Bring On The Wind
July 5, 2009
After yesterday’s horrible winds and horrific conditions, I was praying for a slightly calmer day today. Ed was joining me on another lake and strong winds from any direction would roll big waves while casting. Well as luck would have it, they were just howling! Although the weatherman said 15 to 20 knots, they were more like 20 to 30 knots from the west where we were. Throw in gusts from time to time and you’ve got a real pleasant day on the water. I could see the white caps from the boat ramp and knew it was going to be a little bumpy getting to where I wanted to begin. I must admit, this Ranger is really made for big water! It cut through the 3 footers great and we both stayed dry. With all the wind from yesterday added to today, the water had quite a bit of color to it making lure choices limited. Ed began with a spinnerbait over rocks & weeds and had to work hard for his first few bites. The fish weren’t the size we were looking for, but they were really strong. With the huge waves and overcast skies, it was difficult to actually see what I was looking for and my GPS became my eyes. Without it, it would have been almost impossible to stay on the areas! Today was definitely a day to test the electric motor batteries for their strength. I ran at about 75% for most of the day until the winds subsided late in the afternoon. Although Ed had caught about a half dozen fish or so, I could see that the spinnerbait just wasn’t working that well and changed him up. I switched him to a crankbait rod and repositioned the boat once again. This was definitely the right choice as he began to hammer the bass in giant winds. It felt like he was getting into a fish on almost every cast for a while and some of them were over 4 pounds and meaner than a pit bull. The biggest one was a fat 20.5 inch beauty that managed to make it to the net, but not the largest one hooked. As with all crankbaits on smallies, you always lose a few. I could see at least one or two that were closer to if not over the five pound mark that just came off on the jump. Considering the conditions we were faced with, his landing ratio was fantastic! It was over 75% and that’s great on any day with those tiny hooks. When things began to slow down, so did we and I handed Ed a tube jig rod and told him to start fishing the deeper water adjacent. The fish were still in the area, but not actively feeding where he caught them on the crankbait and a slight adjustment got him back in the game once more. He had effectively fished these areas in 3 or 4 hours and landed close to 40 smallmouth ranging from 2.5 to over 4 pounds. I think most of the bass he had landed were over 3 pounds on average and plenty of them were in the high threes too. I thought we would change it up a bit and decided to try our hand at trolling for walleye as Ed had never landed a big one before. We headed to an area not too far away and dropped the rods in to see if we could hook him up. When the first reel fired, it was hooked to a small northern of around 3 pounds and not what we were looking for. The next time however, the reel screamed and the rod loaded up with a heavy fish. I was pretty sure by the way it was acting that it was a big eye and told him to finesse the fish in. I have had too many of these big walleye barely hooked and plenty of them had come off in the net recently. This fish stayed down and when we finally caught a glimpse, we got our confirmation. It was a big eye! Ironically, it peeled line off the reel several times giving Ed a fantastic fight despite the fact that walleye usually fight like a wet rag. When I netted the fish, I knew it would go more than 5 pounds and put the boga on her to remove the hooks. It clearly went over 6 pounds and was a personal best for Ed. After a few quick pics, we released her back to the water unharmed. Ed wanted to take home a couple, but this one wasn’t going to be killed for the table. I informed him that I had some fillets in the freezer back home and would gladly trade them off for the release. We continued to troll for a while after, but were only able to manage a few more northerns up to about 6 pounds. With limited time left in the day, we decided to try our luck at more bass and switched it up once again. I love having the luxury of adjusting with the Ranger anytime I feel the need! The water was really dirty where we tried next and other than a couple of follows, we went scoreless. We fished one more area before we were to call the day and Ed managed to hit another big blackie on a crankbait. Obviously, the stop was worthwhile as the 4 pounder was photographed and returned unharmed. He did manage to land another one of around 3 pounds on a senko as well but that was all. Despite the miserable start to the day, the overall outcome was phenomenal. Ed had managed to get into close to 50 smallies and land over 75% of them along with a beautiful walleye as well. I don’t think he will be forgetting this day anytime soon!!!