Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Smallies on the Mississippi

Monday July 28th.
Pete woke me up at about 3:30PM and asked me if I wanted to go fishing. I wasn't enthusiastic about it but I said OK. Then Pete informed me we would be going to fish Smallmouth on the Mississippi with his friend Greg Jones from Mid-West Outdoors. This perked me up quite a bit and we were out the door around 4PM.

We met Greg in St. Cloud around 5PM and headed North. Greg is a Salesmen, Editor, and TV guy with Mid-West outdoors and he is also a Mississippi River Rat. His command of the river was impressive as we ran the river at full speed even though the area we were to fish has a lot of shallow stretches. I saw a couple of eagles and a bi-plane.

I started out with a Frenzy Rattlebait, Pete tried a Strike King Rocket Shad, and Greg had on a small white buzzbait. Greg started getting some hits on the buzzbait and I switched to a swim jig. Greg kept showing us we were around fish and so I switched pretty quick to a purple Berkley Frenzy Popper. It didn't take long and I was catching fish. I think my 3rd fish was a small pike. Basically we drifted down the river until it got to dark to fish. The fish were not suicidal but the action was pretty steady. I got the biggest smallie at just under 19 inches and that was the only one we got over 18." There was a good mix of fish between 10" and 17" plus Pete got a nice Pike. I think all but 1 fish were on topwater. I swear I casted that Popper straight into the big fishes mouth cause I didn't see it hit the water and there was no swirl but the fish was on immediately.

I had a lot of fun. Greg is a really good guy and even had an interesting story about seeing a UFO on the river that looked like a flying telephone pole. Someone was with him so he has a witness. Unfortunatly they didn't get close enough to find out what they were actually seeing but it was flying and it was big.

Fishing w/Pete ML Friday July 25th.

We didn't get to the lake till well after midnight. Pete got the boat started but once again it didn't run while in gear, so the gas wasn't the problem. Pete went about working on the motor and eventually I went to the car. Above the trees were filled with bugs as the sun came up. About 6 AM pete yelled for me to come as he had the motor running. The wind was blowing 10-15mph out of the SE so it was rolling pretty good out on the water. Pete was running us straight out into the lake from the access and I was growing concerned. The flats with a ruff ride and a motor we might not be able to count on seemed like a bad plan. Pete was just running us out so we wouldn't get blown into shore if the motor started acting up. We ended up going over to the North end of Sherman's Point and started trolling water with Shad Raps. We trolled for about a hour and a half with no luck so then we went into the protected water on the North Shore of Sherman's Point and tried for Smallies, Northern, and Muskie. I caught two 13-14" smallies on a white X-Rap and that was all we got. I believe we were off the water by 11am. On the way in Pete's motor started acting up again. It was a problem with some loose wires or something like that.

Fishing w/ Pete on ML

Pete finally came up on the Wed. 23rd and we hit Mille Lacs about midnight. The moon was out at least part of the time and there was very little wind. We trolled from the Casino Access around Sherman's Point all the way through Wig Wam bay and a little bit East of Wigwam. We were on the water until about noon, thanks to Pete's motor not wanting to run when he put it into gear. While it was dark Pete got a smallie that was almost 20 inches on his little clown minnow. Nothing seemed to be going shallow and so we put on shad raps and started running 10-15ft towards dawn. Pete caught another smallie 17inch and got a 24" walleye. I finally got a hit from a rock bass, then after the sun was up I caught a nice perch. Some fish were rolling out over open water on top and we tried for them but didn't have any luck. We trolled back to Sherman's Point where Pete got a perch. When we got on the Shabosh Kung side of Sherman's Pete tried to fire up the big motor. It would run in neutral but not in gear. Pete figured it was bad gas. We ended up drifting plus using the trolling motor to get in. We didn't get a single smallie off the South side of Sherman's Point.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Snatcher Pokegama Tournament

I had a close call with a deer on the North end of Mille Lacs lake on my way North to Grand Rapids, no harm no foul. I got to Grand Rapids a little quicker than I thought I would but that was OK as my partner Bill and some of the other guys were already out in the motel parking lot. I got my gear into Bill's boat and then spent probably an hour shooting the breeze before we left.

The access we went out of is on the NW end of the lake and we headquartered out of a public beach just North of there that is right by where the Mississippi flows into Pokegama lake. Our plan was to head up the river and try to catch some big fish, but if that wasn't working to go back down into the lake and fish cabbage.

We were boat #2 out of the gate and boat #2 heading into the river. By the time we got to the spot where you can run the river at full speed, we were the #1 boat. We ran all the way past the Hwy 6 bridge to a spot Bill calls "Dogfish Corner". We started out pitching jigs and I got messed with by a small pike. I also threw some slop frogs and Zoom Horny Toads having a small pike strike on the toad. We got nothing on this spot and so we headed up the river some more to another great looking area with rice, rushes, and wood, but we could not get anything. We then made our way back down the river. The story from all the river boats was slow fishing. A few guys had some small fish. We stopped at the Hwy 6 bridge and I caught a small pike there.

Bill got his first bass in some reeds on Jay Gould Lake (at least I think that is where we were). We then headed to the lake to fish weedline/weedbeds. Bill quickly landed two keepers before I got number 1 on a watermelon tube. I don't remember if I got another keeper bass on the tube before I had a pike break it off. I put on what turned out to be a grey tube, I thought these tubes were watermelon too, but it was just the green packaging. I may have got 1 more bass off of this first spot in the lake.

Next, we hit some reeds and I missed a couple of hits on topwater. We then went to another cabbage weedline spot and Bill filled out his limit while I got to fish #4. It started to sprinkle while we were on this spot and it continued to lightly rain until the last half hour of the tournament. We headed in to try some slop and I got #5 on a Snagproof Bobby's Perfect Frog. Next, we worked some rushes and reeds and I got my limit fish on the Bobby's Perfect Frog.

Now with two limits in the well, it was decision time and we decided that our best shot for kickers was in the river and so we made our way back there. We started working the Power Plant area and I missed a bite that I probably should have caught on the Horny Toad as that I saw the fish wake towards the bait before it hit. It could have been a dogfish though. We turned a corner and started working into the wind. After quite a while of fishing, Bill landed a nice dark mid 3lb fish. A little while later he got some pike. Bill was pitching a jig into the weed edge and I was casting out the front of the boat parallel with the weed edge. A fish showed itself and so I was careful to cover the spot and I was rewarded with a 17.5" largemouth. We worked our way down the stretch several hundred more yards, then we turned around to hit it again. Now with the wind at my back, I was really able to cover the water. I was distracted by a boat running the river and took my eye off the Horny Toad and I missed a hit. A little while later I got a solid strike and landed another 17.5" in largemouth. That was the last fish of the day. I think if we would have gotten another hour in the river I could have caught some more nice fish.

I ended up with my best weight of the year so far with 6 fish for 12lbs 8ozs. I tied with a guy for weight and big fish and lost the coin flip tiebreak, so I ended up in 15th out of 25 guys. My partner Bill was 13th with 13lbs 5 ozs. Winning weight was 20lbs 3ozs and he spent the whole day in the river and didn't catch his limit fish until the last 1/2 hour. The guy in 2nd also fished the river all day. Big fish was 5lbs 10oz and there was one other 5lber caught.

Overall I had a really enjoyable time. It was nice that the cool overcast and rain kept the horse and deer flies away because I hear they can get quite bad in the river.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

7/2/2008 Eddy's Launch with Dad

Tonight Dad and I went out on a Launch on Mille Lacs out of Eddy's Resort. The night was windy and a bit cool. Dad and I got the back of the boat which was packed with about 17 people. We ran up by Indian Point and fished in area's where the wind maybe wasn't quite as bad. Dad spent much of the night talking to Karen, or maybe it was Carol, who was from Cambriage and comes up to the Casino to gamble and fish by herself cause her husband doesn't care for it. I helped her get set up and she did catch a small walleye. A few weeks ago she got a 28inch walleye on an Eddy's launch. The guy next to me in the back of the boat caught a 24.5" Northern and a 23.5" walleye both of which had to go back due to Mille Lacs size regulations.

Dad and I both missed bites a couple of times. Dad caught a cigar walleye and I caught the only keeper for the whole launch (14inches.) The boat caught about 8 fish total and I think we did better than the other launch that was out. All in all it was a good time with Dad.