Tackling the mighty Mississippi

After a brief stint at home where I got to spoil myself and spend a couple of days fishing for bass around Sunset Country I am back on the road in the U.S. this week, albeit a lot closer to home than I usually am.
The sixth stop of the FLW Tour takes place this week at the Mississippi River, out of La Crosse, Wisconsin.
The Mississippi is the largest river in North America, starting in northern Minnesota and stretching all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.
While it’s a northern fishery, a lot closer to home than the place I normally get to fish in these tournaments, the Mississippi is much different from most waters I have ever fished.
Late last week I traveled down to Minnesota to fish for a few days on Pool 4 of the River so I could get in a little warm up and take part in a charity bass tournament put on by Minnesota Vikings player Brian Robison.
The charity derby on the weekend went pretty good.
I was partnered up with one of the Vikings coaches but he was unable to make it because of health reasons so my partner was Rick Pelletier, a friend from the Twin Cities who purchased the opportunity to fish with the coach and I.
Rick and I have some mutual friends and have known each other a long time so it was good to finally get in the boat together.
We had a great tournament and ended up taking second place with a five fish limit weighing 15 pounds, 11 ounces.
The tournament field consisted of FLW Tour pro anglers who were matched up with a current or former member of the Vikings, it was a lot of fun. You cannot believe how big some of these football players are!
For the FLW Tour event this week we are fishing Pools 7, 8 and 9. We’re taking off out of Pool 8 so fishing on one of the other pools requires us to lock through.
There is a significant risk to locking through to another pool because if a barge comes to use the lock they take it out of commission for an hour or two and there is no set schedule as to when they come.
I have spent some of my pre-fishing time on Pool 7 and caught a few decent fish but I think I’ve made the decision to stay in Pool 8 for the tournament because of the risk of getting locked out because of all the barge traffic on this river.
Some anglers will definitely go and fish the other pools but I think there are plenty of fish to catch in Pool 8.
At one of our tournaments last year at Pickwick Lake in Alabama about 30 anglers locked through to Wilson Lake and did not make it back in time for the weigh-in because a barge got stuck in the lock.
They all got zero weight on day one of the tournament so it basically took them out of contention for winning any money, it’s a risky endeavor to use these locks.
My practice so far has been okay. I have found a few areas that have fish but the problem is several other anglers have found the same stuff.
There is a lot of dead water on this river right now so the areas that have fish seem to be popular.
The water levels change quite regularly on this river and these fish are just finishing up spawning so they are moving around a lot.
The tournament starts on Thursday and runs through Sunday.
With two events left, I need to break out of the little slump I have going for myself and win some money!