Fishing show comes to A.L.

Published 11:05 am Sunday, June 20, 2010

After what seemed liked weeks of rain, the day dawned bright and sunny Wednesday morning and continued that way throughout the afternoon as Fishing the Mid-West host Bob Jensen brought his TV production crew to town to try his luck on Fountain and Albert Lea Lakes.

Fishing the Mid-West with Bob Jensen is nationally recognized as one of the leaders in fishing education and entertainment in the field of outdoor communications. In addition to an award-winning television series, Jensen, a native of Sheffield, Iowa, (just south of Mason City) produces a syndicated weekly fishing column and outdoor radio show.

Jensen and his Ranger Boat showed up at the new boat ramp off of Hwy. 13 at 2 p.m. and told me the reason he was here was because of all the good things he had heard about the fishing in Albert Lea.

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“I’ve been hearing so much about the walleye out on Albert Lea Lake, I just had to come give it a try,” said Jensen. “For probably two years now I have been hearing good things about the lakes here in Albert Lea, but we just now got the opportunity.

“We are going to start here on Fountain Lake, which I have heard has a pretty good bass fishery, and then the plan is to head to Albert Lea Lake later this evening and give the walleye a try.”

Joining Jensen on Fountain Lake were Lance Frank of the Fountain Lake Sportsmen’s Club, and Jason Howland, who was a sports anchor for KAAL in Austin for 13 years and is now considered one of the best bass fisherman in southern Minnesota.

“There are so many lakes across the mid-west, lakes like Fountain Lake and Albert Lea Lake, that just don’t get the notoriety they deserve,” Jensen said. “With the interstate bridge, so many people drive right by here on their way to somewhere else, and in my opinion they are wasting their gas, they are driving by good fishing right here in Albert Lea.”

While the brilliant sunshine may have been ideal for filming, any serious fisherman knows that the fishing can be tough the day after a front moves through. With blue skies and plenty of sun, the fishing can be brutal as the fish hold tight to cover and won’t move far to chase an artificial lure.

Jensen and his guests were, despite the conditions, able to coax a number of bass into the boat using a jig and a soft bait called a Sinko, rigged Texas style with no sinker.

The fishing was a little tougher out on Albert Lea Lake later in the evening as the group arrived about 8 p.m. and tried a number of techniques to try to entice a walleye into biting. Just the night before as Frank was doing some pre-fishing, he witnessed a group in the same spot boat many nice fish, but on this night, using Rapala Shad Rap’s and a slip bobber rig with a leech, Jensen and company had no such luck.

“It was nice weather, but for fishing, as you know, it wasn’t what we were hoping for,” Frank said. “We missed it by a day, but I heard Bob say that over the past few years, as he is crossing the bridge on Albert Lea Lake, he can see the change in the water quality, that says a lot.”

Jensen also had a lot to say about organizations that work tirelessly to protect our natural recourses, like the Fountain Lake Sportsmen’s Club, the group responsible for Jensen’s appearance here in Albert Lea.

“This group has done an outstanding job,” Jensen said. “They do so much for this community, reclaiming the lakes being one of them. But they also are involved in getting the youth out to fish, they’re involved in spreading the word, they’re all about fishing education.”

And what exactly does it take for Albert Lea and Fountain Lake Sportsmen’s Club to get a well known fishing personality to take the time to highlight the area’s many outdoor recreational opportunities?

“Wow, many e-mails, tons of e-mails, and phone calls,” said Frank. “The club put in a lot of time and effort to get Bob Jensen here, but it was worth every minute. You can see standing right here that the water clarity, even after a few days of rain, is much improved from what it was just a few year’s ago.

I have children, and they deserve to be able to enjoy clean lakes. Having Bob here is huge, it goes a long way in trying to convince people that we have a great resource right here in our own community, they don’t have to drive up north for good fishing. I’m not saying people will come and spend a week, but stop by and spend a weekend, and in the process spend money around town, that’s what this is all about, making our community and environment a better place to live.”

That’s what Jensen and fisherman like him are all about as well; he says on his website that if fisherman would become more involved in taking care of the lakes and rivers they enjoy, that fishing and the outdoors experience would be better for us all. As a fellow fisherman, it couldn’t have been said better.

Fishing the Mid-West with Bob Jensen can be seen on FOX Sports every Saturday morning at 11 a.m. and Sunday’s on KIMT at 7:30 a.m.