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