Thursday, June 2, 2011

Back on the "Dead Sea"

With all the hoopla of the opener behind us, it was time to head up to the pond and see how the walleyes were biting.  Having 2 weeks to report on, I will start with my trip on May 22nd with Jeffrey Chen, my business colleague from Taiwan.  Jeffrey gets to Minnesota about once every 2 years so I look forward to doing something special with him.  Having no set time of the year to travel we have made done everything from snowmobiling on the North Shore to checking out the floods on the Mississippi River.  Of course all of these things have a down home slant of good old Midwestern fun.  Because he had never fished before, we decided a day on Mille Lacs would be a great way to spend the day.  Asking if he'd go rain or shine, he answered "of course!".   Well, with the weather we have been having lately it looked more rain than shine.  After picking him up at the hotel we headed north to Bill's for a license and bait.  Although Jeffrey had fished in Taiwan before, the bait shop proved to be pretty interesting.  It sort of reminded him of the restaurants in China where your meal is either crawling or swimming.  A bucket of leeches, some crawlers, and refreshments we headed to the east side where the bite was reported in 20 feet of water just off the rocks.  Well, half the lake must have gotten the same report as there was a pretty good crowd fishing the area.  After about an hour of backtrolling the rain decided it was time to make our trip more miserable.  Donning our rain suits the sky opened up like one of those overflow buckets at the water parks.   Having had enough of the "hot bite" we headed to a shallower spot closer to shore.  10 minutes into the pattern a 15 inch walleye answered the call.  Being the good sport I let Jeffrey reel in his first walleye.  The rain continued off and on and with the light bite decided to try some bobber fishing which would give Jeffrey a chance to see a bite in action.  Anchored on the spot we caught the first walleye, the strategy seemed sound anyway.  After an hour and anther 1/4 inch of rain we moved out to deeper water.  The wind had picked up and noticing a net being used on Big Point we decided to drift across the point.  Once again within 5 minutes we nailed a nice 22 incher.  Jeffrey reeled this one in as well and after 3 more drifts would be the last fish we caught.  He didn't quite understand the reason we had to throw the big one back as he was looking forward to a walleye dinner later that evening.  Assuring him we did the right thing, we still had at least one fresh fish and with a couple out of the freezer, he would have his wish.  Deep fried walleye and fresh grilled asparagus, it was truly a meal fit for a king, at least Jeffrey thought so!

On Monday my good friend Tom Emmons and I decided to start out his open water season on Mille Lacs.  Although the day was nice and warm, the wind was howling out of the SE at around 30 mph.  In order to be somewhat comfortable, we  launched out of the Cove Bay landing and fished the south end of the lake.  It wasn't as bad as I anticipated..........the waves that is!  Man, the walleye bite left a lot to be desired.  Everything seems to be about 2 weeks behind schedule as the lilacs are still in full bloom around here.  With surface water temperatures around 56 degrees, the fish haven't seemed to move too deep yet.  We spend a bunch of time on Sloppy Joe's and marked a number of fish but they had lock jaw for one reason or another.  Moving to a few shallower spots proved fruitless.  Deciding to try and troll some shad raps around Anderson Reef about the only thing we came up with was a 14 inch smallie.   My secondary reason for going up was to do a little scouting.  On Saturday my good friend Mark Applen and I are once again entered in the MTT Walleye Tournament.   The entry fee was again part of our ENA Charity Golf outing where last year Mark and I took third place winning $1024 on behalf of a generous donor.  This year we are being sponsored again by our committee member John Budde, a testament to his faith in Mark and I's ability to at least triple his money!  I only hope that we can find the mother lode again and make John happy.  The rest of the week is going to be nice and warm and should help our strategy.  Wish us luck, we'll probably need it.

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