Monday, February 9, 2009

Sticking Close to Home

Mille Lacs reports have been less than stellar so I figured if I was going out this week, it would be close to home again. My original plans were to spend the weekend in Wisconsin, first checking on my brother-in-law John and his wife Sue, then head to Eleva to see my dad for a few hours. My dad celebrated his 79th birthday last Monday and I usually try to get down to see him during this first week in February as mine was on Wednesday. Neither him or I get too excited about these birthday's............I guess as we get older there are better things to celebrate! I have discussed Eleva in the past as it's truly small town America. Every morning Dad drives downtown (4 blocks) to the Full House Bar and Grill, owned by his neighbor Kim. There he along with some of the best people in the world sit down and solve the world's problems over coffee and cookies. My dad is well known in the area as being pretty tight. One can be certain there is plenty of good natured discussions poking fun at each others unique political stance or values and my dad's friends like to make sure I know their progress. Eleva is full of men that have provided me with a wealth of influence that kids today rarely experience. Guys like my old boss, Vic Wenass, who's patience and kindness set me up for the life I enjoy today. Ronnie Semingson who poured concrete on my new boots to make sure I didn't get too proud of them. Dunk Semingson, who's son Rick is a wonderful friend of mine, provides me with a reason to keep my dad's "mojo" going. These guys have a great tradition that provides for an interesting birthday celebration. You see, on your birthday it is your responsibility to treat everyone at the bar. Last Monday it was expected that Dad show up with money for coffee and a birthday cake to share with whom ever was there. It cost him about $40 and you can be assured that if Dinny (my dad's nickname) was buying there was a big crowd to watch him part with his money. This tradition assures that no birthday will be forgot as it is the only way to possibly get your money back.

Deciding not to drive down this weekend, Jason called me with a question regarding some fishing issue. Asking what he was doing later, we decided to head out to Pelican Lake, west of Albertville, MN. I had fished this lake earlier this year only to see the dead bullheads scattered on the ice, however this lake puts out some nice sunfish and crappies. Meeting my friend Russ again, it was almost a repeat of last weeks outing. Pelican Lake was once a large swamp and had been designated as a wildlife lake by the DNR. Over the last 8 years the water level has risen by 3 - 4 feet which has significantly increased the size of the lake. Along with this high water came the sunfish, crappies, bass, and northerns. Unfortunately the DNR wants to restore this great fishery back to a duck swamp. The lake is very fertile and the fish are more than respectable. It is also extremely popular. I would bet that on Saturday there were no less than 2000 cars scattered in clumps of little cities around the lake. It was pretty incredible. Never a guy to follow the crowds, we found an area about 1/4 mile away from the nearest cluster of houses. Like most of the lake it was about 11 feet deep where we set up. I try to scatter the guys, trying to look for active fish from someones hole. Lately I have been using my camera and when I lowered it there was a big bullhead about 4 inches from the camera lens. It stayed for a couple of minutes before lumbering off into the weeds. None of us caught any fish while the sun was out and the only thing I saw besides the bullhead was a crappie cruising by. As soon as the sun disappeared over the horizon a decent mark showed up on the vexilar. Dropping my waxie, I waited for a hit only to see the spring bobber slightly move. Setting the hook rewarded me with a nice 10" crappie. I told Jason to come on over and fish in my shack as it was warmer and the marks were still visible on the depth finder. After missing 2 more fish, I finally nailed a couple more crappies before Jason nailed this nice 8.5" sunnie. I found it interesting that he caught the sunfish when it was completely dark as these fish usually shut down with the sun. We agreed that it was possible to stay a little longer and picked up a few more but figured a stop at Cabela's on the way home might be nice. One interesting thing about the bite was the crappies simply inhaled the bait and didn't move. It took a lot of concentration to see what was happening below in order to be successful. Too many people fish with bobbers and do not possess the fine art of line watching. A bobber is too stationary and will never detect the subtle inhaling of a crappie that a person working the bait will. I particularly like the Schooley's type spring bobber as it is super sensitive and helps in detecting the slightest hit. Next time your out crappie fishing throw away your bobbin and try line watching. You might be surprised how much your success will improve!

PS. For Greg K, it's not always about me as I make one heck of a guide!


Anonymous said...

Hey Greg K I have known Captian Dave for 53 years and he is not only a great guide but a great person to be with. Dave they did have a great time at the coffee table and you are right about the politics too!!

later buddy

Anonymous said...


I like to post from time to time as you are always asking if I am watching the blog, Keep the report coming.

Friends of WI

Anonymous said...

Hey Dave,

You are putting me on the hot seat. I aggree that you are a great guide! as well as full of a little s@#t,from time to time. But, who isn't when it comes to telling the stories..... Speaking of politics.. How is that stimulas packing working for you???

Friends of WI

Dave Anderson said...

Well, I am in DC this moment to get the real scoop. Unfortunately the only scoop I understand is a scoop of crappie minnows!