Jul 25, 2010

You're Going to Get Some Hop-Ons

When the skunk rears his ugly head, make sure to check the cargo hold. 

Perhaps you're a better angler than we thought.

Jul 22, 2010

Did the Lights Flicker or Did I Just Blink?

For the fourth annual installment of the TBA fishing trip we toned it down a notch.  Over four days we only fished two evenings and two mornings.  Despite less time in the boat, this was by far the best year fishing-wise.  A pretty good year for local beer sales too!

In years past we've struggled to dial up the right combination and an apathy towards fishing was deeply seeded before this year's trip had begun.  In fact, before even wetting a line we found our priority lay in Milwaukee at a few breweries.

Once fishing finally began, we started out modestly with four decent fish, but everything was proceeding as expected: slow and steady without much to note.  In fact it was all so boring, the details are a little blurry for me.

As the sun set on Saturday, I held a slim lead with a barely legal 2.75 lb.  Dave, Scott and Tom were knocking on the the door with their catches.

Colton and Todd...well...at least they were keeping the skunk away.

And with the prospects looking slim, we took to the bottle.  No fishing Saturday night as we focused on something in which we were guaranteed success.....and good God did I ever succeed.

After a few extra hours of pillow time, things weren't looking much brighter so we did what we do best on Sunday too.

And as the sun set on the final day, we decided we better make sure the trip could honestly be called a fishing trip.  So we set out to try the weed line located about 200 yards from the front door.  And that's when the magic happened.

While anchored in ten feet of water, Scott kicked things off with a four pounder to take the lead.  Everyone took notice and agreed the edge deserved a closer look.

Then Colton cracked a couple dandies, one in the three pound class.

Scott followed up with an upgrade to 4.5 pounds and a picture, which really makes his eyes pop.

Then Tom discovered that sometime after the sun went down and a couple Shandies were down, his ten inch worm had become a two incher.  We're not sure how long he was fishing it, but I think it explains a certain lack of fish.

And then I set a personal record with a 5.1 pound fish to secure a win and close out the trip.  If you're interested, read more about that fish here.  Thinking of all those years of mediocre fishing, while the lunkers were lunking on our front stoop... it's enough to make a grown man cry.

I suspect next year may see a renewed focus on fishing.  If all goes well, we'll really hit our stride...bottle in hand.

Jul 20, 2010

Lunker Alert - She Just Loves My Big Ten Inch

No I'm not talking about the ten incher of which you're dirty mind is thinking.  I'm not even talking about the Aerosmith song from which I borrowed the title of this post.  I'm talking about Berkley's ten inch Powerworm.  "The ten incher" was good to me this weekend on Lake Delavan in Wisconsin.

I don't like to talk about it, but some may know I've flirted with the four pound mark for years.  Many have been close, but four pounds has been an elusive mark to make.  It feels good to skip the fours and jump right into the fives.

On a weed line in about twelve feet of water, a Red Shad colored ten inch Powerworm helped me set a new personal record.  She weighed 5.1 pounds (as Scott was so helpful to point out in the next picture) and we hooked up around 10:00pm.

I'm working on a lengthy, in depth and picture laden post about our annual drinking fishing trip, but a fish such as this deserves her own post. 

Truthfully, we fished less than usual while on this trip but we caught some quality fish.  Stay tuned for pictures of a 4.5 pounder and multiple fish in the threes - most caught on the big ten inch.

If you happened to be in Delavan Sunday night, now you know what all the hollering was about.

Jul 13, 2010

Sometimes the Glass Really is Half Full

Soon Michigan may want to rethink the suit to close links between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River basin. Today the Illinois governor (who has not yet been indicted) announced an agreement, which may make us take a second look at the claim Asian carp will destroy a prosperous Great Lakes fishery.  The fishery is currently reported to be worth $7 billion (with a B) annually.

The details are as clear as you'd expect from a press release, but it appears the state will provide Big River Fish with $2 million in funding to expand their production capacity.  Reportedly, the upgrade will expand production to allow 30 million (with an M) pounds of Asian carp annually. The fish will be exported to China, where a processing plant has agreed to repatriate the slimy buggers.

The article states the invasive carp can fetch between $0.10 and 0.15 per pound for a fisherman.  If we consider the anticipated 30 million pounds at 10 cents per pound, the deal is worth $3 million annually to area commercial fisherman.  If we can get a few more plants operational we'll be starting to get somewhere.

In seriousness, I doubt the news will change the sentiment about Asian carp in the Great Lakes.  However, just like big corporations finding intelligent ways to remain profitable under strict regulation, these guys have figured out how to adapt to the tough cards they've been dealt. 

So far we've seen Asian carp tournaments where the winning boat brought in 4150 fish and a few entrepreneurs have created a booming "aerial bowfishing" industry.  With today's news, it seems the market for Asian carp meat is flirting with maturity. Yea capitalism!

Jul 11, 2010

Atrophy Without A Trophy

The last time I waded was April 23rd of this year and, to the best of my knowledge, the Mackinaw has been unwadable since April 24th of this year.  After work yesterday, the flow had finally crept down to a tempting 430cfs - on a weekend no less! I headed over and worked some weakened wading muscles.

As the sun slid, things began to feel a little skunky.  I downsized to a white and yellow wooly bugger in about a #14.

Emboldened and releaved, I went back to flinging flies of a proper size...and things got all skunky again.

I can help if you've recently hit the Mack and your child is missing a shoe.  The shoe lies along the road near your parking spot and I must apologize as it tasted a bit of tire before I noticed.

Jul 6, 2010

With head hung low

This wasn't my year for pickerel.  I did have one pickerel straighten my line...briefly.  However, the bass and green sunfish apparently had a good spawn last year.  The pond was chuck full of these little guys:

And I caught bunches of them.  This was a surprising development, as I had never before caught a bass from that icy water.  I've fished there about every year since I could hold a rod.

My theory:  The recent "100 year flood" must have opened the door for a couple creek bass to become pond bass. Then the love birds happened to find each other last spring.

The bad news is with all the prey swimming around, there wasn't much chance of catching predators.  The good news is we got a good batch of bass growing up, and paired with the bumper crop of sunfish we should be in business a couple years from now.

Jul 1, 2010

Exiguous Esox Egain

Tomorrow I set out to the family farm in Missouri for our annual July 4th camping trip. If all goes well, I will have a little time for pickerel fishing again.  Click here to read about my pickerel from last year (shown above)Or click here for a vintage pickerel picture from the farm.

Wish me luck!