Had another great weekend on Erie, Friday pre-fishing for Jeff’s Bait and Tackle Shops 2nd Annual Walleye Tourney and then on Saturday during and after the tourney.
Friday was the day to work out any bugs that might have been in the program for the tourney on Saturday. I busted out the Hot Wings from Mack’s Lures, and my newest bright idea, using Blue Fox Sonic Vibrax Spinners (minus the treble hook) Size #4 as flashers/attractors in front of the harness.
Both approaches caught fish, in fact one of them ended up catching this surprise fish….a muskie!
She was starting wiggle some while this pic was being taken. I had to get her back in the water and didn’t have time to get another one, going to estimate at 36 inches. We had a good day and caught lots of fish, but nothing big enough to say this is the program we are going to run tomorrow. After getting our 12th fish for our Ohio limit, we called it quits for the day. It was time to head back and get things geared up for an early morning on Saturday.
Once I got back to the house, I found what I had been waiting for, a package from Northland with the bigger #6 sized blades I wanted for Saturday. Last year during Jeff’s first tourney the #5 blades (Baitfish Holographic Golden Shiner) had produced really well during the mayfly hatch. Even though this year the hatch was starting to tail down, there were still some fresh bugs coming up from the bottom.
I spent the rest of the night Friday putting those on some snells that I had already made up, for just such an occasion! I also put some more D&B Fishing’s Brown Goby on some other rigs. That brown was catching fish on Friday in the morning while the water was cool enough for the fish to be higher in the water column!
Saturday morning and 3 am came way too early, but the gear was ready and even though there was only a couple of hours of sack time, my contacts were in and I was wide awake! Called the neighbor, my fishing bud the last couple of years, to make sure he was up and he was! Another good sign! We loaded up andran to Jeff’s to meet up with his brother. Then the down time, waiting for the other boats to arrive for the captains meeting and to get on the lake.
Once on the water we made a bee line for going past Sputnik and hitting the Canadian line. Warm water mean deep fish and away we went on a 50 min sprint for our starting point. We get the lines set and see Tony Vitale, his brother Joe and partner Lenny Layhew north of us about a mile and running the same drift. These are the guys who took first last year, andafter finishing second that year, we had a pretty good friendly rivalry going. We had finished a spot or two ahead of them during the Lori C. Alston Relay for Life tourney, but this is the tourney that both boats had been looking forward too.
Radio chatter didn’t help matters much, by the time we had four in the box, they were on seven caught. By the time they had 14 in the boat, we had just started culling our top five. But, its not the number of fish caught, just the size that counts. At least that is what I kept telling myself, so that is going to be my story, and I better stick to it!
We made three or four passes on that drift line and things were going pretty good. All six Church Mr. Walleye Boards were running hot, straight andtrue through the 3 footers that kicked up. We finally settled on a program of running our 2 oz Bass Pro Keel weights 45 feet behind the boards and seemed to be dialed in. The bigger Northland blades took most of the fish, but some old Fishlander#5 Copper Confusion blades were taking a few as well. It really was all about matching the bug hatch for us Saturday. All I could think though after Friday, was no MUSKIE, NO MUSKIE! It was the last thing I wanted to deal with!
Around noon, we picked up the gear and decided to head back to the launch at Sterling State Park and get the boat loaded up. By that time some 3 plus foot waves had been kicked up by the wind. An hour and 10 minutes later we were back at the launch and waiting to get the boat loaded. Made it to the bait shop 15 minutes later and then the waiting began till the weigh-in started.
Long story short, same top three results as last year. Tony andcrew won again, I took second and the same boat took 3rd place. The weights were up a bit, but we till had a 1 lb difference between first andsecond place. Congrats to those guys, good anglers and even better people. Thanks again for Eric @ Jeff’s Bait for hosting the tourney and Domka Outdoors for being the sponsor of another fine tourney!
Here are some more pics of the fish we caught and some other things that might help some guys out while fishing a tourney or derby the next time they go out!
Our Top Five that got weighed in.
Our total catch.
One of the big fish, plus the Northland Ruler and the homemade culling system that I had made up.
The culling system worked GREAT, but one thing I did when I got back home was to put a slight edge on the snap hooks for easier use.
If you missed the post about the cull system, you can make one yourself fast and fairly inexpensively. Take one of those cheap metal clip style fish stringers andtake the clips off. Then get a lengthof wire withsome crimps, or use some big mono if you have any laying around. Next get some bobbers and attach the ends of the wire to the clip andfloats. Then findsome spray paint laying around and color coat your bobbers! This worked so well, I would measure the fish, slip on a clip, andthen write down the length and get ready for the next big fish!
Our second place trophy.
The rest of our prize package.
The real prize, cheeks and fillets! Got smart this year and decided to actually write on the freezer bag how many fillets were in each zip lock!
Last but not least, found out what happens when you drop off the fish guts back by the ditch, you get every buzzard in Monroe County flying over for lunch!