UPCOMING EVENT: YETI College Fishing - 2019 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Mud flats versus rock reefs

Sunny, calm conditions greeted the top 10 pros and top 10 co-anglers Saturday morning.

OSHKOSH, Wis. - For two days, just about everyone in the field has struggled on an ultra-tough Lake Winnebago. The fishing was difficult during practice, then a vicious front blew through the Fox Valley the night before the tournament and turned difficult into nearly impossible. But two local anglers have figured out how to catch 20 pounds over two days. And surprisingly, their methods are polar opposites.

Second-place pro Brett Wilkens has been fishing rock reefs in the Brothertown area of the lake (east side) in approximately 6 to 12 feet of water. Once he arrives after an hour-long boat ride, he jigs with leeches and crawlers. While he fishes several spots, each one of them are small in size - some no bigger than a boat. The stiff westerly winds have made it difficult to stay on the precise location and has also deteriorated the water clarity. Simply put, Wilkens is worried that the fish can't see is offering.

Pro Brett Wilkens and co-angler Derek Navis prepare for a long run to the east side of Lake Winnebago."I'm just pulling up to the rock pile and anchoring 30 feet away," he said. "Then I pitch to what I call the spot on the spot. Then I usually jig it pretty hard, but I'm working slowly now."

Wilkens liked seeing the calm conditions Saturday morning. The forecast is calling for light winds from the west at approximately 10 mph.

"Normally the rock bite is stronger this time of year than the mud bite, but the conditions haven't been ideal. This wind calming down can't hurt me. There shouldn't be any white caps over there."

On the other end of the spectrum is leader Brian Deffner. The Eland, Wis., pro rediscovered a trolling pattern Friday midday. It was a pattern that worked in practice, and then disappeared after the storm. At 11 a.m. yesterday he decided return to the mud and he hit the proverbial jackpot.
Pro leader Brian Deffner leads the top 10 pros out on Lake Winnebago for the final day of competition.
"We're trolling cranks behind boards," Deffner said. "We're using perch-pattern Reef Runners in like 17 to 18 feet of water. Most of the fish are coming about halfway down the water column."

A troller by nature, Deffner is confident in his program. But this is Lake Winnebago, one of the most fickle fisheries in the Upper Midwest.

"Lake Winnebago is notorious for giving up a huge weight one day and then nothing the next. I'm confident in the program; I'm just not confident in the fish if that makes sense."

The final weigh-in will take place today at 3 p.m. Central time at Pioneer Resort Marina located at 1000 Pioneer Drive in Oshkosh. Prior to weigh-in there will be a free family fishing clinic, beginning at 1:30 p.m.

The winner in both the Pro Division and Co-angler Division is determined by the heaviest three-day weight.

Saturday's conditions:

Sunrise: 5:27 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 74 degrees
Expected high temperature: 88 degrees
Water temperature: 79-83 degrees
Wind: WNW at 9 mph
Maximum humidity: 58 percent
Day's outlook: sunny

Tags: brett-carlson  morning-story  2010-07-15-lake-winnebago 

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