The Midweek Bass Anglers held their annual banquet on 13 January 2016. 92 people attended the annual event, which celebrated another year together as a club and included annual angler awards and a huge raffle. A great night was had by all. I was encouraged to see that our anglers own more clothes than simply shorts and flip-flops. Congratulations to Rick Brown for winning Angler of the Year.
If our first club meeting of the year is any indication of the year to come, it should be a great one. The small banquet room we use at the Deer Valley Airport Restaurant was standing room only at 7AM as 47 guys met for our monthly gathering. Spirits were high as we welcomed 4 new members to the Midweek Bass Anglers and briefly discussed what I am certain to be the shortest agenda of our year. 60 men signed up to fish Canyon Lake on January 20th, and quite surprisingly we had exactly 30 boaters, and 30 co-anglers, all perfectly paired. Looking forward to another great year. GG
The Midweek Bass Angler’s 2015 October tournament was a two-day affair held at one of the state’s most spectacular fisheries, Apache Lake. 23 teams participated in the competition, with a full day on Tuesday and a half-day on Wednesday. Lots of fish were caught, including largemouth and smallmouth, and several over five pounds were caught which you can read about later in this newsletter. I thought I would report on some of the signature highlights as I remember them.
The first thing that comes to mind about this event was the weather. It would be fair to say we had great weather, but very unlike what I was expecting. I arrived at the lake on Friday before the tournament, as several of us like to go camp/fish for a few days when at Apache, there is absolutely nothing better than a Midweek fish camp. The weather experts were predicting chance of rain on Saturday, then clearing and warmer thereafter. Well they were wrong. We got rain on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Sometimes the rain was light, sometimes at night. Sometimes the rain was a gentle pitter-patter; a few times it was a torrential spatter. Though it did not rain all the time, the threat of rain was ever present all the time, we even had hail on Tuesday night at 9PM. We had several of our group who bunked in either tents or in the bed of their truck, and all managed to stay dry.
As you would likely expect in any good fish camp, there was lots of good food, plenty of beer and spirits, lots of colorful stories and teasing, and two nights of high stakes, low investment poker. Unfortunately I lost two decks of cards on the final night when the hailstorm blew sideways into our primitive poker parlor and soaked everything. Greg Prather filled in for Gary Asmus and cooked 40 each brats and burgers for over 40 hungry anglers at our Monday night barbeque. Thanks to the Murdocks, Prathers, and Martlages for providing some great eats.
As for fishing highlights: Hobby Nelson blew his lower unit (under warranty) and yet still managed to fish. George Cobasky snapped his trolling motor shaft, and yet still caught fish. The wind was so strong on Tuesday afternoon that the Burnt Corral boat dock was blown off it’s mooring and listed onto the boat ramp. No major angler injuries to report, though I saw a bunch of guys popping ibuprofen on Wednesday morning because of too much fun the night before. Spencer Hand, Bill Blakeman, and Gene Turner all caught their personal best bass. Bryan Steele and Hal Hensey kicked butt, bringing in a two day total of 29.51 lbs, with Jeff Mason and Mark Durben right behind them with 28.56 lbs.
Finally, there are so many individuals who helped make the event a success: Jack Hughes coordinated a great tournament; Gary Martlage, Nick Wampach, Tom Savage, John Milkint did an outstanding job at the weigh-in; all of the guys who helped with cleanup after the barbeque (Greg Prather, Richie Rojas, Neal Burns, Ernie Arvizu, Tom Savage, Tony Medina, Gene Turner, Lou Hirlemann, and anybody else who helped). Speaking of helping, there are also the countless acts of assistance that the guys of Midweek provide one another while at camp, whether someone needs a little gas, needs a tow, forgot their power cord or generator, sharing of fishing advice, or just a warm cup of coffee in the morning. You won’t find a better bunch of guys anywhere.
I just returned from a week in Maine with my wife, and no I did not do any fishing, though I passed by and over some beautiful waterways. Of course the first think I passed upon my return home was my boat sitting all alone in the garage, looking much like a typical family dog waiting for someone to take her for a walk. Its been a hot, busy summer, and I have only done the bare minimum to care for my boat. With the temps dropping, it makes it much easier to hang out in my garage and tinker with my boat and fishing equipment. Taking care of a boat, rods, and tackle can be an overwhelming project if you try and do it all at once, so I like to break it up into smaller, bite-size chunks that make it much easier to accomplish. I had noticed on my last several trips that my trolling motor just does not seem to have the power it once had, so time to check it out. I decided to start with power, and since I have a 36V system, I should have 36V at my trolling motor. My batteries are fairly new, only a year, and they are top quality DEKA AGM (glass matt) batteries, and should last me for at least 4 years. I checked the voltage at the trolling motor, and my meter showed 37.4 v, which is good. The only way I was able to check this voltage was to pierce the plastic coating on the wires so that my meter was actually touching the wires. The next item to check was the trolling motor propeller. I grabbed a socket and carefully removed the retaining nut and washer, and set them aside. I pulled the prop off, being careful not to lose the locking pin found under the prop. FULL OF GRASS! I should have expected this. We had two tournaments at Saguaro Lake this summer, and I spent a lot of time in the grass. I removed the grass, though I did need the assistance of a utility knife. The blade itself looks in decent shape, no nicks, chips or gouges. I reattached the prop onto the trolling motor.
The next item on my list was the replacement of the prop on my big motor. While at the recent Roosevelt Lake tournament a hit some rocks on a submerged island while slowly idling, but it was enough force to significantly ding up two ears. I removed the old prop, installed the hub onto my spare, mounted in onto the lower unit shaft, torqued it down to 55 lbs, and packaged up my damaged prop so I could ship it to Mark's Props in Indiana. $145 for the repair, which is very reasonable, and their turnaround is super quick. What is unfortunate is that I just changed props, after dinging my other one, which I had repaired, only two months ago, guess I better be more careful.
I now carry a spare prop and hub with me always, after spinning a hub at Apache with Larry White this year. I had never spun a hub before, but the tourney Larry and I fished at Apache launched out of the Marina. When we returned for the weigh in, the standard procedure done by all anglers was to beach the boat on the sand, bow into the shore. I had never done this before. I think I made a mistake when backing out by not raising the prop high enough to clear the sand, so I believe my prop was still in the sand while I was trying to back out. The additional resistance likely created sufficient force that the plastic hub inside my propeller shattered within the prop. We discovered the problem when motoring back to Burnt Corral from the Marina, when suddenly the boat lost its forward momentum, but the motor was still running the same RPM's. Larry looked at me when it happened, and said, " I think you just spun a hub." Oh, the lessons we learn when boating. BE CAREFUL OF YOUR PROP.
If you are interested in finding out the successful strategies of the winners of our recent tournament, click here.
Sportsman's warehouse $20 gift card. Any Midweek Bass Angler member can participate, simply stop by the store at 27th Ave and Yorkshire and sign your name in the Midweek Bass Anglers book located at the fishing department counter. You must sign in after the monthly meeting but before the next tournament. The winner is announced at the following meeting.
Fishing Wednesdays, not weekends.