Wednesday, October 27, 2010


 Thursday was a good day to take off work and get a number of things accomplished before the weather turns its head towards winter. The two things on the agenda were getting the new scope on my deer rifle sighted then heading north and catching the front end of the full moon bite on Mille Lacs. As stated my neighbor Lory volunteered his time to accompany me this day. The rifle sight proved more challenging than I had first assumed. The Burris scope on my rifle was over 25 years old and had started acting up. My first concern was with the ammunition a friend of mine at work had loaded up for me. Although the shells were about 10 years old, I had successfully grouped my sight in each year. 2 years ago I was all over the place, making adjustment, eventually settling back to my original settings. The last deer I had shot was a wounded buck which came by which took me 6 shells to finally dispatch it. Sensing an issue I sent it back to Burris, confirming that the springs were weak and my lifetime guarantee was applicable. The model was obsolete so they gave me 75% off any scope in their catalog. This was a great deal! Using a few older shells to do the initial sight in, I was close and grouped nice. Switching to Federal Premium’s and 100 yards, things didn’t work so well. I finally got an acceptable group however I will have my friend, Brett Jelkin reload me some shells close to what Rodney did for my years ago. Hopefully that will straighten things out.

Having accomplished the first agenda item we headed north to check off our second item. Arriving at Lundeen’s, Bill was already on a different lake looking for crappies. He agreed to meet us later at the super secret perch hole. After loading up a few dozen fatheads and twister tails we headed out. I had gotten pretty good instructions of our meeting place and understanding the fall perch bite, we quickly zeroed in on their location. I have to admit it was a bonified Perchapolooza!!! From 2:00 to 6:00 we totally annihilated them using everything from our Powerbait Twister Tails to scavenging every chunk of minnow leftover from the massacre. Our boat limit was 40 perch and after the first 10, decided that a minimum size was in order. Estimating at least a perch every 2 minutes for each of us I would bet we caught over 400 fish total. If you go to my Thursday, October 14th post ( you can compare the 2 livewell shots, then and now. Certainly a significant difference.   Bill showed up in time to partake in the success.  The top picture is my fishing partner Lory with a beautiful 12 inch perch.

Leaving the perch hole with our limit, we head to Indian Point for the evening shallow walleye troll.  The moon was well positioned to give us all the light we needed to set up a trolling pattern.  Within the first 15 minutes I nailed this nice 24 inch walleye that hit my #5 Hot Steel Shad Rap in 10 feet of water.  With the sunlight still peeking out from the horizon, it made for a memorable picture.  Unfortunately this was the only fish we were able to scrape up and left at 8:30.  There was a lot of traffic on the point and having exhausted our efforts on the perch, we decided to leave.  It took an hour to clean our fish and vacuum pack them and we were in bed by midnight.  It certainly was a day to remember.  Next week it's home to see my dad who is struggling with some medical issues and offer some help.  I can always fish later.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Trailer Load of Potatoes

As a child growing up my dad would always finish washing my ears with the comment "these ears are so dirty you could grow potatoes in them!".   Well whether there was any truth to that, I am always think of him as I dig my potatoes out of the garden before a hard freeze occurs.  This year was a bumper crop for one of my favorite things to grow.   Planted in early May, the wet summer was perfect for producing this trailer full of delicious tubers.  Potatoes, along with corn (maize) were the 2 most important food crops originating in the New World.  Native to Peru, South America, they have become a staple in the world's food supply.  Today's varieties are hardy, disease resistant, and yield exceptionally well.  This wasn't always the case as in 1845 when the Irish, for whom the poor people depended solely on the potato, experienced a blight (disease) which eventually killed over 1 million people.  There are some interesting side stories regarding the role of England, who controlled Ireland at the time, however that is a story for another time.  What is interesting about potatoes is that the plant contains toxic compounds, especially in the leaves, stems, and round fruit that grow from the flowers.  Although these compounds in severe cases can cause coma and eventually death, it is very rare.  Never the less potato breeders developing new cultivars are keenly aware of this property and look for toxicity levels in the tubers to minimize any problems associated with this.  When the tubers are not fully covered by soil and are exposed to the sun, the tops turn green.  The green areas have more concentration of these compounds and should be discarded before cooking.   A little research shows that in the last 50 years there has been no reported cases of death from poisoning, and those cases that have  been reported have been minor issues relating to eating the green portion of the tuber or because of drinking potato leaf tea (that doesn't even sound good!).  If any of you have read John Krakauer's book Into the Wild, the main character died a agonizing death eating a distant relative of the potato plant's wrong parts.

This year I grew 5 different varieties of potatoes.  They included Norland Reds, Kennebec, California White, Yukon Gold, and a blue potato cultivar pictured here.  The Norland and Kennebec tend to grow some nice large tubers as you can see the bigger ones in the trailer.  My guess is I dug over 125# of tubers from the 2 40 foot rows planted.  Fertilized with an 18-46-0 mixture, the high middle number assured good root development.  One of my favorite ways to prepare the fruits of my labor is to cut up a few potatoes along with an onion from the same garden and put them in some aluminum foil.  Add a little olive oil and Italian seasoning, throw them on the grill and in about an hour you have a delicious addition to any meal.  As with my pickles, the fruits of my labor pays off for all the hard work in the spring and summer.

As far as fishing goes, I am sorry to report there has been little time for that.  My plans are to take
Thursday, October 21st off to sight in my new rifle scope then head to Mille Lacs.  Now that the water has cooled, word has it the perch are biting better.  Going with my neighbor Lory, we hope to bring back a few of these great eating fish as well check out the evening trolling bite as we are right on top of the next full moon.  We'll see!!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Workin' for the Man

My friend Bill Lundeen of Lundeen's Tackle Castle on beautiful Mille Lacs Lake is mentioned frequently on Fishin' With Dave, and for good reason.  Bill and his lovely wife Kathy's bait shop is strategically located at the corner of Hwy's 169 and 27, on the southwest side of the lake.  A gateway point for fishermen coming to Mille Lacs, there are many options after loading up on fresh bait, snacks, tackle, ice, and some up to date advice on the latest status of the bite.  When I moved into my current residence 18 years ago, it was easier to head to Mille Lacs by taking  US Hwy 169 north to Onamia.  In about 1 hour and 15 minutes I was at the lake, a little faster than my previous route of going north on Hwy 47.  My new preferred route presented me with a few options for bait shops.  Prince's north of Milaca, The Holiday Station (now a BP), and Bill's all were given a chance.  Prince's seemed like it was never open, The Holiday Station was a little to big company for me, leaving Lundeen's Tackle Castle as my effort to support the local business's.  Through the years we have become good friends.  Sharing fishing reports, opinions, and just about anything else, I was excited when he asked if I could possible watch the store last Sunday.  Apparently the Bishop was coming for a special celebration at their church and it was an event they would really like to attend as a family.  After clearing my schedule, got up at 5:00 and drove my motorcycle to the store for a quick lesson in how to run the operation.  I did get some help from a former employee, Mike who was up fishing and visiting his mother.  Together we restocked the essentials, dusted the shelves, swept the floor, all while selling a few minnows and leeches in between.  Here's a picture of me behind the counter, ready to greet the next fisherman that walked in.  Although it wasn't terribly busy I did manage to sell a new landing net, 1 quart of Bill's famous home made maple syrup, some sucker minnows, a few rainbows, and some leeches.  We did have one issue with the DNR license machine but all in all it went pretty well.  Bill and his family came back from church, happy to have been able to attend and the shop was still in functioning condition, abet a little cleaner!  It was certainly a nice change from the transformer business and it really feels good to be trusted enough with another man's life work.  As I said before, if you are ever in the area stop in and tell them Dave sent you, I guarantee you a smile.

Of course I did get a chance to get out on Friday night with my neighbor Tom.  The weather has been nothing short of phenomenal and this night was no exception.  Bill had reported that the perch were starting to go in Wahkon Bay, usually an opportunity to put a few perch in the live well with plenty of action.  We would fish to just before sunset then head to 3-mile reef to try some shallow water walleye fishing.  Well the perch were definitely going crazy however the problem was they all measured between 4 and 6 inches.  I must have caught 100 or so casting a ivory colored Power Bait twister tail while Tom casted for larger prey.  In the end I had caught only 1 perch that measured enough to make it worth filleting.  Of course that first keeper must get into that live well to set the stage for introducing additional company to keep the first one happy.  Well, that didn't happen.  This was our one and only fish for the night and trust me, it looks a lot larger than it really is!  Our trip to 3-mile proved a fruitless effort.  We  could not even scrounge up a lowly rock bass.  I think the water temp was still too high, 59 degrees, not enough to drive the fish shallow.  The full moon is in a week or so and this might be my last stand before I put the boat away.   I am hoping to get back on the Mississippi River this weekend for an attempt at a trophy smallie.  With fall rapidly approaching, time is getting short to get everything done before the snow flies.  I guess it's the same every year.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Da Bears!

Last weekend was busy with social events which got in the way of fishing.   Wisconsin bear hunting is in full swing and 2 of my friends sent in pictures of their trophy bruins.  Because I have no fishing report for this week, sharing their stories and pictures might be something of interest.  The first picture is of my good friend John Felix and his bear hanging in the garage.  John really knows how to take a picture and this bear looks enormous.  Rather than repeat the story I copied his rendition from his e-mail as it is much more interesting.

This bear was suspect of clawing the boards on Harlan’s sugar bush on land 15 miles south of Ashland. It is the same property I shot the 350 lb. 10 years ago. Same bait as well. We hung a trail cam and looked for the largest animal, which is usually the one that marks his territory. After a month of pictures and effort it was decided that this must be the one. He was coming in mostly of and on all day, and night. The first day of season it was windy beyond. Harlan sat with me in a two man ladder stand to video. We got out early because of the wind. I waited until the following Monday to let the bait cool off and see if we had turned them nocturnal. I went to the stand and was settled in by 3:15 PM. The first time he approached he was around 35 yards + out. I had my 50 cal. TC with me but also had the bow as he looked around, turned and left the way he came. I processed all this and by the time I saw him coming back I didn’t have time to turn on the video.  When he got to the 25 yard mark, he presented a standing shot between a gap in the trees about 18 inches apart (this was like a hallway of trees and his frontal area including a heart shot was visible and I could see his head on the other side).  I knew the distance but double checked with a rangefinder. I squeezed off the shot, the broad head just grazed the triceps on the left side, caught lung and pierced the heart center mass on the top fat ring. It was a total pass through. He ran 33 yards and collapsed in 5 seconds graveyard dead.

Pretty exciting if you ask me! John claims the bear was an older male, probably in the twilight of it's life.  Although it was over 6 feet long and had a large head, the bear had practically no fat on it and weighed about 240 pounds.  A younger, healthy bear would have been much larger.  This brings me to the next picture, my friend Greg Kimblom.  Greg shot this bear with his Remington 30-06 on private property in northern Wisconsin.  The bear weighed 225 pound dressed out and was one of 5 that was visiting his baiting station.  Being further from his hunting area than John, he decided to take this one.  As you see, both bears weigh close to the same however as they say, I picture says a thousand words.  Hanging in front of John, his bear looks massive.  Posing for a quick field shot, Greg's bear doesn't look as large yet in both cases they represent the average weight of a black bear shot in the midwest.  Of course they can get much larger with reports of 600 - 700 pound boars being shot every year.  Either way these will make great rugs for the living room, assuming their wives are tolerant!

Indian Summer is in full swing and Friday night is the peak of the New Moon period, time to try our luck trolling rouges on the Mille Lacs reefs.  With temperatures in the 80's, it is too nice to pass up.  Shallow reef trolling has been slow this year however with the water temps in the 50's it's got to get better.  On Sunday morning I will be running the store at Lundeen's Tackle Castle, stop in and say hi.