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Pokegema Lake Problems

This past weekend marked the third UPL event of the 2017 season. The event was held on Pokegema Lake near Pine City, MN. This is the greatest distance the team had to travel for an event, which meant a slight change in preparations. Chris and Mike decided to make a weekend out of it due to the amount of travel time.

They got to the lake around 7:30 Saturday morning and began the process of locating fish. Pokegema is quite large, so this was no easy task. The team managed to catch fish in almost every spot they tried. Crappies were very aggressive when located. The gills were sparse, but the average size was promising. During the pre-fishing hunt, the team's auger suffered a minor breakdown. The bolt that held the auger to the extension sheared off. The auger still seemed usable, but was not a guarantee. The team was concerned about what this could mean to their tournament performance.

After 8 hours of intense fishing, the team met up with a college friend, Luke Peterson, who brought his fish house for the team to stay in. Spending the night on the lake meant saving travel time. The team relaxed into the evening after enjoying a dinner at the Floppy Crappie restaurant while listening to some inspired karaoke.

Overnight, the weather changed. A small rain shower came through followed by strong winds. This was all part of a high pressure system which has been known to affect fishing. Sunday morning came, and the team made their way to the starting location. While getting their equipment together, Mike realized that he had misplaced the key to the four-wheeler. They scrambled through bags and totes trying to locate the key. Without the use of the four-wheeler, the team would be forced to walk the event which would dramatically impact their chances of a successful tournament. Finally, Mike found the key wrapped in a towel.

The team started the event in the third take-off wave. They went to the south end of the lake and fished an underwater point. They were the only team in the area, so they drilled a lot of holes and moved rapidly. The team managed to catch 10 keeper crappies by 9:30. Unfortunately, the team didn't catch any gills in that spot so they made a move to the island on the north end of the lake. Moves this big are costly due to the amount of time it takes away from fishing. One crappie was upgraded in the second spot, but still no keeper gills. The team made another move to a 14 foot flat on the east side of the lake. Again, they were able to upgrade crappies, but no gills were caught. Three moves later, the team was feeling frustrated. At 1:00 p.m., Mike managed to catch an 8 inch gill. The bite was almost undetectable. The team spent the next fifty minutes scrambling from hole to hole trying to fill their limit.

As the tournament closed, the team finished with 7 crappies and 1 gill. The team's hopes were very low going into weigh-in. As teams lined up, Chris and Mike learned that many teams struggled to find gills. In fact, only 5 teams total were able to limit. Chris and Mike finished in 13th place in the tournament. Their total weight was 5.715 pounds. This was by far the best crappie weight the team has ever had. The 13th place finish has dropped the team down to a three way tie for 6th place in the Team of the Year standings. Click Here for the full results.

Pro Tips from the event:

1.) The fish were constantly roaming. When moving from hole to hole, Mike found that he could swing the transducer around in the hole. This gave a view of fish that were in the area, but not directly below the hole.

2.) Chris found that the fish suspended high in the water column were aggressive and it didn't matter how fast you brought the bait to them. However, when the fish were holding closer to the bottom, he needed to ease the bait down to their level. Otherwise they would scatter.

3.) Pay attention to your lure. If the bite slows down, it could be related to your bait. Things to look for include: horizontal appearance, plastic is in correct place, plastic isn't torn.

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