2012, the Year in Review.

23 12 2012

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.

That is a lot of busted lips.

That is a lot of busted lips.

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.

That's a lot of launch passes.

That’s a lot of launch passes.

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.

Last Trip of the Year.

8 12 2012

All good things must come to an end.

This is going to be my last trip of the year.  The weatherman said it was supposed to get up to 45 degrees today so I thought I would give it one more try.  I figured the water to still be dirty so I headed out a little earlier than the week before.  Turns out I was wrong again, the water was actually clearer with about 3 feet of visibility and a surface temp of 41.8 degrees. It was overcast with a NW wind around 5 to 10 mph. I set up down by the blue boat house right at 3:00 pm with a #11 Bleeding Blue Shad, #9 Bleeding Copper Flash and a #7 Bleeding Original Shad.  No one else was on the river except for a bunch of gulls and a couple of deer on the shore.

The first 90 minutes provided nothing but a few floating weeds and some stiff cold fingers.  About 4:30 I had my first fish on.  He hit the #11 Rapala in the middle of the river between the stacks and the Catamaran.  He was very lethargic, no fight, just dead weight.  Around 5:00 pm I had another hit, it was very light and after a few seconds he was gone.  I stayed until about 6:00 pm before I pulled lines and headed for home.

My 2012 walleye season ended the same way it started.  1 walleye, caught on a very cold day and a brain freeze that wasn’t caused by a Slurpee.

Merry Christmas Walleye II

December Walleye

2 12 2012

December is a time that most people spend scrambling around getting ready for Christmas.  Shopping for presents, Christmas parties, visiting relatives and everything else that goes along with the holidays.  As for me I’m watching the weather to see if I can get that last trip in for the year.  Every year is hit or miss, last year it was a miss, this year was a different story.  Earlier in the week the weather forecasters were calling for 50+ degree days for the weekend.  That sounded great but with a warm front usually comes a lot of SW wind.  Well Saturday came, no rain, no wind and warm temps.  Time to launch the boat.

Originally I had planned on going alone but I talked to my friend Chris earlier in the day and since he didn’t have anything else going on he decided to come along.  We hit the water at about 3:30 pm and headed downstream to my usual spot.  Surface temps were 39 degrees with about 2 feet of visibility.   Not exactly the crystal clear water I had been hearing from some people.  If I had known it was going to be like this I would have started earlier.  Never the less we set up and started fishing.  I was running Rapala’s in size 11 down to 7 and Chris was running a pair of Smitwick Rattlin’ Rogue’s.  There were very few surface weeds but again there were plenty below the surface.  We weren’t constantly checking lines but we could tell they were down there.  Not much happened in the first hour.  About the only excitement we had was watching a pair of Bald Eagle’s fly around us and roost in the trees along the Solutia property.

Around 5:30 I finally had a hit on my kicker and a #7 Bleeding Original Shad.  While I was bringing her in Chris got hung up and his shank busted above the lures.  He lost the whole rig but after a few minutes I got him set up again and we were back to fishing.  During this time I swapped out my two bigger lures for a #11 GFR and a #9 Downriver Steel custom Rapala.  We fished for about another 30 minutes when Chris told me his hand was starting to get sore and cramp up.  Things were slow so we pulled lines and headed in.  We only got the one fish but I was able to keep my streak alive of 11 straight months of catching a walleye in the river pulling wire.  If we get another warm spell I will try again.  It is kind of nice being out there fishing at night when the homes along Grosse Isle have their houses all lit up with Christmas lights.  It would be nice to get out again but at the same time I am hoping for a lot of snow this winter.  The water levels are way down and it is only going to get worse unless we get a lot of snow.  From what I have been hearing that even if we get a record snowfall this winter it still won’t be enough to get the river back up to pre-drought levels.

21 inch, 3 pound female

21 inch, 3 pound female