Tournament Lookback – Ish Monore Frogs The Mississippi For A Phat Mat Daddy Win Worth $100,000
Rounding out his 5th Bassmaster win, River2Sea pro Ish Monroe puts his signature series Phat Mat Daddy Frog to work for every weigh fish in his 2018 Bassmaster Elite Series victory on the Mississippi River.
Monroe looks back at the event.
I knew that I needed fresh water. I fished pool 7 and pool 8 in the previous three events; but, I only had one top-30 finish, and this is in a place that suits me.
The last time we were there I found an area in pool 8 that had the winning fish on it. But, it went away to rising water. I wanted something new.
This time, I decided that I would go to pool 9 – the biggest pool out of the three pools. I had never been there.
I went and practiced pool 9 for two days. I found some fish that I felt would let me do well in the tournament. Not the winning fish; but fish that I could do well with.
The last day of practice I figured that I should find some fish that I could come back to or maybe start on before I went down to pool 9.
In the last half of the last day of practice, I found two areas that I thought were as good as where I was in pool 9, with the same quality of fish as I was on. The difference was that in one of these new areas, I could catch fish pretty quick and the other one was a “big fish” area.
When I finished practice, my plan on Day One was to go to the new area that I had just. I figured it had good quality fish that I could catch quickly and I would just go get a decent limit pretty quick and then go to the big fish area.
But, if that didn’t work out and I didn’t catch a quick limit, I was just going to head down to pool 9.
I started out that first day and running at full speed, I hit a sandbar. I got stuck. I
It took me an hour to get off the sandbar. When I finally got out, I was beat. I thought my tournament was over. It took me a bit to get myself together.
I looked up how far I was from my starting spot and saw it was still about 1 to 1 ½ miles away. While I was doing that, I noticed that there was some water that looked like the exact same stuff that I had been fishing; so, I just decided to start there.
I had a limit in 10 minutes!
By this time, pool 9 was off my radar. I was just hoping to get to my starting spot, catch a limit out of there and save the day. But, it turned out that I was catching so many fish, it took me until 1 p.m. to get to the spot that I wanted to start on.
When I finally got there, I had a decent limit and figured I should go to my big fish water to start on Day Two and then go back to where I caught the other fish.
I finished in 20th place with 15 and some change. I felt I was cool and in a good place to finish in the top-20 in the tournament.
Stats: Day’s Weight: 15-pounds, 6-ounces | 20th Place (2-pounds, 9-ounces behind leader Chad Pipkens)
I started off at my big fish water and it was game on!
I was literally catching so many bass that I stayed all day and never saw another boat.
I culled four limits of 15-pounds! That let me know how many fish were actually in the area.
I finished with 16 and change for the day.
My plan was to back there for Day Three and I knew I still had the stuff from Day One as backup.
Stats: Day’s Weight: 16-pounds, 11-ounces | Two-Day Total: 32-pounds, 1-ounce | 6th Place (2-pounds, 2-ounces behind leader Aaron Martens)
I got back to my spot (my big fish water) to start. I noticed the water had come up enough that I could get into this pond. I picked up a good one on the way in, caught two good ones in there and I already had two in the boat.
I weighed 17 and change and moved up to 3rd place going into the final day.
For the last day, there was nothing left for me to do; but go back where I had been as I was literally catching 50 fish a day and by this time, I had only seen one other boat.
Stats: Day’s Weight: 17-pounds, 4-ounces | Three-Day Total: 49-pounds, 12-ounces | 3rd Place (7-ounces behind leader Randall Tharp)
I went back to my same spot and did my deal.
It started out slow. The water had come up and the color had changed; but I got to a stretch where the fish were piled in and started whackin’ ‘em.
I weighed in 16-plus, again.
Stats: Day’s Weight: 16-pounds, 2-ounces | Tournament Total: 65-pounds, 7-ounces
Area: The pocket that I was fishing was so big, it took me all day to fish my way around it. The water started out gin clear in the beginning and I could see the fish swimming around. It rose and gained more color throughout the event.
Lure: Every single fish that I weighed in came on the Phat Mat Daddy Frog. I started out with the yellow head for the first day and half the second day. The rest of the second day, I threw black and only black for the third and fourth days. I trimmed the legs a little bit; but other than that, I fished it straight outta the pack.
Gear: I used my Daiwa frog rod. The 7’4” Daiwa Tatula Elite Series Ish Monroe Frog Rod with a Daiwa Zillion SV reel and 50-pound Maxima braided line.
Retrieve: Mostly I would say I fished it “normal frog fishing” style. But, there was sometimes where it was some difference. I call it flippin’ and pitchin’ a frog – you could see it on the Bassmaster Live. There were reeds/grass sticking up off the water with open water around those and there were some plate-sized pockets of duckweed pushed into the weeds. I would flip and pitch to those pockets and the frog would land on the duckweed. The fish would eat it from the landing. I wouldn’t even have to move it. It would hit the duckweed in those pockets and the fish would just blow up on it.
It was probably some of the best frog fishing that I have ever seen.