By Steve Weisman
A total of 25 two-person teams fished the annual Stan’s Emerson Bay Bluegill Tournament on West Okoboji on Sunday, January 7. It was a great day on the ice with mild weather, and anglers found the “bluegills to be on the bite!” Tournament hours were 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and teams could fish both Little Emerson and the main Emerson Bay. However, each two-person team had to fish within 15 feet of each other.
According to Travis Harman, tournament director and owner of Stan’s Bait and Tackle, it was an excellent day. “Everyone caught a lot of bluegills, and it was good to see so many fat eight-inch fish. I was also pleased with the sportsmanship that the teams displayed. They had fun, and they played by the rules.”
Taking the first place check of $500 was the team of Tyler Evers and Jamie Kuiawa with a 10-fish weight of 5.6 pounds. They also took the optional Big Fish Pot with a .68-ounce bluegill. Second place and a check for $300 went to the team of Kolby Kraninger and Keith McCormick with a 10-fish weight of 5.58 pounds. Third place and a check for $200 went to the team of Rod Blau and Calvin Grosvenor with a 10-fish weight of 5.48 pounds. Earning fourth place and a Berkley Fishing Package was the team of Darren Jones and Travis Frazee with a 10-fish weight of 5.42 pounds.
Harman noted, “The weights were so close, and so many teams weighed in their 10-bluegill limit.” Although Little Emerson Bay had been good for bluegills since the ice first formed, Sunday’s bite in Little Emerson was tough. “Most of the fish were caught on the main bay with teams scattered around the bay.”
Presentations included lots of small tungsten jigs with pink and gold the favored colors. Jigs were tipped with either plastics or wax worms.
Harman expressed his thanks to all of the participating teams and a special thanks to Scott Reed and Rich Menken. “Scott and Pure Fishing sponsored the fourth place prize package, while Rich of Okoboji Hard Water provided us with one of their Ice Castles as the home base on the ice for the tournament officials and the weigh-in.”
Harman was also excited about the uniform size and the quality of the bluegills brought to the scales. He also issued anglers that might be planning to fish Emerson Bay in the near future a warning of an ice heave on the bar between Eagle Point and Pocahontas Point. “Fishermen need to use caution there.”