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BassMaster Series Northern Regional at Patoka Reservoir.
By Wayne Ek


Author: Wayne Ek

This event started on October 26th 2006 and ended on October 28th.  The stats show that we had 134 anglers, who managed to catch 192 bass.  Over the 3 days not one 5 fish limit was brought to the scales. To say this was a tough tournament is an understatement.  Congratulations to Brad Leifermann who won the tournament with 31.5 pounds of hard to catch bass.

Now that the event is over I thought it would be interesting to get some feed back from the top 5 finishers, so I contacted all 5 and asked the same four questions of each.  I intentionally kept the questions quite broad, as I did not wish to make anyone uncomfortable about giving away too much information.

The questions:

1.)      What was your very first impression on this body of water?

2.)      What pattern did you finally decide was best and why?

3.)      What was your biggest surprise about fishing this body of water?

4.)      What was your final impression of this body of water?

Brad Leifermann - Andover , Mn.

1.)       Brad thought that Patoka had all the qualities to make a great bass fishery.  It has trees, submergent vegetation and lay-downs to target. The forage base seemed to be comprised of mainly bluegills and shad.  There is in-shore and offshore structure consisting of humps, creek channels, great drop-offs and expansive shallow water flats.

2.)       From his past experience fishing fall regional Redman tournaments on lakes Truman and Kentucky , Brad keyed on a shallow crank-bait bite that was going on.  He targeted the smaller first and second coves off the larger coves.

3.)       The lake was easy to navigate, the danger areas well marked and if you ran in the creek channels, even in this low water, you were pretty safe. Brad was surprised at the tough bite and surprised at the lack of short fish, even though the lake has a slot limit.

4.)       A very beautiful and well-managed lake.  The bass population seems small and there appears to be an imbalance between large fish and small fish

Dean Capra - Andover , Mn.

1.)      Dean thought Patoka fished a lot like a lake.  There were weed beds, wood, both standing and submerged.  The distinct drop-offs and points also fished similar to a lake.

2.)      Because there were no schooling fish, Dean just covered lots of water.

3.)      Biggest surprise is when the water rose up overnight and got muddy.

4.)      Dean thought the lake fished very tough, it was not a lot of fun to fish under these conditions and turned out to be a lot of hard work.

Marc Kinnelly    Frederick, MD.

1.)      Marc’s first impression of the lake was that the bass population was small and it was going to be very difficult to pattern fish.  On the first day of practice he did not get a single bite.

2.)      During the tournament Marc fished small pockets or cuts off the main lake that had wind blowing into them.  He used small buzz-baits and spinner-baits during the tournament.  Each pocket gave up only one fish and the pattern became one of running and gunning during the whole tournament. Only one fish came from a pocket fished during the practice days.

3.)      Marc’s biggest surprise was the need to purchase a boat permit to fish this lake.

4.)      Under different conditions Marc thought Patoka might be a good lake to fish.  He felt the average size of fish caught was large, but thin and few in numbers.

Brady Farrell – Fort Atkinson , WI .

1.)      Brady’s first impression of the reservoir was that it looked really good.   There was deep-water structure, roadbeds, grass beds, timber, (both standing and submerged).  There should be any number of techniques that would work.  Brady had some concern about fall turn over as the water temperature was hovering around 57 degrees and the color of the water seemed to indicate that the lake had turned over already.  During the practice days Brady never got more than one or two bites on any one technique.

2.)      Brady decided that cranking deep grass edges would be the strongest pattern for the tournament.  During practice Brady was getting some quality bites on the deep grass edges using plastics, but because of the low number of bites felt that power fishing with cranks would allow him to cover more water and up his bite percentage.  Even though Brady had more bites up the river, he felt that this area would get too much pressure during the tournament and decide to fish less pressure areas.  Brady stayed with a Rapala DT-10 during the tournament, throwing it in the grass and ripping it out, generating reaction bites. He looked for the greener grass or grass next to deep water.  Brady got two bites each day, never lost a fish and got a couple of quality fish into the boat.

3.)      He was surprised that a lake with this much structure and grass did not surrender more fish.  Brady said it was like musky fishing and he was surprised every time he got a fish.  This was very difficult fishing.  Basically you just had to grind it out all day long.

4.)      Brady’s final impression is probably the same as a lot of ours. There should just be a higher population of fish when you have quality habitat like that.  Also, he felt the lake needs a stronger forage base.  And finally felt the lake fished extremely difficult as a boater and would have hated to fish it as a non-boater.

Thomas Borkowski  – Savage, Mn.

1.)      Tom thought the lake looked beautiful and would like to see more lakes looking like Patoka Reservoir.

2.)      During practice Tom found that loud black buzzers worked the best. During the tournament he fished them for the first few hours each day, then switched to a black/blue jig and pig combination.  Tom fished each day with 8-10 rods on the deck and used most of them during the tournament day.

3.)      Like most of us Tom was surprised that the reservoir seems to have a very low bass population.

4.)      Tom likes Patoka Reservoir, both how it looks and the way it fishes.

Every angler, both boater and non-boater, who made the third day cut deserves to be congratulated.  If this was not the toughest tournament I’ve ever fished, it surely ranks right up there.  Out of 134 anglers only 19 of them had a total 3-day weight over 10 pounds and 49 anglers never caught a weigh fish in two days of tournament fishing.  Again, thanks to the 5 top anglers for getting back to me and sharing their information and good luck to all the others who will now move on to the National Championship tournament.  Have a safe fall and we hope to see you on the water.

Wayne Ek is a fishing guide, tournament angler and writer in Alexandria Minn.   You can reach Wayne at Agape Fishing Guides,