10/26/12 Friday Night Walleye

27 10 2012

While I was cleaning up the boat and putting stuff away last Wednesday Richard and Mark were pulling into the dock.  We chatted for awhile and Richard told me about what a hard time he was having putting any fish in the boat.  He had done well all summer but ever since the cold weather set in he has been snake bit.  I told him I would take him out Friday night and he asked if we could go out in his boat.  That wasn’t a problem for me so we made plans to meet back here at the ramp that night at 6:30 pm.

Once I got home from work I grabbed my stuff (at least I thought I did) and headed for Elizabeth Park.  Right when I pulled in I realized I forgot my reel and shanks.  Good thing for me that Richard had an extra reel and shank.  I would have to use an A&S reel instead of my Schaller but it was going to be dark out and no one would notice.  Me forgetting my shanks turned out to be a good thing.  Since we were going to try and figure out why Richard wasn’t catching anything it was best that I use his set-up.  If I didn’t catch anything then we would know it was the shank.  If I did catch something then we would have to look elsewhere.  About 5 minutes in we soon realized we would have to look elsewhere.   About 30 minutes later I had 5 in the cooler with one of them being a 26 inch 6 pounder.  Richard changed lures to size 7 and 9 Rapala’s like I was catching my walleye on.  It didn’t seem to matter, still no fish.  I started asking questions.  Did he change leader material?  How about he length of the leads? Different weights? I knew the shank was alright but was he using the right clevice?  I even asked if he changed out the hooks on his lures and put on bigger ones?  He hadn’t changed anything but it was now 8:00 pm, I had caught 8, threw back 1 and lost 2.  Richard had yet to even have a hit. We fished for awhile longer and I spent more time watching what Richard was doing instead of actually fishing.  Eventually he did  catch a walleye around 8:30 pm.  About 20 minutes later he had another one on a jointed lure he painted himself.  It was now close to 9 and I had to get going so we pulled lines and headed towards the dock.  We ended up with 9 and threw back one that was a borderline 15 inch fish.  While we were putting stuff away and getting the boat secure we took pictures and talked more about how the evening progressed.  I gave Richard one of my 1 1/4 pound weights to see if that would make a difference over his 1 1/2 pound weights.  I also suggested using size 2 30 pound snaps.  My last suggestion was for him to drag the weight a little more and not keep it off the bottom so much.  Most of the fish I caught hit as I lowered my hand back.  None of the fish hit as I was pulling forward.  He said he would give it all a try, hopefully it works out.  I hate to see anyone not catch anything, especially with the kind of hours he puts into this.

Final tally for the night was 9 fish from 15 to 26 inches for a total weight of 28 pounds.  Water was clear and the weeds were not an issue.  Even the north wind laid down around 8 and it really wasn’t that cold out.  It actually turned out to be a near perfect night.  All my fish came on Bleeding Series Rapala’s….Olive, Copper Flash and Blue Shad.  Richard picked up one on a #7 Clown and a custom painted jointed  body bait.

      

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Happy Weedsday

25 10 2012

My apologies to Winnie the Pooh and all the other inhabitants of the 100 acre wood but it seemed appropriate. 

I was able to get out of work Wednesday (10/24/12) at a decent time so I took advantage of the wonderful weather and headed to the river.  By 6:45 pm I was on the river with lines in the water.  The water was clear with a surface temp of 56 degrees.  The winds were out of the south and very light with a clear sky above me.   Word must be getting out about the fishing because there were a few new boats on the water tonight. 

Not much happened at first but once I got near the “Cat” I had my first fish on for the night.  After I got him in the cooler I spun back around and went through the same spot.  I quickly hooked into another fish but he was barely hooked and I lost him right at the stern of the boat.  I made a few more passes through the area but no takers so I kept on moving north.  By now the sun had set and evening was slowly taking over.  I hooked into another fish but I also lost this one at the boat.  This was starting to get frustrating but it happens.  I can deal with a lost fish here and there but the onslaught of the weeds was more than I cared to deal with.  For the rest of the night I was constantly clearing weeds off my lines.  My lures spent more time out of the water than in it.  At one point I became so frustrated I let out a scream of obscenities that I’m sure was heard all the way down to Gibraltar.  I was still able to pick up a few fish here and there but after an hour of this I seriously debating heading in.  As I was mulling over what to do next I hooked and landed my biggest fish of the night, a 24 inch 4 pounder.    That made up my mind for me and I decided to stick it out a little while longer.  As I was dropping my lines down I got a hit and reversed gears and brought them up with the fish.  Number 4 was in the box and I was on my way to filling my limit.  About 10 minutes later I was clearing lines once again when I had another hit on my kicker while the lure from my 20 foot lead was in my hand.  I quickly released it and brought in my 5th for the night.  I had been thinking that some of the fish might be suspended and it looks like I was right.  Three of the fish I caught tonight were while I was setting lines down or checking them for weeds.  Also, I shortened my kicker to less than 5 feet and I trimmed about 3 feet off of my middle lead which was now only 17 feet long.  The only lead I didn’t change was my 40 footer and I didn’t catch anything on that one.  Next time out I may have to try a shorter leader on my 40 inch clevice or maybe hook it up near the wire snap swivel. 

Final tally for the night was 5 in the box, 3 lost, 1 throwback and everything came on my short leaders.  7 fish came on the kicker and the #7 Bleeding Olive and the other 2 on the 17 foot lead (20 inch clevice) and a #9 Bleeding Copper Flash Rapala.  Looks like I will be stocking up on these 2 lures over the winter. 

Once I pulled lines a little after 9 I ran up alongside of my friends Richard and Mark to see how they were doing.  They had 3 and were just about as fed up with the weeds as I was.  The 3 fish they had all came on their kicker leaders as well.  Found out later that 3 other people I know took home some fish as well.  Leo and Tom caught 10 and Larry ended up with 3. 

There are a lot of nice fish in the river right now. 

Weedsday Walleye





Dad’s Turn 10/21/12

22 10 2012

As expected my Dad hung around for another day so he could take advantage of the walleye fishing.  We went out at the same time I did the night before and it didn’t take long before we had 3 in the boat.  I started to think we were going to have an easy night but as the sun set so did the fish.  We fished for 2 more hours and only boated 2 more walleye.  It was still a nice night out.  It was windy at first but once it got dark the south west wind died done to nothing. 

Couple of things we noticed last night was there was a lot of activity before sunset from the gulls.  There were a fair number of them flying around and dive bombing the surface.  They weren’t really concentrated and we couldn’t see what they were going after.  We assumed they were chasing minnows but couldn’t get any physical proof.  When they do this in the Spring it’s becasue the Silver Bass are pushing the minnows up to the surface.  There is no mistaking that.  Another thing we noticed was that the water was starting to cloud up.  I could see the prop on my boat but the water is definitely getting a little dirtier.  That might explain why the fishing slowed down so much after dark.  Who knows?

So we started at 6 by Calf Island and finished up at 8:45 pm when both of my Dad’s leads got all tangled up.  He was trying to undo the mess when I told him to just wad it all up and toss it in the bucket.  I pulled my lines shortly after that.  I had 5 more fish to clean and we both needed to get some sleep.  I had to work and he had to make the long drive back to Oscoda in the morning.  I caught the first fish on a #9 Bleeding Copper Flash Rapala and my Dad caught the next two on a Clown Smithwick.  I ended up catching the last two, one on the Bleeding Copper Flash and the other on a #11 Fire Tiger Rapala.  Surface temp is still around 54 degrees and no flaoting weeds but there were plenty of them drifting by below the surface to foul the lures. 

No pictures tonight, I was in a hurry to get fish cleaned and get to bed.





Wind from the West, Fish Bite Best.

21 10 2012

Don’t know how much truth there is with that saying but I’m not going to argue with the results.  I can understand the other part about fish biting least with wind from the east.  Any East wind out of Lake Erie results in too many waves to even think about getting out.  On the river though that is a different story, any wind from the south and the fish bite least.  This had been the case most of the week, south winds and rain.  About the only day worth going out was last Tuesday and I had other obligations.  Once I heard the front that had been causing problems the last few days was moving out I made plans.

I was heading out solo tonight.  My Dad had come down for the Backyard Brawl (Since I went to Eastern I call it the I don’t give a crap Bowl) and he was still at the game.  I arrived at Elizabeth Park just before 6 and I still can’t get over how low the water is.

This breakwall was underwater in the Spring

I headed down to the North end of Calf Island and set up.  I was about 5 minutes into my first pass when I hooked into my first fish, a 19 1/2 inch male on a #11 GFR.  I kept working my way upstream and eventually picked up another nice eater on a #9 Bleeding Copper Flash Rapala.  Shortly after landing that fish Leo and Tom were pulling up in Leo’s boat to see how I was doing.  After a brief talk they continued farther downstream to set up.  Once I got up near the Catamaran I hooked into a bigger fish.  I could tell this one was on my kicker and after a lot of head shakes I was able to bring him to the surface.  Once he was near the boat I could see he was barely hooked and as I went for the net he was gone.  It was probably a 4 to 5 pounder and he bent 3 hooks on a #7 Bleeding Olive Rapala.  Oh well, I got over it about 10 minutes later when I hooked another one on the GFR and this one came into the boat.  Some people replace the hooks on their Rapala’s with bigger and stronger hooks (Like the Mustad Triple Grip) but I choose to keep on the factory originals.  I may lose fish because the hooks bend but when I get hung up those same hooks bend out and I can get the lure back.  At 8 or 9 bucks a piece I’ll take a few lost fish over a lost lure.  Being an accountant I get more aggravated over losing lures than I do losing fish.

By now it was getting close to 8:00 pm and the wind was starting to shift a little from the west to the south west.  It was still below 10 mph so it was no big deal.  The clouds were starting to break up some as well and a sliver of a moon was starting to peak through.  I continued heading towards the stacks and as I reached the opening of the discharge lane I hooked into #4 on the Bleeding Copper Flash.  I made the loop around to try and go through the same area again but another boat that was long lining was trolling right through the area.  I stayed out of their way and pulled lines to make another pass.  It didn’t take long, about 2 minutes later #5 was on and a few second later he was in the boat.  I put everything away and made a run to find Leo and Tom to see how they were doing.  They didn’t have any fish yet so I told them where I picked mine and what I got them on.  After that I headed for the ramp.

Conditions tonight were just about ideal.  Wind out of the west and overcast clouds.  Surface temp on the water was just over 53 degrees with a little bit of a stain to it.  I could still see the prop but the water wasn’t as clear as it has been the last few weeks.  The west wind kept all the surface weeds on the other side of the river so the only weeds I had to deal with were the ones on the bottom.  My Dad decided to stick around for another day so he can get in on this as well.  Got to take advantage of the fishing when the weather cooperates.  This time of year it can fall apart really quick.





I needed a break Walleye trip 10/12/12

13 10 2012

There is nothing quite like a few hours on the river fishing to cure what ails you.  This last week at work was very difficult.  I won’t go into details but let’s just say I was counting the minutes until 5:00 pm Friday night.  By 6:30 pm the boat was hooked up to the Jeep and I was on my way.

When I got to the ramp and started to get the boat ready (no one at the booth, free launch, BONUS!) I took a quick look on the river to assess the situation.  The American flag on the bridge was hanging straight down and the water was still crystal clear.  I didn’t see any minnows jumping in the marina but that really doesn’t mean they left.  They just quit jumping.  There were about a dozen or so trailers in the lot and one of them I recognized, Richard.  Hope he was catching a few.  As I headed downstream I could see about a dozen boats fishing.  A couple jigging or drifting bb’s, a few trolling long lines in “The Slot”, “The Edge”, “The Discharge”, “The Lane” or whatever else you want to call it.  More long liners will show up as the water temp continues to drop.  The surface temp was 54 degrees so it shouldn’t be too much longer.

Once I hit 17 feet of water in front of Calf Island I spun the boat around and set up.  I started off with a #11 GFR, a #9 Blue Holographic and a #7 Bleeding Olive Rapala.  I also shortened my kicker by a foot and my 20 foot lead by a couple of feet.  I thought I would give the shorter leads a try to see if I can pick up any fish that are up cruising around instead of hugging the bottom.  About 5 minutes later I had my first fish on my 40 foot lead and the #11 GFR (so much for my short leader theory).  It was a nice 3 ½ pound male, nice way to start the evening.  Once I got him in the cooler and the lines back down I gave Richard a call to see how he was doing.  He was further south of me down by Calf Island.  He hadn’t caught anything but his guest and fellow DWF member Leo had picked up 2 on a Flatfish tipped with a crawler.  We chatted for a few minutes, wished each other luck and got back to fishing.  I slowly worked my way upstream and about 30 minutes later I picked up another 3 pounder on my kicker and the #7 Bleeding Olive (theory back on).  As I was bringing him in I went into my downstream loop and was soon trolling through the same area where I just caught the 3 pounder.  A couple of minutes later I had another fish on, a nice eater on the #11 GFR (theory blown again).  I love it when that downstream loop maneuver works.  I was well on my way to a 5 fish limit when the walleye feed me a piece of humble pie.  For the next hour and a half I didn’t catch a single fish.  The only thing a caught was a rock.  I felt the snag and then that God awful snap……busted lip.  Sure enough, I pulled my lines and the lip on the #9 Blue Holographic had broken off.  I tossed the lure in the bucket and put a #9 purpledescent Rapala.  By this time Richard had worked his way up to me and was now working over the same water I was.  As 9 o’clock approached I started debating how much longer I was going to stay out.  It was calm out but it was cold and I really wasn’t dressed for it.  I was headed for the stacks and I figured I would make a pass through the opening of the discharge and then head for home.  Just as I reached the opening I had another hit.  Another nice eater on the middle lead (theory on again).  Once I tossed him in the cooler I pulled my lines and packed up for home.  I swung by Richards boat to see how he and Leo were doing and they had the same two fish they caught earlier.  I wished them good luck and headed in.

Side Note:  While I was out Tom called me.  I didn’t realize he was out fishing.  He checked in to see how I was doing and to tell me his results.  He started off jigging and then switched over to a type of pole-lining.  Pole lining was invented by the walleye tournament pros and a “legal” way to hand line.  Years ago handlining was illegal as a form of fishing in the big tournaments and the pro’s came up with a version of it using a fishing rod.  It’s kind of a cross between a bottom bouncing and handlining.  It was his first time at it and He caught a rock bass and lost his weight.  Once it got dark he headed in.

New tool, rubber coated glove. Should keep the hand from getting all tore up.





The Fall Bite

8 10 2012

A lot of walleye fishermen can’t wait for the Spring run to start.  They count the days until ice out and then attack the water in earnest.  I’ll admit that I am just as eager for the fishing to start but the Fall is my favorite time.  There is just something about being out on the river during this time of year.  The trees are changing color, the air is cooler and night time comes sooner.  No more bugs, pleasure boats or jet ski’s….just me and the fish.

 

On this night my friend Chris came along for the ride.  We started just north of Calf Island right around 6:00 pm.  The surface temp on the water was just over 59 degrees and the water was still very clear.  All the west winds kept the floating weeds on the Canadian side of the river.  We picked our lures and started fishing.  It didn’t take long and I caught another one of those dinky little Smallmouth bass.  I was hoping those things had left the river but no such luck.  We continued trolling  up towards the Catamaran when I had my first walleye hit.  He smacked the lure like a freight train and headed to the port side of the boat.  I carefully brought him in and flipped him over the stern of the boat.  My first walleye in over 2 weeks and it was a 23 1/2 inch 4 pound male.  Not a bad way to start.  I picked up another one about 20 minutes alter and lost another as he was getting close to the boat.  Just before I was going to flip him in he swung over behind the boat and crashed right into my prop.   Up came the lure and back to the bottom went the fish.  By now the sun had set and we were making our way over to the stacks.  About mid river Chris hooked into what would turn out to be our biggest fish of the night, a 26 1/2 inch 5 1/2 pound female.  This fish was barely hooked so I didn’t take any chances and netted her.  This was Chris’s biggest walleye handlining and she filled the cooler up nicely.  A little while after that I landed my 3rd fish and it also turned out to be our last.  We fished for a little while longer and pulled lines around 8:30 pm.  We both had to work in the morning and there were fish to clean.  Final tally was 4 walleye that totaled 16 pounds and 2 ounces.  One came on a #11 GFR Rapala and the other on a #7 Bleeding Olive Rapala.  Not bad for a couple of hours and it should only get better as the water temps drop even more.

 





No Walleye 9/30/12

1 10 2012

Well since duck hunting went so well I thought I would try my luck with the walleye. My friend Dan wanted to go as well so by 6:30 pm we were in my boat and headed down the river. The water was still clear and there were some weeds. We started out just north of Calf Island in about 15 feet of water. We put out a combination of Rapala’s and spoons. Normally I run size #11 Rap’s this time of year but the launch ramp was full of shiners so I went with the smaller sizes and spoons. Turns out it wasn’t going to matter. The only thing we caught for the night was one 4 inch Smallmouth. Once it got dark I switched over to #11 Rap’s and Dan was pulling Pencil Plugs. Didn’t matter….still no fish. Shortly after 9:00 pm I got hung up and my shank busted just above my 2nd clevice. I pulled in my remaining lead and tossed it all in the bucket. I let Dan fish for a little while longer but it really didn’t matter.

 

I really can’t figure out where the fish went. Normally on a clear full moon night I do pretty good. These last few trips really have me second guessing. I can’t believe the fish have left but I haven’t been catching any Smallmouth either. That has me thinking that the forage fish have left and the predators right along with them. I’ll figure it out eventually, maybe I’ll try perch fishing next weekend.