Two tournaments in two days; how is that for a weekend? Unfortunately, the weather played a factor in the second day and this time, it was even worse. When I woke up at 4am, it’s not a good sign to hear the pounding of rain let alone ice pellets and snow. By the time I got my coffee and headed out the door, there was about a quarter of an inch of accumulating wet snow; an uncommon thing even by Michigan’s standards and a few unlucky drivers suffered a worse fate than being cold as they didn’t realize there was also black ice.
This tournament was special this year as my brother-in-law, Sean Bulger, would be joining me for the first time on the water during a tournament. The tournament benefits the Make a Wish foundation and competition isn’t quite as cutthroat as others. And the cool thing about that is Chris LeMessurier, the head of Kayak Fish the Great Lakes, allows anglers to fish any public body of water in Michigan. With the second day of low temperatures and a strong northwest wind, we decided to hit up Whitmore Lake just north of Ann Arbor; how bad could the wind be on a 1.5 mile-long inland lake, right?! Bad.
This is the first time I fished this body of water and it looked promising. It’s not a habit of mine, fishing water for the first time during a tournament, but I did some studying of my Navionics charts and formulated a game plan. Like any good game plans, they change on the fly. I searched some shallow flats for fish but between sparse cover and gin-clear water, it was determined there weren’t many fish to be found in those areas. I put the rods down and did some scouting and found some shallow points with vegetation on them and dropped the PowerPole to fish these slowly. It paid off but by that time, the lake started to whitecap and it made fishing a challenge.
In the meantime, Sean found a sheltered cove at the southwest end and we fished that thoroughly. Despite my first few fish being caught on a Texas rigged craw, since conditions matched the previous day, I switched to topwater and caught the biggest bass of the weekend at 18.25″.
Due to deteriorating conditions and the little time remaining, we headed for the ramp a little earlier than we normally would. I managed to submit a limit of three fish totaling 46.75″. It was a great experience for a great cause and I look forward to the tournament again, next year. If you’re in the Great Lakes region and have any interest in kayak fishing for any species, this is a great organization that is designed to promote the sport; you couldn’t ask for a more knowledgeable and welcoming group of anglers.