A Friendly Competition

Day two and off to another body of water in search of giant bronzebacks! Darren, Mark and Dave were hoping for some great action and it began quickly. Within the first 5 minutes, Dave connected with his biggest bass of the day. Drawing first blood in a group of three always gives the others an incentive to fish harder. They had a little 3 fish competition going on and I was the ref. I don’t usually keep fish in the livewell when it’s not necessary so we would be doing a pencil tourney today. Everyone would have to keep track of their own totals. With all three of them working the area, it wasn’t long before Darren too was into a huge smallie. His turned out to be another big fish and now two of them were on the board! I made several passes in various depth and they managed to get several more good fish. The only one that wasn’t on the board yet was Mark and it wasn’t for lack of trying. He had been crushed two or three times but never got the hooks to his fish.

We had started out in flat calm conditions, but were expecting giant winds to arrive soon. Forecasts were for Gale Force over 40 knots and I knew we would be limited to the places we were able to fish. I was taking advantage of our window early and hitting all the areas that were going to be pounded, as I knew they would be out of commission later!

When the winds finally arrived, we relocated and were still fairly sheltered, catching bass. I had moved to where we wouldn’t get crushed and they were able to fish effectively. All three of them were catching smallies but it was Darren that had the lead with his three biggest bass, so far. Mark had officially made it on the board with a couple of nice fish along with several smaller ones as well. I decided to cover all the areas and the numbers continued to climb. It seemed that the majority of fish being landed were really good ones with the techniques being used and I wasn’t about to switch up quite yet. Darren increased his lead with another giant right after he had dropped a couple of others around the same size. Dave & Mark were also getting fish but not the size they wanted and needed. Time to switch up baits and locations!

I made another move and put everyone on a slower presentation to see what would happen. It didn’t take long before they were into more fish and they were big! Darren managed to cull another one and seemed untouchable now. The others would have to really get lucky in order to have any chance of catching up. Although Mark & Dave bumped up their total, it was still far from the lead. To make matters worse, Darren landed another one that gave him an even bigger lead. It was all over but the crying! We fished until about 4:00 and finally pulled the plug on the day.

Today was a great end to their annual two day trip and despite the hurricane winds, we were able to make it work. A careful plan throughout the day had them constantly on good fish. I moved around according to the intensity of the big blow and was able to keep them fishing comfortably, the whole time out. Needless to say, Darren’s 3 fish total won their bet by over 3 pounds! He had reclaimed the name, “Lucky D” that I had given him many years back and gladly taken their money! Who knows, maybe next year they’ll have a trophy made up making it more official. Sort of like “Angler of The Year” in the tournament world!

Salvaging The Day

Darren, his brother Mark & their friend Dave were with me for a couple of days and looking to catch just about anything. We began a little later than usual and headed out about 8:30 in search of big fish. We were going to try for sturgeon, if the anchor would hold. Fortunately once we arrived, the winds weren’t too bad and it wasn’t a problem. I set the lines and the wait began. Several hours later and many moves too, all we had to show for our efforts was one small sturgeon. Although there was plenty of action with fish banging into the lines, none of them were real bites. We unanimously decided to head elsewhere and go for bass & walleye.

The winds had intensified as we stopped in the area and I set the electric motor on anchor to prep their rods. Love the new Motor Guide! Dave managed to get into a nice bass almost immediately but despite several other bites, that’s all she wrote! Both Darren & Mark had hits as well but the fish weren’t getting stuck. We made one other move nearby with similar results and pulled out completely afterwards. Time to switch gears completely!

I made a long run in 2 & 3 footers and hit a deeper shoal in hopes that we could salvage the day. This was apparently the right decision as we remained here for the balance of the day. Everyone caught fish and some of them were even brought back for dinner. Several over slot walleye were released along with a bunch of short ones too. They even managed to get a decent northern and a ton of giant perch from the area before we called the day.

Although today’s start didn’t pan out exactly as I had hoped, our finish was definitely better. I had moved to an area that was holding a lot of fish by the looks of the sonar and they had caught quite a few from it. Tomorrow we will be back out again, but hitting a different lake instead. Hopefully the bite will be strong from the start and the weather will hold off long enough for us to be able to fish. Giant winds are forecasted and we will be limited to the areas we are able to fish. We’re all crossing our fingers that it works out!

Dinner Pickeral

Friday the 13th and heading out on the water for a few hours with a buddy of mine. Thankfully I’m not superstitious! We hooked up shortly after 7:30 and were fishing soon after. Walleye were the targeted species today as we both needed a few for dinner. Shouldn’t be a problem!

The winds were forecasted to increase in the afternoon and I hoped we’d be done by then. Presently they were out of the east blowing about 10 knots, producing only one footers on the water. As they were against the current, I decided to use the electric motor instead of trying to drift. At least this way I would be able to hold where I wanted and cast. There would be no drifting today!

As always, the first few fish were overs and released immediately. We did manage to pick up a few keepers as well as several 15 inchers that got released too. After a couple of hours, we moved on, hoping for a better bite elsewhere.

The next location wasn’t much better with only a few keepers coming aboard. A couple of overs and some smallies rounded out the balance of the fish before we shifted locations once again.

This next spot had us feeling the wind change and it definitely increased as well. What started out as an east 10 was now a south 15 to 20. We were struggling to keep the baits where they needed to be as the direction was 90 degrees to the usual flow. Once I got a lock on the exact position I needed to be at, we began catching one after the other. Smallmouth were eating practically every cast we made! I was searching for walleye but these were definitely a bonus in this depth too. We even had a couple of bite offs from old toothy that made me think we weren’t the only ones looking for dinner! Time to move again.

With limited time remaining in the day, I decided to head back to where we started to try for a few more fish. The winds were a whole lot worse now and I had to make shorter drifts across the areas I wanted to fish. We spent about 30 minutes or so and made about 6 or 7 passes before calling it a day. Although we did manage to get several more fish, we were done. We ran back in 3 footers out of the S/SE and I knew the ramp wouldn’t be pretty. It was about to get a whole lot worse too!

I had been informed by a friend a little earlier that the city had decided to remove the docks today. They were in the process of lifting them out when he pulled up an hour earlier. I wasn’t sure what to expect with the wind directly on the ramp! Another smaller boat had a big surprise too when they arrived. Unfortunately they swamped their rig big time once they pulled it up and got out. The waves just continued to roll over their transom when they went for their trailer. I on the other hand took refuge on the inside wall and made removal of my rig quickly. No water and no worse for wear!

The remainder of the season will be interesting launching in certain winds without anywhere to tie off. Plenty of great fishing still to be had for everything that swims and I won’t let a little issue like this deter me from dropping the boat back in. As long as Mother Nature isn’t too cruel, I’ll be back for more!

Another First

A couple of years ago at this time, I had the pleasure of fishing with Buddy and his friends. Today he was back alone and on a different puddle! We hooked up about 8:00 in a heavy fog and ventured offshore to our first spot, looking for a few bites. As this was to be a half day outing, I wanted to get him into fish as quickly as possible.

The conditions looked perfect for drifting with a good SW wind and I set him up with a drop shot. We moved along nicely marking plenty of quality fish and I knew he was about to hook up. I was right and he landed his very first walleye ever! I had no idea that Buddy hadn’t caught them before and informed him that he would definitely be catching bigger and more before the day was done. Right back at it, we continued drifting over all kinds of fish but for some reason the bites were minimal. I decided to try jigging over them and immediately hooked one. Buddy did manage to land another and lose a good one on the drop shot afterwards but it was slow. I soon changed him to a jig and we went right back up to give it another go.

With a little instruction on the technique required, he was soon locked up and battling a nice eye. This would prove to be his biggest for the day and definitely worthy of a pic. We kept t it afterwards making several more drifts over the deep shoal and landed fish each and every pass. Eventually the winds picked up considerably more and I was forced to relocate to another area much further away.

I was now on a current break and utilizing the new electric motor to hold on the spot. I set Buddy up with the drop shot rod again and informed him of how the current played into the mix. He hooked into something on his very first cast, but lost the bass on the jump. Several casts later, he hooked into another and this one made it to the net for a pic. The remainder of the time had him losing several more and landing plenty as well. In fact at one point, we had a sighting of a big lunge as he reeled in a nice walleye. I guess old toothy wanted a free meal too! We eventually called it a day shortly after 12:30 and headed back to take out.

Half days are always tougher as time restraints limit the number of areas I am able to fish. Having one rod active also reduces the number of chances too! Despite these circumstances, Buddy definitely fended quite well, landing several smallies and a bunch of walleye today. He may have waited two years to fish with me again, but I don’t think it will be as long the next time. Something tells me I will be seeing him and his group next fall after the half day spent today. I’m looking forward to it too!

Rained Out

Joey and his 3 daughters joined me today for what was supposed to be a half day outing. We left the dock before noon and it immediately started to drizzle. As soon as I arrived at our location, I raised the roof to try and keep them all dry. A light wind out of the east had us practically anchored so the drifts wouldn’t be easy. All 4 of them had little to no fishing experience and a complete instruction was required. I had Joey casting a jig and his daughters on drop shot rigs, with the top limiting their casting.

It took a little while for them to get use to the equipment, but eventually Joey hooked into a nice walleye. This was his first one ever and I dropped it in the well for them to take home later. Not long after, June hooked into another walleye and a picture was needed before placing it in the well with the other one. Joey also had a couple more chances, but unfortunately failed to keep the fish pinned.

The rain had increased some and the winds had switched to the south, causing everyone to be getting a little wet. It didn’t help that some of them were fishing from the open part of the boat and not under the top! I had to supply a little rain gear as the girls were also beginning to get cold from being wet and talk of calling the day was already going around.

With the winds picking up, the drifts were quicker and I was making more moves back, more often. With each return, the girls were getting colder & colder and I knew it was only a matter of time before they would call it. The next drift saw a couple more fish landed as well as some missed. I could see that the winds had fired up the fish and expected more action, but they were just about done! We made one last drift and landed a couple more walleye before packing it up and returning to the dock. Our half day trip had been cut in half again due to the miserable conditions. Joey and his girls had seen enough!

After bringing down the top and packing everything up, I ran back in the fog to take out. Of course once the boat was on the trailer, the rain stopped! I could also see way off in the distance, sunshine was on its way. I’m sure that if they hadn’t been so wet & cold that we would have returned to continue fishing. Unfortunately that was not the case and they were done! They also didn’t want to take the walleye home with them and the girls released one each at the dock. I guess it was their lucky day! Despite the short outing, everyone had a good time fishing for their first time. Although there weren’t loads of fish landed, it wasn’t too bad for the two hours we fished! Mother Nature didn’t completely win today!