Father’s Day Mixed Bag Weekend.

22 06 2020

It’s not like I need a holiday for an excuse to go fishing.  I can pretty much go whenever I want, wherever I want.  I didn’t have anything planned with the kids anyways so off I went.

Knowing that the levels on The Huron River were still going to be low I decided to try out Pte. Mouille.  It had been awhile since I was out there last.  I took my 6 wt and 8 wt rods, the 6 wt was set up with an SA Sonar sink tip line and a Mini Game Changer fly.  The 8 wt was rigged with my standard carp fishing set up, floating line and one of my burnt orange OCD flies.  I made the journey out to my usual fishing spot along a very dry and dusty road.  That didn’t help my asthma much but at least it wasn’t windy.  Just unbearably hot and humid.  Water clarity was good up close but I couldn’t see more than a couple of feet out past the rocks.  These same rocks were covered in that slimy green moss and and weeds growing up in between them.  About 20 yards further out were even more weeds.  This would prove to be my undoing today.

As I worked my way along the road I would stop and make a couple of casts here and there with the game changer.  On my first stop I hooked a fish and to my surprise it was a bluegill.  I was not expecting this.  Maybe some smaller bass but not a gill.  They aren’t exactly known to chase down and grab 4 inch streamers.

As I worked my way down I spotted a pair of bowfin in close.  They were just lying about so I dropped my carp fly near them to see what would happen.  They really didn’t seem to care so I just moved on.  A few minutes later I spotted another one feeding so I snuck up and dropped the fly next to him.  I could see him move suddenly towards the fly so I lifted up and he was on.  I let him run and that was my first mistake.  Into the taller weeds he went and I couldn’t get him out of there.  Eventually he came off.  This scenario would repeat itself throughout the day.  I had two choices.  Fight the fish close among the rocks and hope the leader doesn’t get frayed and break or let him run and try and keep him out of the taller weeds.  Throughout the course of the day I would go through this 3 more times.  Twice on the carp fly and twice with the game changer.  I have to admit that watching a bowfin charge a streamer from 5 feet away and inhale it is pretty cool.  Watching him keep on going and into the weeds is not.

For the next few hours I continued to catch bass and even a small pike, my first for this area.

Eventually I started to head back but at a slower pace.  I was determined to land a bowfin so I was taking my time and watching for any movement.  Eventually I spotted the tail of another feeding bowfin.  I worked my way down to the shoreline and laid the fly on the downward slope of a rock he was feeding next to.  As the fly slid down he saw it and came up and grabbed it.  This time I kept the fish close and hoped for the best.  A few minutes later I was able to get a hold of him for a pic and then sent him on his way.

I must have see two dozen of these today, the most I had ever seen here.  I don’t know if they were in close to spawn or because the habitat is so weedy they prefer to be there now.  I’ll go back in a few weeks and find out.

The next morning I decided to stay close.  I probably logged about 4 or 5 miles the day before and I was still a little tired.  I headed back to The Huron and as expected, levels were still low and clear.  I saw carp at the first few spots but I couldn’t get any of them to cooperate.  The next place was more of the same.  Low clear water and no fish, at first.  Eventually I found them, multiple fish in the middle of the river casually feeding on the gravel.  I tried casting several different flies at them but they ignored everything.  While I was taking a break Jesse, from Schultz Outfitter’s (My local fly shop), showed up as well.  He was getting a few hours in before he had to go to work.  He started casting to the same carp I was seeing but to no avail.  While we talked I saw one moving in closer to shore.  I pointed him out to Jesse and let him take a crack at it.  A few minutes later I spotted another one moving in and he started feeding in the nearby shade of a tree.  I worked my way in, laid the fly down to his left and he spun around and ate it.  I set the hook and off he went.  With the tree in the way I jumped into the water to keep him under control.  I worked my way upstream where I could beach him and without hesitation Jesse waded in and landed him for me.  I quick pic later and he was on his way.

While Jesse and I talked another fish moved in and Jesse laid his fly out in front of him.  I watched the carp swim up and take it and Jesse drove the hook home.  I worked my way back into the water to return the favor but the leader busted before I ever got a chance to help out.  After that I told Jesse good luck, wished him a happy Father’s Day and headed home.  I had chores to get too and fresh waffles that my daughter was making for me.





Memorial Weekend Fishing.

26 05 2020

Two weeks ago we had snow and overnight freeze warnings.  This weekend we were flirting with record breaking highs.  On top of that central Michigan had a 500 year rain event (though no one knew Michigan existed except for the current residents back then and I doubt any of them had calendars) that caused several dam failures.  Lake front homes now became mud front homes and the lakes are gone.  My local river flooded out as well and several fields were still underwater.  With all that in mind I made my plans and went fishing.

Saturday

Knowing that the river was still blown out I decided to take a walk down to Pte. Mouille and try that area out.  I left early figuring there would be a fair amount of people.  I didn’t leave early enough, by the time I got there (around 7) the parking lot was practically full.  I grabbed my gear and started walking.  I took my G Loomis 6 wt and my Helios 2 7 wt.  The Loomis was rigged up with a floating line and a small nymph for gills.  The 7 had a Pearl Chenille Game Changer tied onto a Sinking line.  I figured I could cast for some Gills with one and Bass with the other.  If I saw any feeding carp I could quickly swap out flies.  Turns out I would never have too.  The water was so dark I couldn’t see any carp, just the occasional small bluegill or bass near the edge.  I made the best of it though and stuck to the game changer fly and blind casted here and there.  I managed a few Bass, no monsters but enough to keep me interested.  It was cool to cast that big white fly and then watch it disappear as a bass hit it.

After a few hours I headed back home checking out the sights and trying not to step on anything.

Lots of these guys around today.

Almost stepped on this little guy.

Around 7:30 pm I packed up the boat and headed to the Detroit River.  The fish that shall not be named had moved in so I took my fly rod along to play with before it got dark.  I used the same Game Changer fly and ended up catching about 30 of them before dark.  Around 9:30 pm I put the fly rod down and broke out the Rapalas.  An hour later I had 6 more walleye in the boat and I was headed for home.

Sunday

Knowing that Pte. Mouille was to dark to see I figured I go and check out The Huron and see just how much the water had gone down.  Water levels had receded some but a few fields were still flooded.  As I was walking along one of them I could see nervous water and signs of life.  Sure enough, several smaller carp were in the field cruising around and looking for breakfast.  I carefully waded in and waited until one got close enough to present my fly.  Eventually one did but I missed the hook set.  That sent him off back to the river along with the few he passed along the way.  I worked my way into the shadows of the trees and waited for another fish to come by.  I figured I could keep myself hidden better in the shade but it also proved to be my downfall.  I caught movement out of the corner of my eye and saw a carp swimming right at me along the bushes.  I carefully dropped the fly a few feet in front of him, waited for him to get close, gave it a twitch and once he picked it up I set the hook. He immediately took off through the bushes and back out into the river.  The leader snapped and that was that.  Now there is a carp swimming somewhere in The Huron River with my fly stuck in his mouth.  After that I left that area and went on to check a local pond.  I had never fished it before but I was curious to see if there were any carp in it.  When I arrived there were a few other people fishing and a lot of walkers and joggers.  I just grabbed the carp rod and starting walking the perimeter.  Much to my delight I started seeing carp cruising just out of range.  I made a few attempts but it was obvious these fish were on high alert from all the foot traffic.  I headed for home and decided I would come back the next morning ahead of the crowds.

Monday

I got up early and headed to the pond first thing.  As I hoped for no one else was there.  I grabbed the Loomis rod and worked my way to the edge of the pond.  I quickly spotted a silt cloud, something I haven’t seen it what has seemed like forever.  I waited until I could figure out which way he was headed.  Once I saw which way he was going I cast my fly past him by about 20 feet and then stripped the fly to his left by about a foot.  As it dropped into his field of view he moved on it and sucked it up.  I set the hook and off he went.  Since this was a pond and no trees or bushes to worry about I just let him run.  He wasn’t a big fish but it was my first one of they year so I was going to enjoy this.  After about 5 minutes I got him into shore, took a quick pic and sent him on his way.

First carp of the year and the first fish on my G Loomis X Pro.

After that I walked the perimeter of the pond again, saw a few fish, spooked most of them, didn’t catch anymore.  They look like they are getting ready to go into spawn mode.  After about an hour I headed back to the car.  I was going to just go home but it was still early so I figured I would head back The Huron and take another crack at that flooded field.  Much to my dismay the water had receded some more and that section of the field wasn’t holding as much water or any fish.  I moved on to another area that I figured might be flooded and sure enough, there were carp swimming around.  Once again I carefully waded in, spotted a lone carp, presented my fly, missed the hook set and sent him back to the river, along with the rest of the fish that were there.  Once they all spooked I walked towards the drainage ditch where they were coming in from.  I leaned up against a tree on the shaded side and waited.  I figured one would coming cruising back in soon.  With all the worms I saw on the paved trails I figured the carp were in the field feeding on them.  I switched flies to a black hybrid carp fly with a red chenille tail.  About 5 minutes later one lone fish came cruising in.  I placed the fly in his path and once he got close I gave it a twitch.  He figured he had an easy meal and pounced on it.  I set the hook and quickly cut off his escape route to the river.  He turned and headed out towards the field where I could keep him under control.  It was really something to see him speeding through the shallows, throwing a wake as he swam by. After a few minutes of chasing him down I was able to corral him and take a picture.  He swam back the way he came, no worse for wear.

After that I pretty much trashed the whole area so I just packed up and headed for home.  I wasn’t going to complain.  After almost two months of unpredictable weather I finally caught a few carp.  I got all summer to catch more.

 

 

 

 





Fishing and Tying Sunday (7/22/18)

23 07 2018

This past Sunday I woke up to do my usual fly fishing for just about anything.  I wondered what the water was going to be like with the on and off rains we had the last few days.  Turns out the water wasn’t bad.  The only problem was the double digit NE winds making sight fishing nearly impossible.  So much for an accurate weather report from my weather app.  Before I left it said NE winds were around 5 mph and it was dead calm around my house.  Apparently 10 miles south it was different.  I gave it a shot anyways and on my first cast I landed a decent bass.

After that I didn’t hook or see anything.  I gave up after about an hour and headed home.  I had flies to tie and I was running out of time.  I have plenty of streamers for my Alaska trip but I needed to tie up some surface stuff for the Grayling and Rainbows.  Originally I was going to take some mouse patterns but the guide told me no to bother.  He told me once the salmon move in the Rainbows set up behind them to feed on the eggs and anything pink.  So pink it is.

After that it was on to the smaller stuff.  I just got a box of Firehole Sticks barbless hooks and I wanted to try them out.  These things are stupid sharp and they should work out well.

The guide told me to tie up Caddis patterns that float high in the fast water.  These should do the trick.  I tied up some stimulator patterns as well.  I really don’t need that many, I”m not going to spend that much time chasing Grayling.  I Just want to catch a few nicer ones to cross off my “caught fly fishing” list and possibly have a replica made.  They catch a fair number of them on beads as well while fishing for the Rainbows so I don’t need to get to crazy.  All that is left for me to do now is arrange all my gear to make sure I have it all covered.  Weather permitting I may go out fly fishing one last time but I don’t know for sure.  MY OCD is kicking in and I’m afraid of losing or breaking something between now and Alaska.  I should probably just stick to catching walleye for the next few weeks.

 

 





July 4th Holiday Fishing.

5 07 2018

Even though Michigan was in the middle of a heat wave I decided to go fishing anyways.  I had Wednesday off for the July 4th holiday so I figured to go Walleye Tuesday night and fly fishing for Warm Water fish the next.  Advisories were out for northern Michigan to refrain from trout fishing but that didn’t really matter where I live.  There are no trout streams nearby so Bass and Bluegill it is.  To be fair, if I was up north I would head the advisories  and not fish for trout.  I release them all anyways so why bother fishing for something that will probably die from the heat?

Tuesday night I was headed to the ramp after 9:00 pm.  I knew the water was clear (3+ feet of visibility) so there was no rush to get started.  By 9:30 I was lines down and patiently waiting.  Fishing was definitely slow at first.  For the first 45 minutes all i did was clear what few weeds there were and wipe sweat.  I was hoping that once the sun set the humidity would die down some and the fishing would pick up.  I was also praying the bugs wouldn’t be an issue as well.  With no breeze to keep them at bay it was shaping up to be a miserable night.  Around 10:15 pm I caught my first walleye and it was soon followed up by a second.  Both came on my long lead and a #11 GFR Rapala.  I kept at it and by 11:00 pm I had 4 in the cooler and I was searching for #5.  I quickly found him but lost him at the side of the boat.  I proceeded to do this two more times before I was finally able to land one.  Unfortunately that fish was to short and back he went.  Shortly after 11:30 #5 was in the cooler.

I thought about trying to upgrade some of the smaller fish but the 18 inch Smallmouth I just caught that tangled all my lines made up my mind for me.  Interesting note on this fish.  I noticed something in his mouth and it turned out he had swallowed a pink balloon.  I removed it and sent him on his way.  I guess the whole plastic thing isn’t just an issue for salt water fish.  After that I packed up and headed towards my friend Dave who was farther south of me.  He and his son showed up around 10 so I wanted to see how they were doing.  They had a couple so far and were going to stick around for another hour.  He later texted me that they ended up with 5 and left around 1 am.  I was still cleaning fish at 1 and trying to finish up so I could get to bed.  I needed a few hours of sleep before heading to my Carp/Bluegill/Bass spot the next morning.

The next morning I was walking to my usual carp/bass/bluegill spot.  I didn’t know what to expect with this heat.  I was afraid the fish might vacate the area and head for deeper waters.  As I was walking out I saw a lot of surface activity.  Once I got closer I could see it was the carp rolling around and almost acting like they were in spawn mode.  Seemed kind of odd but whatever it was they were up to it wasn’t feeding.  All morning long I was constantly seeing fish but they were all cruising along and showing no interest in what I had to offer.  As a matter of fact I didn’t see a single carp feeding all morning long.  The Largemouth Bass seemed to be in the same mood as well.  I saw dozens of them and I was only able to coax one smaller fish into grabbing my fly.

Thankfully the local Gill population was cooperative.  As a matter of fact, I found an area where some of them were on their beds.  I saw this last year as well, fish still on the beds in July.  Spawning should have been done over a month ago but yet there they were.  Easy pickings.

At one spot I just put my Scott “Flex” 8wt away and concentrated on the gills.  I was using it when I saw some carp about 10 yards out.  I started casting but the gills were hitting my carp fly the second it hit the water.  An 8wt is overkill so I put it down and started using my TFO BVK 6 wt.  I stayed in the area for about another hour and caught about a dozen or more Bluegills, most of which I would have kept for a meal if it weren’t for having to carry them 2 miles back to the car.  I also caught a few Green Sunfish.  I wasn’t quite sure what they were so when I got home I looked it up.  Didn’t know we had these in Michigan.  I have been catching a few all year but never really paid attention, just figured they were a bluegill mixed with something else.

I also learned a valuable lesson in paying attention to my surroundings.  As you can see, in the background of the pictures, the shoreline had this green algae/moss/muck that went out for a couple of feet.  I released one of the many gills I caught into a hole between the patches.  As I did a carp shot out from underneath the green goop.  He may have been feeding and if I had seen him I might have has a chance at him.  I’ll never know now.  Oh well.

Around 10:30 am I started back for my car.  I had some family obligations and I was going to see “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” before hand.  I plan on going walleye fishing again Friday night and fly fishing again on Sunday.  Temps are supposed to cool down and I’m hoping the fish are more cooperative.

Until then……

 

 

 





Father’s Day Fishing

18 06 2018

93 degrees with a heat index over 100 and 100% humidity.  That was the forecast for this past Father’s Day.  Seemed liked perfect weather to take a long walk on a dirt road with the sun beating down on my back.  At least I had enough sense to get up early before it got to hot.  But hey, it is Father’s Day and that means I can do whatever I want, within reason.  I was free of any Father’s Day obligations until noon so that gave me a few hours.  With all that in mind I was up and out the door early and starting my long walk with fly rods in hand around 7:00 am.

As I was walking along I could see some surface activity.  Didn’t know what it was but something was definitely feeding on something.  I figured the mayflies were hatching.  I was right.

There weren’t a lot of them but I managed to pick up a few hitchhikers during my stay.  The water was dead calm so spotting any carp was very easy.  Problem was they were in “I’m cruising to someplace else” mode and not “I’m Hungry” mode.  I tried but for the most part it was an exercise in futility.  I had a few turn towards my fly and acted like they showed some interest but never committed.  At one spot I set up and waited to see what might come my way.  I saw a carp slowly cruising in and made a cast way out in front of him.  As I was stripping the fly into range Bluegill #1 hit.  After I let him go I figured where there is one there is usually more.  Sure enough, about a dozen casts later and I brought about a half dozen nice sized gills to hand.

After awhile the area kind of petered out so I moved down to another area.  I stuck with the same carp fly and just started casting and stripping.  Figured I would catch gills, hoped a carp might actually hit, ended up with a surprise Largemouth Bass.  I was using my 8wt Scott Flex fly rod, overkill for gills but great for carp.  I was glad I had it when the Bass hit.  He didn’t make any great runs but he wanted to stay in the weeds and I had to put the brakes on him to prevent it.  I eventually got him to shore and after a quick pic sent him on his way.

After that I was getting tired of wiping sweat so I started my walk back.  I would stop and cast to any carp I saw that might show interest but in the end, none of them did.  I don’t know if it was the heat or the fact they might still be in spawn mode but I didn’t see any active feeders today.  Maybe next time.  I need to tie up some more carp flies in the burnt orange color.  I only have a couple left and it appears to work well for Gills and Bass.  One of these days I might finally figure out a pattern the carp will actually grab instead of ignore.

That was it for my Father’s Day Fishing adventure.  A handful of Gills, one bonus LMB and no Carp.  I was back home around 11 in enough time to go to breakfast with my kids and to see Incredibles II later.

Not a bad day.





Inaugural Bass/Bluegill/Carp trip for 2018

5 06 2018

This past Sunday (6/3) was my first fly fishing trip to my super secret, catch just about anything, spot.  I expected the carp to be spawning but I was hoping I would find a few asexual carp that didn’t care about that thing or a few that were already done.  My main fear was being over run my carp shooters.  There was a big bowfishing tournament going on this weekend and I was hoping none of them would be in my area.  Turns out none of them were in my area.

I got to the parking lot around 7, rigged up my TFO Clouser 5 wt and my Orvis Helios II 7 wt and started the long trek.  Overcast skies and a slight NE breeze made for an enjoyable walk up to my first stop, which wasn’t because of a fish.  It was this girl doing her thing.

I haven’t found a snapping turtle laying eggs since my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary weekend in St. Ignace.  I feel sorry for these little guys though.  They won’t have an easy hike across a beach to water.  She laid her eggs on top of a dirt road that sits on top of a bunch of boulders.  I’ll have to look up the incubation time for snapper eggs and see if I can time when they hatch.  It would be cool to see.

After that I continued my walk until I spotted some carp doing the spawn thing.  They were jumping around and splashing about, having themselves a grand old time.  Along the shoreline I did spot about a 10 pounder cruising along.  He was mouthing some floating reeds as I made my first cast out in front of him.  I let the fly sink as he slowly started to swim my way.  When he was about 3 feet out I slowly began to strip the fly in.  I lost sight of the fly as it dropped between some rocks.  The carp saw it though so I just stopped and let him swim in.  He started to nose down and tail up right over the fly.  I saw his mouth open and it looked like he sucked in the fly.  I raised up to set the hook and missed him completely.  He didn’t stick around to figure out what was going on and I started cursing myself for getting so twitchy.  I know better than that.  Oh well, on to the next one.

The rest of the carp fishing was pretty uneventful.  I saw a fair number of carp but they were all doing the same thing.  Mouthing pulled reeds floating on the surface and not paying much attention to anything else.  The water was very dark so it was hard to see.  Not sure why, it wasn’t dirty, just dark.  I couldn’t even see any gills.  The only one I did catch was by accident while I was casting to a carp.

After a few hours it started to sprinkle some so I headed back to the car.  Along the way I spotted a Bowfin feeding like a carp, head down and tail up.  I flipped my fly out near him and let it sink right down alongside of him.  I saw him react to it and this time I drove the hook home.  I played around with him for about a minute or so and eventually lost him as I was trying to land him.  I wasn’t going to keep him anyways so it was no big deal.  At least I didn’t get completely skunked and I’ll be back many times this summer.

Last item of note was a White Pelican sighting as I was heading back.  It was the first one I had seen in a few years.  There was a bird watcher riding out as I was heading in so I told him about it and where he landed.  Hope he got some decent pictures.  Kind of late in the year for one to be migrating north.  This season has everything screwed up.  We went from winter to summer for a week and then back to Spring.  I’m going steelhead fishing next weekend on the St. Mary’s rapids.  Never expected to be fishing for them in June.  The water coming out of Lake Superior is still in the 40 degree range.  Not that I’m complaining.  I had so many things going on last month I thought I was going to miss my chance.  Hope I get one this time.  This will be my fourth trip up there and all I have caught are Atlantic’s.

Until then.





Another Fishy Weekend

17 07 2017

Friday Evening, 7/14/17

 Friday night found me doing my usual thing at my usual spot catching my usual fish.  I started a little earlier than I have been, hoping to try and get a few on spoons before nightfall.  Didn’t turn out like I had hoped.  From 8:30 to 9:30 pm I only caught one keeper and had one throwback on the spoons.  Shortly after 9:30 it was “Hold My Beer”.  In the next 30 minutes I finished up my limit, threw back about 6 and lost 2 at the boat.  A couple of the throwbacks were just barely legal fish but I was feeling cocky so I threw them back.  It was one of those nights where everything was going right and I was sure I would catch bigger fish.  I even managed to land a 19 inch smallmouth without tangling up and of my other leaders.  By 10:00 pm number 5 was in the cooler and I was headed home.  I thought about staying out later and doing the “Catch & Release” thing but I have never been a fan of that, not when it comes to handlining.  I had my 5 so it was time to head in.  The way this summer was going I would have plenty of opportunities to catch more.

Saturday Morning, 7/15/17

My original plans for Saturday morning was to take care of some errands before I met my son for lunch around noon.  Those plans quickly fell apart when I arrived at my barber shop only to find it was closed because my barber broke his wrist.  The other items on my errand list didn’t pan out so I said screw it and went fishing.  I was going to take another crack at the carp in the same spot I went to last week.  Things didn’t go to well with the carp (I managed to hook into one that ran me to my backing before the leader broke) but the gills and Ditch Pickles kept me busy. The first gill was a surprise.  I was casting to a carp when a gill came up and grabbed my carp fly.  While I was bringing him in a Bowfin came up and tried to grab the gill.  He made several attempts but was never able to clamp down.  Once I released the gill I cast my fly towards him but he didn’t want anything to do with my offering.  Later that morning I had a Largemouth Bass do the same thing on another gill I was bringing in.  He was able to get a hold of the gill but it was to big for him to swallow.  I wasn’t able to coax him into grabbing my fly but I did manage to get about a half-dozen of his brethren.  Around noon I headed home.  Not the result I was hoping for but I wasn’t going to complain.  Anytime I can catch some nice gills and a few Ditch Pickles on a fly rod is a good day.  I made a mental note of where I saw all the beds (yes, bluegills on beds in July) and figured I would bring my 4 wt tomorrow and some gill appropriate flies.

Sunday Morning, 7/16/17

Sunday morning I was headed back to “The Carp Hole” with a new plan of attack.  I got there earlier with the hope of finding the fish a little more relaxed and in feed mode.  I brought along my      4 wt and my Bluegill/Trout box so I could play with the gills, if the carp didn’t want to cooperate.  Little did I realize that it was a good thing I did because when it came to the carp, I couldn’t do anything right.  Actually I could do one thing right, “Spook Carp”.

See carp feeding about 40 feet out.  Make cast and hook reed.  Spook Carp.

See more carp feeding, sneak down to shore to make  a cast, don’t see the carp along the shore line.  Spook Carp.

Cast to carp swimming towards me, catch bluegill instead.  Spook Carp.

Sneak up on a feeding carp, slip on rock and fall on ass.  Spook Carp.

See carp feeding along shoreline followed by two bass, over shoot cast and catch bass.  Spook Carp.

See another carp just resting, make bad cast in wind and land fly on Carp’s head.  Spook Carp.

See big Ditch Pickle cruising along, sneak into casting range and don’t see carp feeding along rocks.  Spook Carp.

Get to close to Canada Geese and they leave shore and walk into water.  Spook Carp.

Start casting to feeding carp, snag bush on back cast.  Spook Carp.

Get disgusted after 4 hours of this nonsense and leave.  Spook Carp.

It was pretty much useless at this point anyways.  The west wind had picked up making trying to see anything difficult at best.  I eventually worked my way back to the parking lot figuring I would stop at one more spot along the way that was out of the wind.  As I got close I went into stealth mode and worked my way to the water.  I carefully scanned the area and I cold see a couple of fish mucking around about 30 feet away.  I was getting ready to make my cast when out of nowhere a carp shooter shows up, bow in hand, and walks right up to the other edge of the hole.

He Spooks Carp.

I didn’t say anything.  I just stood up and continued my walk back to the car.  I’ll just try again on another day.

Sunday Evening, 7/16/17

After the disaster of this morning I needed a little redemption so around 8:30 pm I hooked up the boat and headed to my favorite walleye spot.  Winds were out of the north around 10 mph this evening.  Not the best wind direction and speed but I figured I would make the best of it.  Once I got set up I could tell boat control was going to be a pain.  With the wind coming straight down the river the current was faster than normal.  After about 10 minutes I switched over to a heavier weight just to keep better contact with the bottom and to help keep that 45 degree angle.  It seemed to do the trick because a few minutes later I was bringing in my first fish of the night.  Unfortunately, he was barely hooked and came off as I was flipping him in.  After that any fish I hooked I would immediately turn my boat into the fish to help take the extra strain off of the fish.  Old timers blame lost fish in the summer to “Soft Mouth Syndrome” or “Red Lips”.  I attribute the losses to light hits and going up-stream and pulling a lightly hooked fish against the current.  Last time I checked, bone doesn’t suddenly get soft in the summer time.   I kept utilizing this tactic for the next hour and around 10:30 pm number 5 was in the cooler.

Redemption.

One little note.  The fish at the top was a 22 inch female.  For all you guys that say you have never kept a female please enlighten me on how you would have let this one go if you had caught it?  It doesn’t matter if she is full of eggs or not, once she is removed from the fishery that’s it, so spare me your hypocrisy.

So that put a pleasant wrap on my weekend.  No carp but I still caught plenty of walleye, bluegills and ditch pickles.  The next few days are calling for unfavorable winds and thunderstorms so I’ll take advantage of the down time  to do some maintenance.  I need to replace some hooks, change the wire on a reel, make up some shanks and most of all some new leaders.  My 40 foot leader must have a dozen knots in it.  I’ve been fishing hard the last month and my equipment could use a little TLC.  Come to think of it, I could use some TLC as well.  My hands are trashed and I managed to bruise my forearm and shin when I fell off that rock.

 

 

 

 

 

 





Father’s Day Weekend 2015

22 06 2015

Friday night, June 19th.  The end of another long week and for once no rain.  The last few weeks it has been on and off rain and water levels that are rising more then they are falling.  I needed a break and tonight was it.  I suggested to Susan that we should pick up a couple of subs and go eat them down at Willow Metro Park.  Of course the fly rod would be coming along for use after dinner.  We didn’t stay long but I managed to catch a few fish before the mosquitoes tried to carry us off.

Not very big but very colorful.

Not very big but very colorful.

Washago Pickle

The next morning I headed out to the Detroit River to see if I could catch a few walleye for the freezer.  This was going to be my first real trip of the year.  I had gone out a few weeks ago but that was more of a screw around trip.  This time it was serious.  I was out of walleye and I needed some for myself and my parents.

I arrived at the ramp just in time to watch a bass tournament get all their boats launched.  Jump time hadn’t come yet so I had time to get ahead of them and get set up.  By 6:45 I was lines down and fishing.  Conditions were just about perfect.  NE wind at around 5 mph, overcast skies, clean water and no floating weeds or mayfly casings.  All I needed now was a few fish.  It didn’t take long and I had my first one on.  He hit a #9 Clown Rapala on my 40 foot lead.  As I was bringing him he came to the surface rather quickly and I could see he was barely hooked.  I thought to myself that he should just shake his head and get it over with.  He must have heard me because he did just that.  About 10 minutes later I had another one on the same lead and lure but this one stayed down.  After a few minutes I managed to get it up close enough to the boat to see it.  This fish was also barely hooked and it was a beast.  One more head shake and I got to watch her swim away as well.  I was beginning to think that this was the start of a very bad trip.  Fortunately though my luck changed and the next 5 I hooked were all landed easily.  These fish all came on the same orange and black spoon on my 20 foot lead.  Why they were hitting the spoon hard and not the Rapala has me a bit perplexed.  All I can figure is that the bigger fish were not in an active feeding mode and just taking a half ass swipe at the lure as it came by.  The spoon must have been easier for them to suck in.  I didn’t care, as long as they were in the cooler.

1st limit of 2015

1st limit of 2015

After fishing I spent the afternoon down at Cedar Point with Susan and her brother and his family.  He has a boat in the Marina so we spent the afternoon there.  One of the other tenants came by to show off his fishing rod “set-up”.  He was really proud of the line…40 pound Berkley Fireline.  Why he needed that was beyond me but he was really proud of it.  One thing I did take notice of was the number of gnats and mayflies.  I wondered if they were going to be this bad back home.  As luck would have it I would find out later.

The next morning Susan and I were out once again but this time with my kids.  With it being Father’s Day they wanted to go to breakfast and see a movie.  After some Red, White and Blue pancakes from Denny’s we headed to the theatre to go see “Inside Out”.  My kids and I have been going to see just about every Pixar movie that comes out.  All these years we are still doing it and Pixar does not fail to produce fantastic movies.  This one was no exception.  If you do decide to go see it take some Kleenex.

Susan had to go to work that evening so I was free to do as I pleased.  Of course that meant another shot at the walleye.  This time around the conditions were a bit different.  Clear skies, bright sun, clear water and soon no wind.  I managed to pick up one walleye.

Walleye 1

What really surprised me was how active the few remaining Silver Bass were after dark.  I didn’t catch many but the ones I did get were big.  Most were in the 14 to 16 range.  Some of these were Master Angler qualifiers but I wasn’t about to turn one in.  The worst part of the whole night was the bugs.  As it got dark I could see the mayflies starting to hatch and the gnats were right there with them.  At one point I had a green and red cloud of gnats at the bow of my boat.  Anytime I turned my headlamp on to see what I was doing I was instantly covered in gnats.  I got so sick of them I just cleared weeds and lines in the dark.  After about 30 minutes though it got to be to much and I just gave up.  Even back at the ramp they were ridiculously thick.  I’m still smacking bugs in the inside of my car.  I shouldn’t complain to much though.  It won’t last and I should be happy that the Silver Bass are clearing out.  I have all summer to catch fish.

 





September Fur, Fish and Feather Extravaganza

3 10 2014

Every September my friends and I get together for a long weekend of Hunting and Fishing.  We have been doing this for almost 30 years now.  The game has changed over the years but the outcome is always the same.  A guy’s weekend where if the season is open we are going after it.  This time of year it’s all small game.  First on the list is squirrel followed by Grouse and Woodcock.  We don’t do as much bird hunting anymore since none of us have a dog.  We still get a few birds here and there but without a lab or setter it just ins’t the same.

Saturday morning started out very foggy so while we waited for the fog to burn off some we got in a little crappie fishing.  Barry has been creating fish structures off his Mom’s dock and it is starting to pay off.  In less than an hour we managed to get 10 crappie for a fish fry later.  The fish turned off rather quickly but no matter, the fog was lifting so it was time to shoot a few squirrels.  We grabbed the .22’s and headed to a stand of oaks not to far down the road.  Barry headed south and I headed east.  Dean was doing something else so I don’t know where he ended up.  I was glad to see that the long winter didn’t affect the acron crop.  If anything it helped, they were everywhere.  I can’t remember the last time the crop was this good.  An abundance of acorns usually means an abundance of squirrels.  I saw a fair share of them that morning and was able to connect on two.  If I carried my shotgun I’m sure I would have filled my 5 squirrel limit but I like using my Marlin Model 60.  It is a lttle more challenging to hit a squirrel with a .22 but at least I don’t have to pick shot out of the meat.  The drawback though is that since I have started using bi-focals trying to spot squirrels in the tree tops and then focusing through the scope is a little more difficult.  I told myself that I would get  a new scope this summer but I never got around to it.  I paid the price for my procrastination later that day when I missed 3 easy shots.  We could have stayed out a little longer but there was a group training search and rescue dogs using the area so we decided to stay out of their way.  We had other things to keep us occupied, like fishing.

Later that evening we took the pontoon boat out and did a little fishing.  We were hoping to add to the crappie in the fish basket but no such luck.  I did catch a 17 inch largemouth bass but I don’t eat those so back he went.  After dark we set up to do a little catfishing and I caught my personal best 31 inch Channel Cat.  Turns out is qualifies for a Master Angler award.  Not my proudest moment but I’ll take it.  I don’t eat these either so after a few pics he went back in the water.  That was it for day 1

Day 2 started out the same as day 1, foggy.  We tried fishing again but no luck.  It was like they just shut down.  Later that day we talked to a few other anglers and they reported the same thing.  Barry and I gave up after about 30 minutes and went squirrel hunting again.  We managed 3 this morning and we checked out our opening day wood duck spot.  With all the acorns we figured their would be a lot of wood ducks in our usual area.  We had to change things up some since we no longer have a dog for retrieval duties.  Had to make sure I could get the kayak back in our spot.  It’s looking good since we jumped about 30 or 40 woodies from the area.  Hope they stick around until the opener on Oct. 4th.

Around noon I packed up and headed to Oscoda to spend some time with my parents.  I got there just in time for a dinner of the perch my Dad and I caught earlier this summer.  Once that was done I drove over to one of my grouse and woodcock thickets to see if I could find a few birds.  As usual the cover was thick and the warm, humid day made for rough walking.  It seems like I was stopping every other minute to wipe the sweat off my face and glasses.  I managed to put up 3 woodcock and 1 grouse.  I never got a shot at the grouse but I did connect on one of the woodcock.  Problem was I connected to well.  It was what I like to call a dead on impact hit.  I couldn’t have hit this bird any more square with my shot pattern.  Some people would say that I should have let him get out a little farther but in prime woodcock cover you don’t always get that chance.  10 more feet and the bird can disappear.  After that I found my trail out and walked back to the car.  On the way though I decided to walk across the nearby creek to see how well a clear cut grew back in.  The US forestry service Cut this area back in the 90’s and it never really took off like I hoped it would.  Lots of dry summers kept the aspen from growing like it should.  Well it finally came in and it looks pretty good.  I took a quick walk through and managed to put up another woodcock.  This are should be full of them come migration time.  Fingers crossed.

The next morning I was back chasing squirrels again.  This time I was in a new area I discovered during one of my kayak/bass trips down the AuSable.  It is part of an ORV/Snowmobile trail system so that meant lots of easy walking through the oaks.  Not as many acorns as in Sanford but still plenty to go around.  I saw many squirrels but due to my own laziness I scared more than I shot at.  Most of them were on the ground and I would walk right up on them and by then it was to late.  Again if I had my shotgun it would have been a different story.  I did managed to tag a few and I spent a lot of time walking around the area to get a good idea of how much huntable land there was.  I’ll be back here throughout the season.

After lunch My dad and I took the .22 pistols down the hill to go plinking.  I managed to pick up a few bricks of ammo so now we can actually shoot his Colt Woodsman and my Beretta Model 71.  Once we were done with that we took a walk through the nearby oak trees to see if there were any squirrels about.  I managed to shoot a grey right away and missed a black in the same tree.  After that it was like they all disappeared.  I soon found out why.  The wind had shifted and we had a storm coming in.  The wind started gusting to over 20 mph and it sounded like hail with all the acorns coming down.  We got out of the woods and under cover just as the rain started to come down, which it did on and off for the rest of the night.  So much for salmon fishing this evening.

The next morning I woke up to drizzle, a north wind and temps that were 30 degrees below yesterday’s temp.  I decided to pack my stuff and head for home.  I did swing back towards my new squirrel spot and walked around for about an hour.  I manged to get one more black squirrel before calling it a day.  I took some of the back roads home and stopped at a few gun shops along the way.  I did find a new 3×9 32 mm scope for the .22 so hopefully my miss rate will drop drastically.  Providing I get it sighted in soon.  If not I can always do it after the opening morning duck hunt.

So for my long weekend I ended up with a bunch of squirrels, a few crappie, 1 master anlger Channel Cat and 1 decimated woodcock.  Not bad considering how hot it still is.  Not too much fun trying to hunt while swatting mosquitoes and wiping sweat off my glasses at the same time.  Hopefully the duck opener is a little cooler.

photo 6

Squirrels are getting freaky with skunks.

Squirrels are getting freaky with skunks.

Master Angler Cat

Master Angler Cat

photo 4

Zoom in and try to count all the feathers.

Zoom in and try to count all the feathers.

photo 7





The 2nd Coming………Almost

22 06 2014

Weekend Report.

I decided to give it a shot Friday night after I got word that my fellow handliner compadre Dave was going to head out.  It looked like the rain was going to clear out before dark so I made plans to hit the water around 8.  Of course the rain didn’t completely quit but a little sprinkle was no big deal.  When I arrived at the ramp I was pleased to see that the water levels were way up.  As a matter of fact they were at the highest levels I had seen in years.  Not surprising with all the rain we have had.  After I launched the boat I pointed her downstream and headed towards the only other boat on the river, Dave’s.  I pulled up along side and asked how he and Larry had been doing.  No walleye yet but only 1 Silver Bass.  Oh Happy Day could they finally be gone?  We shall see.

I went downstream a bit more and set up behind them.  I started to follow them for a bit but once I saw both of them bringing in Silver Bass at the same time I made a right turn and avoided that area.  Didn’t matter, I found them as well.  Oh well, can’t have everything.  It wasn’t too much longer before I felt that old familiar headshake that I have missed so much.  A few seconds later and I had my first walleye in the box.  I would end up with 3 for the night, 2 on a #11 Clown Rapala and 1 on a Red Wonderbread Nite Stalker Pencil Plug.  I ended up catching about 20 Silver Bass.  Once it got dark they pretty much shut down.  The only problem was the weeds, not the ones on the surface but that stringy moss that seems to hang around the bottom.  It seems like I was clearing lines every ten minutes.  I’m sure that wasn’t helping my catch rate.

I did catch one fish that surprised the hell out of me.  I have caught just about everything the River has to offer but not one of these.  As a matter of fact after 40 years of fishing the Detroit River this is the first one I have ever caught.  I have picked up a few in the canals around Grosse Isle or Gibraltar out of my Kayak but never in the middle of the river while walleye fishing.  When it first hit I wasn’t quite sure what it was.  There was to much weight for it to be a Silver Bass but it was fighting too much to be a walleye and not enough to be a Smallmouth Bass.  I hoped I wouldn’t lose him because I really wanted to see what it was.  I was careful and eventually I got him in, a Largemouth Bass.  That was a first and I will probably never repeat it.  Largemouth Bass are not known to hang out in the area I caught him in, Smallies yes, Bucketmouth’s no.

Around 11:00 pm I finally called it quits.  3 fish wasn’t too bad, I didn’t lose any lures and no damage to the hands.  The Silver Bass are definitely thinning out and by next weekend they should all be out in Lake Erie terrorizing the Planer Board Brigade.

Conditions weren’t bad.  Surface temps were 67 degrees and the water clear.  No surface weeds but that moss below was a pain.  The NE winds were calm for the most part but they did pick up as the evening progressed.  Not a bad night after not getting out for a month.

Sunday morning I headed for the river again and hit the water at the crack of 6:20 am.  I wanted to start earlier but I overslept a little.  The water temps were about the same as Friday and it was still clear.  A few surface weeds and a fair number of dead Mayfly’s and casings.  It was overcast as well and I hoped it would last.  I started running spoons and a #9 Rapala at first and it wasn’t long before I was into the Silver Bass.  They were in small schools much like Friday night,  3 or 4 right away and then nothing for about 20 minutes.  Problem was the walleye were scarce as well.  I didn’t catch my first one until almost 9:00 am.  I ended up with 2 and I lost one at the boat as well.  I caught about a half dozen Smallmouth Bass ranging for a minuscule 3 inches to a 20 inch pig.  Boy was he a handful.  Around 11 I gave up and headed home.  I had a long list on yard chores waiting for me and they weren’t going to get done on their own.

Conditions weren’t bad at first.  Light winds and overcast skies.  Water was still clear with about 3 feet of visibility.  If it continues to stay that way I am going to stick to evening fishing.  I may try over at Amherstburg this weekend in deeper water.  Hopefully some of the smaller eaters will move back into the river by then.  Once they do it will be Game On II.06-20-14 Walleye

First Largemouth Bass Ever on the "D".

First Largemouth Bass Ever on the “D”.

TC Walleye 6-22-14

The Pig

The Pig

The baby

The baby