August 25, 2023 at 5:55 a.m.

Upper Midwest Bass Challenge Series anglers contend with low water levels

Ted Heitschmidt (left) and Jason Yaeger bested the field at the Upper Midwest Bass Challenge Central Lakes Division Lake Nokomis event, They came in with 17.70 pounds. The duo also had big bass of the event with a 4.46-pound smallmouth. (Submitted photos)
Ted Heitschmidt (left) and Jason Yaeger bested the field at the Upper Midwest Bass Challenge Central Lakes Division Lake Nokomis event, They came in with 17.70 pounds. The duo also had big bass of the event with a 4.46-pound smallmouth. (Submitted photos)

By BECKIE GASKILL
Outdoors Writer


Yeng Thao (left) and David Vue took second place at Lake Nokomis with 14.59 pounds for the last stop of the UMBCS Central Division.

Anglers in the Upper Midwest Bass Challenge Series (UMBCS) Central Division pulled in to Lake Nokomis early on the morning of Aug. 13 to find the water approximately four feet low. That would make the fishing tough for some teams, and work in favor of others. 

The team of Ted Heitschmidt and Jason Yaeger showed up to the ramp in their duck boat, and the field knew they would be a favorite to take the top spot.

The team recently fished some “skinny water” in that same boat, winning an Anglers Choice Northern Division tournament on the same body of water. The consensus was other anglers knew they would be fishing the same thing the same way. Other teams went about figuring out ways to beat the team who would be fishing largely unpressured smallmouth in an area almost impossible for the bigger, glass boats to reach.

When the scales closed at the end of the tournament, it would take over 11 pounds for teams to break into the top 10. Over 262 pounds of fish came in courtesy of the 37 teams who took part in the event. Forty-five of those fish were largemouth and 107 were smallmouth. Big bass for the tournament was a 4.46 pound smallmouth brought in by the team of Ted Heitschmidt and Jason Yeager.

Melissa Thompson (left), one of only a handful of female anglers in the field, and Joe Heitschmidt grabbed third place for the UMBCS Nokomis tournament with 14.30 pounds.

The team of Heitschmidt and Yeager did take the win, as many suspected they would, with a commanding 17.70 pounds of smallmouth. The second place team of Yeng Thao and David Vue, who are also contenders on any body of water, brought in a mixed bag for 14.59 pounds. Third place went to Joe Heitschmidt and Melissa Thompson. They brought 14.59 pounds to the scales at the end of the day. It would take over 14 pounds to make the top five in this derby. The Central Division of the UMBCS is one of three divisions. There is also a Western and a River Division.

All three divisions come together at the end of the year for a Tournament of Champions. Each division, in rotation, hosts the Tournament of Champions. This year’s host is the River Division, with the tournament to be held this fall on Mississippi River Pool 5. More information about the UMBCS can be found on their Facebook page.

Beckie Gaskill may be reached via email at [email protected].


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