Tuesday, September 30, 2008
(Art Halverson with a 31.5 Town Line Pike)
Thursday Sept 25th
I did not fish on my way up to Lutherdell Bible Camp on Boy Lake. I did see Dave Lindmarks truck and the GEM Pontoon trailer at Mule Lake. I didn't see it, but Cyberfish's red car was there too. Dave got one 19inch smallie and they caught several small pike and medium sized largemouth and Mike had a nice walleye break him off. When I got to the camp, Pastor Mike Pilla and a group of Teen Challenge guys went out on Boy; They got several little pike and a bass or two. Lowell and Gary had been up North for a few days at Broadwater Lodge on Woman Lake; They fished Woman and Mule with a few fish caught but nothing spectacular to report. Gary Schensted and Doug Bartz had spent the past several days hunting Muskie at Mantrap Lake lake near Park Rapids; They had seen a few Ski's but had not caught any. This day I was surprised to learn that almost no one had any plans of hitting Leech, which I figured would be a big draw. Also as it turns out we had plenty of boats so I did not need to take my boat out at all.
Friday Sept 26th
In the morning I was paired with GEM Camp Director Dave Lindmark and Fishers of Men Club Member Art Halverson. We were going to fish out of the GEM Pontoon and decided to head to Mule Lake. The Tournament for this day was to be total inches of your biggest Pike, Muskie, Bass, and Walleye and Mule Lake has all four species. There was also a $5 per person side pot you could get in that would pay down 3 places. I said that today I was donating, but that tomorrow I would be a threat. When we arrived at the Lake a little after 10am it was slightly overcast with a 10mph SE wind. Several other Fishers of Men boats also went to Mule. We started out by heading South, to work the area where Dave caught his big smallie the day before. On the way South we saw Gary Ellis and Mike Thompson land a fish and John Cummins and Gordy Merck net a fish.
We started shallow and Dave was soon rewarded with a small bass on a tube. I started off throwing a Strike King Red eye shad and caught a couple of small pike on that. Art was throwing a spinnerbait and chatterbait and caught some small pike and maybe a small largemouth or two. I tried topwater with a Frenzy Popper and got a couple of small bass. The weeds we were working looked really good but just didn't seem to be holding quality fish, so we moved to the West side of the lake starting at the Public Access heading North.
I hauled in a couple of small pike on the Red Eye Shad and got a 14" largemouth on a black single Colorado blade spinnerbait while the bait was falling. As we moved North Dave started getting a few Larry's on the deep weedlines with a Ring-N Tube. I was not getting much action so I switched to a tube. Dave continued to catch fish while I and Art struggled. I did manage to get one small larry on the tube before we made it to the Mule Lake narrows. As you go East into the narrows the lake becomes one big weedy shallow flat on the North East end of the lake where there are two main bays.
Around the time we entered the narrows things started to look quite dark to the North and the wind seemed to die off. After we passed the narrows I started throwing the Red Eye Shad and I landed a good bass and a few small pike. Dave continued to have success on the tube although he started to break off on a few fish. At one point Dave broke off on something like 5 fish in a row. The skies continued to get darker. I saw a school of largemouth with one smallie among them between the old access and Smallmouth Point. As we approached Smallmouth Point I spotted a 17-18 inch smallie swimming along. I think Dave got a couple of largemouths on the tube off Smallmouth Point and Art had a tremendous blow up on a Popper and caught a medium sized largemouth.
Conditions were getting right for topwater with the approaching storm and lack of wind, so I put on a Bullfrog color Frenzy Popper. All the other boats got off the lake when it looked like it was going to storm and the thunder was rumbling. Topwater was a good choice as I started nailing some fish. As we made our way into the far NE bay I got a 16.5" Larry which was my big bass of the day. We worked our way from the West shore of the bay across to the East shore of the bay to some laydown trees. I was catching bass consistently right in the middle of the bay. The bass had definitely turned on. Dave was still getting a few on the tube and Art got a fish or two but I had the hot hand.
It really started to look like we were going to get stormed on and there was plenty of thunder, but all the lightening was to our North. We had about an hour left and we decided to motor back to Smallmouth point and work our way to the Narrows. As we got to Smallmouth Point the wind came up out of the NW and it started to sprinkle, but this didn't last long and soon it was clearing up a little and calm again but looking dark to the North and West. As we worked our way to the narrows the fish shut down a bit and the hot hand once again was Dave with the tubes. I did get a couple of fish on topwater and Art landed a nice one on a small Chatterbait. We worked our way around the North Narrows Point and then it was 5:30pm and time to go. As we loaded up it got quite windy and dark but it didn't rain until we got North of Longville and it was pouring out when we got to camp.
We did not get a single smallie; Lindmark's and my big bass were only 16.5" and we both had a pike just over 20 inches.
Fishers of Men Club President John Cummins won the days tournament because he caught a largemouth, pike, and walleye. His fish were not very big but having that walleye clinched it for him. He gave the rod he won to one of the Teen Challenge guys. Gary Ellis got 2nd with the biggest bass, a 19.5" smallie, and the biggest pike of the day all from Mule Lake. Lowell Borgen came in 3rd but I don't know the size of the fish; I think he fished on Mule. Although I was down the standings I was 3rd place in the money pot and got my $5 back plus a dollar. Mike "Cyberfish" Thompson got a 19" smallie.
Saturday September 27th
Saturday was the big tournament day, because the person who caught the most inches of 3 bass and 3 northerns would be 2008 Fally Walleye winner. Fally Walleye is annual trophy that the top 3 finishers at the Fall Outing get to write their names on and the top fisherman gets to take home. In years past the race to be on Fally Walleye has combined both fishing days of the Fall Outing, but Lowell Borgen who was in charge decided to do things differently this year, so only this one day would count. Once again this day there was an optional $5 money pot which I got into.
Some people changed partners but once again it was me, Dave Lindmark, and Art Halverson in the GEM pontoon. We elected to go to Town Line Lake because it has above average size northerns and some nice bass as well. Town Line is a shallow weedy lake with lots of cabbage, bullrushes, and some slop. The weather was clear to partly cloudy with winds from 5-15mph out of the NW, there was more wind early and in the middle of the day than at the end of the day. It was definitely post-frontal conditions so we were a little unsure of how good the bite might be.
We started off in a good sized bay on the North side of lake. It did not take long and Art had himself a 20+ inch pike on a white spinnerbait. Art ended up getting cut by the pikes teeth and bleeding quite a bit. Both Dave and I were throwing spinnerbaits as well. Dave missed a fish then caught his first fish of the day. I think Art caught another fish and I kind of came to the conclusion that the black single Colorado blade spinnerbait I was throwing was not what they wanted, so I switched to a white and red buzzbait. By this time we were drifting with the wind. Shortly after making the switch a 22 inch Pike attacked my buzzbait. I think I caught one more pike and then we moved to the South shore to work the Rope Swing area.
I continued to throw the buzzbait and was rewarded with a nice bass. There was a good sized tree branch in the water and I had Dave work us towards it. I missed what was probably a small bass on the branch, when Art tied into a 31.5 inch Pike. As we worked our way to the Rope Swing Point I missed a couple of blow ups on the buzzbait. I think Dave may have gotten another pike. As we rounded Rope Swing Point I thought there was something trailing the buzzbait so I paused it for a second and then pumped it and I was hit by a nice pike. I managed to land it and it was 30 inches. Shortly after this fish I think I landed another Pike. We decided to head back over the area we had just gone over. It had become kind of clear at this point that the fish were in the thicker area's of cabbage.
On our return trip we landed some good pike and some nice bass. I think I got a 17 inch bass on this pass and Dave and Art got good ones too. At some point we decided to make a third pass on the Rope Swing Point. Action was not fast but it was consistent especially for me and the buzzbait. I added a 26 inch Pike at some point. On this pass around the point we went further South/West by a dock with a pontoon. The buzzbait got creamed by a 15 inch bass and right after that from the exact same area I had another even bigger bass strike the buzzbait. As this fish was coming in it made a hard charge around the back of the pontoon. Instead of asking for Art to net it, I tried to lift the fish out of the water a little bit so Art could lip it. I could not really see the fish and what I was doing and the fish shook and got off. I was quite unhappy that I lost a 16 to 17 inch fish by being kind of careless. We kept working our way SW and soon Lowell was coming close from the West and Gary Ellis was following in behind us. We decided to give this area a rest and headed to the NE corner of the lake.
In the NE corner of Town Line Lake there is an old Beaver Dam that holds bass and so we went to give it a shot. I switched up to a jig and casted into a spot with a few lily pads where there was a beaver path so the water is slightly deeper. I jigged it once and felt a pick up, so I set the hook and it was fish on. It jumped and it was a good one. I was relieved when we got it in the net. Art thought it was a 20incher, I thought it was 19", but it was only 18.5" but had we had a scale to weigh it I am sure it would have been over 4lbs because it was a full bodied fish. I tried to coax another fish but the water level was a little to shallow and weed choked and nothing else was there.
We started working our way West and Dave got a small bass on a popper. We some good looking water but it was not holding fish in the mid-day sun. We were over a pretty bare area and I decided to go back to the buzzbait and was immediately rewarded with a 25.5 inch Pike. This water didn't look so great and that one fish was all we got so we decided to run to a point on the North end in the middle section of the lake. Art got a couple of pike and Dave got a small bass on the popper, but for the most part this area just didn't look fishy, so we headed back to work the Rope Swing Point.
As we were working our way down the shoreline I backlashed and my line broke at the spool. I could see my line so we were able to go and retrieve my buzzbait that was catching so many fish. I retied but something happened on my very next cast and the line broke about half way up the rod. This time there was no long tail of line and the buzzbait was lost. What a bummer. I borrowed a buzzbait from Dave and did get a few pike on it, but no more bass. We worked the South shore for the rest of the day getting a few more pike. We quit around 10 to 6pm.
As it turned out this was my day and I wrapped up Fally Walleye along with winning the day 2 money pot and a rod and reel. My prediction was right on that I would be a contender on Saturday. Lowell Borgan got 2nd and Pastor Dave Kruger got 3rd to fill out the Fally Walleye honorees. They were both fish Town Line as well. I think Dave Lindmark got 4th, Art got 5th, and Gary Ellis got 6th, so Town Line was definitely the place to be.
A number of the other boats went to Mule and some nice smallmouth were caught on minnows. I think Gary Schensted got one that was 19" or bigger.