UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - James River

The Mississippi Mix-Up

The Mississippi Mix-Up
The last group of pros ease out from the Clinton Street Landing on the Mississippi River.

LA CROSSE, Wis. – Things are much different since the last time the Rayovac FLW Series Central Division launched from the Clinton Street Landing back in 2012. Lower temperatures, higher water levels and scattered fish will make things interesting for the 119 pros and co-anglers this week on the Mississippi River.

One major bonus for anglers this time around is that the tournament will be contested with a five-fish limit (14-inch minimum length). Last time, the limit was three in order to protect the fish in the heat of summer.

Local pro Mike Brueggen of La Crosse, Wis., won last week’s Walmart Bass Fishing League event on the Mississippi out of La Crosse with solely largemouth – something he says isn’t the norm for this time of year. Smallmouth usually reign this time of year.

Making his fourth All-American appearance,  Mike Brueggen will fish a swim jig on day one.“Largemouth never win out here in this timeframe,” said Brueggen. “Actually, the top couple of bags were all smallmouth after day one of the BFL last week. The fish have been kind of weird, and for some reason the smallmouth didn’t fire on the second day. I was shocked that I won that tournament.

“This week I have definitely looked around and found some smallmouth," he adds. "They should win this event. I think you’ll see a lot of lipless crankbaits and swim jigs thrown this week to catch them. Topwaters could come into play as well because the shad are bunching up, and that is what those smallmouth are eating.”

Anglers will have the option to fish Pools 7 (also known as Lake Onalaska), 8 and 9 this week, and Brueggen believes it could be won in any of them. Pools 8 and 9 tend to hold the better populations of smallmouth, while Pool 7 is better known for its largemouth population. The tournament launches from Pool 8, so time management will be crucial for those who decide to lock down to 9 or up to 7.

The Strike King Angler of the Year race will be decided this week in La Crosse, in the last tournament of the season for Central Division anglers. Walmart pro Mark Rose currently leads the standings and knows a thing or two about fishing rivers.

Walmart pro Mark Rose powers up his Lowrance units before getting to work.“Anytime I get to be on the Mississippi River I love it,” said Rose. “I grew up on the Mississippi, and it really laid the groundwork for me to become the angler I am today. I guess I have gotten a reputation for being a ledge guy on the Tennessee River system, but this is more what I love and know.

“I haven’t had much practice this week because of my schedule, but I plan to stick close,” continued Rose. “I plan to fish for largemouth with a jig. There are a lot of backwaters that have water in them that are normally dry because the river is up. I’m just going to cover as much water as I can and see if I can put something together as the day goes on.”

On the heels of Rose in the AOY race is another angler who is equally as savvy when it comes to fishing in current – Walmart pro Wesley Strader.

Strader has put in some practice time in Wisconsin this week and is prepared to target both species the river offers.

“I am going to start my day trying to catch smallmouth,” said Strader. “I don’t have many places to catch them, but when you get one it is one you want. After that I’m going to lock up and chase largemouth.”

Wesley Strader shares a laugh with his co-angler while rigging up rods for the day.Strader practiced in all three pools but feels that the water is too high in Pool 9 for it to be productive enough. Water levels are expected to fall throughout the tournament, and Strader believes that if he makes it to Saturday he might make the run down there.

“I love coming up here, but the fishing is not like it normally is,” Strader added. “The largemouth seem very spot-specific. Usually, you can just fish around and catch them, but not this time. It’s more of a one here, one there thing for me. I think being able to find new water every day will go a long way this week.”

Much of the dock talk among anglers predicts that the weights of the BFL last week will closely resemble this tournament. Brueggen believes that 27 1/2 pounds will make the cut to fish Saturday, while 47 pounds for three days should take the top prize.

Logistics

Anglers gather at the Clinton Street Landing for day one of the Rayovac FLW Series Central Division event on the Mississippi River.Anglers will take off from Clinton Street Landing West located at Clinton Street Bridge in La Crosse, Wis., at 7 a.m. each day. Weigh-ins will be held daily at the landing beginning at 3 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.

Pros will fish for a top award of $40,000 plus a Ranger Z518C with a 200-hp Evinrude or Mercury outboard if Ranger Cup guidelines are met. Co-anglers will cast for a top award consisting of a Ranger Z117 with 90-hp Evinrude or Mercury outboard and $5,000 if Ranger Cup guidelines are met.

The Rayovac FLW Series consists of five divisions – Central, Northern, Southeast, Texas and Western. Each division consists of three tournaments, and competitors will be vying for valuable points in each division that could earn them the opportunity to fish in the Rayovac FLW Series Championship. The 2014 Rayovac FLW Series Championship is being held Oct. 30-Nov. 1 on Wheeler Lake in Rogersville, Ala.

For complete details and updated information visit FLWOutdoors.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Rayovac FLW Series on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing.

Thursday’s conditions:

Sunrise: 6:47 a.m.

Temperature at takeoff: 49 degrees

Expected high temperature: 70 degrees

Water temperature: 60-65 degrees

Wind: SE at 7 mph

Day’s outlook: partly cloudy

Tags: kyle-wood  morning-story  2014-09-18-mississippi-river-la-crosse 

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