A year in a life – March

5 03 2014

This is it, the month I have been waiting for.  All my preparations are finally going to come into play.  The all out assault can begin.  Oh wait, that was last year.

Fast forward to 2014 and the never ending winter.  This one has been so bad that I can’t even tell my kids that I used to have winters like this all the time when I was their age.  Not anymore.  The last time we received this much snow was during the winter of 1880/81.  That’s right, over 130 years ago.  To top it all off the Great Lakes are nearing 100% ice cover.  This has never happened in my lifetime and probably never will again.  The latest 10 day forecast shows a couple of days just above freezing but the nights will still be in the teens and 20’s.  All this means is that I won’t even get the boat in the water until the end of April.  I’m beginning to wonder if the lakes in northern michigan will be ice free by the trout/walleye/pike/muskie opener on April 26th.

Once things do break up I will be in full attack mode.  That means fishing new areas and using techniques I don’t normally use.  Normally handlining doesn’t start to heat up until the surface temps get above 40 degrees.  That could be the beginning of May at this rate.  In the mean time I may have to do some jigging to put some fresh fish in the freezer.  Early on it is more snagging than actually jigging but the alternative is doing nothing.

Once temps creep into the right zone than it will be a steady dose of Rapala’s in various sizes and colors until those other things show up.  Then it will be Pencil Plugs at night and weekend trips to the St. Clair river.  I might even throw in a early trip to Sanilac, Lexington or Oscoda to see if I can catch any Atlantic Salmon.  If not it will be a full court press on the walleye.  This summer will be that same thing.  Come July my weekend excursions will be lots of trips to Amherstburg to pull wire when the weeds and wind cooperate.  If not then it will be Bottom Bouncers or jigging in the same area.  The fish are there all summer it’s just a matter of getting the right presentation to make them hit.  Normally all I will do is pull wire but when the weeds are bad it will be Bottom Bouncers or jigs.  It’s a lot easier to deal with the floating weeds moving with them instead of against them.

Hopefully I will be able to use some of my owed favors for a trip or two on Lake Erie.  I usually make one trip a year but the last few have proven to be very daunting.  Engine problems, rough water, horrendous weed conditions and a lack of fish have made the trips more trouble than they are worth.  I know some people say it’s just good to be on the water but I won’t say that.  Getting bounced around a boat while constantly clearing lines for weeds while catching dinky white perch is not my idea of a good time.  I’ll stay home and go to Plan B.

I’m starting to feel like those people on Alaska The Last Frontier.  Got to fill the freezer before winter sets in.  Winter isn’t even over and already I am planning on how to fill the freezer.  I never realized just how much I miss having fresh fish.  I pulled some walleye out the other night and part of it was freezer burned.  I still ate it but it wasn’t quite as good as what I am used too.  I may have to start keeping a few steelhead, salmon and bluegills to help stretch out the fish diet.

Oh well, it will start soon enough.  As for now I will still plot, plan, scheme, dream, swear, complain, beg, pray and anything else I can think of until I finally hit the water.

Thought for the day.

5 02 2013

The other day I was browsing through a forum and the topic of the day was “what is the most productive jig color”.  Normally I ignore these kinds of topics because I am not much of a jig fishermen.  On the rare occassion I do jig I use whatever color is handiest in the weight I want.  Some people might consider this sacreligious but there is a method to my selection.

When jigging the Detroit River a boat is drfiting downstream along with the current.  The fisherman is doing the same thing with his jig/body combination drifting along at the same speed as the boat (providing boat control is properly maintained).  The jig/body acts like a weather vane in the water with the head of the jig upstream and the tail end of the body pointing downstream.  The walleye are sitting on the bottom facing upstream waiting for lunch to drift by.  Guess what the walleye sees first?  That’s right, the tail end of the body, not the jig head.  Depending on the size of the jig and body the walleye may not even see the jig head at all.  Also, the window of opportunity for a walleye to grab a lure drifting by in the current is so small he/she really doesn’t have a lot of time to decide if it is edible.  It’s either grab or or let it go.  Does the marble size brain of a walleye really have the time or ability to process to eat or not to eat something because the smallest part of the presentation is a specific color?  I don’t think so. 

I know people will swear up and down that my “antifreeze” color jig will out produce everyone on my boat any day of the week.  That my be true but was it the color of the jig or the size, action, speed, depth or location of the antifreeze jig that caused the strikes? 

Too many fishermen conveniently forget those details.

3/29/12 Fishing with Dad

29 03 2012

Location: Mid-River, Rouge River to Great Lakes Steel
Date/Time: 03/29/12, 7:00 am to 9:30 am
Water Temp: 47 Degrees
Water Clarity: Clear
Weather: Cold and Overcast
Wind: NE wind 10 to 15 mph
Water Depth: 40 feet
Presentation: Jigging
Lures: ¾ ounce jig Wyandotte worms, Brown and Chartreuse

Notes: Well Dad decided to come down for a few days of fishing. Of course once he got here the weather did a drastic turn around. A week ago I was fishing in a t-shirt and today we about froze out butts off. I have to keep reminding myself that any fish I catch now are a bonus. Normally I don’t even start catching any walleye until mid April. We still had to give it a shot, my Dad didn’t drive down from Oscoda to sleep in. Unfortunately the weather and the walleye didn’t really cooperate. We did pick up two males 20 and 22 inches long for a combined weight of 6 pounds. At least we have fish for dinner on Friday night.

We would try handlining tonight but I have a handlining seminar I have to give. So instead of fishing I am going to spend the evening teaching other people how to fish. Besides I think my Dad wants to show off the two Schaller Reels he cleaned up. They really did come out nice.

Oh well…..there’s always tomorrow, rain permitting.