Maiden Voyage 2014

20 04 2014


The snowiest winter ever recorded for south east Michigan is finally over (I hope).  The birds are building their nests, tulips are poking through the ground and the days are above freezing (though the wind chill temp yesterday morning was 29 degrees).  Time to go get some walleye.  Early reports have stated that big fish are being caught all throughout the system from St. Clair to Erie.  Could this be the year I finally get that 10 pound fish?  It seems like everyone else is so why not me?  Anything is possible.  Especially now with big females being the bulk of a lot of fish being caught.  We shall see.

My plan was to go out Friday night (4/18) after dinner.  The MWC was having day 1 of their 2 day tournament on Friday so I wanted to wait until they were off the water.  I left the house around 5 and arrived at the ramp as they were going through weigh-in.  I could hear the weights of the 5 fish baskets being called out over the loud speaker as I was prepping the boat.  Most were in the 30 pound range but I did hear a 42 pound weight yelled out.  Don’t know where they were fishing , probably mid river as that seems to be where everyone has been fishing this last week.  I was headed south to my normal fishing grounds, I felt like staying close.

I started off jigging, why I don’t know.  I sometimes think I need to get it out of my system before I start to pull wire.  I really don’t like jigging anymore.  I’m to the point that the only time I want a fishing rod in  my hand is when it is my Fly Rod.  After a couple of drifts and no fish I got down to business.  I turned the boat around, pointed it upstream and out came the Rap’s.  As I was getting ready my friends Dave and Larry pulled up beside me.  They had 4 and were in the process of landing number 5 as I was lowering my baits into the water.  They told me they had lost around 6 fish as well and Larry had lost a big one.  He could never get her up off the bottom.  There was still hope.

About 20 minutes later I had my first fish of the year, a nice 18 inch eater.  He came on a #11 Pink Lemonade Rapala on my 40 foot lead.  That was followed up by another little male that I had to toss back.  The size limit here is 15 inches and he was 14.9999999998 inches long.  No biggie, the sun was starting to set and the fish were starting to get active.  About 20 minutes later I lost another small one at the boat.  Once he came off I quickly got the baits down and went back through the same area.  It wasn’t long and number 2 was in the cooler, another male on a #9 Original Black and Silver Rapala.  I was getting ready to make another run when I spotted something weird looking in the water.  I thought it might be a Cormorant at first but then I realized it was the head of a whitetail deer.  I motored closer and sure enough, it was a deer swimming upstream and headed to the shoreline below the Edison plant.  Once she found a clear spot she walked out and gave me a look of how dare you interrupt my swim and then went on her way.  I have seen deer all over the River but this was the first time I had ever seen one swimming in the water.

It was getting dark now so I switched on my navigation lights and got back to fishing, sort of.  My stern light wasn’t working.  I tried to figure out what the problem was but no luck.  I headed to a nearby dock and tied off while I inspected the pole and socket.  Eventually I got it working and was back to fishing.  It never fails, just when I was zeroed in on them something goes wrong.  I was back in business and it didn’t take long for me to get back on the fish.  Roughly 30 minutes later I had the last 3 of my 5 fish limit and I was on my way in.  I pulled up along side of Dave and Larry again as they were landing number 6.  I tossed them one of my hot lures and threatened their lives if they lost it.  I wished them good luck (I later found out that they ended up with 9 for the night) and ran for the dock.  I had my 5 and was happy.  Of course they were all males with the largest one being 22 inches long.  Only I could accomplish that.  Everyone else is landing a personal best fish and throwing back big females and I manage to catch all males, and a sub-legal one to boot.  Oh well.

For those who are wondering the surface temp was 44 degrees with a nice stain to the water.  These bright sunny days are getting the algae going and the water conditions were just about perfect, for me.  Clear skies and a NE wind made it a little chilly but it felt good to be back out on the water.  It had been a long winter and I needed to get back in to a rhythm again.  It took a little doing at first but eventually I got my mojo back and the fish were coming in.

Here’s to the rest of the season everyone, it’s finally here.


All Males, 18 to 22 inches long.

All Males, 18 to 22 inches long.

Maiden Voyage for 2013

14 04 2013

In the immortal words of Colonel Hannibal Smith……….  “I love it when a plan comes together”.

After a couple of weeks of rain and high wind I saw a small window of opportunity.  Sunday morning was going to be cold but the winds were supposed to be light.  I knew the MWC was in town so I figured I would get out on the water before them and hope I could get my 5 before the tournament started.  It was an ambitious plan of attack, 5 fish before 7:00 am.  I stopped at the Trenton police station and picked up my pass for the Rotary park launch.

Phase 1 of the plan done.

A few boats were already launching so I got my boat ready and waited my turn.  By 6:15 I was on the water and heading south.

Phase 2 of the plan done.

By 6:30 am I was at my favorite starting point (Free handlining trip to the first one who can guess what it is).  Water was dirty with less than a foot of visibility and a surface temp of 40 degrees.  I was going big today; size 13 and 11 Rapala’s.  I was itching to find out how well my new Spring Valley Special II Rapala’s were going to work.  I didn’t have to wait long, at 6:40 am I felt that old familiar head shake and my first walleye for 2013 was in the boat and it came on the #13 SVS II.  That was quickly followed up by 2 more.  By now the weekend warriors were starting to show up.  As I was pulling in #4 a boat stopped right alongside of me to ask how I was doing.  I told them this was my 4th and I had been out for 15 minutes (I just love being a show off).  I trolled around them and was heading east when #5 hit, the smallest one of the day and on the #11 GFR.

Phase 3 of the plan done, time to head home.

That was 5 fish in less than 20 minutes and I was heading back to the dock by 7:05 am.  I lost one other fish as I was flipping him in.  He was barely hooked and he came off as I lifted him out of the water.  All the fish were hooked by just the trailing hook.  None of them hit hard but they were full of fight as I was bringing them in.  I couldn’t have timed it any better, the tournament boats were just starting to head out and I was past most of them as I was heading in.  One boat lost a white bag as he went flying by, I spun around to pick it up.  It was a bag full of swim noodles with shanks and leaders all wrapped around them.  Hope he didn’t need them because there was no way I was going to catch him.  I figured I would just drop it off at the tournament trailer when I was done.  When I got back to the Rotary Park ramp it was almost full and 3 other boats were getting ready to launch.  One group of fishermen asked how I did and I gave them all the specifics.  A few minutes later I was all loaded up and heading home rockin’ out to Dee Snider and The House of Hair.

I love it when a plan comes together……

TC 04-14-13

4/11/12 After Work Walleye

12 04 2012

Location: Trenton Channel
Date/Time: 04/11/12 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Water Temp: 46 degrees
Water Clarity: Clear
Weather: Partly Cloudy at first then clear
Wind: N calm
Water Depth: 13 feet
Presentation: Handlining, 40/20/6, 30/15
Lures: #11 Bleeding Chartreuse, #11 Clown, #9 Hot Steel

Last night was a perfect example of how much of a difference water clarity can make on fishing success. Last week, when the water was dirty,  the majority of my fish were caught between sunrise and sunset. Last night, when the water was clear, all 6 were caught after sunset. At first I thought we might be ok with the overcast clouds but once we got on the water the clouds parted and the sun came out. Made for a nice evening but at the time I would have preferred the clouds.

I took one of my co-workers, Leo out tonight. Normally he is a bass fisherman (I don’t hold it against him) so he doesn’t get the opportunity to handline too much. He does have his own reels but I don’t think he likes the way they look on his Skeeter. At 8:05 Leo caught the first fish on his 30 foot lead and a #11 Clown. He ended up catching the next 2, one on the Clown and another on his 15 foot lead and a #9 Hot Steel Rapala. I ended up catching the next 3, all on my 40 foot lead and a #11 Bleeding Chartreuse Rapala. The last fish was caught just after 9 and that is when we packed it in. I had to get home because someone was dropping off a GPS unit for my boat.

Considering how this night started out we did pretty good. The snap broke on my shank and I lost my weight. By some miracle my kicker lure snagged the weight as it went by. I’ll never be that lucky again. Shortly afterwards Leo gut hung up and he almost lost the whole rig. We were able to get it free but there were some tense moments. While we were trying to free it my motor decided to stall. Luck was on our side and I was able to get the motor started and retrieve all the equipment. Leaders were tangled up but that was no big deal. I keep spares just in case.

So the final tally was 6 fish from 18 to 24 inches long with a total combined weight of 15 pounds and 1 ounce. I will be out again tonight, going to try deeper water at first to see if we can pick up a few before it gets dark. Don’t know about this weekend, MWC and MOMC both have tournaments. They had just finished setting up for the MWC tournament at Elizabeth Park when I arrived. Things might get a little crowded. Plus I have my niece’s baptism this weekend. It might not to look good if the Godfather doesn’t show up.

I suppose I could go out afterwards.