Monday funday again, and a good time to look back at a pretty good day fishing this past Saturday. After watching my brother’s house for a couple of days, watching his four neurotic dogs, and making sure my niece’s two new guinea pigs survived, I was ready to hit the water. Loaded up my neighbor Cliff’s new boat, and we headed for the bait shop. Jeff’s Bait and Tackle had some really nice looking crawler’s, and since I already had the crawler harnesses tied on, we moved on to Sterling State Park to launch the boat.
After leaving the dock, we ran into Captain Ken Clark of Fishmas Charter’s coming in with some happy clients. Have known Ken for a little under a year now, and we are both on staff with Church Tackle and Northland Tackle. He had fished on the south side of #1 and #2 buoys, and I let him know that I was running up to the Pointe and would report in later.
We set up in 24 feet of water, and with the wind blowing the waves to set up a Northeast to Southwest drift back towards the bay, that was the tack we took for our first drift. Before we had four rods in the water, Cliff pulled in a short 14 incher, and then I brought two more fish to the boat. Five minutes, three hookups, you would think we were rolling in the eyes. For that first drift we did, catching three more legal sized walleye on a combination of Big Eye Custom Lure #6 spinner blades. Really no pattern to report; pinks, purples and a combination of white patterns all caught fish during the day.
Pulled up the gear and went back for another pass after catching five white perch in a row. Went back along the same track, and Erie being Erie, didn’t catch a single fish. We did everything the same; ran the two ounce Bass Pro fish weights at the same depths, and kept the speeds right in the same zone at 1.2-1.4 mph. After not catching, we picked up gear, I ran the harness lines to check for nicks in the line, because you never want to lose a fish because your harness is wore out. And to be honest, I hate losing good blades because I was too lazy to make sure the gear wasn’t in good shape.
Although the skies were overcast most of the day, my thought process was that the fish had gone out to deeper water as the day progressed. As the sun comes up on most warm days, I have found that the walleye seem to progress out to deeper water to find their comfort zone. Saturday was not normal so I didn’t worry about it, wrong, should have followed my hunch right away. We set up in 26 fow and our drift would take us towards the river channel. You would think the strategy was going to quickly pay off when we landed our first walleye shortly after getting all six rods in the water.
Not so much though, it was a grind to get six more fish in the boat, but we were catching. We did lose a nice one at the boat that had some weight to it. You can almost always tell its a walleye because they will come in smoothly, like dragging a weight, but if they stay down, its probably and eye. The second tell tale sign is that they don’t go crazy until we what we call, “seeing the boat.” That is when the thrashing starts, since my rigs are tied to 7 foot in length they usually go nuts when I can see the weight. If they are head shaking before that, 90% of the time its usually a sheepshead.
Quick Note: Whether my blades come from Big Eye or Northland Tackle, I hand tie all my own gear. My general rule of thumb is that I want my harnesses to be as long as my rod will allow. There are two factors when considering the length of the rig versus the rod, first off is total length, which is simple enough. The second is the action of the rod, and although my Premier Glass trolling rods are a medium/moderate action, they don’t have a lot of bend to them. All this means is that I can tie my rigs a little bit longer, and for those big spooky walleye, it keeps the meat away from the lead weight, even if it does look like a fish. If I was using a softer glass rod, say a downrigger rod for an example, which has a lot of give/bend to the rod, I would tie the rigs 5 to 6 foot in length, depending on the length of those rods. It is all about being to handle the rod with a fish on, and being able to get the net into position.
Finally we got our 12th fish to finish off our two man limit for the day. It was also our biggest fish of the day coming in at 7.75 pounds. Thought we had the winning weight for the walleye contest at Jeff’s Bait. We get to the bait shop feeling a little confident, which always seems to be a bad thing when it comes to fishing. Case in point, the winning weight was 8.8 lbs, over a pound more than we had. As they say, that’s fishing.