Richard’s Do-Over, 7/26/17

27 07 2017

After our last trip, Richard had told me he wanted a do over.  This time though he wanted to take his boat and have me drive.  He had been going through a dry spell on the walleye and was curious to see if maybe he was trolling at the wrong speed.  I told him it wasn’t a problem and we made arrangements for me to meet him at the dock at 9:00 pm.  At 9:01 pm I was standing on the dock, gear in hand, and soon he was pulling up so I could jump in.  He had arrived earlier so he could make a test run to make sure everything was working.  He had replaced the impellar in his motor earlier and he wanted to make sure it was working while it was still light out.

We slowly made our way downstream and eventually Richard relinquished control of the tiller to me.  I worked my way to the east side of the river, down by the flag, and got set up.  My lines weren’t even down 30 seconds when I started to bring in number one.  Richard was still getting set up so I was sneaky about bringing the fish in.  I was holding it when I asked him where the pliers were.  He handed them to me and the look on his face when he saw the walleye was priceless.  A couple of minutes later I had another fish on and I knew that something wasn’t quite right with this one, or should I say both of them.  I flipped the first one in and while Richard was commenting about how quickly I caught it I flipped in the second one.  About 5 minutes after that number four was in the boat.  Richard just looked at me with a stare of both amazement and disgust.  I handed him my lure box and told him #9 Black and Gold.  He switched out what he was using on his 40 foot lead and got back to business.  By 10 pm I had number five and I was jokingly commenting about how he can start to contribute to the cooler.

Fishing slowed down for a bit after that initial flurry but we continued to chip away at them.  While I was untangling my lines from a foul hooked Rock Bass Richard hooked into and landed his first channel cat handlining.  He caught it on a black/gold Shad Rap.  I only mentioned the lure and color for later reference.  Around 11:30 pm we caught number ten and we headed in.  A two man limit, no lures lost or broken bills, no injuries and a bonus cat.  The only issue with the night was the weeds, which were a pain.

The water is still very clear with a surface temp of around 72 degrees.  Wind was out of the south and the skies were overcast.  All of Richard’s walleye came on the #9 Rapala in black & gold.  The same color as the Shad Rap.  This just drives home my point about how action, size and depth are more important than color.  No walleye on the Shad Rap, only the F9 Rapala.  All of mine came on the F9 in Original, the F7 Perch and a black and silver spoon.  No undersized fish tonight.  No Smallmouth Bass, just a couple of Rock Bass and one very lost Blankity Blank.  No pics today, I sent all the fish home with Richard.  Didn’t feel like cleaning any tonight and he was headed back up north so he wouldn’t be out again for a while.  As for me, I’m giving the walleye a break this weekend.  Headed up to the Manistee to go swing some streamers for trout.

 

 

 





Taking stock of 2015, so far.

22 07 2015

This has been a weird season.  I know I got a late start due to work, family health issues and my boat being down but I wasn’t expecting the pickings to be this slim.  I usually catch more fish in June and July than I do in April and May during the peak of the Spring run.  This year however, has been a tough one to figure out.  Some of it being a real head scratcher.

1.  I have yet to catch a fish on a Rapala.  A #9 Rapala is my bread and butter lure.  When all else fails this body bait will produce.  I have been running a #9 or #11 on my 40 foot lead every trip this season.  So far nothing, nadda, zilch, zippo, diddly squat.  I will admit I have had a couple on and lost all of them but no fish? This leads me to my next head scratcher.

2.  I have lost more fish this year than I can ever remember.  Used to be I could go several weeks without losing a fish but this year I am losing fish on an average of 2 or 3 per trip.  I know it happens but this is getting ridiculous.  Losing a fish once and awhile is no big thing, it happens, but this is has me second guessing everything I am doing.  I was starting to think that the fish are just hitting light but I have brought in a few that have completely swallowed the spoon.  For some reason the fish are getting barely hooked on my Rapala’s.  WTH???

3.  I have yet to catch a single walleye over 20 inches long.  Granted I like to get the eaters but the last few seasons I would catch at least one in the 24 to 25 inch range every trip.  This year they have all been 20 inches or less.  Again, I am not complaining but it just has me wondering what is going on.  Have all the big fish moved out into Erie?  Are they in a different part of the river?  Are they just that finicky?  Inquiring minds want to know.

4.  Now this one I am really happy about but again it has me wondering if the structure below has changed or if the baitfish are not there.  I have only caught 2 dink smallmouth and one rock bass so far.  No Sheepshead, no Channel Cats, no Muskie, no Steelhead, no White Perch and lately no White Bass.  Normally July produces a lot of smallmouth anywhere from 6 to 20 inches long.  This year has been the exact opposite.  Two bass and both of them less than 8 inches long.  Is the lack of other predators due to a lack of baitfish or some other factor?  So far the walleye I have caught have all come up empty, no shiners or goby’s in any of them.  What are they feeding on and when?

5.  Now this may have something to do with the consistency.  Water levels are up from previous years but I really can’t see it affecting the fishing that much.  Granted some areas that were too shallow before may be more attractive now but not the whole river?  Surface temps are about a degree lower than last year at this time so maybe it is cooler down at the bottom.  Don’t know for sure.  I do know the surface weeds have been a pain but that is to be expected with the east winds and higher water.  The water is again ridiculously clear but I have been catching fish both in the daylight and after dark, there just hasn’t been any consistency.  The one trip I got a limit was an overcast morning a month ago.  Since then I have been pecking away and coming up short of a limit.  Granted if I would quit losing fish my numbers would improve but I am still having a hard time finding groups of active fish.  One night I picked up 3 in a 5 minute span but mostly it is 1 or 2 fish every hour and none of them in the same area.  I went back and looked at my way points for this year and other than that one 5 minute spurt the marks are all over the place.

6.  Ninety percent of my fish have come on the same two spoons, the ones pictured in my last post.  I have tried different colors and styles but these two have been the best producers.  Of course I am always running these two now since they are catching fish so their production rate is slightly skewed.  Lately though the majority of my fish have come on the chartreuse spoon on my kicker.  I have noticed that this one has a very aggressive action so maybe it is triggering more strikes.  The smaller orange one has been completely swallowed though and on more than one occasion.  You can make your own assumptions based on my findings. I think the next time out I am going to run a jointed Rapala and see if the increased action has an affect.  I will let everyone know how it works out.

Well there you have it, my mid season findings for 2015.  I hope it gets better or I may start having to keeping some of the steelhead I hope to catch this fall.  either that or I may have to start perch fishing again.





They’re Baaaaacccccckkkkkkkk!!!! 6/27/14 Walleye

29 06 2014

In the immortal words of the great philosopher Si Robertson;

It’s On Like Donkey Kong, Jack!!

Hit the water again on Friday 6/27 to see if I could improve on my catch from last weekend.  I was hoping the extra week would give what few remaining %^$# Bass were left a chance to leave and for some Erie walleye to move back in.  With very little rain and almost no winds I expected the water to be clear so I didn’t even get on the water until after 8.  It was going to be a clear night so I didn’t see the need to rush.  I might pick up a couple before dark but I didn’t expect it to get good until after 10:00 pm.

As I was heading downstream I saw my friend Larry so I pulled up to see how he was doing.  No walleye yet but he didn’t catch any of those other things either.  Of course now that he said it we were going to catch them.  There was one other boat out as well and I didn’t recognize it at first.  Later that evening I got closer and it was Dave going solo.  He told me earlier in the week he was supposed to take a friend out but he couldn’t make it.  I started fishing down at the north end of Calf Island with all spoons, the same ones I used last Sunday.  About 30 seconds later number one was in the boat, a nice lightly colored, fresh from Erie, 17 inch fish.  Hot Damn!!  I putt putted around the area for the next hour without another hit except for the occasional rock bass, smallmouth bass and %^$# bass, thanks Larry.  During that time I swapped spoons around in different sizes, styles and colors trying to find something that would trigger a strike.  I did manage to pick up one more eater before dark and it too came on the same spoon on my kicker lead.    Once 10 o’clock rolled around I swapped out the spoons for some pencil plugs and a #7 Black holographic Rapala on my kicker.  I figured with the clear water that maybe something a little less colorful might do the trick.  It did, sometimes it helps to be a little lucky.  Within the next hour I picked  up 3 more fish, all on my kicker and the #7 Black Holographic Rapala.  They only thing I caught on the Pencil Plugs was a %^$# bass that forgot he is supposed to be back out in Lake Erie terrorizing the crawler harness gang.

So by 11 I was heading for home which was fine with me.  With no wind to keep the bugs at bay I was happy to get off the water.  Every time I turned my headlamp on they would be all over me.  I was fishing on borrowed time anyways, the bracket for my reel cracked and it was only a matter of time before it broke completely.  As a matter of fact it did back in the parking lot while I was taking it off the boat.  Still it was a nice night on the water.  At one point a caravan of vintage Mustangs went down River Road on Grosse Isle and Wyandotte had their firework display that night.  Water was very clear and a fair share of weeds, not any big mats but just a lot of little pieces floating around.  None of the stringy green mossy stuff.  No clouds and no moon so it was very dark.  Hard to see anything on the surface but I would know it when I hit a clump of weeds.  The best thing though is the fact that some new fish have moved into the system.  Hopefully they will stick around all summer and this year won’t be a repeat of last year.

 

16 to 20 inches long Eaters.

16 to 20 inch long Eaters.

Broken Bracket

Hard to believe sometimes the fishery we have here in the shadow of Edison.  Thanks for the pic Dave.

Hard to believe sometimes the fishery we have here in the shadow of Edison.