Thursday, July 11, 2013

Fishin' With Hondro

Hondro with a 27" walleye looking pretty dapper!
It's been over 15 years since Hondro Zeller has graced the front of my boat but after a few false starts we finally were able to connect last Friday, July 5th.  Originally he was going to try and find a camping spot on or near Lake Mille Lacs for the long 4th of July weekend, a seemingly impossible task only a few weeks before.   Settling on the 5th, it would give me some time to get things done over the weekend and enjoy the lake on a less crowded day.  Along with Hondro was his son Anders.  Both met me at my pole barn at 8:00 AM, maybe too early considering the evening before yet I managed to be ready on time.
Upon arrival we loaded everything up as he introduced me to his son Anders.  I thought I heard right, like the first part of my last name but quite honestly I wasn't too sure what I really heard!  A strapping young man, had just graduated from college and it would be exciting to hopefully show both of them a great day on the water.  By the looks of things there was going to be some wind on the lake as it was blowing directly out of the south pretty good for 8 in the morning.  The last time I fished with Hondro was in my Skeeter 135T.  Back when 3 Mile Reef was a great walleye spot, we had spent the day fishing the area and it was pretty rough.  Remembering our ride back to the landing, we hit a wave and my rear trolling motor bracket broke.  The only thing that alerted me to the situation was a slight hesitation in my boat as the motor hit the water.  Held on only by the power cord, I looked back to see it bouncing on the water at 25 mph.  Slowing to an idle the motor sunk sunk to the depth of the remaining cord as I pulled it up, set it in the boat and continued on.  Luckily Minnkota did a great job fixing it back up.  Making the usual stops we had the boat in the water by 10:00.  The south wind didn't seem so intimidating at the landing yet I knew it was only going to get worse.

Anders with a nice fish.
One can probably gather that I usually have a strategy as I work my way further from the shore.  Sherman's first, 7 Mile second, 9 Mile third, Plan B fourth.  Sherman's proved difficult as the wind blew perpendicular to the edge.  It can be rather easy to quarter along the edge but with a number of guys hovering an area on the edge, it made positioning rather difficult.  An hour later and we didn't have a single bite.  Next stop was 7  Mile, again a number of guys hovering but at least the north/south drift lines were better.  Still nothing.  Next stop was 9 Mile and to my surprise there was no one there.  Maybe we just hit the flat when the fish turned on but whatever, we proceeded to start catching walleyes.  The first one was a 19.5 inch fish, perfect for the live well.  Unfortunately it would prove to be our last keeper fish.  As we drifted a better north/south line, we continued to catch fish, often 3 per drift.  Motoring back to the south end we could easily keep on a line that stayed at the edge of the flat.  Eventually another boat showed up an promptly worked the area right in the center of our drift line.  9 Mile Flat is big enough to get away from the interference and still be on fish.  After 4 hours of working the flat we had over 16 walleyes, 1 in the box, a surprising 2 under 17 inches, and a 27 inch walleye, Hondro's personal best.  The wind had started calming down somewhat but that was temporary as it began to pick up speed again late in the afternoon.  With a desire to head back closer to shore I decided to show them how to deep water troll using both lead line and planer boards.  Trolling from 9 Mile to 7 Mile would not take that long as I had heard the basin bite had started.  We rigged the planer with a #11 Tail Dancer in a purple color, 150 feet of line out, attached the in-line planer and started trolling.  The next 2 rods were lead line with my new Suffix 832 lead core which was suppose to sink and extra 2 feet per color.  3.5 colors out and it became a waiting game, but not too long.  The first rod to double over was Hondro's lead core with the #5 Shad Rap.  We reeled that one in and reset just in time to see Anders planer board flag to drop.  Another  nice walleye at the end it was my turn.  I didn't have to wait too long as my lead core folded over.  3 nice walleyes in less than an hour trolling, seemed pretty good to me!  At 5:30 we decided the wind had taken most of our energy and we headed in.  Loading the boat we stopped at Bill's to give him a report, bought a coke and headed back to Dayton.  It was a great day to get out, the wind proved to be not much of a determent to our success, and after quickly cleaning the 19 1/2 inch walleye we did keep, Hondro and Anders had supper in the bag.  Admittedly I did ask for clarification on the origin of Anders name, a name I had never heard of.  They laughed and explained it was really Alexander and it was simply a derivative.  As I get older my hearing isn't so good so it was a relief to know that I was hearing it correctly!

Caught on Lead line
So next Wednesday Mark Applen, my brother Steve, and a few other friends are heading to Lake Oahe for 4 days of fishing.  It should be pretty exciting as the Fish and Game Department in South Dakota has raised the possession limit of fish caught in Oahe to 24 walleyes.  Our fearless leader on this trip is Russ, and he has found a place to rent for $30/night/guy....not bad.  It's a 7 hour drive from home with only about 4 miles being freeway.  Like getting ready for Canada, I have been busy stocking up on the right presentation as I am sure the walleyes will be found in much deeper water.  Bottom Bouncers were made for this type of fishing as we will probably pull a lot of night crawler rigs.  I head out to Cincinnati on Thursday for a business trip and the weekend weather looks like thunder storms, it might be a good time to finally fix the pivot pin in the front end of my tractor.  The "back 40" is getting awfully long and needs to be cut with the brush hog.  I would like to get the front end fixed before doing any extensive work with the tractor.  Although the fishing season started slow and late, I've made most of my time on the water up and then some!

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