4/30/18 Walleye and breaking in a Padawan Grasshopper.

1 05 2018

To say the fishing has been outstanding these last few weeks would be an understatement.  Easy limits have been the norm and the only problems has been the weather.  Last night was no exception, it was warm out out but the SW wind I could have done without.  Didn’t matter though, I had a new fisherman on my boat and he was determined to catch his first walleye.  Kyle bought a boat about a month back and after several goose eggs he really wanted to know what he was doing wrong.  Everyone around him was catching fish and all he was doing was losing jigs.  After several unsuccessful trips I told him we could go out Monday night (4/30) and I will try and help him out.

We started off in a deeper water area that didn’t have a lot of snags.  I figured this would be a good area to let him jig and I can show him the importance of an electric motor and boat control.  We made one long drift down the channel from Rotary Park all the way to Elizabeth Park.  We didn’t catch anything but he didn’t lose any jigs either.  Kyle did get hung up a few times and I showed him what to do when he does.  The best way I have found to deal with a snag, while using Fireline, is to just point the rod towards the snag and hold onto the spool.  The jig is either going to come free or snap the line.  After a few snags he started to get the hang of it.  After that long drift we moved to another area.  We made two more drifts and towards the end of the second one he finally hooked a fish.  A minute later his first walleye was in the net.  I’d say he was a happy camper.

By now the sun was starting to set so it was time to put the rods away and get the Schaller Trolling reels into action.  Since Kyle had never done this before and really had no idea what it was about I set him up with one leader and a #9 custom painted Spring Valley Special II Rapala.  The way the fishing has been I was confident he would get at least one.  After some quick instructions on what to do and what not to do I just let him fish and figure out the rest on his own.  While I was getting set up he had a hit, unfortunately the fish got away as I was talking him through what to do.  Shortly after that I boated our 2nd, 3rd and 4th fish of the night.  Kyle was amazed at the speed we were catching fish and then it happened, he got snagged.  He tried to force it and I told him to just throw the wire backwards to take the pressure off.  I pulled my lines up and then just had him hand his wire to me.  A quick throw and he was free.  I felt the familiar shake at the end so I just handed it all back to him and told him to being his fish in.  He gave me a puzzled look and I told him again to bring in his fish.  About 30 seconds later his first walleye handlining was in the boat.  I jokingly told him that there is an easier to catch them other than by getting hung up.  After that we went back to the task at hand and finished up our 2 man limit in the next half hour.  All that was left to do now was head home and clean fish, which was his next lesson.  Filleting and zipping walleye, after I bled them out first.  I’d say he learned a lot tonight.  Of course he can’t wait to go out again.

FYI…water is very clear now.  I’m back to starting after dark again.  The 70-80 degree days coming up are probably going to be the start of the “Other Fish” invasion.  I can’t wait. NOT!  I really shouldn’t complain though.  This has probably been the best and easiest April fishing I have ever had.  Five trips, easy limits each time and I probably landed over 40 walleye in about 5 total hours of fishing.

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Going Home…….

9 06 2013

 

Every year I try to fish at least one new spot.  Usually it is somewhere on the Detroit River but after 35 years I’m starting to run out of places. I had always wanted to try walleye fishing on the St. Clair River so when Dan offered to take me up there I jumped at the chance. This was going to be a trip home for Dan since this was his old stomping grounds as a kid.  This was also going to be a “going home” trip for me as well but for a different reason.  Marine City was the old fishing grounds for my Grandfather and his brothers, specifically Ed and Hank, the two guys responsible for inventing the Schaller Automatic Trolling Reel.  I always get a little nostalgic whenever I am around Marine City, Marysville and Algonac but this time I was going to be fishing the same waters they did.  Tonight we were going to be fishing in Marine City, a place of some significance for me.  My Great Uncle Hank died while fishing out here.  He had a heart attack while pulling up the anchor for his boat, the same boat I own and fish out of today.  Like I’ve said before, there is a lot of history associated with my old 1957 Crestliner.

After some driving around and trying to get a few last minute fishing reports Dan decided to launch at a small little ramp just north of downtown Marine City.  From there we headed south to the Sand piles.  There were a few whippers setting up for the evening and we set up for our first pass just south of them.  Turns out we set up right in front of the DNR ramp south of Marine City.  Oops.

Fishing was a little slow at first, Dan was running chrome Nite Stalkers and I was running some custom Downriver Tackle Rapala’s.  We had to play around with the speed for a bit but eventually we got the motor set the way we wanted and we were heading upstream ever so slowly.  The current is a lot faster up here than it is in the Trenton Channel.  Since it is also over 30 feet deep we were forced to use 2 pound weights.  Normally I never wear a glove on my wire hand but with the current, depth and weight I was having a hard time holding on to the wire.  The rubber coated glove helped a lot.  After about an hour we finally got our first fish, a 3 ½ pound female on a #9 Spring Valley Special Rapala II Rapala.  After I threw her in the live well I tossed my lure back over the side.  I noticed that it didn’t seem to be running right so I pulled it out to check it over.  Everything seemed ok except for one thing.  The bill was installed upside down.  That is a first.  I swapped it out for a Rapala with a properly installed lip and I was back in business.  We made a few more passes in front of the sand piles and didn’t catch anything.  It was around midnight by now and Dan decided to head back up stream to the Belle River Edison Power Plant.  A freighter was off loading coal so we started our troll just south of the ships stern.  By the time we reached the bow I had on another walleye.  This one came on a #11 DT-158.  About 10 minutes alter I landed a small 15 incher on a #11 Clown.  Things were starting to look good and by the time we reached the north end of the plant I landed my 4th on the DT-158.  We pulled lines and headed back down to the bow of the ship to try again.  By now Dan had switched over to Rap’s and he was starting to eye all my lures.  He asked if he could borrow some of mine and he promised not to lose any.  In this area the threat of lure loss isn’t as great.  As a matter of fact I never got hung up on anything all night.  Dan did manage to lose a Nite Stalker though.  We slowly worked our way north again and I picked up another walleye on a #9 SVSII Rapala.  I didn’t know it at the time but that was going to be our last walleye for the night.  We made a few more passes but at 2:30 am Dan decided to call it quits.  That was fine with me.  It had been a long day and night and I was very tired.  I had a lot to do Saturday so I needed to get some rest.  I can’t survive on a couple hours of sleep and a few Red Bulls.  All in all it was a good trip.  Perfect weather, no major tackle foul ups or losses and we didn’t get skunked.  It would have been nice if Dan had added a few to the live well but not much I can do about that.  It was good to get out though and fish in an area that my Grandfather and his brothers fished when they were younger.  I will never get the chance to fish with my Grandfather again but his memory and guiding hand will always be there.

1st St. Clair Walleye

1st St. Clair Walleye





Shameless Plug Walleye Report

5 05 2013

After 35 years my old MERCURY 20 HP outboard had finally seen it’s last day.  After thousands of hours on the river and great lakes it was time for a new engine.  After talking to fellow DWF member Tom at ANGLERS MARINE in Taylor Michigan I purchased a new 25 HP EVINRUDE E-Tech.  The crew at ANGLERS MARINE hooked it all up and bolted it down to my old CRESTLINER last Friday so I decided to take it out and run it the next day.  Since the White bass had moved in I decided to wait until the evening.  Besides I needed to time get used to a new engine and all the little bells and whistles that came with it.  That and I needed to mount my SCHALLER AUTOMATIC TROLLING REEL, my EAGLE depth finder and LOWRANCE GPS back onto my boat.

I did get out a little bit before dark.  I wanted some time to run around on the river and get acquainted with my new toy.  I have never owned an electric start engine before so just pushing a button was a pleasant change.  I have to admit I really like my E-TECH.  I have nothing against my MERCURY but I really wore that engine out.  I just need to get used to the sound, or lack there of, of the E-TECH.  I have trolled for so many years with the MERC that I could tell by the sound of the engine when the RPM’s were just right for the speed I wanted.  Need to spend a few hours now and learn that sound again.  Nice thing about the E-TECH is that it has a toggle switch that will increase or decrease the RPM’s by 100 with just a push.  That’s a nice little feature to have.  I can give the lures a little push every once and awhile to see if I can trigger a strike.  OK, enough love for the E-TECH, time for the fishing results.

I set lines around 7:30 pm.  There were a few other Handliners out but it was still early.  The Tr-Hull nave was in full force along the Gibraltar/Trenton side of the river.  Not a good omen.  I put on a #11 COPPER CRAZY TIGER and a #9 SPRING VALLEY SPECIAL II from WWW.DOWNRIVERTACKLE.COM.  I also put on a SPIKE SPOON (He will be missed) in a RILEY SPECIAL pattern.  I figured I was going to get a few White/Silver Bass but I was expecting to pick up an occasional walleye until it got dark.  Turns out I was pretty right in my prediction.  I just wasn’t expecting how it would happen.  Most of the bass came on Jim’s Holographic lures.  Pretty much 95% of the bass I caught came on those lures.  I expected the spoon to catch most of them but I only caught 2.  My first walleye came on the spoon and the walleye that was 14 15/16 inches came on the #11 CCT.  Even after it got dark I was still catching the bass on the RAPALA’S.  Eventually I got fed up (not hard to do when it comes to those rotten little things) and I swapped out the RAPALA’S and replaced them with some NIGHT STALKER Pencil Plugs.  I have a lot of wooden pp’s but the eyelet is set to far back and the crank bait snaps that I use can’t get through the eyelet.  The NIGHT STALKERS are plastic and the eyelet is far enough forward so I could attach them with the crank bait snap.  3 walleye came on the 40 foot lead and a chartreuse  with black dots NIGHT STALKER.  I also hooked in to something big but I never got it in.  Once I got my hand on the leader I could hear it rolling and splashing way behind the boat.  I knew this wasn’t going to last long and I tried to throttle down some to relieve the pressure but it was to late.  I fished until about 10:30 pm but the wind was picking up and it was getting cold so I headed in.  I had 4 in the cooler and sometimes 1 short of a limit is no big deal.  The best thing was that I never caught a single white bass on a pencil plug.  Don’t know if that will hold true during the peak of the run but I will find out.

So I ended up with 4 in the box, 1 throwback and lost probably a Muskie.  Surface temps are at 53.5 degrees and the water is very clear, over 2 feet of visibility.  NE wind with a partly cloudy sky.  Back to a night fishery again, especially with the you know what’s in town.

One more plug….

May The 4th Be With You.

May the 4th Be With You walleye

May the 4th Be With You walleye





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





New Lures

2 04 2013

Just got a message that my new custom painted lures are on their way.  Just in time for the Spring run.

These spoons should be the cat’s ass this summer.

A big thanks to Jim at http://www.downrivertackle.com

My lures