The trip was scheduled, planned out and executed! Things were oh so close to being perfect, but yet again, I fell just short of the prize. This trip was going to be different. I have never been to Wisconsin, or that far Northwest. I figured it would a great place to get Fish Allure Scented Bait Tabs stocked into a bunch of independent dealers so the list included a ton of local Mom and Pop shops and an appointment with a new dealer, who was set up about a month ago.
The independent shops I visited were a great bunch of shops with interested owners. However, like all good owners, they wanted to research and field test the product first to ensure it was something that worked and would sell. After all was said and done I have a bunch of great follow ups to do. One shop, Fish Tech of Morton Grove, IL, bought on the spot. The owner knew about the product and was impressed with the technology. For me, as guy interacting with these shops, it is so cool when an owner understands and gets the technology. It makes all the hard work seem worthwhile.
I visited Fish Allure dealer Chicago Bait and Tackle, in Romeoville, IL. Doyle and Betty are a great pair! Their shop is a unique one, catering to the hard core bass and Walleye fisherman. Their niche in the market is to carry items not readily available in Wal-Mart or Bass Pro Shops. They have a great selection of unique hard-to-find and high-end tackle items. They have done well for themselves, so well they are in the process of expanding. Great to finally meet you guys in person! If you are in the Romeoville, IL area, swing in and patron this shop – you will be glad you did.
Ok, can we talk about the Chicago traffic? In a nutshell, one word sums this up – HORRIBLE! It took so long to make it through the shop list in this area that I had to deal with the nightmare for parts of two days. I just so happened to be moving through the area during mid-day. So I made a mental note to drive through the area as late as possible on the way home. Yeah… What was I thinking? Even at 11:00pm it was still bumper to bumper. Note to self. Self, if at all possible, avoid this area forever please!
What about the fishing you ask? Again, one word from the opposite end of the spectrum can sum this up. AWESOME!!!! The fishing on the Mississippi River was exceptional for practice and the event. FLW got this one right! Even with a ton of rain and a cold front that took me from wearing flip flops and shorts one day to long sleeves and long johns the next. The fish did not mind – they must have been hungry, or maybe it was the Fish Allure Scented Bait Tab I was using on my sinker that made the difference???
Practice was good! I figured out where both large and small mouth bass were spawning. As a matter of fact I caught the biggest bass this year, a 6 pound 8 ounce giant! They were in the bushes and although I was shaking most of the fish off (during practice), this one held on all the way to the boat. The bait of choice was a ZMan Black/Blue Palmetto Bugz, a Reins Tungsten 3/8oz black sinker on 50 pound Sunline Braid. I believe the subtle modification of adding a Fish Allure tab in Crawfish scent to the sinker tipped the scales in my favor. Not only in practice, but in the tournament as well. When you pitched the bait into the bush they would sometimes be on it quickly, but as practice and the event progressed and the fishing pressure and weather started to take its toll, the longer you would have to let the bait sit. I believe the Fish Allure tab, releasing the scent continuously while it sat in the same area turned those fish on to biting the bait.
For the FLW Tour event, it seems a 71st place finish was not good. The weights were so close, I missed the money by only one pound and three ounces. Heck, I missed the cut for the top 20 by a little more than three pounds. One more upgrade and I might have been fishing longer into the event. Even though I fell short this was a fantastic experience! The Mississippi river can be daunting, but for this event she provided some thrills! Until next time tight lines and good fishing!