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outdoors

Contest Tips and Tricks

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I am planing to go to the somerset bass lake contest on Feb. 24. Im off to college in the U.P. this fall and I would love to win that new truck. What tips does everyone have for contests. With 1000 baits being dropped through the ice at the same time how do I better my odds other than hire a buddy with a wet suit and tanks.

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hmmm...lots of thoughts and theories abound on this. do the fish scatter to the edges with all the noise, or go deep? what bait will best attract a bite? The Alexandria contest has grown to be the third largest in the state. (planning for 4000 this year!) A few years back, I arrived about 10 minutes into the contest (sold bait to contestants all morning)...so I made my way to the center of the area, not far from the weigh in tent and headquarters. My reasoning: the generator for the heat and power for the event tent had been running since early morning or longer, so any fish that scattered at the start up, may be acclimated and return, or at least no longer spooked and skittish about it. Another key factor: close to warmth and pizza vendor! My hunch worked, I managed to reel in a small walleye (hey, there were perch entered that were bigger...but it was a WALLEYE!) that entry was good enough to hold a middle position and earned me a new strikemaster auger! we also managed a few small perch that didn't make the top one hundred. Interesting thing: I saw at least three anglers curse the small perch they caught and toss them down the hole...'small perch' that would have been bigger than my auger winning walleye!

I tried salted minnows one year, with not much success. The idea there came from a trip to LOW. Catching small sauger on a deep mudflat in the late winter, we found that when we 'chummed' the minnow bodies the bite picked up. We jigged with spoons..swedish pimple and minnow head. We'd cut up the minnow bodies and drop them down the hole, watching the flotsam float down on our vexilar....in a minute or less, the marks on the flasher would show, and we'd tease them enough to bite.

I know a lot of guys that will lay on the ice, fishing the shallower spots, and site fish for the pike that cruise by. This can be effective, but frustrating too. One year at the Alex event, one such site fisher had a huge walleye cruise in, he missed the hook set and watched as it moved off....three hole over an elderly man pulled up the beast...a little over 7 pounds, and a huge grin, leading to a new truck....all in the very last minutes of the event! Great drama!

Best advice: decide what you want to accomplish. Do you simply want to catch any fish and get on the board? or do you want 'the truck'? To fish specifically for the top prize, you'll need to focus and target your approach for big fish..northern usually. Then set yourself up with the proper tackle and bait. I'll say this now, since i'm not selling bait anymore: you're going to a crowded contest for three hours, not fishing all day....don't buy a dozen shiners AND a scoop of fatheads AND a dozen sucker minnows...stick to the bait your target will respond too, and only a small amount is needed. Consider setting up on the perimeter of the contest area, hoping to entice fish from the outside. Look for weeds or some kind of cover, or consider using structure on a string, if allowed at the contest.

Just some general considerations that come to mind.

Most importantly, have fun!

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I went to the contest web site and the event looks like its held on the North end of the lake where the depth goes from near shore to a fairly level depth of about 10' to 15' in a bay that shows on the lake map weeds but very little in terms of depth changes. would this effect where I should fish or tactics?

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hey Ghotierman, thanks for the post do you think that the fish would come back to the "generator" area if the depth was only about 10'.

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If its been running a long time, it may not be as much of an issue...10 feet is pretty shallow, though, and the noise of all the traffic and movement above may make for tough bites. If you can find weeds, structure or a change in bottom content, you'll present a little advantage.

good luck.

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There was a great article in the outdoor news a couple of weeks ago about this very question. The article gave a few pointers. Fish the edges, red hook with a bead attached and use salted minnows. Anyway that is what the author said.

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salted can add a scent trail attractant...the live minnow attracts by movement, vibration. the scent could be an advantage with all the crowd noise vibrating the waters below. I tried the salted minnows two years ago...but luck was not with me that year...too much interference for my zercom vs. vexilars all over...

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