UK Firsts (part 2)

Neville & I were right back at it once again today, hoping for a repeat of yesterday. There was definitely more traffic on the lake this morning and more wind as well. An early troll was cut short as the water color wasn’t cutting it for me. Although we did manage to get several fish, I wasn’t happy with the results and decided to move on. I did a bit of running around looking for areas that we could fish, but the wind just made things difficult. We caught everywhere we stopped but I wanted to get him into some more smallies and didn’t stop until I found them. I even hit a bunch of areas that I usually do well in at this time of year only to find that the depth required serious adjustment. Baits I usually caught fish on just weren’t working! The winds weren’t helping either so I tried something and immediately found results. We were drop shotting and drifting with the wind over deeper flats and getting bit. We may not have gotten into a ton of fish this way but both bass and quality walleye were falling victim to the slower presentations. Neville was catching fish on a method he had wanted to learn! We made several different drifts over the area and rods were bent each time. I thought we’d hit another spot close by and it didn’t take long before he was into another quality bass. One more technique to tick of his list! Afterwards I thought we’d try a little casting for smallies with soft plastics and on our first casts, we had a double. I had only wanted to search the area but somehow managed to get the hooks into a nice smallie in the process. After catching several more we both agreed, taking one on the fly was up next! I rigged one of the 6 weight rods and he began the quest. It really didn’t take long before he locked up and a beauty it was. He had hooked into the best smallie in two days and on a fly too! After several minutes of battle Neville finally netted his prize, but not before a comedy show of tangling the net in the rod holders! Obviously it was meant to be because the fish stayed pinned long enough for him to complete the job. Several pics were taken of his fish before it was finally released to fight another day! We had every intention of remaining in the area as it seemed to be holding some really good fish. Unfortunately the radar showed that we were about to get crushed and the system looked electrical. A unanimous decision to move had us running to the other side of the lake to avoid the storm. It apparently was the right decision as we stayed relatively dry and watched walls of water blanket the area where we were before. With bigger winds upon us, I wasn’t left with many options. I trolled for a little while until it passed and caught several more fish in the process. Once it looked safe, I ran to an area further away and closer to the ramp to fish. We dropshotted for the remaining time and managed to catch several more bass & walleye before calling it a day. Neville had completed a long list of items in a very short period of time. Of all the things he did, I think the one that he will remember the most is the bass on the fly! Hats off to the Englishman in Canada for making these two days a pleasure. I’m not sure who had more fun!!


UK Firsts

Neville hooked up with me today for two days of fishing, all the way from England. We hit the water in overcast skies that soon gave way to a non stop drizzle, but we didn’t care. The big fish were biting and that was all that mattered! He had never landed a walleye before and managed to get a bunch of really big ones back to back on the troll. Along with the Walters, he also reeled in many good northerns before we relocated and changed it up. He wanted to catch some bass so I brought him out for smallies first. It wasn’t going according to plan with the high muddy water and all he managed were a few lost fish on the jump. I quickly set him up with a blade instead of the tube and he landed his first ever brownie. Prior to this, he managed to catch a 3 pound walleye as well. He also had a great follow from a small musky that blew up at the boat. This area was starting to look like a multi species spot!

The afternoon saw a change in weather and with it, a change of species. We were now targeting largemouth and getting into them pretty good. The sun was shining, the wind was down and the bite was on. Many green bass fell victim to a soft plastic and a few brown ones as well. We ended the day just before 4:00 as I was taking him to a local watering hole for a great dinner. This proved to be the highlight of the day as both the food and atmosphere were to his liking. Tomorrow we will try to get a few other firsts for him including one of those feisty smallies on the fly. He also talked about learning the drop shot technique so that too is on the list. Hopefully we can accomplish everything he’s looking for in the two short days he’s here!!

Waiting Out The Weather

What a start to the morning! A 7:00 meet time turned into a 10:00 departure as electricity & I don’t mix! Neil & his son Ben also concurred and we decided to let it pass before heading out on the lake. The danger may have been over but it left behind some pretty big winds that created 2 to 3 footers on the water. I was expecting it to get worse as the day progressed so we started on an open water flat, looking for some active fish. I don’t know if it was because of the recent weather, but they were quite reluctant to chase anything down. Although I was marking fish, they were barely moving. In the first 30 minutes we lost two fish and had another rip before anything stayed pinned and came aboard. Ben had 3 chances, then he finally put one in the net! Although it was only a pike, it was a good sign and the confidence began to build. In the next couple of hours they picked at them pretty good including some decent walleye. In fact at one point in a little deeper water, they put three back to back to back great eyes in the boat. All of them were way over and after a few quick pics, released to keep growing. I wish everyone would abide by the rules and not harvest the big spawners, illegally!

I had a lot of areas I wanted to fish today but knew I would be at the mercy of the weather. The winds had picked up considerably and it was now time to move. A little change up and some casting for bass and Neil was in his glory. We found a slightly sheltered location where they would be able to feel the line and hopefully the bites. A blade was thrown by both to try and entice a few active ones but nothing was moving. It took a much slower approach with a jig to finally get them to go. Although Neil fended quite well with a good half dozen smallies, Ben wasn’t as fortunate. He was having trouble feeling the bites and missed several, including a few he thought were pinned. This went on for a while, in and out of squalls of rain and bizarre skies. I needed to make another move and decided to go back to a troll in hopes of getting a few more keeper walleye for them to take home. It wasn’t going to be easy with the winds intensifying, pre frontal. I could see the storms all around us and kept fairly close to a nearby shore for an escape route. Although we never really needed to run, fishing was still difficult in these winds. Turning into the wind wasn’t an option as waves would have come over the bow. I kept an angled course and tried to stay on the waypoints as best I could. Throughout all the wind and rain, we still managed to catch a pile more fish and both Neil and his son Ben took turns reeling them in. Mostly pike were landed but Neil actually got to fight and land another toothy critter. I wasted no time unhooking her from the lure and after a few quick pics released her unharmed. This was definitely the icing on the cake! It had been several years since Neil had boated a musky with me and he was happy to have fought one on lighter tackle. We reset the lines and tried for another but only managed several more smaller northerns. As we were nearing the end of the day I decided to head back to one of the only places fishable and cast for bass. Ben continued the big drop but finally managed to land a nice one and we were done. I knew it was going to be a rough ride back and packed everything up for the run. I literally had to tack like a sailboat at times to avoid bringing water over the bow. As we neared the ramp, I now had to trim way up and keep it off plane to avoid the 4 & 5 footers from swamping us. It may have taken us a little longer than usual, but we were all dry and so was the boat! When I looked behind, I could see what we had just come back in and it was ugly! Walls of white looked like sheep in a field! The only other knuckleheads out were the ones riding the waves like kite surfers. We had made the best of a difficult day and finished on top. Plenty of fish were landed in extreme conditions and everyone of them was released to fight another day. This year is looking like another windy one and with the increase in water levels everywhere, it’s going to be difficult to run the shallows in order to escape the waves. I’m sure glad I have the Ranger, because I’d be scrapping plenty of days just like this one! Praying for smaller seas in the days ahead!!


Another Birthday Gift

Eric was out with me last season for sturgeon and back again today with two others for pike & walleye. He was treating his son Nathan to a half day of fishing for his birthday and his friend Eric came along as well. We met at the ramp before 7:00 and to my surprise, it was blocked at the water by barriers. This year has been a roller coaster for launching that needs to end, real soon! They had put the docks in this week and the company they used hadn’t fastened some of screws that hold the deck panels in place. Needless to say, they floated away leaving a bunch of holes where you should be able to walk. It’s hard to find good help! A couple of boats were launching so we created a passage and dropped our rigs in. Enough is enough!

I wasted no time getting the kids into fish and before we knew it, everyone was on the board. It was a little difficult due to the overcast skies and cool water temps once again but by covering water, we found them. Both pike & walleye were falling victim to the trolled baits and the numbers were starting to climb. We even had a double header as I passed over a small gravel spot that produced one big walleye and a smallmouth. Several firsts were had by young Eric as he managed to land all three species! Not having fished much before made today even more special as the action was non stop. They literally caught fish from the start to the finish! At one point in the morning I changed locations and got into more fish again. It was here that Eric landed his first ever walleye after seeing the others bring plenty of their own on board earlier. Although this may have been a present for his son, Eric enjoyed the day as much as the kids. Everyone fought & landed plenty of quality fish in the 5 hours on the water. Time definitely passed quickly today and noon arrived before we knew it. Back at the ramp, we noticed that many others had launched during the morning too. I guess they were fed up as well because now there were several more trailers in the parking lot.

I thought I was going to have a smooth ride home with plenty of time to do work round the house. Unfortunately that was cut short as I was about to find out! As soon as I got off the highway and was travelling on a main road, the trailer ran over something laying in the street. Not long after, I could see in my mirror that the tires were losing air. I pulled into a gas station a little further and when I stopped, they were totally deflated. Yuup, two flats! With only one spare, I had to call a buddy to bring me his spare as well. What a total pain in the butt, changing two tires at once. I eventually managed to get it all done and the spares put on the trailer but not in record time. Some of the lug nuts were on so tight that I needed the help of another person just to budge them. Looks like I will be buying some new tires this week as I don’t know how big the holes were. All I do know however is they both lost air real quick. In less that three minutes they were completely deflated. That doesn’t sound good to me! Great day of fishing but I didn’t like the surprise that followed!!

Launch Officially Open

Scott & George wanted to get an early start today so we hooked up at 6:00 A.M. It was nice to finally have the launch open this morning and we wasted no time dropping in. They even put the docks in while I was out too! The last few days had high heat & humidity but a cold front came through overnight dropping the temps considerably lower than I wanted. I knew we would have our work cut out for us until it heated up! Winds were blowing out of the NE, gusting to 20 knots and causing 2 to 3 footers where we began. Although the bite was slow, they still managed to land several decent northerns before I relocated. It was a little bumpy getting to our second spot but once we arrived, the reels started screaming. Fish after fish came aboard and they were finally getting into the numbers that I had hoped for. I covered plenty of water looking for walleye and managed to pick at them in between the pike. Eventually the winds laid down and the bite got even better. So much so that we even had a few doubles! With the weather changing for the good, I decided to return to our original location in hopes of better success. It was like night & day when we arrived! Almost flat calm and water temps were up 5 degrees. It didn’t take long before we were into fish and they were frequent. Both walleye & pike were eating our baits and we even had a smallie in the mix. The day was passing by fast and Scott wanted to do a little drop shotting and tubing so I headed to a slightly deeper reef. It was here that we finished our day with a number of walleye and a few bass. Unfortunately they were both mixed in and I had no control. Friday signifies the bass opener and I will be back out targeting them. Along with the bass, I will continue to target pike & walleye and possibly even sturgeon! Plenty of open dates are still available for this month and with the weather finally looking like summer, the fishing should be great! With any luck, the water may even recede a bit and clear up, but probably not!!