This was the first time I had only six rods in the boat for the tournament!

Did you have to adapt your methods because of the wind and weather?

Bill – The only thing we had to adapt to was the current; you really had to watch it every day and that would tell you how fast or slow you needed to troll.

Dusty – The day of the tournament was flat and calm, just like it was during prefishing, so no changes were needed. I did, however, learn to give myself more time to get in! The wind kicked up on the ride back which created big waves off of the waves created by pleasure boaters in the area. I was a little nervous I wouldn’t make it back in time.

You all did really well this tournament, but did you try any tactics that didn’t work?

Korey – During prefishing, I tried cranks but didn’t have much luck. I probably should have tried them more because this is how the tournament was won!

Bill – I didn’t really experiment with tactics.  I’ve been on Lake Erie enough times to know what needs to be done and I didn’t waste any time trying new things.

Day two was cancelled due to weather. Do you think things would have turned out differently if you’d had a second tournament day?

Bill – Again it was a great call with safety in mind, but I was bummed because I felt I could move up in the standings with a second day to fish.  That being said, when the smoke cleared, we were all pretty happy to end up in the money!

Bill on Lake Erie.

Bill on Lake Erie.

Korey – If we would have had a second day it might of played to our advantage a little—because we knew that we were going about half as far as some of the leaders…but it would be hard to say if that would have played out as we hoped.

Dusty – I definitely think it would have played out differently! That is why the NWT hosts two-day events. It allows the tournament to be won by someone who consistently brings in big bags. I feel that if we could have returned to our spot for a second day that we could have got them—but there are some things we will never know! Weather, wind, and currents change and the angler that adapts and finds them can have the advantage. However, I respect the decision to cancel day two because the wind got worse, which would have been really hard on the equipment and anglers.

When is your next tournament?

Dusty and Bill – NWT in Sturgeon Bay, WI. It will take place on July 26th and 27th.

Korey – My next tournament will be the MWC on Winnebago, June 28th and 29th.

Do you have any parting thoughts or words of wisdom?

Bill – If you ever have a chance to experience fishing on Lake Erie I would highly suggest it.  Like they say, “There’s Lake Erie, and then there’s everywhere else!”  Where else would you need an 8-pound average just to get a check?

Guys at the Lake Erie NWT Event

Tournament Recap: FLW College Central Qualifier on Kentucky Lake

Pro-staff Contributor: Michaela Anderson

This week was the last FLW College Central Qualifier on Kentucky Lake. Unfortunately, we were not able to prefish this event because I was recently in an accident. Luckily, everyone in the vehicle walked away without a scratch, but I can’t say the same about my boat and truck—which were both totaled! As discussed in my blog about whether prefishing is worth the work, I do not like fishing tournaments without logging some time on the water.  However, I was assured after doing some research and talking to friends that have fished the lake in the past that there were a lot of fish in the lake and it would be a fun tournament to attend. Also, we were motivated to participate in this event because it was our last chance to qualify for the FLW Central Invitational.

Michaela's truck and boat after the accident.

Michaela’s truck and boat after the accident.

From our research we determined that bigger fish would be caught on the ledges. I like throwing big, deep-diving, crank baits like a Rapala DT-20, so I was looking forward to trying my hand at fishing ledges. The morning of the tournament, we made the long run up towards the dam to an area of ledges we knew were productive. We found an area of shell beds on a ledge that we marked fish on, and started the morning there. My partner, Bryan Billeadeau, caught our three keepers in this spot with a Terminator football head jig. I was throwing all sorts of baits trying to get a bigger bite. I caught at least ten short fish with a Carolina rigged lizard, but wasn’t producing fish of any size. I also tried the DT for more of a reaction bite but had no luck. We started to graph suspending fish over the shell bed we were fishing, so I tried a Scatter Rap through the school again with no luck. After Bryan caught the third keeper, I switched to a football head jig as well but I continued to catch short fish.

Bryan with the three keepers from the tournament.

Bryan with the three keepers from the tournament.

We stayed in that area for most of the day because we knew it held big fish and we had a lot of fun catching a bunch of short fish. With about an hour and a half left, we ran back towards the launch and fished another shell bed—which again only produced short fish. We ended the day in 19th place and were 4 ounces away from qualifying. It was a little upsetting that we couldn’t the additional fish we needed to qualify for the invitational, but we were happy with the way we fished given we did not have a chance to prefish. In hindsight, the only thing I would have tried differently would be a Trigger X flutter worm or drop dead minnow on the suspending fish.

Overall, one of the biggest things I learned is how many nice people there are in the fishing industry—everyone was willing to help us out. One of our friends that fishes the FLW Everstart Tour stayed an extra night so that we could use his boat for the day. He woke up early on his day off to meet us at the landing and drop us into the lake. Without him we would not have been able to fish the tournament so I am extremely grateful.

Michaela Anderson is a college angler fishing the FLW, B.A.S.S. College Circuits and select FLW Walmart Tour events representing, Trigger X and the University of St. Thomas. You can follow her on Twitter (@MichaelaFishing) and like her on Facebook (

Trout and Salmon Fishing on Lake Ontario (Part 1: Early Season)

Pro-staff Contributor: Chris Davanzo

Chris with a few of the fish he caught on Lake Ontario.

Chris with a few of the fish he caught on Lake Ontario.

After hunting seasons wind down for us in New York, we switch gears and start fishing Lake Ontario’s southern basin for trophy class salmonids such as rainbow trout, brown trout, lake trout, king salmon, and coho salmon. Trout and salmon are known for their voracious fight and aerial acrobatics when hooked up. The best time to catch these fish is April through September, and as the season progresses we tend to chase different species.  During early-April through mid-May we focus on brown trout and coho salmon close to shore. When the temperatures start to climb we head off-shore to chase kings, lakers and steelhead. We finally finish up our season by returning to the mouths of the rivers for pre spawning kings and cohos. Each part of this blog series will focus on techniques used during each segment of the season.

Water Temperature and Depth

The preferred method for catching fish in the early season is to troll lures and exact depths using down riggers, divers, lead core line, and planer boards, with stick baits on them for any fish feeding in the top 12 feet of the water column.  As air and water temps increase, the fish will move deeper and we’ll focus on using down riggers and lead core lines with spoons and flashers. Throughout the season, we focus on finding the “magic” water temperature and depth that triggers the fish to bite, once we do, we can usually stay there all day and pick up fish.

Fishing with Rapala Scatter Raps

This early season, I had the opportunity to run the new Rapala Scatter Rap series of stick baits for brown trout and coho salmon. They made a splash with us this year aboard “Hooked Up Charters.” Captain Bruce Stenglin and I ran them with great success!  The Scatter Rap’s new lip gives it a sweeping motion along with that trademark tight wobble that Rapalas are known for–it was the ticket! Our first day we boated over twenty salmon on Scatter Raps and Flat Raps, and we haven’t looked back.

Early Season Techniques

Two of the main things we look at during early season fishing are what the fish are foraging as well as water clarity. From April through May, our in-shore water is slightly stained due to run off from the snow melting as well as basic turbidity caused from wind and currents.  We look for breaks—where clear water meets the more turbid water—because this is where fish act as ambush predators and come out of the dirty water to hit our baits.Lure-Rod

The main forage of fish in Lake O are round gobies and alewife, also known as saw bellies, which are members of the herring family. Matching the look and presentation of the bait fish plays such a crucial role in successful fishing in Lake Ontario. When running these baits we look to run colors and patterns with green, yellow and most of all orange. This season our hot colors were anything with an orange belly such as gold florescent red and fire tiger. We trolled these lures off of two planer boards with three rods on each board to increase the amount of lure coverage in the water. We focused on lures with an average running depth of 3-9 feet due to the fact that we were only fishing in water from 5-12 feet deep.

As our season progresses we will have to adapt our techniques as well as bait choices to fit the need of what the fish want to eat. Check back again for to my next article in this three segment blog on fishing salmonids on the great lakes.

Chris Davanzo is from the finger lakes region of western NY. Chris is the owner and operator of Fish and Feathers Outfitters which is the Northeast’s premier outfitter for waterfowl. When Chris isn’t in the swamps chasing ducks you can find him on a trout stream or in a treestand with bow in hand. You can contact Chris via his site and find him on Facebook (

A look at Chris's setup while fishing on Lake Ontario.

A look at Chris’s setup while fishing on Lake Ontario.

Grand Lake, OK FLW Tour Report

Pro-staff Contributor: Jeff Gustafson

The fifth stop on the 2013 FLW Tour took place this past weekend at Oklahoma’s Grand Lake.  I arrived in Grove, Oklahoma the day before practice started, and while I drove over a bridge on the lake I was shocked to see the high, dirty water.  There were literally thousands of logs and pieces of debris floating down the lake—a result of heavy rains accompanying the nasty storms that have gone through Oklahoma recently.  Fishing this type of water was going to be a new experience for me.

A look at the flooded shoreline of Grand Lake.

A look at the flooded shoreline of Grand Lake.

During my first morning of practice, things started out pretty well.  It didn’t take me long to start catching some nice fish by flipping a ½ oz jig in some of the flooded bushes and wood along the bank of the lake.  Over the course of the day, I caught several good fish and figured I was onto a solid program that would carry me through the weekend.  But, the next two days of practice were not as good as the first.  I wasn’t sure if I had simply found a good area on the first day or if the pattern was not as solid as I thought.

Heading into the event I figured that 13 pounds per day would likely be enough to get a check at this event, based on what I saw in practice and what some of the other anglers were saying.  But as it turns out, I was way off on that prediction.  I brought in 12 pounds the first day of the tournament and found myself sitting in 94th place.  On day two, I did a little bit better and caught 13 pounds but it didn’t help my final standings.  I ended up with a 99th place finish at this tournament.

Even though I ended outside of the money, I still had some success with my techniques.  I caught most of my fish with a jig on a 7’5″ G. Loomis GL2 flipping stick matched with a 7:0:1 Shimano Core 100 and 20 lb Sunline Sniper Fluorocarbon.  I also caught a few fish with a Jackall SK-Pop Grande on a 6’8″ Shimano Crucial topwater rod  matched up with a 7:0:1 Shimano Chronarch reel and 30 lb Power Pro Super Slick line.

Gussy with a big fish he caught during practice.

Gussy with a big fish he caught during practice.

Obviously I’m disappointed with where I finished, but I am taking some positive notes from the experience.  I lost two big fish during the first day of the tournament, they just jumped off on me, so I ended up weighing a couple of small fish that day.  I’m not trying to give you the “woulda, coulda” routine, but I know that if I would have landed those two fish I would have been flirting with getting a check and a happy finish.  So I feel like I was on the right program with my technique but maybe needed to find a better location.  I’m taking the positive out of all of these events and hopefully next year when I’m faced with similar conditions I’ll be able to adjust a little more quickly.

There is one event left on the 2013 FLW Tour Majors schedule coming up in a couple weeks at Tennessee’s Lake Chickamauga.  I’m looking forward to getting on the water on Chickamauga and trying to put together a solid game plan to end the season on a strong note.

Jeff Gustafson is a professional angler living in Kenora, Ontario on the shores of Lake of the Woods. Outdoor writer, fishing promoter and host of “Fishing with Gussy.” You’ll see him fishing the Walmart FLW Tour representing and Lund boats among others. You can follow him on Twitter (@GussyOutdoors) and like him on Facebook ( Hosts 3rd Annual KF 100 3-D Archery Shoot

Pro-staff Contributor: Brian Cote

Target 2 KF100If you are a serious archery hunter like me, you know that the summer months can be tough.  I’ve spent hours sitting at home watching hunting shows and DVDs, trying to pass the time until the fall rolls around and I can take to the woods in search of game.  When it’s finally opening day, I want to be on my way to the stand knowing that my bow is sighted in and I can make any shot that presents itself.  This is why I jump at the chance to participate in 3-D archery shoots in order to stay accurate and confident for the fall.

Outdoor Shoots

Outdoor 3-D archery shoots are one of the most fun and rewarding activities to pick up for the summer months.   They help drastically improve and fine tune your archery skills and are a great way to meet new people.  My suggestion is to search the web for local shoots, which in some areas happen every weekend.

In order to ensure a good time, get a few of your buddies together and head to these shoots.  A little friendly competition is always fun!  Also, the other members of your group can help watch you while you shoot to see if they notice any slight changes that you could try throughout the course.

Another fun aspect of outdoor shoots is that most have unmarked distances and will not allow the use of rangefinders.  It can be a fun challenge to try to guesstimate the yardage before executing your shot.  It’s also a handy skill to perfect, because you never know when you will only have a split-second to decide to shoot when the animal that you are targeting shows up in range.


Kids KF100There are a lot of options to choose from when it comes to shooting outdoor 3-D targets.  Some people like to deck out a bow and use it just for 3-D purposes.  These are usually longer axel-to-axel bows and outfitted with stabilizers, scopes and 3-D-specific arrows.  I myself use my hunting set up—including a Bowtech Insanity CPXL, Victory VAP arrows and a Tru-Fire Hardcore release.   I have the mindset that if I can make these shots with my hunting bow, then any shot in the field should be a piece of cake. That is, without adding in the buck fever effect.


Over the last two years at, we have hosted the KF100 3-D Archery Shoot at the farm in Starbuck, MN.  This year will be the 3rd annual installment to this tradition and it is going to be another fun shoot!  Along with providing a way to perfect your archery skills, there will be some fun novelty shoots to gather crowds and test whether participants can perform when prizes are on the line.  Plus, those who come in top of each class will earn great bragging rights. If you’re local—be sure to join us on Saturday!

Brian Cote is a website administrator at and a devoted outdoorsman.  He’s eager to take up any opportunity to hunt waterfowl, deer and turkeys in the Midwest region. You can follow him on Twitter (@BrianJr22) and find him on Facebook (

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Q&A with Korey Sprengel on Masters Walleye Circuit in Wisconsin

It is National Fishing Week, so we thought you’d all enjoy an interview with Korey Sprengel after another successful tournament!

So, Korey, tell us a little about last weekend’s walleye tournament?

I participated in the Masters Walleye Circuit on Green Bay in Oconto, WI and took home fourth place (out of 103 boats) with a total of 49lbs 5oz.  I received $3350 for my win—which is awesome. I’m pretty happy with how everything went, and how I finished…well, besides the fact that I lost one big fish.

What were your thoughts before going into the tournament?

Prefishing was great—we caught up to forty fish in a day and many of them were in the 26-29” range. We went into the tournament knowing the winds were going to change, so we had to keep in mind that we needed to remain flexible.  We took what we learned from practice and focused on fishing areas where the wind was right.

What gear did you use during the tournament?

We used off-shore planer boards, pulling crawler harnesses with 1/2oz inlines, #5 Colorado blades, or #4 1/2 willow blades in gold or perch patterns.  We also used Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon for leader material at 1.1-1.3 mph and switched to Berkley #9 Flicker Shads to pick up a few fish.

What was your biggest challenge?

Definitely trying to keep up with the ever changing winds.  It would switch from calm to windy and vice versa.  Each area we fished had its own ideal conditions—the shallow areas needed wind and the deep areas didn’t, but they were 12 miles apart which complicated things.

Any closing thoughts?

I have to say that my Ranger boat was a key to my success during this tournament—we travelled up to 70 miles a day through 4-5 foot waves and didn’t beat ourselves up or our fish.

I’m getting excited about the NWT tournament next week at Lake Erie. Bill Shimota and Dusty Minke will also be participating. We’re getting ready to head there to prefish and are hoping for another strong finish!

Korey on the water during the Masters Walleye Circuit Event.

Korey on the water during the Masters Walleye Circuit Event.

Q&A with Dusty Minke on 3rd Place Finish at Leech Lake Walleye Tournament

We got a chance to catch up with Dusty Minke after his 3rd place finish in the Leech Lake Walleye Tournament last weekend:

First, the basics, what was the tournament and where did it take place?

Last weekend I participated in the Leech Lake Walleye Tournament (LLWT) in Walker, MN. Walker is my favorite town in the world—seriously, someday I will live or have a cabin there. It’s truly heaven…especially in the summer!

What were your thoughts before going into the tournament?

Dusty prefishing for the LLWT.

Dusty prefishing for the LLWT.

I was very excited about the tournament—fishing on the lake was good and prefishing went well. We weren’t sure of where we were going to start; we knew the winds were changing 180 degrees—moving from the South all week to a strong Northern wind—so we made the decision in the morning that we were going to fish main lake points with a Northern wind blowing into them. My partner, Coach, and I had to return to work after the Memorial weekend and couldn’t get back to the lake until Thursday, but that was fine because I honestly think prefishing too much on Leech can hurt you. We knew where the fish were and just needed to concentrate on getting fish in the boat plus our one “over” fish. This lake has a slot limit and tournament rules of six fish with only one measuring over 26” per day. Our other fish had to be 14” to 18” so any fish between 18” and 26” had to be released because they were in the “protected slot”. For this reason, concentrating on spots that had “over” and “under” fish was key.

How does this tournament differ from others you’ve participated in?

This is a big tournament, with 155 boats, so there is a lot of great competition—especially because most of the participants are locals and northern MN fishermen, the best of the best! It differs from some tournaments because it is a team format which allows you to pick your partner.

This is also a very special tournament and place to me because this is where my tournament craze started back in 2001. That was when my dad and I decided to fish the PWT as co-anglers to get a taste of what tournament fishing offers. We had a blast and it was a huge learning experience for us! At the end of the tournament, I walked away nearly in last place and told my dad that I would be running the boat and calling the shots during the next pro/am event—I was 18 years old at the time!

After my first experience at Leech Lake, I started fishing this event with my friends Jamie Fehrenbacher, then Jeff Andersen, and eventually returned with my dad in 2005 to finish in 8th place. I guess participating in tournaments at Leech Lake has directed my life in a lot of ways because that same year my good friend Jeff Andersen introduced me to Jeff Gustafson and Toby Kvalevog. These three individuals are probably the best fisherman I could have surrounded myself with and are now my long time good friends…I guess that’s just a little history for ya!

What gear did you use during the tournament?

I used 6’ 8” Dobyns Savvy and Shimano Crucial rods (medium-fast action) paired with Shimano Stradic reels(Stradic reels now on sale!). These were teamed up with 8-pound Sufix Fluoro line. Of course, I relied on “Sparkie” the Ranger, with the help of Evinrude, Humminbird, Minn Kota, and Optima Batteries for a flawless ride.

What was your biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge of this event was finding the fish over 26”. On the first day, Coach slammed a 26.5” fish at 9:30 in the morning and made the rest of our day pretty easy. We ended up going through about thirty fish to ensure all of our “under” fish ranged from 16″ to 18″. On day two, the wind died down and because this is a wind-driven lake it made us a little nervous! However, we kept our heads high and our confidence up to make the right decisions. We decided to drop a “creek chub” (minnow) down at 11:00am and we brought eight fish in the boat within twenty minutes—all of them were 22” to 26” so we were able to keep an “over” fish. Then we ran to several spots jigging spot-tailed shiners with Blue White VMC Dominator Hammer Head jigs to fill out our limit for the day. We knew we had a good bag but would have liked a little more time to put some “under” fish in the boat!

Dusty and Coach with their wall bling.

Dusty and Coach with their wall bling.

How did you finish and what did you win?

We took third place—winning $4,000 along with some nice wall bling!

What are the lessons that you’ll apply to next time?

We learned something very important about when the wind dies and the skies are high… but I can’t give out all of the secrets! However, I will say that that we should have given more time to our main spot when the wind picked up towards the afternoon!

Any closing thoughts?

Dusty and the Crown Royal Blended Whisky girls in Nisswa.

Dusty and the Crown Royal Blended Whisky girls in Nisswa.

I want to thank everyone involved this week that made it very special and fun. I wish the time did not go by so quickly! The LLWT is a great event—thanks to all of the volunteers and the city of Walker. You can find “southern hospitality” in this small, Northern-Minnesota town—that’s for sure!

I also want to thank Coach (aka. Troy Jutting), my partner for keeping me in line and helping make critical decisions during the event! Finally, I want to thank those that got me to this point: Dad, my brother Kyle Minke, Toby and Dean Kvalevog, Jeff Andersen, John Hoyer and the rest of the LOA crew.

If any of you guys will be near Aberdeen on June 27th, come join me at a Crown Royal Blended Whisky event. We had a great event in Nisswa earlier this month with Nerissa and Kylle!

All in all, it was a great week and I’m already looking forward to next year!

Dusty Minke is a professional angler and avid outdoorsman from Forest Lake, Minnesota. You will see him fishing the NWT circuits as well as other fishing tournaments in the Midwest. You can like his page on Facebook ( and follow him on Twitter (@DustyMinke).

B.A.S.S. Midwest College Qualifier Recap

Pro-staff Contributor: Michaela Anderson

Last week was the B.A.S.S. Midwest Qualifier in Fort Madison, Iowa. The tournament was supposed to be on pools 18, 19 and 20 of the Mississippi River where we spent six days prefishing.  The conditions of the river were less than ideal during prefishing.  The current on the main river was so strong it was almost impossible to fish. Additionally, there was less than an inch of water clarity—one of our competitors said it was like fishing Willy Wonka’s Chocolate River—which made fishing the creek channels our only option. The water temps dropped from the 68-70 degree range down to 65 degrees in the week leading up to the tournament because of rain and water they were letting down from northern pools. Yet, in these conditions, we were able to catch fish flipping a Black Blue Purple Terminator jig and really soaking it. We knew we were on good fish and heard from many other teams that never had a bite, so we thought we would have a good chance at being in the top 10 and qualifying for the National Championship.

Michaela and Brian during weigh-in on Day 1.

Michaela and Brian during weigh-in on Day 1.

Then there was a sudden twist of events. The river was at flood stage all weekend and storms were predicted for the entire week leading up to the tournament. A flood warning was issued, and the river was expected to go another five feet above flood stage, which would make the river extremely dangerous. B.A.S.S. was forced to make a quick decision and for safety reasons moved the event to a different body of water.

Iowa does not have very many lakes, especially larger ones, so we moved to the closest lake near Fort Madison: Lake Sugema. It is a 500-acre lake with a slot limit of 10-12 inch fish or fish larger than 18-inches. There were 53 teams so we really filled up the water! Every team had one day to prefish, so we decided to spend the day looking for fish deep because we knew that the banks would be pounded. We fished areas with standing timber and a few points with rocks but only caught an 8-inch walleye in the timber and a 5-inch bass in the deeper areas.

We knew the tournament was going to be an extreme game of bumper boats and it truly was. At any point during the day I could see five other competitors. We caught a ton of fish flipping a Black Blue Purple Terminator jig and a Blueberry Candy Goo Bug but they were all in-between 12 and 18 inches so we couldn’t keep them. We did, however, catch a few small fish in the 10-12-inch range on a Red Crawdad Rapala Clackin’ Crank 55.

Over all it was very disappointing to not qualify for the National Championship but I was able to learn a ton about fishing fluctuating water levels and current flow on the river.

Michaela Anderson is a college angler fishing the FLW, B.A.S.S. College Circuits and select FLW Walmart Tour events representing, Trigger X and the University of St. Thomas. You can follow her on Twitter (@MichaelaFishing) and like her on Facebook (

A panoramic of Lake Sugema during take-off on Day 2.

A panoramic of Lake Sugema during take-off on Day 2.