Lake Erie’s HOT Perch Bite!

Finally got back on the water after a brief hiatus and it was like we never left the hot bite.  It has gone from another great walleye year on Lake Erie, right into full perch mode like last season.  Sunday was the time to get some and the lake didn’t let us down.

Catch Counter

Pulled into Jeff’s Bait and Tackle bright and early, which is just down the road from Sterling State Park and loaded up on all the essentials.  Shiners, 2-Fly Rigs, ice and plenty of beverages because the winds were light and it was going to be a hot day on the water. I didn’t forget the Cold Snap cooling towels either and they were definitely needed before the end of the day.

Drove down the road to the boat launch at the state park and headed out into Brest Bay towards a certain area  south of the 1 and 2 buoys.  Not knowing for sure where to anchor up, we went on a search and seek mission, which turned into search and destroy soon after.  What I mean by this, is one of my best methods for finding a good school of perch is to get the poles in the water and start a drift until the perch tell you where they are.

St Croix Premier Ultra Light

Keep in mind several factors while trying to do a drift, first and foremost the winds have to be right.  We had a nice little chop on Sunday so the technique worked perfectly in conjunction with the 1 ounce bell sinkers I poured the week before in my Do-It mold and my trusty St. Croix Premier six foot ultra light spinning rod. Now if the wind is kicked up a few notches you might want to break out the drift bags, or if your boat is equipped with a bowmount trolling motor you can slow your speed down enough to make this an effective method of finding a school.

I popped a nice 12 inch perch right off the bat, and as soon as I got it back in the water another fish came up just that quickly.  Don’t have to hit me too hard in the head not to know we were on some fish.  I carefully walked up to the bow and after a little wiggling to get it out of the box, dropped the anchor.  Again, walking carefully back to the stern, I looked around to see we were all by our lonesome, not a boat around.  There was a big pack to the north, and another flotilla of boats south and east of us….perfect!   I have a philosophy in the works,  and fishing in a crowd creates too much competition.

Northland Mini-Smelt

Northland Impulse Bro’s Bloodworm

Contemplate this for a second, lots of boats can draw your fish away because at some point you will be going at it hot and heavy and the perch are flying in the boat.  All it takes is one time for everyone in the boat to have their rods out of the water and the perch will move off in search of more food.  Think about, a fish is driven by food and sex, and this time of the year, momma’s eggs aren’t quite in their prime 😉  Without too much structure available below Lake Erie’s surface, those fish are constantly on the move.  If you fish the crowds, you probably already guessed, but those perch have already moved off to the next boat’s offering before you get your rod back in the water.  One solution that I have come up with is leave a decoy rod in the water rigged with plastics to hold their interest just long enough for you to get the real deal back down to the bottom.  Northland Tackle makes some excellent soft plastics for the decoy rig and they will pull a few fish throughout the day.  The Mini-Smelt and Bloodworm imitate the perch’s natural forage and when put on the 2-Fly Rig with that extra flash created by the fly, they put keep the interest of the fish peaked.

Double on the 2-Fly Rig

The fishing was steady all day, dropped the 2-Fly Rig down the water column, catch a perch.  Drop the rig down, give it a jiggle and catch a perch.  Drop the rig down, drag it around the boat a bit and …you guessed it….catch a perch.

 

Lure Lipstick Enhancer

After that wind shift out of the east that we always seem to get this time of the year, someone chirped on the radio that the bite had ceased.  I told my buddy I have something for that, I busted out the Enhancer product from Lure Lipstick and gave it a couple of squirts and dropped it down. There wasn’t any waiting period as the rod telegraphed that tell-tale thump and another perch came up the water column.  That one and the next five literally inhaled the minnow and fly combination and helped us knock off the next twenty fish to reach the century mark.

Two Tickets=100

Nothing like getting your limits, bringing the fish back to clean and having exactly the numbers you are supposed to have in the cooler.  We stopped fishing when the counter on the Catch Counter reached 100.  I iced everything up that night because a storm was rolling in and I couldn’t set the Tumble Drumm scalers up in the rain.  Something to do with electric motors and moisture…etc.  Monday morning hits and I roll out of bed and hit the shop to get everything set up to clean some perch.  I have two of the scalers and started counting them,  25 in each one.  After they were done, I counted them out again, 25 each.  The Catch Counter has never failed me in keeping an accurate count which can be huge.  The last thing I want to do is be one or two fish over my limit just in case one of those green trucks pull up to the boat at the launch!   

Can’t wait to check the weather and pick out a day to get back out!

Copyright, 2018

 

 

 

Posted in Lake Erie, Perch Fishing, Product Reviews | Leave a comment

Beat the Heat with a Cooling Towel

Have you ever been out on Erie on a day, much like today, and there is barely a breeze and the temperatures just keep going up and up? I have too and by not doing anything I could tell that the heat was about to get the best of me.  There is a way to combat the heat, and you wont break the bank in doing so.

 

Several years ago I bought two of these “cooling” towels on closeout at the end of the season at Menards up in Escanaba.  Sounded like a good idea and the price was right, and hindsight being 20/20, wish I had bought out the rest of the stock.  The towels themselves are pretty pliable out of the container, but will dry to a stiffness like cardboard.  No fears though, I place them in the bottom of my cooler, stack on the beverages and fill with ice.  By the time temperatures start to rise, enough of the ice has melted away and soaked into the towels.

The towels I have are 33.5 x 13 inches, not sure if this is roughly a standard size or not, but it works great for cooling down my noggin.  You can wrap around your neck, but I usually just put right over my hat and head and let the cool water soak down slowly.  It’s not a traditional towel and the material really holds the moisture allowing you to beat the heat.  Definitely a must have in the boat by the time July hits and the high temps drag into August.

Copyright, 2018

Posted in General Topics, Lake Erie, Perch Fishing, Walleye Fishing | Leave a comment

Getting Technique Specific with Walleye Harnesses

First there were colorado  and indiana blades, then came willow blades and after that came the whiptails.  Throw into the mix some hatchets and choppers and you get a wide selection of spinner blades for crawler harnesses that do a great job of putting walleye in the box. The question is if they catch fish, how can you possibly make them better?  The answer would be where do you run them in the water column while targeting walleye. When targeting bigger fish, another key component would be when or what time of the year it is.

Early in the spring,  the big fish are up higher in the  water column due to the cooler water temps and food sources.  This is the time of the year when there are 1,000’s of walleye anglers in the Detroit River or further south jigging the dumping grounds and reefs in Michigan and Ohio.  Meanwhile there are lots of big walleye in the three bays hugging the coastline along Michigan’s shores. These spots should not be over looked when you want to target big eyes on this side of the state line.

Big baits equal big fish or so the story goes and this philosophy is more true during the spring that most used to believe.  The old belief was that you ran smaller baits in the spring, but some of the spinner rigs being run on my rods start with blades being three inches or greater in length.  There is a method to my madness and a lot of experience that went into creating my philosophy on what blades to run in specific sections in the water column.

Milky water

Let’s start out with the dirty water scenario because let’s face it, how often in the spring is the water really that clear with all the rain and runoff flowing out into the lake.  I have caught plenty of 10 pound plus walleye in the spring and some will be shocked to find out just how high in the water column they were caught. No matter how filthy the water is, keep in mind its going to be cleaner up high, since most of the sediment will be falling through the water column and settling  on the bottom.

Whiptail blades

#8 Indiana Blades

Considering all this, I still want some flash on my presentation to attract the walleye below, but because of the dirty water I still need some thump to attract the fish that are swimming roughly at the same depth so I can attract that lateral bite. This can be accomplished by running two of my favorite blades for this approach, a large #8 indiana blade and an unique shaped blade called the whiptail.  These blades are long and lean much like a willow blade, but with their slight bend in the blade, they produce a little more noise and that will pull fish from both below and side to side of the bait.

Church Tackle TX-22

When setting this bait up, as most of you already know, I want the baits that ride higher up in the water column to be the greatest distance from the boat.  The proven theory is simple, if they can see the bait that high in the column, then they can see the boat and they will be easy to be spooked away.  I always make my big water harness leads between five and 8 foot in length, not so worried about the exact length as some may be, but I do want the presentation to be away from the weight. I am more concerned with the length of my trolling rod and how easy it will be to net the fish.  That said, I will run a quarter to half ounce weight, and then let out 10 to 25 foot of line before attaching one of my Church Tackle planer boards and letting it  out into position. Then I start switching it up to cover the rest of the water column.

Big Eye Custom Lures Willow Blades

Now if the water is clear of debris and floating sediment then I will break out the willow blades and either run them as a single blade rig or if I want a bigger presentation I will pull them as a tandem blade harness.  The next blades down would be the indiana’s and whiptails because I want that bit of thump down in the water column.  Then depending on the depth or time of the year I will employ some heavier weights with one and two ounce weights.  These will be on the second board out in the trolling program, or in the middle of the presentation.

Church Tackle Walleye Board

On the last board out, or the one closest to the boat,  will be my deeper presentation. This provides fewer chances of the fish being spooked by the boat this way.  Then depending on the depth of the water I will use 2 or three ounce weights.  Now here is a good tip for running big weights with planer boards.  To avoid sinking your board with the heavier presentation, adjust your spool tension knob on your trolling reel, this a different adjustment than your drag and is located near the star drag.  Clockwise is tighter and will slow down how fast your board drops back.  Translation, the greater the tension, the greater the resistance while dropping back and will not allow the board to sink. I could get technical and throw in some water and resistance equations, but why get lost in the weeds so to speak.

Walleye Boards

One more side note with your choice of boards, I love my TX-22’s for pulling cranks and lighter weights.  If I wanted to pull leadcore, heavy weights, say three to six ounces or big discs or divers then my choice of boards would be Church’s Walleye Board, also known as the TX-24.  I could still do a lot of things with the TX-22, specially in deeper water, but I have a philosophy about the amount of line running behind the board.  The least amount possible is ideal.  Now this doesn’t mean I will be using leadcore or any type of diver, but I will be using the heaviest amount of lead as I can possible get away with.  Prime example would be I have 31 foot of water at 1.3 miles per hour dialed in at 42 foot back to be on the bottom while running 2 ounces.  If I wanted to attempt to do this with a smaller weight, it would be a lot more line running behind the board.  More line equals more opportunities for a catastrophe to occur. Meaning, increased chances for losing a big fish.

Big Eye Custom Lures.com

Hatchet Blades

 

Down below towards the bottom third of the water column is when it’s time to bust out the masters of thump.  Colorado blades and hatchet blades are idea for drawing fish from side to side for that lateral attack, while still allowing you to attract fish from directly below.  I know I said that the other blades were optimal for drawing up fish through the water column and its true, but then we were talking about drawing fish from the top 2/3 rds of the lake, while the thumper style blades work the best the bottom third.

Tandem Fishlander Blades

Now if you want to really create havoc down below, try running colorado blades in semi connection.  Sometimes called cowbells, this method is easy to do yourself by interlocking two #2 or #3 folded clevises.

When you do this the double spinning blades keep a continuous flash n thump presentation that the walleye have a hard time ignoring.  This type of offering shines with a lot of fish on the screen, early or late in the day.  Walleye have excellent eyesight compared to other fish in Lake Erie and while they don’t exactly stand up and take notice, they certainly do get called in by the combination of noise and flash provided by twin blades spinning.

As the months lead into summer many of these guidelines will still run true with a slight tweaking that will be needed by you the angler.  As the water warms up, consider shrinking the water column.  What I mean by this is that as the water heats up, start shrinking the amount of water that you target with baits.  Where you might have targeted walleye hanging out in the top five foot of the water column early in the spring,  you can now almost consistently eliminate that section of the water column.  You will still be able to pull a big fish right around daybreak up high, but to be certain those bigger fish will head down towards the bottom of the lake as the day progresses when the sun rises and water temperatures heat up.

People will consistently ask, why do I pull meat exclusively after the water temps hit roughly 47 degrees?  I know the guideline is that magical 50′ mark, but honestly if you don’t try harnesses earlier than that, you will be missing out on some really great fishing. Meat always catches fish, think about it.

My philosophy is that no matter what you drop down, a harness will always catch fish where a spoon or crank may not.  Because even though the fish in the area may be actively feeding, and this is true specially for the bigger fish, they may not want to chase a bait moving that fast.  This is key, something I have noticed consistently throughout the decades, the bigger the fish, the lazier they get.

They find that comfort zone where they can feed on a regular basis without too much effort.  If you find yourself second guessing this, go back to the spring techniques and think about how slow you pull your baits through the water. Sure the water is colder and the fish tend to be sort of sluggish because of that, but the concept holds true.  Look at the size of the fish most get in the warmer months while pulling spoons and cranks,  they tend to run on the smaller side.  That’s not to say you won’t get a good fish, but if you are getting a 4 lb walleye, you just might have missed your chance at a 6 or 7 lb fish.  Then if you mix in the where to run different types of blades, you optimize your chances of getting that big fish no matter what the season is.

 

Copyright, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Perch Fishing: One, Two or Three Rods

You have to love the great state of Michigan, it truly is an angler’s paradise.  Just think we could live in Ohio and be stuck trolling with only two rods, or even worse Minnesota where only one rod can be used per angler.  Seriously people, what does it matter if it takes you 28 minutes to get a limit or four hours…but I digress, this is all about the perch, and nothing but the perch.

It seems like every year I see the same guy over and over again.  He has his three rod holders off the back of the boat, think he is using spreaders, but never with a rod in his hand.  This is a marvel to me because if I am fishing with two rods and one rod goes off, it seems like 99 percent of the time, my other rod has been stripped.

Right off the bat I would say scrap any thought you might have of using a third rod and think about this rule of thumb.  Start off with two rods i f you like to fish multiple rods, it doubles your chances.  I like using a rod holder in its highest possible position where if one rod gets bit, I can place the opposite rod in the holder and hopefully lift several feet out of the perch’s strike zone.  Hopefully there will still be minnows on by the time I get the other rod back in the water.  Then after several minutes if it doesn’t get a hit, you can check your bait.

Now, lets say the bite is going hot and heavy, you just don’t have time to be playing with two rods.  Drop the rod down, and the fish bite and then you crank them right up the water column and into the Catch Counter they go, and repeat.  Love those kind of days.  Consider this, everyone in the boat is doing as good as you are, and there will be times where every rod will have its bait out of the water at the same time.  I have this belief if that you are on a roaming school of perch, once their food source is gone, they will move off in search of more to eat.  In can happen in seconds.

This is when I will use a second rod, in a rod holder with what I call my decoys.  Taking the exact same rigs that I am using on every other rod with once noticeable difference.  Instead of live bait, I will use some scented plastics on the hook.  This method seems to hold the attention of the fish just long enough for me to get the perch off the hooks, re-bait and get the presentation back down as fast as the 1 oz sinker will make it drop.  There is the one big tip of the day for catching more perch and keeping the school in session!

Copyright, 2018

 

 

 

 

Posted in Lake Erie, Perch Fishing, Saginaw Bay | Leave a comment

BigMouth CatchCounter: Counting Perch Made Easy

BigMouth CatchCounter

Its the day after the fourth of July and I was thinking about all the perch we have been catching lately, and what shows up in my memory feed on Facebook…a perch article about last year’s fishing.  I guess this year is really shaping up for a repeat performance like last year, at least we can hope it will be that good.  Throughout what we typically call the perch season on Lake Erie, every time we went fishing last year, we limited out.  The longest it took was five hours, the shortest amount of time it took was less than two hours.  When the fish are flying into the boat that fast I can promise you will lose track of how many fish you have if you are using one of those clickers to keep count.

Cooler full

I know, because I was one of those guys about four or five year’s back.  We would be catching like crazy and the perch were flying in the boat.  At some point my fishing buddy would look at me and ask, “Did you click that one?”.   I would be like, “Which one?”.  Then the next think you know we are dumping them out and counting them one by one as we put them back in the cooler.  More than once we would get back to house and get the Tumble Drumm scalers set up and started counting the fish for each batch to get scaled only to come up one or four fish short of our limit.

 

That is when I made a phone call to Port Clinton, Ohio and talked to Tony Sebastiano for the very first time and had my first CatchCounter being delivered shortly there after.  One thing you can say about Tony is that he did not sit back and be happy with the first product he put on the market.  Over the year’s since then, he has continued to improve the product based upon customer feedback.  Hence, the BigMouth CatchCounter was developed and brought out to the market.  I am still using the first generation “BigMouth”, but again Tony kept improving the product and there is even a better product available.  You can use the CatchCounter for perch, bluegill and crappie, on open water or when drilling through the ice, it is that versatile of a product.

 

You can purchase the CatchCounter in three forms, the first is to buy the head and mount it on a bucket or cooler that you already own.  This involves having a few of the necessary tools needed, but it can be done without too much difficulty.  Perhaps the most versatile option is using the bucket; it fits in any boat, can easily be used while ice fishing and doesn’t not take up too much room.  All that said, I prefer the cooler with the counter mounted to the lid.  Despite there being a hole venting out cold air, one bag of ice will last all day while you are catching fish.  The perch actually insulates the ice and I just leave the ice in the bag while fishing and the fish stay chilled.  Many of our favorite bait shops in the Monroe area, like Jeff’s Bait and Tackle, have the heads in stock now.

No more losing track of the perch in the boat, without fail…knock on wood, not once has my counter failed to keep an accurate count of the perch that went through the BigMouth shute.  You just know that if you are catching 100 fish in less than two hours, there is no way the clicker method is going to give you an accurate count.  One ticket from the DNR is too many, and for less than the fine, you could have purchased a BigMouth CatchCounter.

Michigan 2-fly Rig

Last year was an awesome season, and I know just where to start fishing this year.  Hopefully this spot will continue to produce and will be again able to harvest this yellow gold.  If not, there was one more spot two hundred yards away.

Spot on the SPOT.

Hopefully that weed bed is still there.

Last year the deadly combination with my St. Croix ultra light rods, braid and Daiwa reels, was using the Michigan 2-Fly Rig.  I used to make rigs that allowed three hooks to be used, but I found that the top snell caught more junk than perch.  Yellow bellies feed off the bottom, they dine where the bugs and minnows live.  So I secure one snell to the snap where the weight goes, and typically I am using a 1 ounce bell sinker.  The second snell goes nine inches above the weight snap and since I tie them eight inches long, they will hang roughly two to three inches above the lake bottom. Right in the strike zone!

Limits are already being caught, and spinner rigs for walleye are pulling up some really nice perch. If you are ready to hang up the trolling gear, and I am not just yet, but if you want to catch a different flavor, it’s not too early to get started.  The yellow gold is out there ready for you to throw them down the BigMouth CatchCounter shute!

Copyright, 2018

Posted in Ice Products, Lake Erie, Lure Making, Panfish Fishing, Perch Fishing, Product Reviews, Saginaw Bay | Leave a comment

Buggy Blades for the Mayfly Hatch

Its that time of the year and the feeding frenzy has started out on Lake Erie.  The bug bite is in full gear and the mayflies are covering every building in eastern Monroe area.  The old timers would say that the fishing is over until the hatch ends, these days we know it is game on and you just have to find where the fish flies are in the water column.

I definitely have my favorite colors that have proven to work year after year. Golds and coppers, anything that imitates or matches the hatch.

Anti-Freeze Patterns

Anti-freeze patterns are also a good choice when the water is clear.

Weapon Rig

Tossing Weapons or mayfly rigs is a blast and one of the few opportunities for big water walleye anglers to do a little casting and catching.

Copyright, 2018

Posted in Lake Erie, Walleye Fishing | Leave a comment

Line Poundage + Lure Weight = CONFUSION

So last night I get the 911 call about a broken rod and what does all the scribbling on the rods mean.  It is actually a pretty good question and not the first time someone has asked about it.  In this particular case it was a trolling rod from one of the big box stores and they no longer are making the seven foot rod that was damaged during a wave versus sitting on it type accident.

First off let’s tackle the line rating written on the side of this seven footer.  It was a medium heavy rod and was rated between 10 and 20 lb test monofilament line.  If you are worried about sticking to the 10 lb test rating that is used for the trolling guides for lure depth,  there isn’t a problem.  If you want to go with a bigger diameter line, no issue here either, so what if your lure runs slightly above a fish’s head, they feed up, not down anyway.  This means due to the configuration of where the eyes are on a walleye’s head, they look up, not down.

Church Tackle

Now for the lure weight rating located on the side of the rod, this has nothing to do with how much weight you are pulling while trolling.  Example would be the weight of my Church Tackle Planer Boards, nor the drag of the lure and board combined.  On my St. Croix Premier Glass Trolling rods, the lure weight is 2 oz, this actually means if I was so inclined I could cast up to a 2 ounce lure without snapping the tip off the rod.  What is actually more important is that the rod is rated as Medium Moderate action.  This means due to the moderate action it will take a bend without breaking while trolling.  A fast tip, or even extra fast action would not be good in this scenario.

Now my buddy’s friend will have the problem of trying to match up the action of his old rod while trying to buy a new replacement.  First issue will be trying to find a rod in the same length, because it was probably discontinued due to the fact that longer rods are more desirable which lead to poor sales.  Next problem will be that no two rods from one model to the next are going to be identical when trying to match up different brands.

Quick suggestion would be if you find a trolling rod you really like, go back to the retailer right away and purchase a few extras for emergencies type situations.   Typically these rods are not going to break the bank and usually can be found for $35.00 or less.  When purchased with a reel in combination deal, don’t be discouraged, they are almost, always sold separately in house.

Copyright, 2018

Posted in Walleye Fishing | Leave a comment

Braid vs Monofilament

 

Somebody asked this the other day, so here is a quick take on when to use braid, and when to use monofilament lines.

Lake Erie Eyes

 

Trolling and casting are the main times to use mono types of line.  The reasoning is that monofilament will stretch to a certain point, thus not allowing the hooks to get ripped out of a fish’s mouth.  Is it true, yes to a certain extent, specially when casting for walleye.  When it comes to trolling, mono also will provide a sort of balance between the strike and hook-up.  This really is true when long lining behind the boat with the rod in hand even though the rod tip will provide some cushion.  This is less true when it comes to running planer boards because the board will act as a snubber of sorts.  What is a snubber?  It is a salmon and trout tool that works as a shock absorber when a lure is hit by the fish.

X-rated Nugget

What casting takes place on Lake Erie?  Long before trolling ruled the scene, people would drift their boats and cast numerous types of lures in order to catch walleye.  One of my favorites was called the Nugget, but we called them Golden Nuggets because that was the finish most commonly used.  Of course the tried and true Erie Dearie is still being used today, but I loved those Nuggets back in the day.  Lately the Weapon, or mayfly rig has been king when it comes to casting for walleye on the big water.  Basically a Carolina Rig these baits can be counted down in water column and then retrieved or dragged along the bottom to catch fish.

Jigging, and rigging falls solely under the category of running braided lines. Non-stretch lines rule this type of fishing because the hookset while vertical jigging is everything.  Braid will help you cut the current while on the bite will drive the hook home.  When rigging with plastics or livebait, the line will allow you take up any slack quickly and ensuring the hook gets buried on the bite.  How does rigging apply to walleye on Erie,  this inland lake application has more use on the big lake than you think.  In the spring it can be applied to popping hair jigs off the bottom when drifting the boat over a flat or numerous dumping grounds here in Michigan waters.  This could also be applied to dragging weights on the bottom with a floating rig or short crawler harness.

 

Copyright, 2018

 

Posted in Ice Fishing | Leave a comment

Insane Walleye Week on Lake Erie: Pt2

Lake Erie Eyes

Why am I doing a two-part post today?  Had to take a break after the first article to get the pups out for a walk, call it being on “Beagle Time”.  A little coffee and breakfast didn’t hurt either after getting out again this morning before the winds picked up. Also, after the captain left to run some charters back in his neck of the woods, it has been time to get out and do some of my own fishing.

Saturday was a little choppy and we would have smaller boats from time to time, drop in behind us to help smooth out their ride going out to where they were going to start fishing.   After previously fishing 22 to 24 foot of water on earlier trips, we started out a couple of feet deeper to look for some larger fish.  Spoiler alert, not so much, but the action was literally insane.

TX-22’s in the chop

We had just let the sixth board out on the Daiwa’s when we had a fish on.  Literally for the next 28 minutes we never had all six boards out again at the same time.  Again we were pulling meat through the column with a variety of blades and sizes.  Northland colorado’s and Big Eye Custom Lures deep cups and willow blades in every color you could imagine.

I like a heavier weight, my general rule of thumb is the less line out behind the board, the less chance of something getting snagged up.  Now there are times you need to go deeper and will need more line out, but honestly right now, the earlier you start, the higher up in the water column the fish are.  If they are up high, then you know they are actively feeding and the fishing is better.  As the hours progress through the morning and early afternoon, they tend to go deep, and you need to hit the bottom half of the water column to stay on top of those active fish.

Stingray Diving Weights

When I said heavier weight, I am talking about leaving the #1’s in the box and choosing to use the #2 Stingrays.  I ran them 10, 15 and 20 feet behind my TX-22’s and every targeted depth produced fish.  I prefer to make my own spinner rigs, mostly because I use three hooks in case I am using plastics.

Plastics for walleye?  Yes and it really works great when the swipers, which is my word for a combination of white perch and silver bass, will “swipe” the meat right off your hooks.  When I use the Zoom 6″ Trick Worms enhanced with Lure Lipstick, my baits stay on the hook and they hardly ever snag the body of these junk fish.  There is nothing worse than thinking you have a good walleye on the line and then find out it is just a white perch coming in sideways.

Northland Butterfly Blades

This mornings quick trip was successful even while not trolling.  It was a drift trip with a pair of TX-005 Stern Planers from Church Tackle off the back and casting weapons off the sides.  You could use the -007 Stern Planers if you have them already, but if you have the right tool for the job, you go with it!  The Butterfly blades from Northland are perfect for drifting because they spin at such a slow speed and if you buy the blades separately, you can turn them into a Weapon.  The size #2 blade is perfect for this application. Its a Lake Erie thing with a single hook using basically a Carolina Rig and employing just a snippet of a crawler for flavor.  Never heard of the Weapon, then look up Mayfly Rig, same thing.

Today’s catch with Church Tackle’s Stern Planer

What was today like, kind of windy again and it took a whole 10 more minutes to catch our 12 fish.  The fishing on Erie is literally insane and there doesn’t seem to be slow down in the near feature. Now it is time to take a few days off and get caught up on the weeds in the garden, get the grass cut again and get the rods organized for the tourney this weekend!

Copyright, 2018

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Insane Walleye Week on Lake Erie: Pt 1

Right now the fishing on Lake Erie is some of the best fishing to be found anywhere where walleye are found swimming.  After working with fellow Church Tackle and Northland Tackle staff member Captain Ken Clark from Fishmas Charters for three days, Saturday was my time to get out on the water and I even snuck out for a quick trip this morning!  Patterns for all the trips were basically the same, while I went a little deeper looking for some bigger walleye.

Fishmas Charter Haul

Now we often joke around within Church Tackle  circles by saying, “WWKCD”  which translated means, “What would Ken Clark Do?”  Here is the skinny on what works for Ken day in and day out.  To use the phrase I use most often after the spring bite is over, “Dragging Meat”  is the key.  The captain buys 1500 nightcrawlers at a time, and uses them in conjunction with Northland’s Crawler Hauler series of spinner rigs.

Stingray Diving Weights

He uses primarily #1 Stingray Weights from Church Tackle to get his harness down to where the fish are.  He also runs the smallest board you could think of using, the venerable TX-12 planer board from Church.  With the smaller weights, the captain is targeting the top 2/3 rds of the water column first thing in the morning.  Not that he doesn’t overlook where the bigger fish might be lurking by dropping down some #3 weights on what he calls his down rods, for normal folks those would be like your bottom bouncer rods. FYI, you can get the weights painted or unpainted, if you purchase the painted versions, they are color coated per size for easier identification when reaching into your weight box.  I sort of blitzed the good folks at Frank’s Great Outdoors a few years ago when I first wrote about the Stingray’s.  They were swamped with calls from anglers looking for the weights, but have no fear, they have plenty in stock now.

Fishmas Catch w/ TX-12’s

If you are looking for walleye information, it will be a good bet you can find Ken’s white  Lund Pro-V through the month of July at the fishing cleaning station at the Sterling State Park boat launch.  To get a private tutorial, you can book a charter with the captain by checking out his website:  Fishmas Charters

Stay tuned for Part #2!

Copyright, 2018

 

Posted in Lake Erie, Walleye Fishing | Leave a comment