Lake Huron Flats Smallmouth.

21 05 2018

The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow, Tomorrow……

That was the song, and the video of Deadpool singing it, stuck in my head all morning long this past Saturday.  I had decided to go up to Port Austin to fish for Pre-Spawn Smallmouth’s on the flats several weeks ago and of course the weather turned to crap.  The rain pretty much covered the whole state so I wasn’t alone.  I made the most of it though.  I had a friend along (Non Fishing Muggle Type) so we stopped at the Farmer’s Market in Port Austin.  Bummed around Caseville a bit and stopped at a local beach near Grindstone City where i skipped stones to help pass the time.

At one point we stopped at a public access area and found about 2 dozen fishermen wading the bay and doing a whole bunch of casting and not a lot of catching.  I was beginning to think that my weekend was going to be a bust but as the day progressed the rain let up and the wind slowly began to lie down.  We went back to the same public access spot in the evening and this time all the fishermen were gone, except for two that looked they were done for the day.  I started to talk to them and they said they were waiting for their friend who was still out there.  Sure enough, about a quarter mile out there was one lone fishermen casting away.  They said he was catching fish and a minute later I saw his net hit the water.  That was all the convincing I needed.  On went the waders,  broke out the Orvis Helios 7wt, tied on a weighted sculpin and started the long trek out.  Eventually I reached the end of my wading depth limits (Damn my “S” gene) and started casting.  It took a few minutes to knock the rust off but eventually I was making a decent enough cast.  I just hoped they were far enough to get to the fish.  A couple of minutes later I got my answer.

After that it was pretty much game on for the next hour.  I was far enough from the other guy to keep from interfering but close enough so we could talk.  We were both catching a lot of fish but the majority were in the 12 inch range.  About 30 minutes later his friends started yelling and he took that as his cue to get going, not that he wanted to but they were his ride.  He wished me good luck and headed back to shore.  After he left fishing slowed up for a bit but not enough to keep me from leaving.  I was hoping for a bigger fish and after about 10 minutes I had one.  He wasn’t going to break any records but he was still one of my bigger Smallmouth on a fly.

After a quick pic I sent him on his way and got back to business.  Every time I caught another bass I would tell myself this would be the last one and I would head in.  After 13 fish I finally did, it helped that I ended it on a good note.

 

All told I ended up catching 13 and losing 2.  Not bad for a little over an hour’s worth of fishing in a place I never had been to before.  Earlier in the day I was sure the whole weekend was going to be a bust but instead it turned out to be one of the more enjoyable times I have had fly fishing.  I’ll definitely be coming back up here again to do this.  Doubt it will be this year but the more I think about it, staying home next year and taking long weekends to local spots is sounding pretty good.  Next time I’ll bring my kayak along.  A group from the Michigan Fly Fishing Club were up for the weekend and most of them were fishing the local rivers to avoid the wind.  I found out later that some of them did pretty good.  As for me my friend and I we went to dinner, sat around the bonfire for a bit and then passed out in my camper.  The next morning the wind had picked up overnight and there were now whitecaps in the area I was fishing 12 hours earlier.  I took that as a sign to just pack up the Mobile Steelhead Command Center and head for home.  Via the long way so I could check all the ports along the Thumb to see if anyone was catching anything.

The Sculpin Pattern that caught them all.

 

 

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Mother’s Day Weekend Steel

14 05 2018

This past weekend I headed north to visit my Mom for Mother’s Day, take care of her to-do list and hopefully get a little fishing in.  Fortunately my sister and her husband came up as well and they were able to take care of the indoor items.  That left removing the snow plow from the tractor and putting on the mower deck to me.  This also left me more time to go fishing.  So after sleeping in a bit, Saturday morning, I headed down to the AuSable river.  With the colder than usual Spring we have had there were still a good number of Steelhead in the river.  Problem was the late thaw and melt, along with all the rain, meant the river was high and very clear.  I was just hoping everyone would have stayed home to take care of Mom obligations.  When I first arrived at the  parking area there were no other vehicles.  I had high hopes but once I made it to the area I wanted to fish those hopes were quickly dashed.  There were about 2 dozen other anglers on both sides of the river.  I stood there for a few minutes and watched and came to the determination that I needed to find another place to fish.  I’ll have to find the other parking area these people are all using.

I walked back upstream and made a few stops along the way to cast and practice my spey casting.  Alaska is less than 3 months away and I want to get as much casting in as possible.  I’m getting better and all the motions are starting to become second nature.  I don’t want to spend my week on the Alagnak River trying to figure out what I am doing wrong.  That time is now when there is less at stake.  After a few stops I ventured further upstream to check out new water.  As I was walking along I could see some fish underneath a blow down in about 10 feet of water.  I watched them for awhile as I tried to figure out what they were.  Eventually one moved enough to where I could see the forked tail and I realized they were White Suckers.  Not exactly what I was looking for so I moved on.  At the next blow down I could see more suckers but I also caught the outline of a couple of respectable size Smallmouth Bass.  I made a few casts towards them but they weren’t very eager.  They would follow my fly but never commit.  The water is probably still a little cold for them.  I’ll be back Memorial Day weekend with my 7wt and Streamer Box to try again.

After that I just walked around and checked things out.  Lot’s of wildlife out today enjoying the sun.  Everything from Kingfishers and Eagles to Deer and Beavers.  Around noon I headed back to the car and then to my Mom’s to take care of the tractor.  The next morning it was church, breakfast and then home.  I did make a quick stop at Northwood’s in Pinconning.  They had Original Floating Rapalas for sale at 4.99 each, which is about half the regular price.  The limit was 12 so I bought 12 in size #9.  If the sale is still going on Memorial Day I’ll buy more, On my way up and down.

P.S.  There are still an insane amount of walleye in the Detroit River.

 





4/30/18 Walleye and breaking in a Padawan Grasshopper.

1 05 2018

To say the fishing has been outstanding these last few weeks would be an understatement.  Easy limits have been the norm and the only problems has been the weather.  Last night was no exception, it was warm out out but the SW wind I could have done without.  Didn’t matter though, I had a new fisherman on my boat and he was determined to catch his first walleye.  Kyle bought a boat about a month back and after several goose eggs he really wanted to know what he was doing wrong.  Everyone around him was catching fish and all he was doing was losing jigs.  After several unsuccessful trips I told him we could go out Monday night (4/30) and I will try and help him out.

We started off in a deeper water area that didn’t have a lot of snags.  I figured this would be a good area to let him jig and I can show him the importance of an electric motor and boat control.  We made one long drift down the channel from Rotary Park all the way to Elizabeth Park.  We didn’t catch anything but he didn’t lose any jigs either.  Kyle did get hung up a few times and I showed him what to do when he does.  The best way I have found to deal with a snag, while using Fireline, is to just point the rod towards the snag and hold onto the spool.  The jig is either going to come free or snap the line.  After a few snags he started to get the hang of it.  After that long drift we moved to another area.  We made two more drifts and towards the end of the second one he finally hooked a fish.  A minute later his first walleye was in the net.  I’d say he was a happy camper.

By now the sun was starting to set so it was time to put the rods away and get the Schaller Trolling reels into action.  Since Kyle had never done this before and really had no idea what it was about I set him up with one leader and a #9 custom painted Spring Valley Special II Rapala.  The way the fishing has been I was confident he would get at least one.  After some quick instructions on what to do and what not to do I just let him fish and figure out the rest on his own.  While I was getting set up he had a hit, unfortunately the fish got away as I was talking him through what to do.  Shortly after that I boated our 2nd, 3rd and 4th fish of the night.  Kyle was amazed at the speed we were catching fish and then it happened, he got snagged.  He tried to force it and I told him to just throw the wire backwards to take the pressure off.  I pulled my lines up and then just had him hand his wire to me.  A quick throw and he was free.  I felt the familiar shake at the end so I just handed it all back to him and told him to being his fish in.  He gave me a puzzled look and I told him again to bring in his fish.  About 30 seconds later his first walleye handlining was in the boat.  I jokingly told him that there is an easier to catch them other than by getting hung up.  After that we went back to the task at hand and finished up our 2 man limit in the next half hour.  All that was left to do now was head home and clean fish, which was his next lesson.  Filleting and zipping walleye, after I bled them out first.  I’d say he learned a lot tonight.  Of course he can’t wait to go out again.

FYI…water is very clear now.  I’m back to starting after dark again.  The 70-80 degree days coming up are probably going to be the start of the “Other Fish” invasion.  I can’t wait. NOT!  I really shouldn’t complain though.  This has probably been the best and easiest April fishing I have ever had.  Five trips, easy limits each time and I probably landed over 40 walleye in about 5 total hours of fishing.





4/27/18 Walleye

30 04 2018

This past Friday I took out a friend who I owe many a trip.  Richard took my father and I out, while my boat was down, and that trip turned out to be the last time my Dad and I ever went fishing together.  We didn’t catch many but at least we got to spend time on the river, one last time.  So with memories of that final trip on a constant loop in my mind we headed down to my usual spot on the Trenton Channel.  As expected, the water was clear and there were about 3 dozen other boats on the water.  It was a 50/50 mix of jiggers and handliners but as the sun started to set the jiggers were becoming fewer and fewer.  Boat control tonight was going to be a problem with a North wind blowing at over 10 mph.  I was hoping it would die down as the sun set but it didn’t until we were done, a couple of hours later.  The fishing wasn’t fast and furious but once it got dark and I found them we managed to pick away at our 2 man limit of ten.  We also managed to catch about 1/2 a dozen throwbacks and lost a number of fish as well.  All total I think we boated about 17 fish.  Once I landed number 10 Richard started to bring in his lines when he hooked one as well.  Since it wasn’t any bigger than any of the fish we already had he tossed it back.  During all our catching I managed to get my first double of the year.  I also got one on the surface.  As I was landing a fish on my 20 foot lead another walleye grabbed the lure on my 40 foot lead off the surface.  Near as I can figure another walleye must have followed up the one I hooked, hoping he might get any missed scraps.  He’ll never make that mistake again.  Around 10:00 pm we started to pack it in and that was when the wind finally started to die down.  No matter, we were done.  Took a little longer than I expected but Richard enjoyed himself and that’s what matters.





4/25/18 Walleye

26 04 2018

This is getting ridiculous.  I know last year I said the 2018 fishing was going to be phenomenal but this is nuts.  3 trips, 3 limits and I have yet to fish past sunset.  Last night was no different.  I started at 7:45 pm in the same area, with the same 3 lures, and by 8:15 I was done.  Water is clearing up, about 2 feet of visibility.  Not very many boats out tonight but the one handliner I talked to had his 5 and was headed in.  Hope this lasts another week or so.  Forecast is for temps near 80 next week and once that starts it won’t be long before those other things show up.

Wish I had more to write about but it’s been pretty straight forward fishing.  Go out, catch fish, come in.  Not out there long enough to see anything or make any observations.  No guess work, just drop lines and have at it.  I did see a Common Loon as I was headed back in.  Apparently he heard about how good the fishing was as well.

 





4/23/18 Walleye

24 04 2018

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate a South wind?

Left the house after 7:00 pm to see if I could get another quick limit tonight.  There was a breeze out of the east in single digits so I figured it wouldn’t be to big a deal.  As I was heading down to my spot I spotted Richard’s boat so I slowed up to see how he was doing.  As I pulled up alongside he was bringing in a walleye.  We chit chatted for a bit and eventually I started fishing at 7:38 pm.  At 7:40 pm the wind shifted to straight out of the south and the speed increased to double digits.  Whitecaps appeared on the water and the wind was blowing so hard it was pushing my boat upstream, against the current.  I thought it might just be a quick gust but even after it died down some the direction did not change.  For 10 minutes I fought it and even thought about heading for the dock.  It was right about then that I got my first fish so after I carefully brought him in I decided to stick it out.  The other handliners in the area were all catching fish so I figured it wouldn’t take long.  At 8:20 pm number #5 was in the boat and I was headed for home.

Water clarity was clearer than Friday and not as much junk.  I took a temp reading this time and it was around 44 degrees.  If the weather doesn’t start to get to crazy warm I should have about 2 weeks before those other fish show up.  Same lures as last time (still lazy) with the #9 Original Rapala taking most of the fish.  I also threw one back that was a borderline legal fish.  When the fishing is this stupid easy I have no problems throwing one back with the hope of catching a non questionable fish.

Nothing else to report other than the fishing is fantastic right now.  All the handliners I have talked to are catching fish and I have yet to fish past sunset.  Got to love it when fishing is this good.

 

 





Maiden Voyage, 2018

23 04 2018

This one is going to be short, sweet and to the point.  I don’t have much to say since I wasn’t out there that long.

Friday (4/20/18) was my first trip of the year.  It had turned out to be one of the best days weather wise we have had so I decided to take advantage of it.  Never know when Mother Nature is gonna go off her meds again.  I didn’t get on the water until around 7:15 pm.  Weather reports said the wind was in the single digits and out of the south.  The way I was getting bounced around it seemed higher than that.  Eventually I made it to where I wanted to start, a spot in the middle of the river away from all the other boats.  I started off with 3 of the lures that were lying on my console from last year (I am so lazy).  The water had a nice stain to it but it was full of junk from the recent downpours.  Only took a couple of minutes and the first one for the 2018 season was in the boat.  It was soon followed up by another and then another.  After number 3 was in the cooler I was surrounded by other boats.  Fishing must have been slow for them.  It didn’t matter though.  A few minutes later I had the rest of my limit in the cooler and I was packing up to head for home.  I thought about doing the catch and release thing for a bit but it was just after 7:30 pm and I figured if I left now I could beat the rush back to the ramp.  There were about 50 or 60 boats in the area and I didn’t want to deal with them.  So I headed back to the ramp and eventually home.  Cleaned the fish, put everything away and was on the couch flipping channels by 8:30 pm.

Feels good to be pulling wire again.