Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Back to Normal

Well, what has seemed to be the longest 3 weeks of my life is finally over. Having spoke at both funerals, I was more than ready to hit the water, and that is exactly what I did. The full moon of this past week provided a couple of great opportunities to hit the pond. One of my favorite times to fish on Mille Lacs is during September and October full moon periods. Although sometimes I feel it's more hype than reality, it definitely provides the incentive to head up and fish what I call the "Witchin' Hour". This is the time between 1/2 hour before sunset to when it is completely dark and can last up to 2 hours. When I was younger I could stay out till one or two in the morning then drive home. It finally became apparent that I caught few fish after the sunlight disappeared and although stories of guys hitting the mother lode at 3:00 in the morning, I luckily outgrew that desire.

I remember one time I was out with a friend on Mille Lacs, it was new moon dark and we were fishing near Hennepin Island. It was October and at 10:00 the sky was about as dark as it gets. I wanted to head to 3 mile reef which was north of our position by at least 4 miles. The night was crystal clear and the shoreline lights around the lake created an illusion of closeness to the shore. At that time GPS units were unheard of so heading north, the reef is usually easy to find by looking for any lights from boats that might be fishing the area. As clear as the night was, I did not see lights. Finally stopping to get my bearings my guest suggested that I was lost. "Are you kidding" not wanting to let on that I was clueless. Abruptly turning to the left I headed out towards my hopeful destination. Running about 5 minutes I stopped again, as I remembered I had a spot light. 3 mile has buoys on it and with my light I could easily see the reflections a mile away. Again my guest prompted the question.........Dave, are you sure you know where you are? "Of course, you worry to much!" I hit the light, scanned the water and voila, the reef buoy was 50 feet in front of us. As amazed as Greg was, I never told him how lucky I was!! We trolled for about an hour before deciding to give it a rest. I threw out the anchor and we decided to take a nap before hitting the shad raps again. We woke up 2 hours later with about 5 boats trolling around us. We never did catch any fish.

Last Sunday was time to try this the fall pattern. Picking up my neighbor Tom we headed north launching at the new public access at Liberty Beach. The lake levels are back to normal and the launch is perfect for fishing those east side reefs. Settling in, we fish a few reefs before heading to our honeyhole. 3 mile has not been very good in the last 3 years however I always feel compelled to try it one more time. Arriving I decided to stay with the Chartreuse #5 shad rap that Bill suggested I use. Tom was bent on catching a muskie which left me alone to figure the pattern. After catching 5 smallies and losing a nice walleye he switched to the same color in a countdown. Withing minutes Tom landed this 20 inch walleye. I proceeded to catch a few more smallies including this one that I had Tom take my picture with. Not huge but a simple memory of a good time.

On Friday I headed back up to fish with my good friend Mark Applen. He has a boat slipped at the Fisherman's Wharf and hitching a ride with him would make my evening care free. Asking me to provide the strategy he would take care of the boat ride. Heading back out to the offshore reef, I started where we ended last Sunday. This time the chartruese rap fell short. Switching to a crawfish colored shad proved deadly. I ended the night with over 12 smallies, a keeper walleye, and a nice perch. Mark had never fished shad raps like this and was quite impressed.

The weekend will see me shooting the Kramer Open, a charity sporting clays shoot where I almost beat Tom Emmons last year, but that's another story. It is definitely good to be alive. I will leave you with one of those spectacular Mille Lacs sunsets.


Anonymous said...

Nice to hear a fishin story again, that other stuff ya been talkin about the last couple of weeks is "deadly "

I too was fishin yesterday on the river, grandson and I caught 1 keeper walleye one smallie and 15 nice sunfish and on large 13 inch perch. When ya comein down to meet me on the river? this week would be great


NeenahPete said...

You do take great pictures. Hey, if I don't go fishing at least I can imagine being there with every story you post.

Just wondering if the fish know it's about 9:09 PM on 09-09-09?

Dave Anderson said...

You'd be surprised what they know! Did you wait all this time to get that date stamp! I haven't commented on your semi retirement however I will.
Put a new starting song just for you. Lyle Lovett, check it out and listen to what Tonto has to say to the Lone Ranger!

Dave Anderson said...


Wow!! Nice fishing. Boy the river is really low isn't it.

NeenahPete said...

How about that date stamp. Thanks for your retirement comments and for the Lyle Lovett song. Tonto's comments to the masked man are very plausible now that he pointed them out, LOL! By the way, you do pick some good songs!