Golden Minnow Bucket Tournament 2012

5 08 2012

It’s no big secret about my total disdain for Silver Bass and after my trip to Erieau that disdain has grown even worse. It’s bad enough catching them 3 at a time when I am pulling wire but pulling one in on 10 colors of lead core is ten times worse. Fortunately I only had to do it a couple of times. The crew I was fishing with went through that drill several times over the day before. I have to admit I wasn’t very optimistic about the fishing on Saturday. The group I was fishing with only caught 5 walleye and 3 steelhead the day before. That wasn’t so bad, the part I didn’t like is that they caught close to 50 silver bass. Every 10 minutes they had to pull lines just to clear them off the lures. If a walleye or Steelhead didn’t grab the lure on the way down a silver bass would. I tried to remain positive because things always seem to change the next day, hopefully for the better.

I woke up early Saturday morning to hazy skies and a slight breeze, so far so good. We got our lunches packed along with lots of water and ice for the cooler. Once that was done we launched the boat and headed out. We were fishing the 4th annual DWF/LSCWA Golden Minnow Bucket Steelhead and Walleye tournament this morning. This was a friendly little tournament between two of the premiere walleye clubs in Michigan. Something a little different than our usual Detroit River tournaments. Fishing time for the tournament didn’t start to 7:30 am and I was wondering why we were leaving at 6:30 am. Turns out we had to travel through Rondeau Bay at first and then out into Lake Erie for 18 miles. This will be the furthest I have ever fished out into the lake. Any other time I fished Lake Erie I could always see shore. With the haze on the horizon I couldn’t this morning. Once we got to our starting point we set lines, 2 on down riggers, 3 on Dipsey’s and on one 10 colors of lead core on an inline planer board. It didn’t take long and we caught our first walleye. We followed it up with a couple more and then our fist steelhead in about an hour. Not fast and furious but enough to keep us in the area. We fished for another hour and all we caught were silver bass, Sheepshead and a few small white perch. Jerry decided to pull lines and head to deeper water.

After a few more miles of travel we arrived at our next destination. A quick check of the graph showed the thermocline to be down around 55 feet so we set lines accordingly. Once we got the lines set Jerry made a slow turn into the waves and we started to pick up some better fish again. By now it was time for lunch so Jerry took a break and Tom took over the driving. For the next 2 hours we had a little bit of a flurry going. We were picking up steelhead and walleye on a regular basis. We were having a hard time keeping all the lines in the water because one would always have a fish on. We were still getting the garbage fish but not as many as what we were after. At 2:00 pm we pulled lines and headed back in. As we were doing this we hooked into our last steelhead of the day on one of the downriggers set 62 feet down. Tom suggested that for the last 15 minutes we should lower the downriggers farther to see what would happen. We ended up catching 2 steelhead in that time frame. Unfortunately the last one came off right at the boat. Oh well……it happens.

We ended up with 8 walleye and 8 steelhead which isn’t bad considering the conditions. Fish have been scattered and boats have been having a hard time locating fish. As for the tournament our 5 fish weighed in at 26.99 pounds, good enough for 5th place out 19 boats. The tournament only paid out to 4th place which we missed by just a few ounces. The DWF did take 1st, 3rd and 4th for the tournament and the Golden Minnow Bucket Trophy stays in DWF hands for another year. A team from the Lake St. Clair Walleye Association took 2nd place along with the biggest walleye at 7.24 pounds. Biggest steelhead was just under 12 pounds and it was caught by the 1st place team.

It wasn’t a bad day of fishing, certainly a lot better than the previous two days that my fishing partners experienced. It would have been nice if the waves were a little smaller. Driving a boat out 18 miles into 3 foot waves makes for a bumpy ride. If I had any kidney stones lying on my kidneys they are loose now. Another problem I discovered is that my tendonitis in my left arm is worse than I thought. I had a hard time holding on to the trolling rods while reeling in the fish, especially the one with lead core on it. Guess I’ll be going back to the doctor sometime soon.