In Search of Personal Bests
September 14, 2014
Howard & his son Andrew were with me all the way from Virginia for three days looking for personal bests. They said they were up for anything so I planned on giving them everything! They had also brought a cold front with them and we began the first day with air temps below 50 degrees. Maximum water temps were 66 degrees and warmer than the highest air temps for the day. Along with the cool air we had major cloud cover and winds from the NE blowing 10 to 20 knots. Not ideal conditions to say the least! Two days before, I had 71 degree water and over 70 degree air to fish in, but that was all gone now! I started in an area trolling for pike & walleye and after about 90 minutes we had only a handful of fish to show for our efforts. Although Andrew did manage to land a really nice walleye of 5 pounds and his personal best, I wasn’t satisfied and decided to switch gears completely. We headed elsewhere and targeted the sturgeon for several hours, in hopes of a few big bites. Well as luck would have it, they both managed to land monsters and a few hours resulted in most of the day. We stuck it out here as this seemed like the smartest thing to do. These fish were somewhat active and we were hooking up every half hour or so. Never leave fish to find fish is my motto and I wasn’t about to change it today! About mid afternoon I needed to show them a technique for the second day of fishing and thought it would be a good idea to orient them. We relocated to another area and I instructed them on drop shotting the depths. We were over smallies and walleye and I knew someone would catch a few fish while class was in session! It was a little tricky with boat positioning due to the wind direction and this made feeling the bottom for them difficult as well. Eventually everything fell into place and they were able to fish correctly. So much so that they both missed a few bites before Andrew finally locked up on his first deep water bass. He followed it up with a walleye and gained the confidence he needed, when adjusting his line over various depths. Although Howard didn’t land anything here, he at least had the basic knowledge for tomorrow. We would be fishing much deeper water and feeling the bottom properly was an absolute necessity. As the day was getting on, I thought I would drop the lines back in and try another troll in hopes that the fish were more active. Due to the windy conditions and direction it was blowing, my biggest nemesis was to be the floating weeds. They were everywhere and constant cleaning of the lines was needed to ensure the lures remained free of them. It took a while but we eventually got to an area that produced a triple header. All three rods went off simultaneously and they were locked! To my amazement they were all different in species. They had caught a bass, walleye & pike from the same general area. A little while later we had another double and two walleye came aboard. Although we weren’t crushing them like I had hoped, we were picking at them and that was alright. As Howard still hadn’t caught a big walleye, I combed the area for a while searching for larger eyes. Eventually a deep line went off and I knew he had exactly what we were after. A good walleye about 4.5 pounds was soon in the net and his personal best too! We trolled a little longer and only had one small walleye which I found attached while bringing in the lines. The weeds were just a pain in the butt to have to contend with and I decided to call it a day. They had experienced a pile of different things today and tomorrow would be the same. Different lake, different techniques and hopefully bigger fish. I would be heading somewhere looking for personal best smallmouth for them. Today Howard had landed one about 3.5 pounds and thought that was great. It was also his biggest, but I knew he would get bigger! This was a great starter day for them and with any luck, it would only get better. Another great day for fishing!!