Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pig Roast and Lead Lining, a Great Combination

This weekend proved to be a full court press.  My neighbor Tim Kuntz hosted his annual September Pig Roast at the "Men's Crisis Center" (his detached 2nd garage).  Tim is one of those guys that never does anything without doing it big and last Saturday was no exception.  When he first moved into the neighborhood you could tell he had some substantial talent but it was wasted at his job, working in IT for a local hardware/software company.  Tim and I hit it off right from the start as we both hail from small town America and share the same values.  One of the things I got Tim interested is smoking meats.  After making some venison sausage with my smoker he built his own smokehouse that rivals most BBQ pits.  Needing a pig roaster, he welded up one using an old large tank, mounting it on a trailer, most of the bugs have been worked out.  Out neighbor down the street was holding a fund raiser on Friday night for his school and asked Tim to cook a hundred pounds of pull pork butts.  He obliged and we went over to check out the party.  Plenty of beer and great pulled pork, the party had a cowboy theme, with all the guys dressed up in hats and boots.   Sticking with my own kind I remarked to Tim if he knew the difference between a real cowboy and a fake one. I told him, real cowboys have the crap on the outside of their boots.  I think there were plenty of guys there that weren't real cowboys!  Because our plan was to start the pig at 1:30 Saturday morning, we decided to hang around the party till the end.  The pig went on as we finished around 2:00.  The next morning I brought my propane deep fryer and my Karaoke setup for the entertainment.  It was a busy Saturday as we helped with the final preparations.  That afternoon I pressed 3 gallons of fresh apple cider which we put in a large coffee server for anyone needing to warm up.  Serving at 5:00, there were over 120 neighbors and friends that showed up.  The highlight of the night was Welly Chou, the guy I work with and who I took fishing last week.  Welly is a championship Karaoke singer and was the hit of the party.  Singing like a pro, everyone stuck around till after midnight.  We finished the second keg of beer before closing it up at 2:00 for the second night in a row.  No rest for the wicked!
Because Welly stayed with Lory Saturday night and the lead line bite was still on, three of us left on Sunday noon for Mille Lacs.  We were in surprisingly good shape by the time we left and got to Bill's by 1:15 with 2 main goals, to drop off apples and to get Welly a duplicate fishing license.  Someone had broke into his car on Friday night taking his laptop and wallet.  The strategy was to repeat the same drill we did 2 weeks ago, lead line till just before sunset then head to the reef and troll the shallow 5 - 8 feet of water.  The prior trip was very successful on the line line side of the strategy but the reef trolling didn't go so good.  It's still worth a try (in my mind)!  My first stop was at 3 Mile Reef to check the water clarity.  When we arrived a couple of weeks ago I could not see the bottom rocks in 4 feet of water.  Although that can be a good thing, I wanted to recheck it during the a period when the sun was higher in the sky.  A quick run over the reef and I never saw the rocks, something that should be pretty easy as in past years.  After discussing it with Bill we speculated that the reef, which is known to be covered with Zebra Mussels is no longer as visible for the mussel shells are quite dark and may just be enough to make it look like the clarity is less.  From there we headed to the deep gravel.  With 3 in the boat and 2 lead line rigs we had to set up a side planer board with a #11 Rapala Tail Dancer in a Rainbow Trout color.  We trolled for over an hour before the first fish hit, on the Tail Dancer.  It was a nice 18 inch walleye, perfect for the live well.  We had #5 shads on the lead line as Lory got a nice walleye and I nailed a small one.  Another 100 yards and the flag went down on the planer board and you could tell it was a nice one.  Giving the rod to Welly he reeled in his largest walleye ever, a gargantuan 26 inch fish, as fat as I have seen them.  In the meantime I switched to a blue/chrome Rattlin' Rouge as the larger Tail Dancer seemed to suggest the fish were looking for a larger bait.  A few minutes later that lead line pole doubled over as Lory reeled in a nice 23 inch walleye.  The lead line total was 4 walleyes in the box ranging from 16 inches to 19.875 inches, some good eating for later, and at least 4 more released.  At 7:00 we reeled them up and headed to the reef.   Connecting Welly and Lory with the #5 shads, I did a shallow running Rouge.  Our casting strategy didn't pay off again but the trolling strategy put another 18 inch walleye in the box as those 2 caught and released a total of 6 fish.  I changed to the Shad Rap but alas, it was too late.  With 5 walleyes in the box, a nice perch, some great fish released, it was a very successful outing.  Cleaning the fish I noticed how much fat was in their bellies.  It must have been a great July and August for feeding on the young of the year tullibees.  Splitting them up we all got a nice meal as I cooked mine up on Monday night.

This week I have a wedding in Eleva, however I do want to get out again on Sunday.  With everything going on it might be my last one or two trips for the year.  Looking back I am wondering if I am running out of time or simply running out of energy! 

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