Ovid Patterns 2014

Lake Ovid has been known as a “big fish” lake ever since our club started fishing tournaments there 5 years ago and the 2014 version did little to change that reputation.  Although the number of fish catches was down quite a bit, a few big ones still bit, especially for Jim Rice who won the event with over 17 pounds of largemouth.  Jims’ limit was boosted by a 4.66 pound fish and he also had one just shy of 4 to win by a large margin.  Ovid has produced limits over 21 pounds during club events so it wasn’t a surprise to anyone to see such big numbers posted.

But not everyone caught them that good and only 3 limits came to the scales.  The fish catches were fairly low, probably due to the many fronts that passed through the area as the event was being held.  Many weighed-in just one or two fish but just about everyone had a good quality sized fish in their livewell.  Matt Zelenka finished second and Jerry Smith and Scott Rice rounded out the top 4 payouts.  Each had bags around the 10 pound range.

Speaking of Matt Zelenka, he might have fallen short of catching Jim for first place but he took over the “big bass” lead for the year as he hauled a 4.85 pound sow to the scales.  Matt only caught 4 fish on the day but the big one was enough to put him in second, his highest finish yet to date.

Ovid is characterized by it’s heavy weed growth and it’s milfoil mats and flipping heavily weighted plastics into the weed beds played a role in each of the top 3 finishers’ gameplan.  Jim Rice said he caught two flipping into the weeds, two on senko style worms and even got one on a buzzbait.  He was the only angler who reported actually culling fish during the derby.

Matt Zelenka also employed a “punch rig” during the tourney but caught fish on a topwater rat or mouse during the day.  He reported losing one that was over 4 pounds as well which bit in the same area where he landed the big one.  Had he landed it, things may have been a little more interesting at the weigh-in.  Jim’s win was his first of the year and jumped him from 3rd to 1st in the current Angler of the Year standings.

Tourney Notes:

-The 17 participants was the biggest turn out of the season to date.

-Jim Rices’ limit is the heaviest to date in the 2014 club season.

-Matt Zelenka owns the years’ big bass with his 4.85 pounder he caught on Ovid.

-Zelenka finished second despite only catching 4 keepers.

-Three anglers caught limits: Jim and Scott Rice and Jerry Smith.

-Lake Ovid produced the clubs’ big fish in 2012 and 2011.

-Rice’s win makes him the 5th different club angler to win each of the first 5 events.

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Ovid Results 2014

Lake Ovid (July 13th)

1.   Jim Rice  (5 fish)  17.27 lbs

2.   Matt Zelenka  (4)  10.71

3.   Jerry Smith  (5)  10.33

4.   Scott Rice  (5)  10.08

5.   Bill Maurer  (3)  7.15

6.   Roy Albert  (3)  5.46

7.   Leo Knox  (2)  5.43

8.   Mike Maske  (2)  4.48

9.   Jim Vanaken  (1)  3.93

10.  Ethan Angstman  (2)  3.82

11.  Melissa Rice  (1)  3.67

12.  Mark  Dereadt  (1)  2.89

13.  Art Honsinger  (1)  1.77

14.  Tim Chapman  0.00

14.  Ben Hidy  0.00

14.  Connie Honsinger  0.00

14.  Scott Hartman  0.00

Big Bass #1:  Matt Zelenka  4.86 lbs

Big Bass #2:  Jim Rice  4.66 lbs

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Ovid Reports

With the club visiting Lake Ovid this Sunday, it worked out great that Scott Hartman and I found an “Open” tournament on the St. Johns fishery this past Monday.  We could fish one of our favorite lakes and practice for the upcoming event.  Unfortunately our results were less than stellar.

We fished for 3 hours and had exactly 5 bites, landed 3 and weighed-in one small keeper.  As bad as that sounds, we finished 7th as 10 of the 17 teams blanked and it only took 3.5 lbs to take a 4th place check.  One team did catch a limit but it was only around 9 pounds.  Doesn’t sound like the Ovid I remember.

In defense of the lake, we had just come off a big Holiday weekend and several major fronts rolled through the area Monday.  Hopefully these factored into the low weights since Ovid is known as a big fish producer.  Only two fish over 3 pounds came to the scales during our event.

The lake seems similar to last year with the vegetation being very dense but not really matted like it was a few years back.  A cold spring and recent rains may be the cause of this but it definitely looks to be a few weeks behind schedule from what I remember.

This weeks event will take place at the Sleepy Hollow State Park with check-in @6:30 and tourney hours running from 7-3.  Roy Albert is the current AOY weight leader and usually does well on Ovid so he’ll be looking to incase his lead.  The current “Classic” cutoff is 7 anglers so those outside of the cut will be looking to move up at the seasons half way point.

Directions: 127 north to exit 91 (Price Rd) and head east.  Price road will dead end into the park and the launch is on the left.  Approximate travel time from Jackson is about an hour.

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Crystal Patterns

On a tough weather day, just finding 5 keeper fish was a chore last weekend at Crystal Lake and Roy Albert did just that in winning his first club event of the season.  High winds, rain storms and flat out tough fishing was what everyone dealt with and only 3 limits came to the scales and truthfully it was a surprise anyone caught 5.  Roy put in a full day of practice earlier in the week and found a few areas that contained fish and after making a few adjustments tourney day, he showed why he is the current Angler of the Year leader.

Crystal has a big population of small keeper fish and finding a few good ones was going to be the key to winning.  But the bad conditions made it even tough to fish, let alone catch keepers.  Roy noticed several deep pods of fish on his depthfinder, some as deep as 25 feet and that’s where he decided to concentrate his efforts.  He did get a few shallow but targeting fish outside of the breaks with grubs and senko’s  was the winning pattern.  Many fishermen were on the flats and fishing the inside weedlines but Roy went against the grain and it paid off.  Usually fish won’t get on the outside breaks until much later in the summer but keeping an open mind and targeting less pressured fish was the key.

The club has the 4th of July weekend off before we get back to work on Lake Ovid on Sunday the 13th.  It’s a big fish lake and many club members are looking forward to it.  Fishing reports for Ovid will come later in the week.  Happy 4th everyone.

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Crystal Results

1.   Roy Albert  (5 fish)  8.30 lbs

2.   Jerry Smith  (5)  7.64

3.   Mark Dereadt  (5)  7.58

4.   Matt Zelenka  (3)  6.43

5.   Leo Knox  (2)  4.32

6.   Melissa Rice  (2)  3.62

7.   Fred Enos  (1)  1.99

8.   Art Honsinger  (1)  1.51

9.   Trish Rice  (1)  1.47

10.  Jim Vanaken  (1)  1.37

11.  Jim Rice  (1)  1.30

12.  Scott Hartman  0.00

12.  Scott Rice  0.00

12.  Connie Honsinger  0.00

12.  Randy Peck  0.00

12.  Bill Maurer  0.00

Big Bass #1:  Leo Knox  3.13 lbs

Big Bass #2:  Matt Zelenka  2.78 lbs

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Crystal Preview

We’ve heard great things about this Central Michigan lake and this Sunday the club will see what it’s truly all about.  It’s a great looking body of water and a new one to the club so hopefully it will live up to it’s billing.  We’ve heard lots of on-the-water reports this week and everyone seems to be saying the same thing, “lots of numbers but very few big ones.”

From all I’ve gathered lately, getting a limit isn’t the problem on Crystal and many should come to the scales at days end.  Many fish in the 13″ to 15″ inch range are very eager to bite and it should be a fun tournament from a “fish catching” aspect.  The lake does contain smallmouth and a few 3 pounders were reported so whoever can make that happen Sunday will be at a huge advantage.

All the usual tactics are working, senko’s, crankbaits, grubs and spinnerbaits and most of the fish are still fairly shallow and have not moved to the deep edges in big numbers.  The weather could get a little crazy tournament day with hot, humid air temps and a chance of rain and decent winds.  This may keep some of the heavy recreational traffic off the lake and may make the fishing even better.  Of course the lake isn’t that big and boaters will always be an issue and who believes the weather man anymore?

My guess is that lots of limits come to the weigh-in and whoever gets that big fish will have a great shot at winning.  Tourneys like this usually take 9-11lbs to win and I don’t think this will be any different.  Drive safe everyone and hope the big mamma’s are biting!

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Crystal Lake directions

-North on 127 and take exit 109 and head west on M-57

-Travel west for 17 miles then take Crystal Rd./CR-565 north (right) towards the town of Crystal

-On Crystal Rd. for approx. 6 miles then a left on W Lake St towards the lake once into the town of Crystal

-Veer right once at the lake and that will turn into N Shore Dr.

-N Shore Dr. will curve around the northeast side of the lake until you hit the launch

-Approx travel time from Jackson is 90 minutes

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Michigan Center Patterns

Growing up on Center Lake and knowing it as well as I do can be a blessing and a curse.  I have my old reliable “go to” spots and it’s hard to deviate from them.  You tend to fish from past history rather than what’s happening now and that probably explains why I’ve never won a tournament from my home waters.  That all changed last Sunday as I brought 14 pounds to the scales and had one of those awesome days that you only get once in a great while.  I appreciated every minute of it and was lucky enough to win my first tourney of the year and first ever on Michigan Center.


I did go out for a few hours on Thursday to look at the condition of the lake and to work on a few new techniques but never really caught much.  I knew where I was going to start and would make a “milk run” of spots, hoping to get a few keepers before spending the second half of the day flipping pads in the main boating channel.  I got a few bites on my new “slop” technique and figured I was ready for the tourney and had a solid game plan.  It of course didn’t go anything like I had planned.

Tourney Day

I did run to my starting spots, throwing a frog and soft plastics into the thick slop that occupies most of Centers’ bays.  I had a few blow-ups and actually caught a small keeper on the frog but I could tell that bite wasn’t happening.  With one more spot left to hit before going to the channel, I had what would be the turning point of my day.  I noticed the strong winds had blown dead grass into some of the bays and it would collect amongst the lilly pads creating small mats.  Losing confidence quickly in the frog I decided to try something different and started flipping soft plastics through the pad/mat vegetation.  I quickly had a few bites and that got the ball rolling.  I spent the next 45 minutes in there flipping and got two good ones, both about 2 1/2 pounds and decided I’d flip for the rest of the day.

I quickly ran to another area where I knew these same weeds were present and caught another solid keeper.  I’d like to say that the lightbulb went off in my head and I spent the rest of the day targeting this type of vegetation but that’s not how it quite went down.  I can be stubborn and with 4 fish in the livewell, I decided to run to the channel as planned to try and get a big kicker fish.  Many events are won here and that’s what I was going to do no matter what.  It’s no wonder I haven’t won any tourneys here.  But to my credit I only spent 45 minutes there, figuring out that the channel bite wasn’t happening and pulled the plug on that idea.  I had caught fish targeting isolated pads clusters with mixed grass and I needed to find more of that.

I quickly ran back into the lake, still looking for fish #5, and decided to go to one of my earlier spots that I remembered had the right type of ingredients.  They wouldn’t bite of frog there earlier but my hunch that the flipping bite was turning on was rewarded as I slammed the hook into fish #5 within the first few casts.  It was a good 3 pounder and I had the right bait, knew the type of weeds to look for and knew where I could find more.

The next hour was about as good as it gets for a tournament fisherman.  I had one more area where I knew I could catch them and I did.  About 7 more fish, three being keepers and one big one that went 4.14 pounds, the biggest of the tournament.  All fish came flipping to isolated pad clumps and after culling a few times, decided to go in early and not risk losing the tournament which I figured I had won.  It was hard to leave the fish biting but I wasn’t taking any chances.  It was a great Fathers Day and one I won’t soon forget.

Gear Notes

I was flipping a watermelon Berkley Chigger Craw as well as a Berkley Pit Boss.  I started off using a craw made by my buddy Josh Clark but ran out of those and switched to the Berkley lures later in the day.  All were flipped on 30lb Power Pro braid with a 1/2 oz tungsten weight and 4/0 Trokar flipping hook.  The rod was a 7’2″ Shimano Crucial medium heavy worm rod and was paired with a BPS Pro Qualifier high speed reel.  I went to a lighter flipping rod this year due to many lost fish last season and my hook-up ratio was excellent on Sunday.  The lighter rod allows for a little more give and won’t rip the hook out of the fishes mouth like I was doing in the past.

The next club event will be on Crystal Lake near Carson City.  Detailed directions will be posted soon but basically you take 127 north to exit 109 which is Highway 57, just north of St. Johns.  Take that west for about 15 miles and then head north towards Crystal on Crystal Lake road.  Take a left once into Crystal and you follow that along the north east side of the lake to the launch.

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