A Fishy Weekend.

9 07 2017

Sometimes I feel like these posts are getting a little redundant.  Go out, catch five, come in.  Trying to jazz it  up a little has become more of a challenge than the actual fishing.  Anywho, I went out several times this weekend, had to, there was a full moon and I’m not about to pass that  up.

I started off the weekend heading down to the Trenton Channel after the storms passed through.  I arrived at the ramp around 9:30 pm and started to get set up.  The Wayne County Deputies must have thought I was crazy based on the looks they were giving me.  I don’t know what they were worried about.  The storm cell had split and was heading north and south of our location.  A few minutes alter I was back in my usual spot, lines down and starting my run.  Around 10:00pm I caught my first one of the night as I was taking in the light show.  I had lightning to the north and south of me and fireworks to the west. The only light I wanted to see was from the full moon in the east but the cloud cover was preventing that.  For the next hour I trolled around and caught absolutely nothing.  During times like this I tend to start questioning everything.  I was questioning whether or not the well ran dry, if the fish had moved, was the front causing lockjaw, did I have the wrong lure?  The gerbils were in overdrive in my head as I tried to sort out what I needed to change to start catching fish.  Around 11:00 pm I found out that I wouldn’t  have to change anything.  All at once the front blew through, the wind changed direction from South to North and the clouds broke and out came the full moon.

GAME ON!!

For the next 20 minutes it was organized chaos.  Landed 4, lost 3, threw back 4, back-to-back doubles, tangled leaders, weeds and a few sheepshead and rock bass thrown in for good measure.  I was bringing in what would have been number 5 when I hit a weed patch and my motor bogged down.  Once that happened the line went slack and the fish was gone.  After I got that all straightened out I was back at it.  After 5 minutes I hadn’t caught  anything so I pulled my lines and sure enough, my kicker and 20 foot lead were tangled.  Once I got them straightened out and back to fishing it didn’t take long and number 5 was in the cooler.

Tonight was a prime example of why there are other things to consider, when the fish aren’t biting, besides color.  Several different variables changed all at once and any one of them could have been the reason why the fish turned on.  The wind had shifted 180 degrees.  The front that caused the thunderstorms had blown through.  The clouds cleared out and the full moon was able to shine clearly.  The only two variables that did not change was my location and the lures I was using.  Something to remember the next time the fish aren’t cooperating.

 

Saturday night had me back in the same area, again.  This time I was a little earlier.  I wanted to run some spoons and it would turn out to be a waste of time.  The only fish they produced were blankity blanks, a 3 inch smallie and a few rockies.  Once the sun set and the moon came out I got rid of the spoons and replaced them with Rapalas.  Fishing was slow at first but I managed to pick up a couple in between clearing my lines from weeds.  Around 11 pm I decided to switch things up a bit.  I thought with that with the clear sky and full moon the fish would need something bigger and dark to contrast against the light.  I put on a F11 Perch and that made all the difference.  By 11:30 I caught my fifth and was ready to go home.  My friends Dave and Larry were out so I stopped by to see how they were doing.  They had 8 and they had also lost a couple of bigger fish.  We talked for a few more minutes and then I was headed home (once I did I got a text from them that they caught 10).  I was glad to hear Larry caught his limit.  After we went out he checked all his leaders a few days later.  Turns out that all of them were a 1 to 3 feet short.  Something to think about when the fish aren’t biting.

 

Sunday morning found me trying something different, fly fishing for carp.  I had tried to find places this year where I could try this but I was having a hard time finding any.  Today was a little different.  I had taken a walk through this area before but never saw anything.  This morning the winds were calm, the water was clear and the carp were everywhere.  The first place I stopped at was a culvert feeding a lagoon from Lake Erie.  The carp were in their just waiting for something to flow in to eat.  The water was very dirty from all the activity, especially after I spooked them.  Lesson number one, don’t spook the fish.  I waited to let them calm down and I was able to catch one, and that was a fluke.  I couldn’t see him take the fly, I just happened to lift up on the rod as he swam by and felt the pressure because he picked up the fly.  He really stirred things up so once I got him in, took a pic and then released him I moved on to other areas.

About a quarter mile down the road I spotted a few carp swimming about.  I worked my way into casting range and managed to spook the fish once again.  I now understand what everyone was telling me about when it pays to be stealthy.  I sat down once again and just waited for a bit.  Eventually some more fish swam into range and I was able to hook another one, foul hooked that is.  Don’t know how I did it but I managed to hook him right across that dorsal fin.  That made no sense since these flies are designed to ride hook up.  I could understand hooking a pectoral fin but not the dorsal.  Of course fighting this fish spooked everything in the area so I moved down the road again.   I found some more fish but this time I waited until they swam out of the area before I worked my way down to the bank.  I set up and waited and after a few minutes I saw two carp swimming my way and feeding.  I cast the fly a few feet out in front of them and waited.  Once the lead fish got within a few inches I gave the fly a twitch and that was all it took.  The carp turned and sucked up the fly like it was going to be his last meal.  A quick hook set and off he went.  Now I see why this type of fishing has become so addictive.  Seeing the take and the bulldog fight they put up is a lot of fun.  I can only imagine what hooking into a 15 or 20 pounder in open water would be like.

After that one I packed up and headed home.  I had one last thing to do for the weekend, smoke the walleye I caught back on July 3rd.  Turned out pretty good.  A little to salty this time but I’ll adjust that for next time.

 

So that was my weekend.  More walleye, my first carp on the fly and some smoked fish for the week.  Pretty good weekend.

Oh, and I went and saw Spider Man – Homecoming.

Life is Good.

 

 





Pre-Harvest Moon Walleye 9/15/16

19 09 2016
Moon over the Grosse Isle bridge.

Moon over the Grosse Isle bridge.

 

It’s no secret that I like to fish for walleye during the full moon periods.  Normally I do pretty well but after the last two full moons I’m beginning to wonder.  The Sturgeon Moon was less than stellar and The Harvest Moon turned out to be even worse.  Hopefully the Hunter’s Moon in October will break the trend.

I arrived at the ramp around 8:30 pm and I had the whole place to myself.  No other cars in the lot, not even the ones normally parked over by the Marina.  I launched and headed south to my usual starting spot.  The water was still clear and a surface temp of around 65 degrees.  A few weeds were floating down, mostly single strands with the occasional large mat.    The south wind had died down to almost nothing which kept the water relatively calm.  Seemed like the start of a good night.  To bad the walleye had other plans.

I trolled around for the next two hours and all I had to show for my efforts was a half a dozen smallmouth and a few sub-legal walleye.   I tried different size lures, different colors, spoons, pencil plugs, just about every thing I could think of but I couldn’t get anything going.  Around 10:00 pm I got hung up bad and after 10 minutes of trying to free the weight the shank snapped right at the loop.  I lost the shank, weight and 3 custom painted Rapala’s.  I thought about giving up right then but I hadn’t been skunked in almost 3 years and I wasn’t about to let it happen tonight.  I dug out another shank, weight, leaders and lures and started all over again, after I moved away from where I got hung up.  About 15 minutes later I finally caught a legal fish.  Not much of one but it was a start.  I tossed him in the cooler and headed towards the Edison discharge.  I hadn’t been by there lately so I thought I would give it a shot.  Weeds were a lot worse there and I could feel them starting to pile up on my line.  Just as I was about to pull my lines and clear the weeds I felt a lot of weight.  I figured I hit a big mat of weeds, under the surface, so I started to pull it all up.  The “weeds” were all on my 40 foot leader so once I got my other two lines clear and out of the way I started to bring it in.  About half way in the load became lighter and I figured some of them must have come off.  I looked back and my headlamp showed a pair of eyes staring back at me.  That stupid fish never shook once, she just came in like a wet towel.  It was a bigger fish so I wasn’t taking any chances.  I got my net behind her and just as I start to scoop she shook and threw the lure.  Didn’t matter, she was in the net and then in the cooler.  After that I decided to call it a night.  I was headed to Columbus Ohio in the morning and I needed some rest.  I had enough fish to fill a vacuum seal bag and I didn’t get skunked.  It did turn out to be my most expensive trip of the year but I won’t lose any sleep over it.  It was my own fault for not swapping out shanks and leaders.  I had been using the same one all season so I’m sure it had been stressed in a few places.  One of these days I will start to listen to my own advice.

I doubt it.

09-15-16-walleye

 

 





Sturgeon Moon Walleye 8/19/16

20 08 2016

You can file this one under useless Cliff Clavin bar trivia.  I didn’t know this until recently but every full moon has a name.  This past full moon is known as a Sturgeon Moon.  What that actually means is still a mystery to me but it makes for a unique blog post title.

I started out fishing Friday night a little earlier than I normally do.  It was overcast so I figured going before sunset wouldn’t hurt.  Of course, once I got on the water the clouds broke and the sun came out.  Oh well, live and learn.  At least there were no weeds, for now.  I started it my usual area and threw out a few spoons and a #9 Bleeding Olive Rapala.  Not much happened at first but around 8:00 pm fishing got interesting.

Bass, Bass, Bass, Bass, Bass, Bass, Are You kidding me? Bass, Bass, Bass, Bass, Bass, Bass, swap out spoon catching all the bass.  Brief lull.  Short, Short, legal, Double Legal, Short, Short, Legal, Bass, Double Short, Really short, Lost at boat, Short, Bounced off side of boat, Short, Rocky, Short, Short, Short………………………………………………………………….Short, Ridiculously short, Where did all the weeds come from?  Screw this.  Went home.

That’s pretty much how the evening went.  From 8 to 9:30 my lines were out of the water more than they were in.  Smallmouth bass and lots of undersized walleye.  Once the full moon came up and cleared the trees the fishing really slowed down.  Kind of odd since I usually do pretty well under a full moon.  Just goes to show that there are no absolutes in fishing.  Around 10 the weeds showed up in force and fishing became impossible.  I tried to find clean water but it just wasn’t happening.  Eventually I gave up and headed in, there will be other nights.  At least I know, barring some catastrophic event, the walleye fishing next year should be awesome.

Sturgeon Moon walleye

 





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.





Fishing in the shadow of the Sam Laud. 7/17/15

18 07 2015

What a week.  I really needed some fishing therapy and even though it was going to be a muggy night I was going out.  Water levels are still up and the docks were still partially underwater.  No matter, I was heading out.  I was originally going to head down to calf island but the Sam Laud was docked at the Edison plant off loading coal.  I thought clear water, ship blocking the sun and casting a shadow over 26 feet of water, seemed like a good place to start.  I switched out my 1 1/4 pound weight for a 1 1/2 pound weight and set up along side of the stern.  It wasn’t long and I had my first fish of the night, a 17 inch eater.  I stayed close to the ship all the way to the bow where I hooked into and lost another walleye.  Once I got all my lines in, I pointed my boat downstream and started back at the stern.  I made a couple of runs, picking up another keeper and one dink.  It was getting dark when I saw that the boom was being pulled in and it looked like the ship was going to be underway soon.  Time to move so I headed downstream and set up by the blue boat house.  After a couple of minutes I picked up a 20 inch male.  I made a few more passes but to no avail.  About 30 minutes later the Sam Laud was finally under way and past the free bridge.  I figured I might as well go back to where I first started since I wasn’t finding much downstream.  I picked up a forth fish and also a ton of weeds.  All 3 lines and my boat were trapped in a big floating mat.  After I got everything cleared away, I just gave up.  The weeds had been a problem all night so I just packed it in.  4 fish was enough for tonight.

Water is still very clear, the level is high (actually it is back to the normal most of us never knew of) and the weed mats were everywhere.  Lot’s of boat traffic for the Roar on the River boat races in Trenton.  Surface temp was 70 degrees, SW breeze and partly cloudy skies with no moon.  Gnats are still around as well.

Sam Laud 4





July 4th Weekend Report

7 07 2014

Decided to give it a shot Saturday morning (7/5) figuring no one would be on the water after all the celebrating from the day before.  Problem was I didn’t take into account that I would be getting home so late myself.  I ended up getting a later start than I wanted and what made it worse was Gibraltar road was closed so I had to take a detour.  Add in the fact that I was heading over to Amherstburg and the ensuing call in (which was remarkably easy) I didn’t even start fishing until 8:30 am.  I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal since the water is deeper here and there was a nice stain to the water.  What I didn’t count on was the millions and millions of mayfly casings floating on the water.  They were all bunched up in groups and they were everywhere.  I’m betting the people that live up on lake St. Clair are having a fit right now.  Floating weeds were mixed in with the casings and I ended up spending most of my morning clearing lines.  I could have ran back over to the US side but I had already wasted enough time and it was getting to late in the morning for it to do any good.  I fought through it for a couple of hours, tried different areas but I only managed one small walleye.  I didn’t even catch any non target species.  Either the fish gorged themselves on mayfly nymphs or they were still in hiding from all the rockets red glare the night before.  At least I’m on the Ontario database now so calling in should be a breeze. 

Originally my plan was to sleep in on Sunday (7/6) but after my abysmal trip the day before I had to try and salvage something for the weekend.  This time I was up at 5:30 am and on the water with lines down at 6:00 pm back in US water.  It was still cloudy out and the water much cleaner and the surface was casing and weed free.  Things were looking good.  Just wish the walleye felt the same way.  I didn’t get my first fish until almost 7:30 am. and it turned out to be a 36 inch Musky.  I picked up a few smallmouth and around 8:00 am I finally had a walleye in the box.  By now the sun was well above the tree line but the clouds were still keeping it in check.  I worked over my usual areas pretty hard trying different speeds, spoons, body baits, anything I could think of to trigger a strike.  I only had a short window of opportunity since I had to do some river work for the HRWC at 11:30 up near South Lyon.  I decided to give the deeper water below the free bridge a shot for the last 30 minutes.  I Marked a number of fish but all I was able to get was another smallmouth.  As I was nearing the end of the coal dock I noticed how the current formed and eddy at the very head of it and sped up as it went around.  I thought to myself that that looked like a good ambush spot and moved in to try and work the seam.  It didn’t take long when my second walleye hit and shortly thereafter he was in the box.  I made another loop through the area but didn’t catch anything else.  I would have worked the area harder but I had to get going.  I marked the waypoint for future reference.  I’ll have to run over the entire length of the dock and mark the depth change a little more closely. 

So that was it for the weekend, 3 fish for almost 6 hours of fishing.  A couple of things to note.  Both walleye caught in US waters had a size #9 Goby in their stomach.  I tried #9 Rapala’s in several colors but with no luck.  I did catch both of them on a #7 Clown Rapala.  So much for matching the hatch.  The water on the US side is still ridiculously clear and the weed growth is showing it.  Shallow areas around the islands have weeds all the way to the surface.  Once these west winds stop I have a feeling the floating weeds mats are really going to be a problem very soon. 

I hope July starts to turn around, so far it is really starting to suck.





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.