Well it looks like Winter has finally set in. Temperatures have been dropping and the first flakes of snow have finally arrived. When that starts it’s time for me to put things away for another year. Earlier today I pulled all my lures and electronics out of the boat. I hooked up the battery to give it a full charge for the winter and fogged the engine as well. As I was putting the lures away I gave them a quick look over to see what I needed to replace for next year. For some reason I went through a lot of Rapala’s this year, more than I realized.
I am all out of one of my favorite lures, a #9 custom painted Copper Crazy Tiger Rapala. I don’t remember losing that many but apparently I lost 4 of them over the season. This got me to thinking so I started to look for my busted lip box. As the season goes on I keep all the Rapala’s I busted the lips on into one box. Eventually I pull the hooks off of them to use later, I had no idea I had so many.
This got me to thinking again as to why went through so many lures. I was cleaning out the Jeep today as well and I never pulled down all the launch passes hanging on my rear view mirror. They stayed there since the beginning of the season. I had quite a few of those as well. Once I pulled them down I started to count and I had over 50 of them.
I knew that wasn’t an accurate count because there were a few times I got to launch for free and I used the Harrison ramp a few times early and later in the year. I then checked my spreadsheet for the year and it turns out I made 62 trips this year. 57 of those trips were in my boat and I was a guest on 5 others. During this time I caught 245 walleye, my best year ever. The main reason for this was because of one thing, weather. This year the weather was just about perfect. I started fishing in February and the usual April storms never happened. This allowed me to catch 63 walleye that month, again my best April fishing ever. Of course May was a disaster because of the early Silver Bass run but once June rolled around the fishing was hot again. Thanks to a lot of light west winds I was able to fish all summer long without a lot of issues with the weeds. This continued on all the way into October. Of course there were a few days here and there but for the most part bad weather was never an issue. The only time the weather became a factor was when “Sandy” hit. That storm pretty much ruined the river for November. Come December it started to get cold and the arthritis told me to pack it in for the year. I wasn’t going to complain. I had enough fish to get me through the winter, I got to introduce some new people to handlining and I pretty much made it through the whole year unscathed. Which is more than I can say for some of my fellow handliners.
I did learn a few things over the course of the year as well. Now seems like a good time to share them.
1. Wool gloves and treble hooks still don’t mix, they don’t get along with blue jeans either.
2. Exact change for launching speeds up the process. The police at the Trenton station appreciate it as well.
3. White Bass are still a pain. I wish the DNR would increase the daily limit for them.
4. I didn’t take a single kid fishing this year. Shame on me.
5. If we don’t get a lot of rain or snow this winter launching could become very difficult next year.
6. Lions…….need I say more?
7. If I don’t catch a 10 pound walleye next year I never will. Those 2003 class fish are not going to be around forever.
8. Smithwick Rattlin’ Rogue’s work. On 2 different occasions my Dad caught two walleye at the same time on the same lure. I have never done that on a Rapala and I catch 10 times the fish he does.
9. Landing nets are a handy item to have, especially when I am fishing with my Dad. He has a bad habit of losing fish at the side of the boat.
10. I need to fish out of other boats more. I had some of my best nights while I was a guest on another persons boat.
11. Three fish caught will now be known as a “Dan” limit.
12. Even the kindest, most well mannered fisherman will drop more F-Bombs than I can count when I out fish him 8 to nothing in an hour.
13. My hot lure for the year was a #11 Bleeding Chartreuse Rapala. I caught more walleye on the one lure I used more than any other. It can be found at the bottom of the picture. I busted the lip on December 8th, my last trip of the year. Go Figure.