We are expanding here at Dock Talk 365 to feature interviews from across the United States and Canada. I can’t think of a better way to kick this off than by interviewing a young, talented and passionate angler from Wisconsin to interview. So without further ado, lets talk some bass fishing with Nate Dean.
How long have you been fishing?
I have been fishing since the age of four or five years old. Some of my earliest memories of fishing are casting a line with my Snoopy themed Zebco pole with a worm and a bobber catching bluegills and bass at a small local lake in the city of Eau Claire.
It wasn’t until I had my church confirmation that I saved up enough money from the cards I received to purchase a canoe. Once I had that canoe, my dad and I began to explore and started to figure out how to catch the bass on our small hometown lake. This is were my love and passion for bass fishing started.
Before being old enough to drive I remember days when my parents would drop me off at the lake with the canoe or at my Uncle Ken’s house who lived on a lake. I’d go fishing all day and be picked up after my dad was done with work. I can’t thank my parents and Uncle Ken enough for taking me fishing and teaching me how to fish.
How was your 2017 tournament fishing season?
My 2017 tournament season was only my second season fishing tournaments, and it was a season of missed opportunities. What I mean when I say missed opportunities is I either lost quality fish that would have helped me cash a check or never could find a kicker fish to finish off my limit.
One example of this was a tournament we had on Lake Nokomis in Tomahawk, Wisconisn. I had three smallies in my boat by 10 a.m. for over 9 lbs. I then proceeded to loose four or five fish of the same size throughout the day. It’s days like this you learn things. What I learned this day was instead of fishing with the same setup that I continued to loose fish on, take two or three minutes, sit down, regroup, and make a change to your tackle.
One of the biggest highlights of my 2017 season was competing in the Wisconsin B.A.S.S. Nation State Championship held on the Mississippi River pools 7, 8, and 9. With 104 boats and 104 non-boaters, this was by far the biggest tournament I had ever competed in. Although I had motor trouble throughout the entire tournament that prevented me from running far from the take off site, I caught a lot of fish, made new fishing friends, and fished a body of water that I had never fished before in my life.
You fished Table Rock this past year for a week. How was that fishing experience?
My father-in-law Dave and I did take a trip to Table Rock Lake this past spring. We were there March 27 to April 2. This was our first time ever fishing an Ozark Lake. And let me tell you it sure won’t be my last.
To start, the size of these lakes is unreal. So what I did was break it down into sections and find an area in each section that I thought looked good. We caught fish in water from 8 feet to 42 feet cranking the Table Rock favorite Storm Wiggle Wart and jerking a Berkley Cutter 110+ JerkBait.
We caught a lot of fish and all three species of bass which was my goal going to Table Rock. We just couldn’t find much for size.
What made it difficult was the rising water conditions and cold nights. By the end of each day as the water had time to warm and those fish moved back into the creeks you would start to catch size. Then by morning the creeks would cool off so much that the fish would move back out and the cycle would start all over again. Dave caught the biggest fish of the trip coming in at just over 4 pounds.
It was an amazing trip and one that I will not soon forget. I can’t wait to go back and to anyone who has not fished an Ozark Lake, you need to put it at the top of your list and go do it.
Returning to your home State of Wisconsin, what are your 3 favorite Wisconsin bodies of water to fish for largemouth bass?
In the great state of Wisconsin I have many lakes that come to mind when I think largemouth fishing but if I could only pick three the following would be my top three:
#1 – Big Chetac / Birch Lake – What makes this Lake one of my three is because of first the size of the bass I have experienced in this Lake. And second is because it’s my favorite lake to throw a frog. Frogging is one of my favorite techniques and there is no shortage of forage to frog on this body of water.
#2 – Lac Du Flambeau Chain – This chain of lakes consists of six clear water lakes with both shallow and deep water bass fishing opportunities. Although I am picking this as one of my favorite largemouth fisheries, this chain of lakes is home to plenty of brown bass. What makes this one of my favorites is because you can flip wood and docks and catch fish shallow or go out deep and drop shot or throw a swim jig.
#3 – Mississippi River – I had never fished the Mississippi until this past summer but boy did I leave with a love hate relationship with this body of water. I’m looking forward to going back with a fixed motor and exploring more. When you catch over 80 bass in a small stretch of river that makes me want to go back and grow on what I already learned.
If you could only fish one style and one bait for an entire Wisconsin largemouth bass season, what would it be?
If I could only fish one bait for an entire Wisconsin largemouth bass season, I would pick a Super K 3/8th oz swim jig in either the color “pro staffer” or white and chartreuse paired with a Zoom speed craw or Zoom twin tail. I would throw this on my Enigma Phenom 7’3” Medium heavy casting rod with my Ardent C-Force 7:0:1 baitcast reel spooled with 14 pound Gamma Edge fluorocarbon.
I picked a swim jig because of how versatile they are. You can skip, punch, swim, and flip them and fish them from top to bottom in the water column just by counting them down and adjusting reel speed. The keys to being successful with this approach would be finding active fish and not being afraid of going past the 20ft mark on your locator with it, especially in clear water.
What are your 3 favorite Wisconsin bodies of water to fish for smallmouth?
Like above when it comes to picking my three favorite bodies of water in Wisconsin to fish for smallmouth a lot come to mind but the following would be my three favorite.
#1 – Door County / Bay of Green Bay As shown in many publications Nationwide and featured multiple times as a stop for the B.A.S.S. Elite series Angler of the year event. Door County / Bay of Green Bay is home to some world class smallmouth fishing. What makes this place such a great place to fish for smallies is the healthy population of fish and not that it has anything to do with fishing but the scenery is absolutely breath taking. Perfect place to take the family on vacation as there is tons to do off the water in Door County.
#2 – Lake Nokomis – This is the place that sent my blood pressure on the rise this past summer as I choked on landing over 13 ponds of fish to completely ruin my chances of winning the event. But with that said, the quality of fish I caught was impressive for a stained water river fed lake. Can’t wait to get back here and get revenge on these fish.
#3 – Wisconsin River – With over 420 miles of river stretching from northern Wisconsin to southern Wisconsin, this river is full of smallmouth bass. My favorite technique on this river is to bang a 1.5 square bill crank bait into rip rap shore line and feel those smallies just crush it.
If you could only fish one style and one bait for an entire Wisconsin smallmouth bass season, what would it be?
If I could only fish one style of bait for an entire Wisconsin smallmouth bass season, it would be a drop shot. I would fish this on my 7’2” medium light Enigma Phenom spinning rod with 8 pound Gamma braid and 8 to 10 pound Gamma Edge fluorocarbon leader.
For drop shot lures I would use a Area 51 Fishing Pilot fish in assorted colors along with a Bass Pro Shops tri-color worm in bold bluegill. The drop shot is so versatile that I can use it in shallow water during the spawn by simply using a lighter drop shot weight and short leader to deep water in the summer when Fishing smallies in 30 plus feet of water on rock and wood structure.
You are starting a video series in 2018. What can you tell us about what you will be doing with this video series?
Yes! I am so excited to get started on my video series for 2018. The video series is tilted FISH365. 365 illustrates the number of days I spend thinking, preparing, and executing as a bass angler like so many other bass Angler’s nationwide.
This video series will showcase my life as a tournament bass angler and show my decisions throughout my day on the water. What is unique about my YouTube video series compared to others is that I will not have a cameraman on board my boat or another boat following me doing the filming. The filming will be done by me with the use of multiple GoPro cameras and a DJI drone…all while I stay focused and fish to win each event.
The editing and creating of the finished product will also be done by me. I like new challenges and this for sure is going to be a challenge but I can’t wait! This video series will also give me a great opportunity to showcase the great products I get to use. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel Fish365 Productions and be sure to like my Facebook page Nate Dean Fishing.
What are your other future goals as a bass angler?
Right now I have one goal as a tournament bass angler and that is really the only one on my radar right now. That goal is to get my first tournament win. I fish to win every event and hope 2018 is the year it happens. If I’m blessed with my first win, then my secondary goal is to make the Wisconsin B.A.S.S. Nation State team through qualifying at the State Championship.
Who are your current sponsors and pro staff companies?
I have joined forces with some great companies this off season and can’t wait to showcase their products in the 2018 season. I am currently on pro staff’s for Area 51 Fishing, Enigma Fishing, Ardent Reels, Terus Fishing Apparel, and Amphibia Eye Gear. All these products help me become a better Wisconsin Angler and that is why I am proud to be a part of each company.
The first pro staff I ever joined was with Enigma Fishing Rods. I’m telling you with 100% honesty that these quality rods gave me the confidence and helped me fish better than ever before. The sensitivity, true action, and strength of these rods are unmatched by any other. Plus on top of all of that, these rods won’t break the bank. With the top of the line Enigma High Performance Titanium Series selling for $149.99, Aaron’s Edge selling for $129.99, and Enigma Phenom for $99.99 you won’t find a better rod for the price. Check them out today at enigmafishing.com.
Having a great fishing rod is important and just as important and some may argue even more important than a high quality rod is a high quality reel. I think both are important that’s why I’ve teamed up with Ardent Reels. Ardent makes both spinning and baitcast reels all made with high quality components. Like Enigma Rods, Ardent Reels won’t break the bank starting out at $89.99 and topping out at $219.99.
Enigma Rods and Ardent Reels have me equipped with the best rods and reels on the market so it just seemed right that I needed to find a bait company that I believe in and makes baits that I feel would be dominant in Wisconsin fisheries. That’s where Area 51 Fishing comes in. If you haven’t heard of them you need to go check out their website at Area51fishing.com and like their Facebook page. Area 51 Fishing specializes in 100% American made hand poured baits that are not like anything on the market today. Like the Area 51 Fishing slogan says, these baits are “Not Of This Earth”. After you order your Pilot Fish and Larynx baits along with a hat and shirt on the Area 51 Fishing website, click on the tab that says “black projects.” You will see what’s yet to come.
Lastly my Amphibia eye gear and Terus Fishing Apparel keep me cool and comfortable while on the water for 8 to 10 hours in all the elements. My Amphibia eye gear cancels the glare on the water and helps me see objects below the surface I couldn’t see before. Amphibia has many frame types and lens colors for all conditions. Check each of these great products out at Amphibiaeyegear.com and Terusfishing.com.
I told you this guy is talented and passionate about fishing. I am so looking forward to his 2018 video series. I have the feeling it is going to be fantastic.
Thank Nate for helping Dock Talk 365 expand outside the Northeast. We are off to a great start!