Boy, what a busy weekend it has been for anglers across the great state of Wisconsin! I was lucky enough partake in a few Wisconsin, fishing traditions that included the Madison Fishing Expo and the Battle on Bago fishing tournament. These are two wonderfully run events that we are held each February, which are located two hours from each other. If you weren’t fortunate enough to set time aside for them, here’s a little of what you missed!
Battle on Bago
This year there were over 1,400 fish registered at the weigh-in station for the annual Battle on Bago. Fish ranging from a .08 pound perch to the top weight of a 6.55 pound lunker walleye were brought to the scales. The Battle on Bago Facebook page reported ticket sales jumping from 1,000+ to nearly 2,600 this year, which proves what a great event it is!
This year’s top weight went to Joe Jeske, who brought home $2,012 dollars for his wall-hanger walleye – and he’s just a kid! Other prizes included fishing shacks, guided trips, cash prizes, gear, a PSE bow and a Lund fishing boat. Sixty six total prizes were handed out for the tournament weights — they were given to the top ten and every 5th place after, up to 300th place. And, the PSE bow was given to 301st position. It’s a great way to make the tournament more interesting and draw large crowds, all while being able to keep folks honest. 😉
Personally, my tournament didn’t go as well as expected. I fished with a great group of guys and had a great time. Most of the day I was using a Silver/Black #5 Rapala Jigging Rap, which caught some fish and also missed a ton! The bite was unlike anything my friend, Luke Olson, a seasoned Winnebago angler, or I had seen. The bites were light and the fish were small, which made it a tough day to “ice” fish. We did manage to get a few nice fish that placed 216th, another at 365th, and I ended up in 827th place. All three fish I weighed were white bass, but we did manage to get some very nice perch and a small walleye while fishing off the Brothertown landing on the East side of Lake Winnebago. It was a great experience and I can’t wait to do it again with this same crew next year, hopefully with better results!
Madison Fishing Expo
Also, this weekend I had a great opportunity to help out at the Madison Fishing Expo for Fishidy.com. There were dozens of different exhibitors ranging from bait companies to bowfishing guides. I got to take a look at a few of the different booths and found some great companies that where touting their products and services. I even got to sit in on Everstart Series angler, Tom Monsoor’s, lecture on river fishing for bass! Below are two of the more interesting exhibits that I found at the 2012 Madison Fishing Expo.
Musky Innovations is a company I’ve heard about for years because they are headquartered near my hometown, in the small city of Cleveland, WI. Up by me, we refer to that as “the Farmland”! Known for their Bull Dawgs and Invader series baits, they do a great job of keeping new products and fresh colors on the shelves for their customers. Don’t be fooled by the name because their selection of bass baits has been growing over the years, as well! Check them out if you haven’t yet at MuskyInnovations.com. Their new bait this year is a Double Tailed Bull Dawg, and boy is it a doozey. Musky Innovations is always on the leading edge of technology when it comes to musky fishing so be sure to keep an eye out for any other new products for years to come.
The other booth I took a fond interest in was Fishing Has No Boundaries (FHNB). This is an incredible group that has been working to get disabled men and women out on the water and fishing! They now have 23 chapters in 11 states nationwide, but they still need volunteers to help out with their wonderful cause! The one quote I saw on the website that really hit home was: “To help fulfill the needs for a positive self-image, independence, and a genuine feeling of accomplishment.” It shows they are truly working for the greater good. Sometimes we need to take a step back from our personal enjoyment of the sport of fishing and be able to give that happiness and love we have for fishing and reach out and share it with others. I cannot tell you how important that is to every participant in the FHNB events! I urge you to go to their website at www.fhnbinc.org and donate, volunteer, or help them out in any other way that you can.
All in all it was a great weekend! If you have a chance to check either event out next year I would strongly suggest you do. These are just a few of the many wonderful angling events we have in the state of Wisconsin. We’re lucky to have such a strong angling and outdoor community – we should all take advantage of the opportunities like FHNB to give back to others in our area! I hope you all enjoyed this inaugural and lengthy version of my weekly blog.
Be sure to visit again next week!