Battle of Bellaire
This past weekend started the tournament season for our Pros, Chris and Mike. The first tournament of the UPL season was held on White Bear Lake. White Bear is a large body of water located northeast of the Twin Cities. It holds many species of fish including Muskie.
The team had its first attempt at cracking the code on Saturday morning. The cold temps and wind proved to be a difficult hurdle for staying on the move. The team started their search just north of Bellaire Beach. There were a number of permanent houses in that area, and the team decided to work the outside weed edge of the deep water. Chris managed to ice a quality crappie in the first half hour. Mike was able to get into a mess of gills, but they required a lot of sorting in order to find one that would measure the 7 inch UPL limit.
The team moved to a several other locations with minimum success. By the end of the 6 hours, the team had iced only 5 fish that would have measured for the tournament. As a result, this left the team less than hopeful for a strong showing at the first event.
In terms of weather, Sunday morning proved to be very similar to Saturday. The air temp was negative 11 as the team pulled into the public access. During the morning preparations, conversations with the other teams uncovered similar feelings among the league. Very few were able to find large numbers of fish. Chris and Mike were in the first take-off wave and made a run for their first spot by Bellaire Beach. It took about 30 minutes to get their first weigh-able fish, a sunfish. It took drilling nearly 80 holes before the team found a more consistent bite. One hole in particular produced 4 of the teams 7 crappies. (One was nearly 12 inches and .74 lbs.)
By noon the team had 6 sunfish and 7 crappies. This meant they had to catch two more fish to get a full limit for weigh-in. The weather added to the difficulty by freezing the holes within minutes of being cut. The team need to agitate the water in the hole they were fishing to prevent their line from freezing to the ice. In desperation, Chris made a move toward shallower water and managed to catch one more gill at about 1:30 pm. (30 minutes until weigh in) Mike joined Chris and drilled a fresh hole to fish the final moments of the tournament. While Chris finished gathering the gear, Mike set the hook in a 7.25 inch gill filling the team’s limit with only 20 minutes to get back to weigh in! The team hopped on the 4-wheeler and drove back to the public access.
After all the teams weighed in, Team YouBetcha! Outdoors finished in 8th place! The team won a tie-breaker by having the larger crappie. Only 8 teams were able to weigh in a full limit. This top-ten finish puts the team in great shape for the year. The next event will be on Maple Lake on January 29th.
Click here to view the complete results.
Pro Tips from the event:
-White Bear Lake is too large of a lake to figure out in one weekend. We decided to focus our efforts on one portion of the lake. When trying a new lake, don't let yourself be overwhelmed by all the spots fish could be. Instead, focus on breaking the lake down into more manageable pieces.
-White Bear Lake was filled with standing green weeds. As a result, we had to drop jigs into the weeds to find fish. This can be frustrating to watch on a flasher screen, but it is essential at times. Study the screen closely and you will be able to see changes in the weeds as fish are moving towards your presentation. Having an extra-sensitive rod tip will help you detect bites as well.