Memorable moments from 2011

Another open-water fishing season is just about wrapped up for me.
I know there’s still plenty of time left to get out on the water a few more times, and I most definitely will, but for the most part I’m pretty much done.
I have one more TV segment left to shoot this week for my new show, “Fishing with Gussy.” I’m hooking up with Ryan Marlowe from Figure 8 Baits in Kenora to try and catch a couple of muskies, so hopefully we can make it happen.
Over the past week or so, I’ve switched over to hunting mode as I get ready for the few weeks of guiding for deer I have coming up. So my remaining fishing trips likely will be getting out on a few nice afternoons to chase some walleyes, crappies, bass, or muskies.
Make no mistake, some of the best fishing of the year for all of these species is during the final weeks of open water.
As I think back over the past season, I have a lot of good memories. I had a great tournament season, probably my best ever, with many thanks to all the great partners I fished with.
I also had some awesome days fun fishing with friends, some excellent guide trips, and had some pretty good luck filming TV segments for my show.
Here’s a look back at my most memorable moments from 2011.
Over the course of the season, I spend a ton of time on the water and get to experience all kinds of weather conditions. The worst day, weather-wise, that I can remember was at the Sturgeon Bay Open Bass Tournament back in May on Lake Michigan.
Strong winds blew from the northwest, across Green Bay, and hammered the water that Dave Bennett and I were fishing. We had to run 12 miles in six- to eight-foot waves back to the tournament site with a mediocre catch and it took us more than an hour.
Dave said it was the coldest he had ever been in his life. It wasn’t pretty.
The most memorable fish of the summer was a 47-inch musky (my biggest) that I caught in late July on Lake of the Woods. I actually was pre-fishing for the SKBI in the southern part of Lake of the Woods.
Knowing I was fishing in an area that sports a large population of muskies, I brought a big stick along in case I got bored. I was not having a lot of success finding bass, so I decided to try the musky rod.
On my second cast, a big fish followed up and hit on the second turn of my figure 8. My heart was pumping, let me tell you!
I had some great tournament days this past season, but the most memorable was Day 2 of the “Castin’ For Cash” tournament at Lake Despair. I was fishing with my girlfriend, August, and we were in first place after Day 1 with 14 pounds.
On Day 2, we pulled up to our first spot and big smallmouths literally were jumping all around the boat. We caught a bunch of nice fish early, then upgraded a few later in the day on our way to an 18-pound catch.
We won the tournament, so that was pretty cool.
The most memorable bass in a tournament was on Day 2 of the “Bassin’ For Bucks” tournament in Sioux Narrows. We had a great day and with an hour to go, I hooked a nice smallmouth in the three-pound range.
But it had a much bigger fish following it while I was fighting it near the boat. My partner, Mike Reid, threw a jig and plastic in to try and catch the follower, but it wasn’t interested.
We worked this fish for about two minutes without getting much interest. Then my fish and Mike’s jig drifted under the boat and all of the sudden Mike set the hook.
He finally got the big fish, which turned out to be the biggest smallmouth of the tournament at 4.48 pounds.
Plenty of good memories from another great season on the water. The only problem is it goes by way to fast!
Hopefully, your season produced some great memories, as well. And hey, we have ice-fishing to look forward to!

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