FABIANO CLAIMS 4TH AOY – ROOKIE, FAILS TAKES 1ST AOY & TOC TOP 10


DAN FABIANO SEASON REVIEW

It has been a wild season, actually I take that back – I don’t remember most of it. This seems to be the story of my life the last few years. With the increase and growth in my two small businesses; Arsenal Fishing and Arsenal Customs, my time, energy and efforts have been greatly decreased in order to maintain the growth and keep clientele happy. Unfortunately, my customers always come first over my fishing. Without my businesses, I would not be able to fish and compete the amount I do once the ice comes off our midwestern lakes. With this being said – my practice time and focus was compromised this year and a majority of the events I competed in outside Lunker Squad, I ended up falling short, or being bubble boy as usual in the standings. However, looking back at the season inside and outside of Lunker Squad – I definitely used a lot of knowledge I learned in previous years, along side not listening to any dock talk in order to dissect lakes correctly and find the winning fish. My downfall? I had the worst year in my fishing career in terms of fishing clean. This was the year I had the winning fish on my line almost every event and had mechanical failures, personal flubs, and frustrations that resulted in me loosing all my most important fish during most of my largest events. Don’t get me wrong – I had some epic derbies, and took home a few W’s, and a good amount of Top 5’s and 10’s, but it is time to finally use my consistency and be more goal focused on the Top 3s this coming 2022 season.

Regardless of the hurdles I had to make this year, and pushing myself through extremely long days, and short sleep schedules – I knew if I maintained the course and kept consistent throughout all of our 8 Lunker Squad events and setting specific goals I could potentially make a push for AOY. I had to at least take a first place at one event, and I would need at least 3 Top 3’s in order to really have a shot at Angler of the Year. Balsam Lake was our first event this season and normally it is one of my favorites to fish in our schedule each season. My practices showed out quite well for that time of year. I had a strong confidence I was going to win that event, or at least have a top three, but unfortunately I could not find any quality fish, and brought in a limit of 8lbs, which put me in 13th place. This was my worst finish of the entire season. I knew deep down I would not fall short like that again all season, so I already counted that event as my “one drop” for the year. I was extremely disappointed in myself starting off the season in such a difficult spot, but I knew I could bounce back quickly as long as I kept in that Top 6 range for the rest of the season. The next event was Washington-Stella. Boy was practice unreal! I found fish in both lakes, and areas that were pushing out 15-20lbs of both largemouth and smallmouth. I knew I had a variety of spots to take up our time that day. Unfortunately for me the fun, hook-set filled day came to a rough close when temperatures outside reached over 100, and our smallmouth in the live well were not liking the water temps. Along with the temp issues, my brand new Vexus VX20 was having live well malfunctions and was slowly killing our fish throughout the entire day. I had to race to put the weigh-station together but by the time my partner and I got our fish to the scales, my co-angler’s fish were all dead, and I had lost 3 fish to the heat and boat malfunction. These dead fish costed me a 2nd place, and I ended up winning the tie-breaker in 4th place against Arnold Helgerson. Not only did this cost me premium points in the standings, but a pay-day as well. The next four regular season events I was able to stay in the Top 5, placing 2nd on Green Lake, which is one of my best lakes – again losing because of a few very big missed opportunities, and then grabbing four 5th places. The consistency of my regular season kept me chasing that AOY dream throughout the entire season and putting me in 4th place going into the 2-Day Championship on Lake Le Homme Dieu.

Going into the Championship in 4th Place, I knew I had to put my head down, focus, put in a considerable amount of practice and grind these two days down to the bone. I had about a week of experience on these bodies of water 3 years prior for my first Champions Tour event of my career. Not only did I go home with my very first ChampTour check that day, I also learned a lot about the lake that I was able to apply to my practices and lake breakdown for our Lunker Squad Championship. One sadness I had going into these events was that the leading angler in AOY, Matt Pasma was double scheduled that weekend and after a terrific season was unable to show up and fish for the Championship and protect his potential Angler of the Year title. As much as this disappoints me since I want to beat the best at all circumstances, knowing this put the rest of the others in Top 3 in crazy striking distance. This means no slipping, fishing insanely clean and capitalizing on every opportunity that comes your way. Prior to blasting off that morning Arnold Helgerson approached me and asked where I was starting knowing very well I was fishing the same areas as himself. We gave each other professional courtesy and pre-talked about where and how we would both start on the same strip of shoreline. My strip was extremely windy were I told him I would start so I rushed through that area. We ended up playing hop-scotch on one another for a good 200-300 yard stretch. After Arnold hopped me the first time, the very next dock I caught my first fish which was a 4.81 largemouth that instantly put me in the correct mood, and got my kicker off my back. This allowed me to fish calm, be accurate with my flips, pitches and skips for the remainder of the day. I was able to put my favorite jig in my hand the entire day and I capitalized on every cast I took. Having the confidence in knowing my favorite bait was going-off I knew I could really do damage. However, the conditions were not ideal, and I knew this would hurt the majority of the group, or at least spin most of them out. This is where my consistency with grabbing limits would come into play and work for my benefit on Day 1. I ended up coming in 2nd Place with 13-10 and winning Big Bass with that 4.81. The weather for Day 2 was forecasted to be even worse, which in term – spun a handful of guys out once again. I knew it would not effect my efforts, and I would do exactly what I did Day 1, but moving water fast, and fishing stretches I passed up in the area on Day 1. I put my Arsenal Sniper Swim Jig in my hand and immediately went to work in the morning with my co-angler. The wind was brutal and it made both Arnold and myself fish much faster and adjust to new areas. I noticed Helgerson leave the area within an hour, and as much as it was pushing me to move out of the area as well, I knew if I put my head down and put my bait in very specific areas I would get bites that he missed, or bites he passed up. I combed through my areas for nearly 6 hours and I couldn’t do wrong. I would call my shots to my co-angler Xavier. He was amazed how I would get my swim jig in the tightest areas, and flip continual 2.5-3.0 pounders into the boat throughout the course of most of the day. The last two areas we ran around the rest of the lake in hopes to find a kicker fish, and help Xavier get his limit. I was glad that we took the risk to new water, because within 4-5 docks I called another shot and stuck a 3.75 that culled out a 2lber and really jumped me into that high 16lb range. I didn’t feel confident that I would take the W, but I knew I would be flirting for the Championship Cup and AOY with the fish I found that day. I ended up battling it out with Arnold Helgerson. I weighed 16-13 giving me the W for the Day over Arnold, but unfortunately Arnolds two day total beat me by .33 ounces, which crowned him the 2-Day Championship winner. Overall with my consistency this year, fishing all events, and my two best finishes during the Championship earned me my 4th Angler of the Year victory in the Lunker Squad Series out of the 7 running seasons. Don’t think that this old man is going to let off the gas – I am coming for you all in 2022.



TREY FAILS SEASON REVIEW

Prior to the 2021 Season, I knew I wanted to dive deeper into the world of Tournament Fishing and put my skills/knowledge to the test against other anglers in the state. I was trying to find a club that would challenge me at every event, but also a club that would help younger anglers improve their skillsets and prepare them to fish at the next level. After talking with some people that were both current and past members of Lunker Squad, who had nothing but positives to say about the club, I decided to sign up as a Co-Angler for the 2021 season and give it a shot.

Coming into the season, I really wanted to keep an open mind. I didn’t want to set a bunch of unrealistic goals and find myself frustrated after every event when I didn’t meet them, so I kept them simple. I only had 3 goals coming into the season; 1) Learn as much as possible. 2) Bring in a limit every event. 3) Win 1 of the 6 events on the schedule. I met all but one goal after failing to bring in a limit on the river in our 3rd event of the season, but was able to secure my very first tournament win and I can confidently say I learned a lot more in Lunker Squad than I ever imagined I could learn in one season of fishing.

Without having high expectations during the year, I found myself fishing loose and thoroughly enjoying every minute on the water. Other than the river event (which I used as my drop), I was able to finish in the top 5 during the first few events of the season, which put me at the top of the leaderboard for AOY Points. These consistent finishes in the beginning of the season qualified me to fish the 2021 MNBASS State Tournament. This was a 2-Day event down on the river, where I had my worst event of the season, so my stress levels were high. That being said, I was able to pull it together and took 8th place overall which put me on the MN State Team to fish the Regional Tournament in 2022. I rode the momentum I gained from State into the rest of our Lunker Squad Club events and remained at the top of the AOY leaderboard for Co-Anglers, securing the Angler of the Year Title my first year in the club! After the first club event, I would never have guessed I would have been fishing in the State Tournament, let alone finishing in the Top-10. And I really didn’t think I would be the 2021 Co-Angler of the Year in one of the biggest and most competitive clubs in the state. Keep your mind open and enjoy the process, you never know where the process will take you!

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FABIANO CLAIMS 4TH AOY – ROOKIE, FAILS TAKES 1ST AOY & TOC TOP 10

COMEBACK KID: FABIANO 1ST MEMBER TO MAKE REGIONAL STATE TEAM

Big Bass on Day Two Surges Fabiano onto State Team

 Following a shortened day one due to fog, Daniel Fabiano was filled with optimism for day two as he had more time to fish and mentally changed up his game plan for day two.

“I decided to share water with a club member on a large flat for about an hour in the morning and after only grabbing one small keeper, and knowing that we would have high sun, and calmer conditions from the day before I ran to the docks to grab a quick limit before the masses swarmed the shorelines,” said Dan.

This did result in a quick limit for Dan, but it was not going to propel Dan up the standings to make the MN state team.  “I had a bunch of stuff from practice up north, but was hesitant on taking the run. With a little convincing from my co-angler Jeff Pfeffer, we ran up to an island I was successful on in practice. Within my first few casts I was able to upgrade with a 2.9 lb fish to help the cause.”

Dan then ran across the bay to a long secondary point with deep water on the sides while the flat sat in about 4-8feet. The flat was bare apart from scattered cabbage and grass which held some decent numbers in practice, but the size was not present. Dan was casting into the dark areas on the flat, which was littered with perch and bluegill.

After about ten minutes up on the flat Dan picked up his 3/16 oz shakey head with a 3″ Arsenal BoomStick screwed on the end, and on his first cast he set the hook and felt something immediately dig into the grass.  “Feeling the strength, weight and how it was darting towards the boat I thought I had an enormous pike on the line. When it got closer to the boat I could feel that beast shake her head and knew it was a massive largemouth. It was stuck deep in the grass which started to really scare me. I was getting anxious and noticed I started to yank her up and stopped immediately before I made a mistake and just let her swim out on her own accord. The moment I gave her some slack, she immediately swam free and directly up to the side of the boat like she was ready to be done fighting. After a few scary jumps and thrashes, Jeff was able to scoop her up and we celebrated as I had pretty large screaming session and spaz on my front deck!”

On the next cast Dan had another largemouth around the same size come off, but this kept Dan in this area for another hour.  With thirty minutes left Dan went to a spot he had caught some three pound bass in practice.  “I thought it was extremely risky to take that drive to only have time to fish for maybe ten minutes max, so I decided to stop by my number one spot from both practices. I pull up and notice nobody was on the spot for once during the two day event, and I was going to be able to position myself exactly how I wanted to grab the fish I knew would be there.  I turned to my co-angler and said, if they are here, I am going to make State.”

Dan picked up a Neko-Rig with a 3/32oz Arsenal Pagoda Nail Weight tucked in the end of a 6.5″ worm and first cast caught a 2.12 and 3.10 to upgrade his limit.  His co-angler stopped fishing and told Dan that if he caught one more he would most likely be a contender to make the team.  Dan casted out and boom caught another 2.10 largemouth, “I started to freak out and shake so hard I couldn’t even continue to fish. Jeff looks at me in disbelief and says I think you are around 17 lbs now, I can’t believe that just happened.

“In disbelief myself – I told him I didn’t want to risk being late, so we packed up and headed to weigh-in. What an epic day that I will never forget for the rest of my life.”

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COMEBACK KID: FABIANO 1ST MEMBER TO MAKE REGIONAL STATE TEAM

Pinkerton Claims Historic ‘Biggest Limit’ Club Title

Coming into the bottom portion of our 2018 Lunker Squad Series season, we found ourselves yearning to fish Lake Koronis for those big smallmouth bites. The wind was moderate to heavy at times throughout the day and most of the lake had strong gusts with very little areas out of the wind, which made the bite for most of the group difficult. Instead of a smallmouth mayhem – we all figured was going to happen, realistically only one person actually laid the smackdown and brought in a sizable mega bag. That club member was Justin Pinkerton.  Being that Lake Koronis is one of his top bodies of water to fish, we all knew JP had the upper hand on both lake knowledge and adapting to the condition based on his smallmouth knowledge on that body of water. Staying in a section of the lake 85% of the day – JP was able to conjure up 19-02lbs of smallmouth bass to seal the victory for the day, and also set in stone a new club record by having the largest daily limit in club history. He also sets the record for largest smallmouth only limit. Second place contender to both of those records is Justin Hill from the previous season on the same lake weighing in 17-15lbs of smallmouth bass. Congrats to Justin Pinkerton on his continued progression within the club and also his fishing career. He is sure to be a feared Minnesota hammer in no time!

EVENT BREAKDOWN:
I had a game plan to stick around the islands in the morning, usually throwing a top water but my starting spot was kicking waves as soon as we got out there so it made top water difficult. Once I caught a small flurry of smallies in the morning I knew that spot had a lot of fish concentrated in that area, and I knew I could stay there all day and find them. After the morning bite slowed way down, we ran to some deeper spots to see if we could find a pattern. I managed to catch a quick limit of largies and smallies but I knew it wasn’t enough weight. I had a gut feeling to run back to my starting spot and sure enough I slowly but surly started catching the right size fish. The spot I found was about the size of my boat and every fish in my bag was caught off that one spot. If you casted to the left of the “juice” you would only catch dinks and or perch. We were sitting in 9-10ft of water casting up to 3-4ft. Once I landed the 4-2 smallie mid morning, I told Lou that we will be sitting here for the rest of the day. It sure was a grind, Lou even took a little nap mid-day due to how slow it was at certain times lol. I found a massive school of perch that were moving around our boat and were there all day. I was rotating between 4 different baits. 1) smaller swimbait with a yellow 4in keitech. 2) swim jig with a more natural color 3) craw-tube [green pumpkin+blue] 4)drop shot 5in green pumpkin with purple fleck senko. I started out drop shotting smaller 3 inch baits but would only catch little dinks. As soon as I put on the 5in senko I started catching more fish with bigger size. Every smallie I caught I was dragging the bait across the bottom as slow as possible. Not using a net made this day twice as challenging but I managed to land every fish I set into some how. That was definitely a day on the water I will never forget and thank you for all the positive words! It feels good to finally win one of these things haha. Looking forward to the Championship on Tonka!
-Justin Pinkerton

 

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Pinkerton Claims Historic ‘Biggest Limit’ Club Title

2017 Club Champion & AOY goes to Daniel Fabiano

2017 was a great year for Lunker Squad Bassmasters. We exceeded our highest roster count, we had  8 club members attend the State Tournament up on Mille Lacs, and a majority of the gang saw a rapid increase in their own fishing progression. It is great to see anglers improve so much over the course of one season.

Be it as it may, each year we like to recognize the winners in the club for that season. In 3rd place was co-angler Justin Pinkerton. JP has proven to be the most consistent and dedicated co-angler apart of this club. Be prepared once JP gets his own boat, because he will be a force to reckon with. In 2nd Place was Andrew Toavs. If anyone had a solid shot of taking AOY and 1st Place in the club it was Andrew. Toavs proved to have a significant amount of progression in his 3rd year with the club. He trailed Daniel Fabiano all season, being shy of 1st Place by slim margins throughout the season. If Toavs did not miss his second to last event, it would have come down to Championship day to determine the overall club and AOY winner. Unfortunately he was unable to show to that event, which solidified Daniel Fabiano as the 1st Place Club Winner going into our Club Championship Event. Coming into Championship Day, Fabiano had the confidence not only that he took First Place in the Club, but was also determined to win the club Championship on Green Lake Isanti, soley from confidence and momentum. With that said, Daniel Fabiano had a CLEAN SWEEP in the 2017 Lunker Squad Bassmasters by taking 1st Place in the Club Standings, 1st Place in the Club Championship with 17-15lbs and Big Bass at 5-13lbs, along with Big Bass for the Season and Most Overall Weight. Nobody in club history has performed a clean sweep yet. 2018 will be full of surprises, upsets, and highlights and we all look forward to an awesome season. If you are interested in joining, please use the contact page!

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2017 Club Champion & AOY goes to Daniel Fabiano

Lunker Squad 2016 Season is Here! Seeking Boaters & Non-Boaters

2016 marks our second year as a B.A.S.S. Nation club, and our first year with the (TBF) The Bass Federation who is affiliate with the FLW.  We are currently have 8 boaters, and 2 non-boaters registered for this season and are seeking both boaters and non-boaters.

Registration and Club Dues for B.A.S.S. are $120 before January 1, 2016, and $140 thereafter. Registration deadline for State Team allocation is May 1, 2016. You can join this club at any point after 5/1/16, but you will not be eligible to fish the (TOC) Tournament of Champions. If you are interested in also becoming a member of the TBF/FLW you can pay dues to their federation and be eligible to fish their Spring Fling, and TOC events, and have a chance to win the “Living the Dream Package.” Club and Federation Dues for (TBF) are $110. For more information use the contact form or call directly. (612-799-3017)

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Lunker Squad 2016 Season is Here! Seeking Boaters & Non-Boaters

Season Closing In – Trophies & Awards

With the 2015 season closing in, we get ready to award the top prospects of Lunker Squad with needed trophies and bragging rights. This first season we will be awarding anglers for the top 3 placements in the club standings, biggest bass, most overall weight within this season, along with club cup winner, and angler of the year. Angler of the year is awarded to the member with the most points along with the most event show-ups. If there is a tie in points and show-ups. The tie breaker will be the largest overall bag, then big bass, then most fish alive, then it will go to a tie. Please continue to check back as we announce the winners for each placement. We will be accepting new members starting November 1, 2015. Please arrive to our meeting to find out more information and to make a decision on whether or not this club is right for you. Cheers!

TrophiesLunkerSquad2015

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Season Closing In – Trophies & Awards

Implementing Small Cash Buy-In + Prizes!

We were very fortunate to acquire a ton of gear from our sponsors, anonymous donors, and extra prizes purchased through our remaining club budget from this season. Each club event will have a $5.00 entry fee with a $1 big bass entry. You do not have to participate in the cash buy in if you do not want, but what is $6 when we are all spending good money on our equipment, travel expenses, and maintenance. The first place winner of each event and big bass winner, will take 100% of each pool. Second and third place will receive prizes. Club points will also be recorded for the Top 4, and big bass.


Below are detailed pictures of the prizes available. Some of the products included are:                (1) Berkley Lightning Shock 7’0 Med/Heavy Rod, (4) ThermaCell Mosquito Butane Burners, Con Artist Outfitters Jersey, Trucker Hats, Lighters, T-Shirts, (2) Berkley Gulp Jerk Shad Plastic Bait, (3) 3-Month Mystery Tackle Box Subscriptions, (4) pre-filled Mystery Tackle Boxes, (1) Yellow Spinning Rod Sox, (2) Rod Slick Sleeves, (1) Jack Daniel’s Whiskey Trucker Hat, (1) TackleWarehouse Baitcaster Cover, (10) Con Artist Sun Neck Protectors, (1) Large Ardent Performance Longsleeve, (1) Con Artist Sherpa Hooded Sweatshirt X-large, plus a ton of random tackle and decals from various sponsors and other fishing companies! Oh also, a bunch of pizza crusts from our main sponsor Golden Home Bakery! Go home and bake yourself some Ultra Thin Crust pizzas after a long day of fishing!LunkerMystery1IMG_6926IMG_6924 IMG_6925IMG_6929 IMG_6931 IMG_6932 IMG_6933 IMG_6935IMG_6934LunkerMystery2

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Implementing Small Cash Buy-In + Prizes!

Lunker Squad Team Jerseys

When you become a member of the Lunker Squad Bassmasters, you also become a team member. Within our club we like to help represent our club and sponsors at our events and on our personal outings to help promote not only our club and the people that help make this possible, but also engaging spectators and potential new anglers to the sport, conservation and lifestyle of bass fishing. This season Con Artist Outfitters was kind enough to help design, produce and cover the expense of our jerseys with our initial roster that was due by May 1st, 2015. They are a mesh polyester quarter-zip, with a slight stretch, SPF30 sun protection, lightweight and customized with a performance fishing collar. Any new members after May 1st, may acquire a personalized jersey. They are $50.00, and will take between 2-4 weeks until delivery. Email or contact Dan Fabiano for more ordering details. Sizes small – 3xlarge available.

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Lunker Squad Team Jerseys

Acquired ProTournament System

Here at Lunker Squad we want everyone to be happy at the end of the day. After club tournament director, Justin Hill and myself ran into multiple unfortunate situations at weigh-ins between various clubs and events, and hearing and seeing the feedback of other anglers that also were as frustrated as us with the trust and reliability of not only the equipment these clubs and events were using, but also the people using the equipment and putting down the final weights on paper, we knew we needed to forge a change. When we decided to start this club, one of our first obligations was to afford the best scale and weighing system and have honest, and standard on-land weigh-ins. In the past we had been faced with unfair or unreliable equipment, or having an official weigh-in on the water before we docked. All these alternative ways of weighing in your 8 hours of hard work is not acceptable and is also inaccurate. You cannot accurately weigh fish using an OEM scale from any joe-blow company while standing on your boat in the middle of the lake. There are so many factors in that scenario that just don’t comply with proper regulatory federation weighing. You wouldn’t expect to go to the State Tournament, or any local tournament in your area and find fishing practices such as these, so we don’t expect to teach you these ways or be lazy about how to provide the proper education on becoming a competitive bass angler or just an expert weekend fisherman.

With all this said, we have purchased the best fishing scale on the market for our club. The H2 Deluxe System from Pro Tournament Scales is not only their top selling scale, but is the staple piece of equipment used around the globe at most fishing events, award ceremonies, and professional angling weigh-ins. I was introduced to this piece of equipment during a local Bad Bass Boys tournament when the MN Bass Nation tournament director was present for the day and had the State Tournaments scale with her to use for the tournament that evening. I noticed how it was easily transportable, and had digital sign readout on a tripod. This is a remarkable feature because everyone including yourself can see the actual locked in weight and there is no discrepancy that a judge or director falsified your overall weight. You also know the scale is trusted, certified, and calibrated to the best extent. These scales lock in thrashing weight within 3 seconds to give an accurate quick result. Thanks to our sponsors for the help in letting us acquire such a valuable piece of equipment for this blooming club.

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Acquired ProTournament System

Lunker Squad Founder on Lake Okeechobee

Over the recent holiday, founder and club angler Daniel Fabiano spent a perfect day out on Lake Okeechobee during the January 3rd BFL/FLW tour. After trying to schedule a guide service the days following Christmas, I was upset to find out that every guide and boat in the surrounding areas were booked out for practice for the FLW tour. The only day available in the timeline of my trip was the day of the actual event. This however did not phase my decision to go out on Okeechobee, it only enhanced my decision to get out on the water even quicker. To my fortune, I was paired with a guide that was originally from Brainerd, Minnesota which made for an easy and relaxing transition, especially not being on my own boat and only have a very limited amount of my own gear that I shipped down to Florida before I left for my trip.

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Lunker Squad Founder on Lake Okeechobee