Thanks Dad

23 08 2015

This was going to be a tough night, not because of the conditions but because this was my first fishing trip since my dad passed away.  While he was battling cholangiocarcinoma there was always that glimmer of hope that we would be able to get out one more time.  Unfortunately he was never able to get any strength back to make a night of pulling wire enjoyable.  Our  last trip together was last October on my friend Richard’s boat.  I will be forever grateful to Richard for taking us both out.  We didn’t catch many fish that night but we did get to spend a few precious fishing hours together.  Since then I would call him while I was fishing and tell him how I was doing.  He was always happy to hear my voice and the sound of my Evinrude running in the background.  We would talk about all the trips we made and how we would get out fishing again soon.  That trip never did happen and now the reality of never fishing with him has really set in. No phone call, no pictures emailed to him in the morning and no plans for future trips.  It was going to be a tough night.

I started fishing around 8:30 pm down by the brown boat house in about 18 to 20 feet of water.  The water is still clear so I started with a couple of spoons and a #9 Black/Silver Rapala.  Not much happened the first 15 minutes so I pulled lines and headed upstream to where the catamaran used to be.  About 1 minute later I had my first walleye of the night on and a few seconds later he was in the boat.  He hit the Michigan Stinger spoon (sorry Jim), one I recently found in my Dad’s garage.  Once I got him in the cooler I dropped my lines back and it wasn’t long before I had another hit.  This one was one of those dead weight hits that I have grown to despise so much.  I didn’t even need to guess what lure it was on, my 40 foot lead and the Rapala.  Just like so many fish before him he waited until he got up to the side of the boat to make that last head shake and throw the lure.  This was really getting frustrating so I witched things up a bit.  I moved the one Rapala to my kicker, added a #9 Blue/Silver Rapala to my 20 foot lead and added a big blue and silver pencil plug to my 40 foot lead.  Maximum hooks for hopefully maximum hook ups.  That seemed to do the trick.  The next two fish came on the pencil plug and each fish had all three treble hooks in them.  I don’t know what it is about these lures but the walleye seem to hit them right in the center and get all the hooks in them.  I’m not going to complain.  It took a little while but I finally got the forth and fifth fish between 10:30 and 11:00 pm and they each grabbed one of the two Rapala’s.  A good way to end the night.

While I was fishing I noticed some lights south of me.  It was a strand of about 2 dozen rising up from the trees to the night sky.  It looked like that old CNN stock footage from the Iraq war where the flak was headed up to hit a plane that wasn’t there.  Eventually I realized it was a group of people releasing a bunch of paper lanterns.  I’m sure it was a tribute of some kind but it seemed fitting for me to be the only one fishing tonight and to see that as I was thinking about my father.  All around it was a perfect night and not as hard as I thought it would be.

Thanks Dad.


8-21 walleye



Dad (6) Dad (7) Dad (11) Dad (13) Dad (17) Dad (32) Dad (19)


4/27/12 Trenton Channel

28 04 2012

Location: Trenton Channel
Date/Time: 04/27/12 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm
Water Temp: 48 degrees
Water Clarity: Slightly stained
Weather: Overcast
Wind: S 10 mph
Water Depth: 13 feet
Presentation: Handlining 40/20/6, 30/15
Lures: #11 Bleeding Chartreuse, #11 Downriver Steel, #9 Clown, Smithwick Rattlin’ Rogue

Tonight was my Dad’s last night in town so we headed out once again. Hit the launch around 7:00 pm and got ready. While I was parking the Jeep I made a quick scan of the lot to see who was out fishing. Saw Richard’s car and trailer so before we started fishing I was going to track him down. Didn’t take long and I found his boat. He already had one in the cooler along with the bracket he made for my GPS puck. He had also made up a shank jig for me. Just goes to show you that helping people catch fish can pay out in other ways. I saw Sparky’s boat as well so I gave him a quick call to see how he was doing. He had just got out himself and was still getting set up.

That was enough chit chatting, time to start fishing. Didn’t take long and I had the first one for the night. We continued to pick away at our two man limit for the next hour trading back and forth. At one point my Dad had one on that decided he needed to be on my side of the boat. He just passed the line over to me and I brought him in. Gotta love teamwork.

I had been running a #9 Blue Holographic on my kicker leader for the evening but it wasn’t producing so I decided to switch lures. I put on a #9 Clown and about a minute later I had a fish on. I love it when that happens. He must have been hungry because he swallowed the lure.

Yes my lure is in there.

Sparky was along side of me so of course he called to see what I caught him on. The next hour was pretty uneventful. Another friend, Mark Bodrie, pulled up next to me as well to see what was going on. As he was pulling away I hooked into a little 14 incher that I tossed back. I have been hearing about quite a few of those little fish being caught. They are from the 2010 hatch which should be in the 16 to 17 inch range by next year.

We continued fishing and talked to a few more fishermen along the way. Another Mark swung by to see how we were doing and then Leo drove over to get a status update as well. Mark hung around my area and Leo headed further downstream. I found out later that Leo had picked up a 2 man limit as well. By 9:00 pm we were up to 7 fish when my Dad hooked into another one. I pulled out the spot light to shine on the fish. I thought I saw 2 sets of eyes looking back at me but they disappeared. A few second later the fish was back on the surface and sure enough there were two walleye hooked on one lure. This time we were able to get both of them in the boat. I have never done this before and my Dad has done it twice now in the last 2 weeks. Shortly after that I landed #10 and we were headed back to the ramp around 9:30 pm. Not a bad night.  Talked to a few friends back at the ramp and it appears that everyone was catching fish.  This has been a phenomenal month of fishing.  I don’t think I have ever caught this many walleye in the month of April.

We ended up with 10 keepers between 16 ½ to 23 ½ inches long for a total combined weight of 25 pounds and 10 ounces. We threw back one small one and only caught 2 (actually Dad caught them) of the Fish That Shall Not Be Named.

Still trying to figure out how a jigger, fishing in 12 feet of water, could lose 100 feet of line when snagged.

Dad’s Turn 4/14/12

15 04 2012

Location: Trenton Channel
Date/Time: 04/14/12 7:30 pm – 10:15 pm
Water Temp: 48 degrees
Water Clarity: Clear
Weather: Overcast
Wind: SW 5-10 mph, 10–20 after 9:00 pm
Water Depth: 12 feet
Presentation: Handlining, 40/20/6, 30/15
Lures: #11 GFR, Beat Down Barbie, Bleeding Chartreuse, #9 Bleeding Chartreuse

Tonight was Dad’s turn. Normally with any type of a South wind I will stay home. My parents were down for my niece’s baptism on Sunday and my Dad wanted to go out so out we went. I was hoping the great fishing from the last few nights would carry over but with the SW winds I was a little pessimistic. We started off in my usual area, near the Catamaran in the middle of the river. It was slow at first but right on cue at 8:30 pm the fish started to hit. I hooked into one just as I went over about a 2 foot drop off. As I was flipping him into the boat my Dad hooked into one. I was so intent on him catching this fish that I forgot my lines were still up. I turned a little sharp and one of my leaders got tangled into the prop. 10 minutes later, one lost weight and about 67 feet of 30 pound Trilene XT and all was clear and back to fishing (glad I keep spares).

I must have had my Dad tuned in good this night because it wasn’t too much longer and he had another one on. As I pointed my light at the fish to help him see it I noticed that it was being followed up by another walleye. That was a good sign because it told me the fish were active tonight.

Over the course of the next hour we continued to pick away at trying to fill a 2 man limit. We were at 7 when my Dad hooked into what would turn out to be his 5th for the night. Once again I pointed the light at it but this time there was 2 sets of eyes looking back at us. My Dad was now bringing in his first double but it was on the same lure. Unfortunately the smaller one came off at the back of the boat but one in is better than nothing. About this time the winds started to pick up and I noticed some whitecaps forming. My Dad’s leaders also became tangled beyond recovery and he just wadded them all up into a ball and threw them into the bucket. He was happy with 8 fish in the cooler and so was I. We had a long day ahead of us tomorrow and after 4 nights of this I really needed some sleep.

The hot lure tonight and recipient of the double was a #11 GFR. My fish came on a #11 Bleeding Chartreuse and a #11 custom called Beat Down Barbie. I broke the lip on it during the night and that was my last one.

Final tally was 8 fish, 19 to 25 inches long for a total combined weight of 27 pounds and 8 ounces.

Still no sign of the Fish That Shall not be Named.