Maiden Voyage 2014

20 04 2014

Finally!!!

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.





Memorial Weekend Report

27 05 2013

DAY 1

Friday, 5:00 pm and I am running out the door.  I couldn’t get out of work fast enough this week.  Too much stress and too many other things going on outside of work.  I needed a break and that meant only one thing…….therapy through handlining.

Since the Silver Bass were still in I waited until after 9:00 pm to hit the river.  I was still a little pessimistic since it was going to be a clear night with a full moon.  Sometimes on nights like this the Silvers feed all night.  I was going to run chrome pencil plugs tonight and hope for the best.  On clear full moon nights chrome works quite well but Silvers really like Chrome.  As I was heading down to the “Cat” I saw a bunch of gulls and terns dive bombing the surface.  That meant the Silvers were pushing minnows up and they were in attack mode as well.  I kept away from that area.

5/24/13

5/24/13

By 9:15 I had lines down and at 9:20 I had walleye number 1 in the box.  So far so good.  A short time later I had another one in but this one was a bit small and was going back.  I had yet to catch a Silver so I decided to get brave and put on a #9 Clown Rapala on my kicker.  Big Mistake, the weight never made it to the bottom and I had one on.  After about 20 minutes of constantly hooking Silvers on that one lure it came off and I was back to just 2 leads with Pencil Plugs.  The action was a lot slower but I was only catching walleye and that was fine with me.  By 11:30 pm I had 5 in the box and I was headed home.  I talked to two other handliners that started the same time I did and they only had 2 but they caught a butt load of Silvers.  They were running Rapala’s.  Make note of that guys……

DAY 2

No Caption Necessary

No Caption Necessary

You think I would have slept in some after not going to bed until 2:00 am but not me.  I awoke with the sun and got ready to start my day.  I was headed up to Sanford Lake today to spend some time with some friends of mine.  Their mother has a home on the lake so I was going old school fishing, sitting on the dock, bobber and worm, catching bluegill.  Not my usual thing but I wasn’t going to complain.  Can’t think of much better way to spend a day but on a lake fishing with friends.  Unfortunately Midland had over 2 inches of rain in the last few days so the streams were running high and dumping a lot of dirty water into Sanford Lake.  Visibility was less than a foot, hardly ideal for catching panfish.  We discovered that the fish weren’t even on the beds yet.  Oh well. We made the best of it.  We did catch enough for a lunch and that was good enough.  Did find an interesting item at a garage sale, those who know me will get it.

DAY 3

Actually it was the evening of Day 3.  My parents were down so that meant my Dad and I would be going walleye fishing.  This time though I would have my younger cousin John along.  He wants to learn how to fish and his mother told him he needed to talk to his Uncle Frank and Cousin Mark.  I sent him a message earlier in the week and invited him along.  We picked him up around 7 on Sunday night and headed out.  Since the only fishing he has ever done was for bluegill on Coan Lake in Heritage Park I figured I would let him jig for a while and catch Silver Bass.  As expected we caught a bunch of Silvers but while I was watching him jig I saw him set the hook on a fish.  I noticed there was more of a bend in the rod this time and he wasn’t cranking it in like the smaller silvers.  I reeled my line in and got the net ready.  Sure enough, walleye.  After a quick pic it was in the cooler and we were back to catching Silvers.  Around 9:00 pm I told everyone to pull lines, it was time to catch walleye the right way.

We pulled up in front of the “Cat” and started to get set up.  I set John up with a 15 foot lead and a #9 Pink Lemonade Rapala that I just got back from Jim at Downriver Tackle.  I figured he would catch lots of Silver Bass with this but it would be good practice for him.  He might get lucky too and catch a walleye.  I set up with the same Wonderbread Nite Stalkers as the other night.  As expected John hooked Silver after Silver but he was having fun so he really didn’t care.  I on the other hand was catching walleye.  I had the first 3 in the box when I noticed that John was having a hard time bringing in his next bass.  I had a feeling and sure enough it was a walleye.  I talked him through getting it in the boat and even though he bounced it on the side he got it in the boat.  Now he was all smiles.    He just landed the biggest fish of his life and all he could think about was how good it was going to taste.  After that I landed a couple more so by now John said he had had enough of the Bass and wanted to catch only walleye.  We switched out the Rap for a Chrome Nite Stalker and shortly afterwards he was bringing in another walleye.  That gave us 9 so far.  John asked how much longer we would stay out and I told him after we got number 10.  No sooner did I say that and John was bringing in number 10.  It was now 11:00 pm and time to call it a night.  We still had fish to clean and John had plenty for him, the rest of his family and his Grandmother, my Aunt, to eat for dinner.

John's 1st Walleye

John’s 1st Walleye

His Haul

His Haul

DAY 4

Food, Family and Friends.  I’m beginning to understand what those Duck Dynasty guys are talking about.