Lake Vermilion TOC
MN Bass Tour Members gathered at Lake Vermilion for the last tournament of the year on September 9th and 10th. The Tournament of Champions (“TOC”) represents the MN Bass Tour’s final event of the year and is the only two day event of the year.
The cumulative weight over each day wins the largest payouts we have for the year and oftentimes results in significant shifting of teams as they ramble for Team of the Year points at the same time. Our weather was generally stable with sunny and 70 degree days Friday-Sunday and with south winds from 5-10 mph.
Bolke and Schmoltz Cap Off Their Late Season Run!
The fast and furious fall bite had yet to kick in on Vermilion with anglers generally scratching limits together of the lake’s smallmouth bounty.
After Day 1, Rob Bolke and Aaron Schmoltz of Flippin’ Ain’t Easy were in 3rd place and within a pound of the two teams ahead of them. (Click here to see post for Day 1.) Their day 1 tactic included a mess of junk fishing: exploring main basin humps and points with football jigs and eventually finding more success throwing at docks for smallies.
On Day 2, their primary pattern from the day before didn’t hold up well and they were scrambling for a limit as late as 11:00.
As they did throughout the last half of the 2017 MN Bass Tour season, the duo pivoted away from presentations or patterns that weren’t working to ones that reflected the current fish moods and this paid off huge on day 2.
While the rest of the field was facing similar struggles, Flippin’ Ain’t Easy adjusted from seeking deeper bites to moving to the shallows. The bright sun was was in fact concentrating bass in the shallows: reeds, docks with adjacent reeds, and other shallow rock structure. They proceeded to cast an assortment of baits including ki-tech swim baits, swim jigs, and spinnerbaits to get active fish and load the boat.
While schools didn’t exist in the shallow confines, the shear amount of structure allowed them to cover a lot of water the rest of the day. The guys anchored their 16.35 lb bag with a 4.50 lb smallmouth and the total weight was the most caught on Day 2.
In total Flippin’ Ain’t Easy’s total two day weight of 33.30 lbs which was enough to earn them the mega-payout for this event!
The Rest of the TOC Field
Rounding out the top 4 spots were teams that were also seeking the crucial points for Team of the Year. Last year’s TOC winner Last Cast (Mark Wessell and Paul Hecht) took 2nd with 32.45 lbs, they also caught the Big Bass of day 1 with a 5.05 lb smallmouth.
Flippin’ & Lippin’ (Mike Doughty and Tim Krebs) took 3rd with 31.50 lbs, and Shake N’ Bake (Lucas Matzke and Derek Born) took 4th place with 29.80 lbs. Silver Lining (Jeremie Larson and Bruce Larson) caught the largest bass of the weekend on Day 2, a 5.40 lb toad that earned them the Jason Mitchell Elite Series Fishing Rod award and $100.
2017 Team of the Year – Flippin’ Ain’t Easy!
These guys doubled up their accolades this weekend with their consistent showing each day: 3rd place on Day 1 and 1st place on Day 2 gave them the needed points to take the coveted Team of the Year title and related plaques and prizes that go with it!
As alluded to earlier, these guys put together a really strong second half of the season. After starting off the first tournament in 12th place, they proceeded to earn two 5th places on Waconia and Forest Lake, a 1st place on Lake Minnetonka, and a 2nd place on Chisago. That momentum certainly followed them up and the hottest team in the MN Bass Tour sealed their place in MN Bass Tour history with an impressive win on Lake Vermilion!
Pictures and video will be posted soon here and on the Minnesota Bass Tour Facebook page.