Wednesday, July 8, 2009

My 4th of July Tradition

Sticking with a tradition that has lasted over 15 years I had the pleasure of taking the Tom's back out on Mille Lacs on Saturday the 4th of July. As usual they met me at the pole shed with Caribou Coffee in hand. A quick transfer of gear and food, we headed north. Our first stop was at the Milaca Hardies for lunch. This restaurant has all but disappeared from Minnesota. It is too bad as they make an excellent burger. Our next stop was Lundeens for some bait, ice, and advice. After obtaining all three it was off to the landing. It could not have been a more beautiful day. The wind was none existent as the surface of the lake was like glass. This certainly was a turn around from the last 2 weekends, and a welcome one at that. Launching the boat we headed to the first rock hump which produced a single fish. Next stop was The Cut, a long stretch of an edge on Sherman's Flat. Dragging a combo of crawlers and leeches produced nothing. The weather was really getting hot and I recognized my guests could use a break. Pulling out the planer boards and line counter rigs, I threw on some #11 Tail Dancers and had Mr. Emmons let out 150 feet of line. After putting the board on his line we set up Mr. McAtee. Both boards were running great so it was my turn. I had not let out more than 20 feet and the port board started to dance. After a 5 minute battle the lunker showed itself, a 24 incher. A quick picture and back in the lake it went. Alright, that was quick! Resetting the lines we trolled for the next hour with nothing more to show. Oh well, it was 3:00 and I figured we would head to a favorite mid lake reef to check out the shallow rocks. In years past it has been common to see hundreds of walleyes with a muskie or two mixed in, leisurely swimming on top of the reef in 3 feet of water. The walleyes where not there so we spent 20 minutes fishing for smallies. I have become very proficient with a tube jig and immediately hooked into this nice fish. Catching 3 more smaller fish we moved south to a small gravel hump for some bobber fishing. The wind had picked up some what and it would be perfect to anchor and try our luck. I tend to look the area over first with my depth finder to verify if there are any fish in the area. Having registered quite a few marks we threw anchor and started fishing. The bobbers went down almost immediately. McAtee lost 2 real nice fish right away before Mr. Emmons hit this beautiful 23 incher. We caught 6 walleyes before moving back towards the landing to be closer to the Garrison Fire Works show. Settling back at Sherman's Flat, we anchored on the top side and decided to keep bobber fishing. As we were anchored I noticed a number of fish directly under the boat. Almost like ice fishing, I dropped a jig/leech combo over the side until my sounder displayed it on the screen. You could literally see the fish chase the jig up and down until finally one hit it, the only keeper we got for the day. As darkness descended on us, the fireworks had not started yet, we decided to move in closer. Bad move. Once anchored it was like the 3 stooges trying to figure out the best way to reset our bobbers. Tom dropped his depth finder weight overboard to set his depth and it immediately wedged into the rocks below. A quick response resulted in leaving most of his rig on the bottom. In the meantime I was trying to move my bobber stop and it just tore my line to shreds. In 10 seconds my line had snapped without putting it in the water. Looking at each other we decided it was too dark to retie, the fireworks were still not happening, and if we were going to eat supper, it might be smart to head in. Once the boat was loaded we headed south for our meal at Chico's. I was looking forward to having a cold beer with a taco however it was closed. Back to Hardies! Over all it was a fair day. The weather was great plus we ended up with 8 walleyes, 4 smallies, and a nice perch. We are all getting alittle older and I hope we can continue this tradition for years to come.

1 comment:

NeenahPete said...

Dave, The pictures are great, I can almost feel and smell the lake air. Looks like a good time by all. What a great tradition. Funny you should mention Caribou coffee. My wife picked up one of those Keurig single cup coffee makers and it came with sample coffees. My favorites are now Caribou Blend and Caribou Morning Blend. Would have probably never tried it otherwise.