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.

 

 

 

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Another Fishy Weekend

17 07 2017

Friday Evening, 7/14/17

 Friday night found me doing my usual thing at my usual spot catching my usual fish.  I started a little earlier than I have been, hoping to try and get a few on spoons before nightfall.  Didn’t turn out like I had hoped.  From 8:30 to 9:30 pm I only caught one keeper and had one throwback on the spoons.  Shortly after 9:30 it was “Hold My Beer”.  In the next 30 minutes I finished up my limit, threw back about 6 and lost 2 at the boat.  A couple of the throwbacks were just barely legal fish but I was feeling cocky so I threw them back.  It was one of those nights where everything was going right and I was sure I would catch bigger fish.  I even managed to land a 19 inch smallmouth without tangling up and of my other leaders.  By 10:00 pm number 5 was in the cooler and I was headed home.  I thought about staying out later and doing the “Catch & Release” thing but I have never been a fan of that, not when it comes to handlining.  I had my 5 so it was time to head in.  The way this summer was going I would have plenty of opportunities to catch more.

Saturday Morning, 7/15/17

My original plans for Saturday morning was to take care of some errands before I met my son for lunch around noon.  Those plans quickly fell apart when I arrived at my barber shop only to find it was closed because my barber broke his wrist.  The other items on my errand list didn’t pan out so I said screw it and went fishing.  I was going to take another crack at the carp in the same spot I went to last week.  Things didn’t go to well with the carp (I managed to hook into one that ran me to my backing before the leader broke) but the gills and Ditch Pickles kept me busy. The first gill was a surprise.  I was casting to a carp when a gill came up and grabbed my carp fly.  While I was bringing him in a Bowfin came up and tried to grab the gill.  He made several attempts but was never able to clamp down.  Once I released the gill I cast my fly towards him but he didn’t want anything to do with my offering.  Later that morning I had a Largemouth Bass do the same thing on another gill I was bringing in.  He was able to get a hold of the gill but it was to big for him to swallow.  I wasn’t able to coax him into grabbing my fly but I did manage to get about a half-dozen of his brethren.  Around noon I headed home.  Not the result I was hoping for but I wasn’t going to complain.  Anytime I can catch some nice gills and a few Ditch Pickles on a fly rod is a good day.  I made a mental note of where I saw all the beds (yes, bluegills on beds in July) and figured I would bring my 4 wt tomorrow and some gill appropriate flies.

Sunday Morning, 7/16/17

Sunday morning I was headed back to “The Carp Hole” with a new plan of attack.  I got there earlier with the hope of finding the fish a little more relaxed and in feed mode.  I brought along my      4 wt and my Bluegill/Trout box so I could play with the gills, if the carp didn’t want to cooperate.  Little did I realize that it was a good thing I did because when it came to the carp, I couldn’t do anything right.  Actually I could do one thing right, “Spook Carp”.

See carp feeding about 40 feet out.  Make cast and hook reed.  Spook Carp.

See more carp feeding, sneak down to shore to make  a cast, don’t see the carp along the shore line.  Spook Carp.

Cast to carp swimming towards me, catch bluegill instead.  Spook Carp.

Sneak up on a feeding carp, slip on rock and fall on ass.  Spook Carp.

See carp feeding along shoreline followed by two bass, over shoot cast and catch bass.  Spook Carp.

See another carp just resting, make bad cast in wind and land fly on Carp’s head.  Spook Carp.

See big Ditch Pickle cruising along, sneak into casting range and don’t see carp feeding along rocks.  Spook Carp.

Get to close to Canada Geese and they leave shore and walk into water.  Spook Carp.

Start casting to feeding carp, snag bush on back cast.  Spook Carp.

Get disgusted after 4 hours of this nonsense and leave.  Spook Carp.

It was pretty much useless at this point anyways.  The west wind had picked up making trying to see anything difficult at best.  I eventually worked my way back to the parking lot figuring I would stop at one more spot along the way that was out of the wind.  As I got close I went into stealth mode and worked my way to the water.  I carefully scanned the area and I cold see a couple of fish mucking around about 30 feet away.  I was getting ready to make my cast when out of nowhere a carp shooter shows up, bow in hand, and walks right up to the other edge of the hole.

He Spooks Carp.

I didn’t say anything.  I just stood up and continued my walk back to the car.  I’ll just try again on another day.

Sunday Evening, 7/16/17

After the disaster of this morning I needed a little redemption so around 8:30 pm I hooked up the boat and headed to my favorite walleye spot.  Winds were out of the north around 10 mph this evening.  Not the best wind direction and speed but I figured I would make the best of it.  Once I got set up I could tell boat control was going to be a pain.  With the wind coming straight down the river the current was faster than normal.  After about 10 minutes I switched over to a heavier weight just to keep better contact with the bottom and to help keep that 45 degree angle.  It seemed to do the trick because a few minutes later I was bringing in my first fish of the night.  Unfortunately, he was barely hooked and came off as I was flipping him in.  After that any fish I hooked I would immediately turn my boat into the fish to help take the extra strain off of the fish.  Old timers blame lost fish in the summer to “Soft Mouth Syndrome” or “Red Lips”.  I attribute the losses to light hits and going up-stream and pulling a lightly hooked fish against the current.  Last time I checked, bone doesn’t suddenly get soft in the summer time.   I kept utilizing this tactic for the next hour and around 10:30 pm number 5 was in the cooler.

Redemption.

One little note.  The fish at the top was a 22 inch female.  For all you guys that say you have never kept a female please enlighten me on how you would have let this one go if you had caught it?  It doesn’t matter if she is full of eggs or not, once she is removed from the fishery that’s it, so spare me your hypocrisy.

So that put a pleasant wrap on my weekend.  No carp but I still caught plenty of walleye, bluegills and ditch pickles.  The next few days are calling for unfavorable winds and thunderstorms so I’ll take advantage of the down time  to do some maintenance.  I need to replace some hooks, change the wire on a reel, make up some shanks and most of all some new leaders.  My 40 foot leader must have a dozen knots in it.  I’ve been fishing hard the last month and my equipment could use a little TLC.  Come to think of it, I could use some TLC as well.  My hands are trashed and I managed to bruise my forearm and shin when I fell off that rock.

 

 

 

 

 

 





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.

 

 





7/3/17 and the Trip that Almost Wasn’t.

5 07 2017

So there I was, sitting in the Emergency room of my local hospital Monday night, July 3rd.  My original plan was to go out walleye fishing but a little carelessness on my part delayed that.  I had found a F7 Rapala and I was going to put it in one of my lure boxes in my boat.  I had it in my left hand and as I climbed in the trailing hook caught something and pulled the lead hook into my left middle finger.  50 years of fishing and I had finally done it, buried a hook past the barb.  After uttering a few expletives my daughter drove me to the emergency room to have it removed.  It must have been a slow night because just about everyone on staff had to come by and see.  They must have had a few new people on staff because the doctor brought them in to demonstrate how to remove a hook.  After a little guidance on my part as to where the best place was to use the wire cutters and class was over. About an hour later I was all bandaged up and sent home.  A few minutes later I was hooking up the boat and heading out.

We were able to save the lure.

My original plan was to start around 8:00 pm.  My Facebook memories were full of pictures of walleye that I had caught on spoons around this time.  I figured I would give it a shot and see if history would repeat itself.  My own carelessness prevented that from happening.  Instead I was on the water right around sunset.

 

Late start but a pretty one.

There was still a fair amount of boat traffic but I figured it would end soon so I wasn’t too worried about it.  I did see a good amount of floating weed mats which was discouraging.  I just shrugged it all off, at least I was still fishing and I didn’t have to get up in the morning so I could stay as late as I wanted.  Turns out I was going to need to do just that.

I set up in the same area I have been all year.  I figure I will keep starting here until the well runs dry.  My Grandfather once told me that you don’t leave fish in order to go find fish.  Besides, the area is close to the ramp and it only takes a minute or two to get there.  I started off with a J9 Chartreuse, a F9 Original and a F7 Black and Gold Rapala. Dave had done so well with a J9 Original the other night I thought I would give it a shot.  As it would turn out the only walleye that liked it were the little ones.  I didn’t get my first legal fish until after 10 pm.  I had switched out my F9 Original for a F9 Clown after I busted my 20 foot leader on a snag.  I made up a new leader and put on the Clown since I was all out of Originals.  As it would turn out it was a blessing in disguise.  After my second fish on the Clown I switched out my kicker for a F9 Black Holographic and slowly picked away at my 5 fish limit.  All the fish came from the center of the river, across from the DD boat.  This is when a GPS comes in so handy.  After the second fish I was able to see how close together they were and I was able to concentrate on that area.  If not I may have come up a few fish short for the evening.  It still took a few hours to fill the limit but I was also dealing with a lot of weeds, catches of other fish, lost fish at the boat and numerous head shakes and gone.  I stuck it out though and shortly after midnight I caught my fifth keeper.  Time to go home.

A few observations from the night.  Winds started off from the south and were very light.  They eventually worked their way around to an “in your face wind” out of the north.  By midnight the wind disappeared completely.  Weeds were a pain but somewhat manageable.  The water is still very clear.  At one point I was shining my headlamp down in the water as I was clearing weeds from my line and I could see walleye cruising about two feet below the surface.  They were barely legal size fish but there they were.  Whenever the light would hit them in the eye they would just swim back down, into the darkness.  As near as I can figure they were probably chasing baitfish that were feeding on the spent mayflies on the surface.  On more than one occasion I saw a few fish break water throughout the evening.  No big hatches but there were still plenty around.  I had to pick them off of me and my car once again tonight.  The blankity blanks are still in.  Caught about a dozen of the ones that don’t know how to read a memo.  One of them was a Master Angler size fish but I wasn’t about to turn it in.  Getting a Master Angler award for a fish I despise so much would be hypocritical.  Lost about 4 at the side of the boat and I had about a dozen head shakes.  Most of the fish were hitting very light, especially the 25 incher.  She grabbed the lure and it was just dead weight.  I thought I hit a pile of weeds at first but once she gave a shake I got serious.  She will be going into the smoker this weekend.





7/1/17 Walleye Report

3 07 2017

Last Saturday night started out much like any other night.  I Arrived at the ramp after 9, no wind and a bit humid.  I thought to myself that it would probably be a bad night for bugs.  Little did I realize just how bad it would be.  There wasn’t much boat traffic, which was kind of surprising considering the weather and what day it was.  The water was still clear and no visible signs of any floating weeds.

So far so good.

By 9:30 pm I was in my usual spot and setting lines.  I started off with a couple of spoons and a #9 Original Rapala.  One of the spoons was a new pattern I picked up last year and never used until tonight.  I figured with the clear water we had been experiencing a spoon with a natural finish would do pretty well.  It didn’t take long to find out.  10 minutes later I had two in the cooler and both of them came on that spoon.  I was feeling pretty good about how this night was going to go and then it happened.  First it was one, then a couple which turned into a swarm.  Ten’s of thousands of mayflies began hatching all around me.  They weren’t the big hex’s, a slightly smaller cream colored version, but they were everywhere.  I had never been in the center of a hatch like this before and it was awe inspiring.  The numbers were unbelievable and I could only imagine what was going on below the surface.  I didn’t think about it at first but this was going to give me the opportunity to see just how active the walleye are during a mayfly hatch.  I had heard from multiple people that you can’t catch walleye during a hatch.  I never really believed that and I was about to find out first hand.  I don’t know how much the walleye feed on the nymphs but I’m sure they are chasing after the baitfish that are feeding on the nymphs.  Five minutes into the hatch I got my answer when number 3 hit that same spoon.

So there I was, 10 pm and in the middle of a mayfly hatch with 3 in the cooler when I got my next surprise.  Fireworks.  Turns out the Duck Dynasty boat was occupied that evening.  The first one exploded right on the deck but after that they got their act together and continued to launch them out over the river for the next 30 minutes.  I wonder if that would be considered littering?  Not much I could do about it so I stayed on the west end of the river until they were done.  I really didn’t want one to land in my lap, especially after I watched them drop one onto their dock and explode and burn for a bit.  Around 10:30 pm they quit along with just about everyone else on the island so I slowly made my way back over to where I wanted to be.  By now the hatch had ended but I was still plucking bugs off of me and my boat.  During this time I managed to catch a few blankity blanks (apparently they didn’t get the memo) and my first 20 inch smallmouth of the year. Fortunately he hit my top lead and manged to stay clear of the rest of my leaders.  When one that big hits the kicker lure he has a tendency to tangle up everything.  I also caught a few more throwbacks in the 10 inch range.  These would be walleye from last year’s hatch.  The trawl results indicated that 2016 was a below average hatch but that was out in Lake Erie.  I really would like to know how many walleye successfully spawn in the river.

Around 11:00 pm the weeds started up and fishing became a drag, literally.  At one point I hit a patch of weeds about 20 yards long and 10 yards wide.  By the time I saw it it was to late and all 3 of my lines caught it.  The drag created by the weeds turned my boat around and headed me downstream.  It took me about 20 minutes to get everything clear and get back up to my spot.  From then one I was clearing lines every 5 or 10 minutes.  I was debating heading in but whenever I did I would lose a walleye or catch another dink.  I figured it would just be a matter of time before I would fill out my limit.  Around midnight I did just that.  I was pulling in my lines to clear the weeds and a walleye grabbed my kicker lure just as I was about to pull it out of the water.  Either he followed that lure up or he was cruising the surface chasing baitfish that were feeding on the few emergers or spinners I saw on the surface.  Either way I was done and headed in.  Perseverance and a little luck paid off tonight.

A few observations about tonight, the first being that you can catch walleye during a mayfly hatch.  The other being that the only absolute when it comes to walleye (or any fish for that matter) is that they are going to do whatever they damn well please.  As you can see in the pictures the walleye wanted small baits, about the size of an emerald shiner.  When I got home and cleaned them one walleye had a goby in him that was about twice the size of my lures.  None of the walleye had any mayfly nymphs in them.  Other than the goby I didn’t find anything else they had been eating. So take it for what it’s worth.  You can catch walleye before, during and after a mayfly hatch, size does matter and matching “the hatch” doesn’t always pay off.  I ran #9 and #11 Rapala’s in darker colors and I never caught a fish on any of them.

So much for “Matching the Hatch”

 

 





Memo……

3 07 2017

7/3/17

 

To: The White Bass

From: The Lord and Master of the area on the Detroit River known as The Trenton Channel, NW of the flag, up to and including the landmark known as the Duck Dynasty boat.

Re: Occupancy

Be it known that spawning season is over.  Therefore all remaining White Bass (aka, Silver Bass, Fresh Water Piranha, Blankity Blanks) must return to Lake Erie, now.  Water temperature readings are over 70 degrees so there is no longer any reason for you to remain in the Lower Detroit River section known as The Trenton Channel.  You are free to join the White Perch in Lake Erie so that together, you may terrorize and annoy the meat dragging, planer board brigade.  Your cooperation with this is greatly appreciated.

Thank You.

Mark F. Schaller, Lord and Master of the above mentioned section of the Detroit River.

 

 





Dave’s turn, 06/27/17

28 06 2017

Since the fishing has been so good as of late I decided to give Dave a crack at them as well.  I have known Dave for a while but this was going to be the first time we have pulled wire together.  Usually it is he and Larry that are out together in Dave’s boat so sitting on the port side was going to take some adjustment for him.  We started out at 9:30 pm and literally dropped lines right on top of the fish.  We landed 9 in the first hour along with a few blankity blanks and a couple of throwbacks.  Actually, I was getting the blankity blanks and throwbacks, Dave was the one catching nothing but legal walleye.  We figured we would be done soon but it took us another hour to catch that last fish.  During that hour I caught more throwbacks and a few more blankity blanks.  They got over their shyness with Dave and eventually he caught one as well along with a small sheepshead.  The walleye were there, they just started hitting very lightly and we kept losing fish on the initial hit.  We would feel them grab it and then a second or two later they would be gone.  Words cannot describe how frustrating this is when you are trying to get that last one to fill a limit.  Around 11:30 I had another one on and fortunately he grabbed it hard and hooked himself well enough to where I could flip him in.  After that we pulled lines and headed to the dock.

Conditions were damn near perfect.  A light west breeze, clear water, very few bugs (even less after I swallowed one) and some floating weeds.  About the only bad thing about last night was that I busted the lips on 2 Rapalas.  It was my own fault too.  I could feel them get hung up and instead of throwing my lines back I pulled through.  SNAP!  I know better than that.  No one else out at first but eventually another boat did show up that hugged the Grosse Isle shoreline at first and then headed south.  Another boat came right up to us just as we were leaving.  For some reason he felt the need to pass within 10 feet of me on his way down.  My fish all came on #9 Rapalas and the majority of Dave’s came on a J-9 Original Rapala.  This year is shaping up to be the best of my life.  That’s 14 trips now and 13 limits.

Life is Good!

Time to clean.