Narrow Field at North Arm Bay
The second event of the Ultimate Panfish League was held this past Sunday on North Arm Bay of Lake Minnetonka. After a top ten finish in the first event of the season, Team You Betcha! Outdoors hoped to have another strong showing. North Arm is notorious for having good numbers of fish. In fact, this lake has the league record of 27 teams weighing in a full limit! Chris and Mike felt confident that they would find fish, the trouble would be finding quality fish. With that in mind, Chris and Mike set their sights on finding new spots to fish.
Saturday was spent covering as much water as possible in hopes of locating quality fish. The first few stops showed that weed growth was substantial and healthy. The team used that information to eliminate the need to search the basins. The temperature hovered right around 30 degrees for the balance of the day which allowed them to work comfortably. While using the camera, Mike was able to find a consistent pattern for fish. The sunfish were holding relatively tight to the weeds, and the crappies were cruising just above the weed tops. Additionally, the most productive areas were just inside the weedline where deep water was quickly accessible. The team found three spots that held good numbers of fish, but size was still an issue. After 7 hours of pre-fishing, the team was only able to ice one fish that would be considered quality.
Sunday morning preparations were filled with similar feelings from the other teams. It seemed that no one was able to find a consistent quality bite. Chris and Mike were in the 4th take-off wave, and they made there way to the main point of the lake. In the first 15 minutes of the tournament, the team was able to ice 5 keeper fish. Three other teams were fishing in the area with about the same success. It took another hour for the team to fill their 15 fish limit. Normally, a bite this fast would be a huge confidence boost, but the size of their fish was nothing to brag about. Chris made the call to keep the team on the spot for a while longer in hopes of upgrading a few of the fish. Mike tried using larger profile baits (Ultra Light Rippin’ Rap sz 3) to entice bigger fish, but was unsuccessful in his efforts.
At 10 o’clock, the team made a move to the northwest bay. They got on a spot they found the day before and were met with immediate action. The overall size of the fish in this area proved to be better than what they had started with. Chris caught an 8 inch hybrid and, Mike added an 11 inch crappie to the bucket. The team finished the rest of the tournament in this spot. They managed to slowly improve the fish in their limit.
At weigh in, the overall mood of the group was subdued. Nobody felt that the fish they brought to the scales would be enough to win it. Chris and Mike were the second team to weigh in, and their 8 crappies, 7 sunfish totaled 6.5 lbs. This would prove to be enough for 5th place among a very tight field. Many of the places were decided by hundredths of a pound. 27 teams weighed in their 15 fish limits, tying the league record. The record for most fish in an event was broken with a total of 431 fish weighed in! Currently the team is in a tie for 4th place in the Team of the Year standings. The next event will be on Lower Prior Lake on February 11th.
Most productive presentation:
Primary fish location:
-8-13 Feet of water. Mix of coontail and broadleaf weeds.
Photo Credit: Tom Dobbins