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I
nside Scoop: How Darrin Schwenkbeck Won the BASS Northern Tour Event on the Mississippi River.

by Ken Warren

 

Many of you have read of Schwenkbeck’s win at the recent BASS Northern Tour event on the Mississippi River around Fort Madison Iowa. One of the most amazing things is that he pulled it off with only one day of practice while other anglers had been camping out on the pool for weeks. Schwenkbeck began the tournament with limited knowledge and basically showed how versatile he is by adjusting throughout each day as he learned the pool during the tournament.


Photo BassMaster.com

There was a nice write-up after his victory on the BASS website and it covered most of standard stuff but I was privileged to have an inside scoop of some of the details that shows him in an even brighter light. It started a couple of weeks ago when Schwenkbeck contacted me. He told me he was fishing the BASS Elite Series Event in New York and would be coming to Iowa for this tournament and he would only be able to get a day of practice before the Tour event began. He asked if I could help him get maps of the area and to help with some general information. I was happy to help, as I love to be an ambassador for the great bass fishing that we have on the river here in Iowa.

I talked with him a couple of times and described the pool and even suggested a few things to try and told him how I would approach it. I did not tell him anything specific just enough to point him in the right direction with the hope that this would help him optimize his limited time on the water. As I was fishing as an amateur in the event I met with him for a couple of hours to practice the day before the tournament started.

I was amazed at how much he picked up that morning before I got to the river. He already had a great understanding of the river and how the fish were behaving. He discussed how much the area had changed since he was there years ago. It was not the same river at all and he was impressed with the fishery. Once we were in the boat he let me suggest a couple areas and he was very humble compared to some of the pros I have encountered. We had a great time and just had time to hit 2 areas, which became the winning spots for him. I felt like I was fishing with a friend down the street not an Elite pro from New England.


Photo BassMaster.com

During the tournament he began each day near Montrose, IA, as did half of the field but he did a better job at finding the optimal area in an endless field of grass. These fish were caught using a SPRO frog in a small area of this large eelgrass field. This area produced his first fish of the day then he headed to another area with eelgrass that was upriver closer to the launch. This area was not nearly as popular, in fact, he reported he had it to himself and he was able to cull there and upgrade his catch each day. The fish here were also all caught on the SPRO frog. In fact all of his fish except one came on the frog.

Once the tournament was over I was surprised to hear from him again. He called me up and thanked me for all my help. I really think he gave me more credit than I deserved as he found the needle in the haystack, I only told him which haystack might contain it. While the first area was one we fished during practice the big fish spot was close to the second spot we fished and wrote off as too shallow and fishless. He must have seen something he liked upon reflection as he ventured back there on day 1 but looked for deeper water a small distance away and found fish I did not expect. He seems to have a nose for the fish and was really “in the zone” for these few days. This must be why he is the pro and I am the amateur who finished way down the pack. Now that all is over I only hope my day 1 partner reads this and regrets not listening to me. I am sure I have made a new friend and a source of material for future articles, in Triton Pro Darrin Schwenkbeck. Keep it rolling Darrin! I hope to see you in the Bassmaster Classic!