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!!