Wayne Ek- Day two pre-fishing for Okoboji Open
Started pre-fishing on day two in the east lakes of the Okoboji chain. The east side of the Okoboji chain is made up of East Okoboji, Upper Gar, Minnewashta and Lower Gar. The east side chain is shallow and has stained to muddy water. The day started out sunny, but windy and stayed that way the whole day.
Started on Lower Gar, which has a maximum depth of 5 to 6-feet. This lake is shallow and muddy, but can hold big fish in the spring. Water temperatures even in the morning were already in that 66/67-degree range. With the windy conditions I started throwing crank-baits, a Strike King 2.5 and a Red Eye Shad. The bite was fast and furious, but the fish were all small, less than the 15-inch minimum length limit.
About the time I was beginning to wonder if there were any quality fish in Lower Gar, Mike Daloia called. Mike was up in Upper Gar pitching docks and said he had just caught two 17-inch fish on a blue/black tube in less than 1-foot of water. I didn’t have a tube rigged, but did have a blue/black ½-ounce Bitsy Flip with a Rage Craw rigged. The first set of docks produced a big “zero” for me. As I was scooting along towards the next group of docks I started just swimming the Bitsy Bug along the rocks. About three casts into the move I just about had the rod taken out of my hands by a fish, which turned out to be the biggest fish of the day for me. The next set of docks again produced zero bites, but the rocks between that set again produced a good fish.
What started as a frustrating pre-fish day, just got a lot better as I slowly built a pattern based on swimming jigs on shallow windy rock shorelines in muddy water and pitching a jig/pig to any wood in the water, no matter how small the wood was. While Mike was catching fish off docks in Upper Gar and Minnewashta, to save my soul I couldn’t get a bite off a dock in Lower Gar.
The remainder of day two pre-fishing was spent in East Okoboji, checking out brush piles we have fished for a number of years and cranking some rocks for smallies. I caught some fish doing both, but the fish were all small.
That evening we developed a game plan. The plan was to start out on Lower Gar and try to leave with at least three quality fish, then hit some docks on Minnewashta that Mike had fish on. From there we would move to West Okoboji and spend some time in one of the shallow bays I found on day one. Then make a run to the north-end of the lake and try to pick-up a kicker smallie off the rocks or big green fish from one of the docks. We planned to spend the last hour of the tournament in Emerson Bay (the launch point) on some grass flats that had held fish on day one.
Tournament day to follow.