Pulling A Hail Mary
August 18, 2009
Another day of scorching heat and another day on the water to thoroughly enjoy the high humidity was what I had in store for me today. Elaine & Joel were to fish with me as the party of five were split into 2 boats. We managed to get a slightly later than usual start today but were into fish not long afterwards. Winds were blowing out of the S/W at around 10 knots at least giving us some relief from the 75 degree temps at 9:00 A.M. These would just keep climbing throughout the day however until they topped out somewhere around 90 degrees. We were somewhat fortunate to have clouds & sun instead of just total sunshine and that too felt good. I decided that trolling would be the best way to get the ball rolling and set the lines out in anticipation of a quick bite. Unfortunately, it actually took longer than expected and 10 minutes had lapsed before a reel began to scream. Elaine got the first northern of around 4 pounds to get the ball rolling and then things picked up. Both pike and walleye were being reeled in every 5 minutes or less and a couple of double headers were thrown in for good measure. No big walleye were landed this morning with the largest going somewhere around 3.5 pounds or so and the pike went somewhere closer to 6 pounds. What was great to see though was the smallmouth bass that Elaine landed that was closer to 4 pounds and oh what a fight! She couldn’t believe the raw power of the fish as she brought it to the net. After a few quick pics it too was released back to the area from where she came from. We continued to fish this area for a while longer, all the while looking for a real big walleye and coming up short. The did manage to reel in plenty of decent northerns up to about 7 pounds but the best we could do on the walleye was still under four. I thought a change was in order and switched it up a bit to be able to give them a different species to catch and went for smallies. Soft plastics and blades were thrown in this area but the pickings were slim. Although we had several shots at some good fish, most were either missed or lost altogether. I think Joel managed to get the best one to the net that went somewhere around 3.5 pounds but it didn’t beat the one Elaine had caught earlier in the morning. One more area was to be hit before we switched back to trolling and we headed over there to try and land a few more bass. The winds had kicked up a notch and were now blowing a little stronger than before making boat control somewhat more difficult. Joel was catching a few bass on soft plastics once again and when the winds got even stronger, I had to give him a jig just so he could feel what was going on. There were plenty of bass in this location, but the waves were rolling 2 to 3 footers with an occasional 4 foot rogue thrown in for good measure so we called it quits. When fishing stops being fun, it’s not worth it! It was past 3:30 now and I really wanted to see about getting a big walleye for them so we switched back to the trolling and ran to another area in hopes of a better fish. The run was a little tricky as we were criss crossing the waves and they were intense. Definitely in the 3 to 4 foot class! I wasn’t sure if we were going to be able to troll into the wind without taking some waves over the bow so I ran up higher to troll down wind. Well, I couldn’t get all the rods in the water for 10 minutes as they kept firing! This isn’t a bad thing, just an inconvenience when you’re trying to set up and they had to reel in even more fish. Once again a mix of walleye and northerns were caught but not the ones I was searching for today. It layed down slightly and after making the down wind troll I was able to go into the wind without swamping the front deck, successfully. They continued to reel in fish and some of the pike were a pretty decent average of over 5 pounds. In fact, one of them went over 8 pounds and was really thick around the belly looking quite healthy too. I had planned on calling it around five and thought that we would just get one more before we headed in, when another reel fired. Elaine was generous enough to let Joel have this one and when he picked up the rod, there was some weight on the other end. As with the usual last call, another reel fired and Elaine too was into a fish so I cleared the other rod to allow them to fight the fish without any tangles. I released Elaine’s pike and still hadn’t seen Joel’s fish, but knew what it was even before it made an appearance. It was Walter and it was big! After a little chaos at the boat I was able to slip the net under a dandy of a fish, finally! I don’t know who was happier to see the trophy walleye but I know I was relieved. Not to stress the fish out too much I placed her into the livewell and got everything ready for the pictures. She was big and fat and just the way I like to see them, healthy! I measured her before the release and at 28.5 inches estimated the weight at around 7.5 pounds or better. I really didn’t want to hang her on a scale for an official weight so the length was all we needed before setting her on her way. Wow, talk about getting it in under the wire! I knew there were big fish in this area but was beginning to think that we wouldn’t get to see one when it neared the end of the day. It just goes to show that patience and perseverance pays off! Elaine & Joel had landed plenty of fish each throughout the day and this was just the icing on the cake. I hope tomorrow brings as much luck for the other half of this group and they have their shot at more trophies too!!