Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mille Lacs with Pete Tues/Wed

Yesterday was such a nice day that I agreed to go fishing with Pete one more night out on Mille Lacs. The plan was to be out there at 7:30pm to go fishing for smallmouth, but Pete didn't have the boat ready to leave until after 8:15pm. On the way we stopped to get pop and when we got to the access Pete realized he forgot his life vest and so we had to drive back down 169 to the Marathon gas station where amazingly enough they did have life jackets. By the time we finally got on the water it was getting pretty dark, so we just went right into trolling.

Right away Pete got an eater eye. A little while later Pete hooked up again, but as I was reeling in my line it somehow got caught up in Pete's. Pete managed to hand line it in. The fish was right at 18 inches so it had to go back. On the next trolling pass Pete and I both missed bites and then went a very long time without anything. Finally as we were back up on Sherman's point I got a 16" or so smallie. We trolled around to the North side of Sherman's where Pete hooked into a 24" eye. There was some weather coming in from the NW so we decided to troll our way back South. While still on the North side of Sherman's I popped a 15" smallmouth. Once we got to the South side of Sherman's Pete tied into a big fish. The wind was blowing pretty good and the boat turned funny and once again my line got caught in Pete's. I got the two lines separated quickly by cutting my line, but Pete was already trying to bring it in by hand and the fish got off. Pete was pretty frustrated and I felt bad.

The wind kicked up even more and it started to sprinkle, so Pete fired up the gas motor and we headed in sometime after 3am.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Snatchers Birch (Grey Eagle)

This tournament had a late start at 8am, but I still was up before 5am and out the door before a quarter after. I drove to Little Falls to meet up with Barry and his Son-in-law Joe to carpool to Big Birch. Conditions were sunny and warm enough with a NW breeze blowing about 7mph. It stayed sunny to partly cloudy throughout the day but the wind kicked up to 15-20mph at times.

We started in the West lake around an Island where Barry had found a bunch of bedding smallmouth a few days ago. I started with topwater and right away had a fish show behind the bait but it never committed. This happened twice in the first 5 minutes. The smallies had vacated the beds in this area and so we moved a little farther North on the Island. Barry caught a nice fish on a crank, but that was all we got. Next, we headed to the Upper East lake to Barry's "Honey Hole." It was a weed patch where Barry found a school of good fish pre-fishing. Barry managed to get two smaller fish on a tube.

Next, we worked a thickly weeded bullrush island. I went to use my telescoping 7'3" St. Criox Avid Flippen stick, but I had a hard time getting the rod to pull out. As I eventually got it to move a couple of maggots came up with the blank. Apparently, a fly got in there and laid some eggs making the two parts of the rod blank stick together. I did get the rod extended but didn't catch a thing.

We moved across the lake to a point with some reeds on the inside turn and I got a 13.25" and a pumpkin Monsoor swim jig with pumpkin Zoom Speed Craw trailer. From there we moved back to the West lake Island where we started and where Barry got his first fish. I got a 13.25" largemouth on a white X-Rap and jumped off a fish that was a bit bigger and also had a follow from a good fish (smallmouth???). We switched to the Island Barry's Son-in-law Joe was fishing and fished around it. We kind of wandered into the other boats hot area where Barry and I both caught a fish. The fish for me was yet another 13.25" on the white X-Rap.

Next, we fished the Eastern edge of the Island we started on. This spot featured bullrushes and reeds along a steep drop. Barry had seen lots of fish cruising this run while prefishing. I fished the area with the swim jig and started off by catching a dink and having a few small fish pull on the speed craw. As we were going along Barry got a couple of dinks and a couple of Rock Bass. I saw a largemouth that was at least two pounds pull the speed craw right off the jig, bummer.

Next, I think we went back to the East lake and didn't get a thing but one for me that was 11.75." We went back to the West Lake and fished around Joe's Island maybe catching a rock bass or two. We then headed to a weedline spot where Barry jerked up 2 keepers and then I got a 12.25" on a white Strike King Zero (Senko) fished on a mushroom head jig. We drifted the spot again with Barry getting another keeper and me landing one that was 14.25" on the Zero. We did another couple of passes but only got Rock Bass. From there we went to fish another similar weedline but another boat was on it. The days big bass, 4lbs 1oz, was caught by that boat on that spot.

Once again we headed to Joe's Island and tried to fish deep. I caught a rock bass. From there we went to the East side of our starting Island where the bullrushes and reeds were. We just about had fished the whole stretch when I got my limit fish, a 14.50" largie on the swim jig by reeds and rocks.

It was getting to be late in the day and we headed back to the East lake to try the "Honey Hole" one last time. We bounced around a couple of new spots then hit the reed patch by the Rock Tavern where we were going to have the weigh in. The reeds were a perfect match for a Horny Toad, so I started throwing it. I had a little fish hit it and managed to resist the urge to set the hook. I was working the toad through the reeds when I had a solid blow up from another 13.25" that culled out my 12 incher. I got one more good blow up on the Toad but failed to hook up and that was the end of our day. I was pleased to have gotten a limit, even if it was small.

I ended up with 7lbs 8ozs with a big fish of 1lb 9ozs which stuck me in 23rd out of 24 anglers. The only guy I beat was my Farm Island partner Herman who only brought in 3 fish. My partner Barry came in 20th, which shows me that our areas were holding below average fish this day.

The winner had a 15lb 6oz bag of smallmouth that he pretty much sight fished near shallow rocks. Our boat didn't land a single smallie all day, but Barry might have jumped one off near the end of the day. A couple of people reported catching dozens and dozens of 12-14 inch largemouth so the fish were schooled up in some places. Unfortunately, the schools that were on Barry's spots moved. Overall I had a fun day and the heat didn't get to be too bad.

After the tournament, we went to the Rock Tavern where I got to know Joe who grew up in Little Falls and sounds like he is a die-hard Mississippi smallmouth angler. He showed me a couple of his smallmouth tricks.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Pete came up on Tuesday 6/17 and we fished the night shift on 6/18 and 6/19. Pete brought up his new (used) Lund Boat and worked on it all day Wednesday. We did not get out of the door until well after 9PM. The plan was to troll or bobber fish but we forgot the leeches, so bobber fishing was out. And on the way to the ramp Pete informs me that he did not bring the power cord for his depth finder. I didn't know how in the world we were going to troll blind to the bottom, but Pete informed me that he has a GPS with the Lakemaster chip and that should do the job. I was quite skeptical and a little afraid for Pete's prop, but the thing worked great. On both nights we fished Sherman's Point till at least 7am. On Wed/Thur we fished all around the point, while on Thur/Fri we stayed on the South side. We caught fish in anywhere from 4 to 10 feet of water on little minnow crankbaits. We did not catch a single bigger walleye in the protected slot and we missed several bites both nights.
For the eye's it seemed like the inside line was better and for smallies the outside line was better.

On Wed/Thur I got 3 smallies including a 18.75" casting with a pink #10 husky jerk after sunrise. I also caught 3 eater eye's and 1 crappie. Pete got 1 eater eye, 2 cigars, 3 smallies, and 1 rock bass.

On Thur/Fri we got out later and didn't stay out as long. Pete had the hot hand catching 5 eyes, 3 rock bass, and 2 smallies, while I got 1 eye, 2 smallies, and 1 rock bass.

Eddy's Launch Tues. 6/17/08

For the 2nd year in a row Lakeview Community Church and Immanuel Lutheran Church got together for a launch trip on Mille Lacs out of Eddy's. Dad spearheaded the effort and it was a lot of fun. This year featured the 5 F's: Fellowship, Food, Fishing, Fun, and Film. We had burgers, turkey burgers, hot dogs, baked beans, bars, chips and pop. The food was a nice way to kill time until the prime time for getting bites.
Katie Hayes caught the 2nd Walleye of the day and it was a keeper. The protected slot on ML this year is 18" to 28".
We fished on Eddy's Flagship which is the biggest launch on Mille Lacs. I think we had 26 people total.

I had a bite right away when I was rigging up Dad's rod. Unluckly there was no slack in the line so when I picked up the rod it pulled the hook right away from the fish. We really didn't have anymore action until after 8PM. One of the lady's went to use the restroom and she got a bite when she was in the facilities. Another person ended up reeling in her fish, but she got to keep it. The youngest fisherperson, Katie Hayes, caught the 2nd fish. Dad caught 2 walleye's that were to small and Don Weinmeister caught 3 eye's. The boat got around 4 keepers, 6 that were to small, and 3 that were to big. I ended up with the skunk.

Even though we took this launch in the middle of June, we were fishing the exact same spot we fished the 1st launch Dad and I went on last year on May 16th.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sullivan/Platte Tues. 6/10/08

I headed out to the East access on Sullivan around 5:20pm, when I got to the access there was a line up of boats. An 8 boat multi-species league out of Little Falls was fishing the lake. I let them launch first and they were quick about it, so I was on the water by 6PM.

Once again my plan tonight was docks, but this time in Sullivan. Now it had been sunny out for a good part of the day, but by the time I launched it was overcast. I started at the first dock South of the access heading South. I did not get a hit until I was around the point into "Old Cabin Bay" and I missed it. My first fish was a rock bass on the bubbleguy Super Fluke. I missed another bite and saw three small keepers swimming around one dock. I also learned that Strike King Zero's which have been in the water a while become lighter and on a small hook will float.

I managed to pick up 2 or 3 dinks between docks, before I got to the Prime-Time docks. A guy came out and started fishing off one of the prime docks. I got a couple of dinks off the prime docks on the Fluke. Towards the end of the prime run I got a 14" off of a boat lift on a Chart/Black Chart 3X Craw Terminator Jig.

From there I headed into Platte to fish the North and West sides of Channel Inn Bay where I knew there was some fish. I started out in the emerging reeds with a buzzbait in the wind but that wasn't happening. Once I got to the point where it was calmer I started throwing a pumpkin Horny Toad. It was not long and I lost a leg, but shortly after that I nailed a 14" bass. While I was waiting for the Super Glue to cure I had a miss on the River2Sea Bully Wa Frog black/chart nose. I threw back to the spot and was rewarded with a 15" bass. At the NW cut I got a 16.5" on the pumpkin Horny Toad. Working South on the West shore I got a hammer handle and a 15" on the Horny Toad. It was comming up on 9PM so I headed to the PRO.

I had a few weak hits at the PRO on the Frenzy Popper and Horny Toad but nothing hooked up. I headed out at 9:15pm to beat the Tourny guys in since the PRO was being a bust.

I ended up with 10 or so bass with about half being dinks and 1 Pike.

The Tourny guys all seemed to do alright and most beat what I caught for the night. The biggest bass was 18.5" with one other at 18" and about 3 that were 17+, lots of little pike, a few 8" sunfish, 1 small walleye, and a 26" and 27" dogfish. I talked to the guy who got the big bass and he got it on a spinnerbait. It was a good night to be throwing a spinnerbait with the breeze and overcast.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Platte Lake A Dogfish

I hit the water a little after 6PM. It looked like it was going to rain, but it didn't. There was a pretty stiff breeze out of the West when I first put in, but by the time I was done on the docks it had lightened considerably and the sun came out. Towards dark it got calm.

The plan was to catch some quality bass off the Big West Bay South shore docks primarily with a jigNpig with a possible Fluke thrown in here and there. I put in at the Platte Lake access and put the trolling motor down right away headed west. I missed a bass on the very first dock. I didn't have my reel dialed in and my pitching form was quite rusty from a lack of practice and I was undoing a backlash when the fish picked up the jig. I didn't get a good hookset, but I did see the fish as I pulled up and it was a solid 15" or so. I continued to move West without a whole lot going on except having the claws bit off the jigs craw probably by a pike. I eventually got down to my milk run and missed a pike on a bubblegum Super Fluke. On the very last dock I got 2 dink bass on a Blue/Black Monsoor Swim Jig with purple/wht grub. I worked into the weed flat with the swim jig and then drifted back with the wind throwing the purple Berkley Frenzy Popper in the sparce reeds and rice. I had what were probably a couple of small pike show at the Popper but they did not hook up. After a while of working the flat with nothing to show I decided to hit the North side of the Big West Bay where there is rice and pads.

I started by throwing a white Horny Toad, but had one of the legs get bit off. I got nothing in the emerging rice and pads and eventually drifted over to some fine looking green bullrushes. At the back end of the bullrushes I had a solid take on the swim jig by what felt like a good fish but it got off. I worked the North shore a little bit more without any action. The sun was getting low now and I headed to the docks on the point of the Big West Bay South shore. I didn't get anything from the docks but pulled a 16" from between the first and 2nd dock. There are now 3 docks off the tip of this point. I continued to work my way around the point into Channel Inn bay. I was throwing the wht. Horny Toad when I had a solid blow up that cut off the last leg. I fished the Toad with stumps and got a 15.5" at the NW cut.

I threw the purple Frenzy Popper at the cut and had something wake behind it. I slowly worked the popper and sure enough it bit and it was what I thought, a dogfish. I let him fight it out then I netted it. It went 24" and I released it back to get bigger. Soon after that I caught a 15.5" bass on a pumpkinseed Horny Toad. I was having trouble with the bait keeper on the Horny Toads so I switched to a Black/Chart Nose River2Sea BullWa Frog. I got a 13" bass on that and had a couple of other hits from small fish or pike. It was getting dark and the mosquito's where awful so I called it a night without heading to the PRO.

6 Bass, 1 Dogfish, 0 Pike

Mille Lacs 6/8/08 Sunday

Sunday was a nice day with light wind so I decided to head out to Mille Lacs. By the time I got there at 5pm it was overcast and getting ready to rain which was fine with me because there was a lot of Cottonwood cotten on the water. I fished out of Isle Bay and started out by hitting some docks that can be good at spawning time. I was in a pretty good groove casting to the docks but I wasn't getting any action. After hitting more than 10 docks I finally had a nice fish follow my bubblegum Super Fluke but it didn't hit it. It had stopped raining by now. I then tried a watermelon tube and came up empty. I switched to a white Strike King Zero (Senko) and the smallie took it, but I came up empty on the hookset except for getting caught up on the boat lift. Had I hooked the fish it could have wrapped me up pretty good in that boat lift.

The space between docks was getting wider so I decided to throw out a white with Chart. nose Rapala Subwalk between docks. Almost immediately I was rewarded with a solid 18.25" Sally Smallmouth. Not long after that I had another hit on the Subwalk but it got off pretty much right away. On the next dock I connected with a 16.25" on the Zero. Not long after that between docks I nailed another 16.25" on the Subwalk. I ran some more docks and worked in between with the subwalk and saw 2 fish that would not commit. The action slowed so I decided to head North to hit a reef that has been good to me in the past. I got out there and the buoys were not configured like they normally have been in the past. I swear the area covered by the 4 buoys was quadrupled. I drifted with the light wind and manuevered with the trolling motor while throwing topwater and made a pass on the reef without a sign of a fish. I then made a 2nd pass with a white X-Rap and was rewarded with a 17" Sally, but I could not get anything else to go. It was about 8:30 so I decided to hit Malone Island Reef on my way back in. The sun actually came out for a bit and it sprinkled again too. I started out working topwater, then switched to the subwalk, then went back to a purple Frenzy Popper which produced a 17.25" smallie. It was getting dark and I wanted to avoid the 10pm night ban rush so I made 1 last cast and something (I think a small pike or muskie) came out of the water missing the popper. That was it and I called it a night.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Snatchers Farm Island Tournament

Saturday, June 7, 2008

I met my partner Herman a little before 5:30PM in Pine Center. Pine Center is only about 10 miles straight North of the house and it was cool that Herman met me somewhere familiar. We loaded my gear into his 20.5" Ranger Dual Console and were off. I soon learned that Herman was about the nicest guy you would ever want to meet. This is his 27th year as a Bass Snatcher so he told me lots of things about the club. He used to be heavily involved in the Minnesota Federation before it was the Federation Nation and had lot of stories to tell from his involvement. He fishes the club for fun and fun is what we had.

I think we were boat #4 on take off and we were the first ones to head South on Farm Island Lake. We ended up starting on the SE shore of Farm Island. It was a sandy area with some weed growth towards shore. It was calm so I went with the Zoom Super Fluke. As we were working the shoreline Herman had a good fish take his spinnerbait but throw it half way to the boat. Just after that, I had a swirl on the Fluke but my hookset came up empty. This was my first time throwing the Fluke this year and I didn't use it much last summer when I hardly fished at all, so I was a bit rusty. Not long after this, the Fluke disappeared and I set into an 11inch fish. We have a 12inch minimum. I caught another 11" off the end of a dock. We worked the whole East shore of Farm Island but didn't have a keeper to show for it.

From Farm Island, we headed West a little way and went to a protected shoreline. I think Herman said there were normally reeds in this area but just like Sullivan Lake, the reeds in Farm Island are almost non-existent this year. The area was sandy bottom with some weeds. Something came to the surface and left some bubbles. Herman had me cast over there with the Fluke. I worked it slow and sure enough, my big bass of the day picked it up and I got her in. A little way down the line Herman got on the board. We eventually worked ourselves out of the weeds so we headed farther West. We were going to fish some emergent weeds at the mouth of a slop bay East to West. As we pulled in another Bass Snatcher boat pulled up to the West thus cutting us off from fishing the shoreline unless we wanted to fish used water. We worked the emergent vegetation which looked perfect for the Horny Toad. Herman got his 2nd keeper here but that was all we got on two passes.

We went somewhere to the North and I lost a Fluke to a Pike.

From there we went back to our starting spot and I started catching some dink bass on the Fluke. There was a 13"-14"keeper up on a bed but I could not get it to go. We then pulled out a little deeper and I got my 2nd keeper on a Blue/Black Monsoor Swim Jig with Junebug Zoom Ultravibe Speed Craw trailer. I got the fish jigging the lure, not swimming it. We fished a cabbage bed without any luck. Before we were off to the North end of the lake Herman made me a sandwich.

We headed to the access bay and fished some emergent vegetation where I got my 3rd keeper. We moved off the emergent veg. and onto a flat with docks. I think I got 2 more keepers on this stretch and Herman got his final keeper of the day.

I am not sure where on the lake we went next but it was a good looking area where there were the remnants of a pencil reed bed. We had zero luck in the old reeds, but we really were fishing it wrong with horizontal presentations instead of pitching a jigNpig. We worked out way onto a weed flat and I broke a fish off at the knot so it may not have been a pike.

Next, we headed to the best looking water of the day. It is a bay where emergent vegetation lines water with some depth leading to a weed flat with rice and pads. We worked the sweet looking emergent vegetation but only drew fish in one spot. I got my limit fish on the Fluke and Herman caught two shorts. Eventually, we got to the flat which had the wind blowing in on it and I switched to the Blue swim jig. I got 2 fish to cull and missed one really good fish. We worked our way off the flat to where there was an old ugly orange runabout that had been half sunk in the previous day's heavy winds. The motor was fully submerged and the left front of the boat was up on the dock damaging both. The scene was quite a mess.

Time was running short so we ran into the access bay and worked more of the emergent vegetation off which I had got 1 keeper earlier. We got a few dinks on the stretch and I think Herman might have missed a keeper on a jigNpig. At the end of the emergent vegetation, there was a pretty good size chunk of wood in the water and I told Herman to try that. He didn't get anything but I noticed a smaller piece of wood quite a bit further in towards shore so I cast my swim jig at it. Sure enough, I got my last bass of the day, a fat 12.25" that didn't help me. We worked out way back a little on the emergent vegetation than called it a day.

I caught my 6 Fish limit for 9lbs 8ozs which put me in 16th out of 28 anglers. My big fish was 2lbs 7oz. The winner was our club President with 14lbs15oz and the big bass was only 3lbs 8ozs. Herman finished 27th. 20 limits were caught.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Easy Go! Again.

I headed out to Platte/Sullivan around 7AM. It was cloudy and threatening rain with a 5-10mph breeze out of the NE. The first order of business when I got on the lake was to see if I could find that white Rapala Subwalk that a pike bit off last week. I got into the general area where I thought it would be and there it was sitting on the bottom. I scooped it up with a rod on the very first try. The line was broken about 6 inches up from the line tie. I ended up using the Subwalk at the PRO river mouth and I caught a pike and several bass, nothing big and some of them were 10inchers. The Subwalk has to be a 4 inch bait and it is thick like a spook, but those little bass sure loved it. I did get some 12-15's on it as well. The Subwalk was working great over the emerging wild rice in the river, but I played my hand a little to long. I got about 150 yards into the river and I caught a small pike. He seemed to have frayed the line a little bit so I retied. On the very next cast I had one of those toothy lure poachers steal the white subwalk for the 2nd time. The water was deeper and there was significant grass so I was unable to relocate the lure this time. At least the lure was productive while I had it; I figure the lure cost me around 50 cents a fish which is many times less than the going rate of a Zoom Horny Toad.

Fishing Report: I fished the North Flat of the PRO first getting a 18.25" Larry on a Horny Toad with the buzzing legs bitten off. I also caught a 28.5" Pike on the North Flat, this fish put up quite a battle. I did catch a few more bass and pike on the Pro North Flat mostly on a black/blue Monsoor Swim Jig with either a purple/clear or purple/wht grub. I also got a couple on brown Horny Toads, but the little pike were really into stealing the legs and small bass were hitting it too, screwing things up. I tried to fish the purple Frenzy Popper on the North Flat but it just wasn't happening.

When I got to the PRO river mouth I did catch a 15" on the Frenzy Popper but that was it for that. To get the fish to go at the river mouth I used the white, clown, and wht/chart Subwalk. I probably got about 10-12 bass and a couple of pike as I fished from the mouth down the river to the damn. After losing the white Subwalk I got a couple of pike on the "lost jig" in the river.

From the river I went to work the W/S flat of the PRO where the breeze was blowing onto. I started with a bang landing a 18" Larry on the black/blue Monsoor jig, but that was it for the bass. I did catch about 3-4 pike on the W/S flat. I got done with my pass and was amazed to see it was 1:30pm, so I called it a day.

I caught 24 bass and 11 pike total.