The Fishing to End Hunger charity derby happened last Saturday on MN’s Gull Lake. Not a national tour, but still gonna break it down here for a couple important reasons:
1) It’s a heavily-pressured lake with ultra-clear, zeeb-infested water. Can’t just go anywhere or throw anything, and expect to catch a walleye…let alone the right bites to win a tourney.
2) The derby has some seriously-stiff competition: Full-time fishin’ guides, tourney pros, and local sticks that have been breaking down the water longer than you or I could shake a stick at. Wait, why is anyone ever repeatedly shaking a stick at anything? Anyways….
Young gunz Jake Caughey and Dan Steffen kept the traveling trophy (called the ‘waffalo’…see Top Item #4 in this previous TW email) close to home. They sacked up a 5-fish bag for 16.70 lbs — with a 7.18-lb kicker (only allowed 1 over 20″ in this tourney) — to take home the $15K bog-boy check:
Said the tough part was getting their ‘unders’ (less than 20″) since most of their fish were between 20.25″ and 23.5″ — good problem to have! Caught all of ’em — except for the big one — dragging redtails on live-bait rigs in 38-47′. More deets from Jake:
> Used 5.5′ to 6′ snells…any longer and they’d pick up moss junk on the bottom.
> Some fish would crush it and run…others would just sit with it. Had to wait 1 to 2.5 minutes [!] to set the hook…still none were gut hooked.
^^^ Crazy! Bet there’s a few of you reading that just realized why you missed so many fish on Saturday….
> Redtails were 4-6″ minimum…couldn’t get bites with any smaller. Sherri at S&W Bait gave us some beautiful minnows which I think was really key to our success.
> Moved slow at 0.0-0.3 mph…our spot was so small that we only worked a 20-30 yard area…knew the fish were hanging in the exact stretch.
> We were fishing a deep, almost-mud break in a not-very-popular spot on the lake. Actually thought of it as a big-fish spot…went there for that reason, but the first 2 fish were 17.5″ and 19.75″…so knew if we could get 4 of those we’d have a shot.
> Last fish came with 2 minutes to go…was an 18-incher that helped put us over the top. Had to fish the last 2 hours without graphs [!] because they shorted out when we started the motor and couldn’t figure out where the blown fuse was…so luck was definitely on our side.
I mentioned they caught all their fish — except for the big one — dragging redtails. The 27″ kicker T-boned a #9 Rapala Jigging Rap in 46′.
Thought for sure it’d be on some sort of perchy-lookin’ color in Gull Lake’s clear water, but was actually caught on a “pearl white” one. #CiscoEaters?
> Jake: I read [the Target Walleye emails] every week and honestly use a ton of content off it in my fishing. Congrats on the little one btw!
Hey thank YOU man and a big congrats on getting it done!
Full tourney results here. Will be bringing you the 2nd and 3rd place deets in Friday’s Target Walleye email.