The Fog Bowl
September 19, 2017
Rochelle & her husband Doug joined me this morning for a half day of fishing. We met at 7:30 and headed out in the fog! Visibility was good enough to get where we needed, but it got thicker afterwards. At one point it became so thick that we couldn’t see a thing! We fished this area and although I was marking plenty of good fish on the bottom, they didn’t seem to want to eat. The light N/E wind wasn’t helping either as our drifts were terrible. It felt like we were anchored! They actually had to cast the rigs instead of the usual drifting technique, due to no movement. A couple of small fish were landed but I needed to make a drastic change if we were going to catch better fish. I decided to use the kicker and slow idle over the schools having them toss behind as we were still moving. Sort of like a trolling drift! It obviously worked because immediately Doug landed a nice high end keeper and we had our first pic of the day! It was released and they went right back in, with them missing several more strikes on the hookset. I decided to make a move as we had been over these fish for quite a while, unsuccessfully.
The next area wasn’t looking too good as I was barely marking anything. They dropped in and I slowly moved them down current with the aid of the small engine, looking for fish. When I did see something, Doug was immediately rewarded with a nice smallie. A great fight and several jumps later, it was in the net, ready for the photo shoot. We continued the same technique after the release and Rochelle managed another bass, slightly smaller. Unfortunately this was all they were going to get here and I decided to move back to where we had begun.
Weeds were floating all over the surface now, making for difficult fishing and the winds had increased slightly from the east when we arrived. Add to that the insane amount of dog pecker knats and the conditions had gotten worse! I tried using the same presentation but only a few small fish were landed. I decided to try another technique and was rewarded on the first cast with a jig. Time for a change up! I pulled out a couple of other rods and coached them on how to fish the baits. Doug caught one and missed several strikes and Rochelle landed a small walleye. We had covered the area now for almost an hour and this was all we had to show for our efforts. Time to pack up and head to another area to finish our day!
I stopped on a spot that usually moves me at about 1 knot but soon found out that it was terrible here as well. I tried drifting it and saw that we were being moved sideways and at 0.3 mph. I showed them how to drop shot vertically and immediately Rochelle had a nice smallie on the line. Too bad it didn’t stayed pinned when it went into the air and threw the hook! At least I knew there were fish here and that it was fishable! Doug was fending about the same as he was missing fish too. I didn’t like the speed and direction we were going so I decided to move the boat along with the aid of the electric motor, trying to remain vertical. They were still having difficulties keeping fish on and dropping almost every one they hooked. At one point, Rochelle hooked into a monster smallie and I thought she finally had a picture fish. It jumped and actually stayed on the hook which was a good thing! I turned to get the net and before I could return, I heard a terrible snap. The fish had gone under the boat, around the electric motor and broke the leader, leaving her heartbroken. Not to cry over spilled milk, I tied on a new rig and we made a couple more unsuccessful drifts, with only missed fish. By 12:30 we were done!
Although this day didn’t turn out like I expected, plenty of chances were had. The conditions made for tough fishing and not being use to these techniques made it even more difficult. Our numbers were definitely down today and could have been much better if the fish stayed on. Despite all of this, Doug & Rochelle still had a great time out on the water. Half days like these always make me wish we had more time and I’m sure that if it had been a whole day, we could have rebounded with a good afternoon bite. Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to get even the next time out!