Thursday, May 8, 2014

Ice Out and St. Louis

Gateway Arch in St. Louis
Last week brought me to St. Louis for the TTA's (The Transformer Association) Spring Meeting.  Having served as it's President for 2 years, I now simply sit on the board as an adviser as the new guys coming up the ranks can handle all of the difficult work.  I have never been to St. Louis before so it was exciting to travel to a new destination.  Traveling with my production manager, Rich Rebella, he picked me up at 4:45 AM as we had a 6:55 flight to make.  Forgetting to make a car reservation, I quickly booked something on Expedia before we left, not the cheapest route to go but at least Rich would have some transportation as I attended the board meeting.  Well while on the plane we decided that the car was stupid and as the plane landed it was clear that St. Louis had a light rail line.  After getting our bags and calling the hotel it was $4.00 a person to ride the train from the airport, a far cry from the $300 car rental.  As we rode downtown I started thinking about my friend Chuck Teasley, I seemed to remember he lived close to St.Louis. A quick text and it was confirmed, he would gladly pick us up Thursday afternoon , take us to Bass Pro Shop then drop us off at the airport, a pretty good deal.  With two days of meetings behind us Rich and I headed across the street to the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial which has the Gateway Arch as it's main symbol.  At  630 feet above the foundation, the Gateway arch is the largest free standing arch in the world and the tallest man made monument in the United States.  The method was pretty interesting it get to the observation area located at the top, one entered a small pod where up to 5 people fit into some tight quarters as the cable driven "train" pulled you up to the top.  The ride was about 4 minutes up to the top as the pods would constantly ratchet to stay vertical as it traveled the arch shape.  This is not a ride if you are claustrophobic as you are pretty cramped for the ride up and down however I think it was definitely worth it.  One of the things I was amazed at was the width of the Mississippi River.  Even with the Missouri River joining it above St. Louis, it was still a lot narrower than I assumed and it was flowing pretty fast.  We were done by 2, just in time for Chuck to pick us up and head to lunch then the Bass Pro Shop in St. Charles, near the airport.  When traveling I love to go into the sporting goods stores to see the different inventories they carry to support the type of fishing they do.  Although Missouri has walleyes, muskies, and northern's, most of the emphasis is on crappies and bass as they had a huge selection of lures and equipment focused on these two species.  In the end I just bought 4 pairs of my favorite socks that they sell, enough to last me the summer.

Opening day accommodations
So the ice is off at Leech Lake!!!  It's been 2 years since Team Walleye has fished on Minnesota's Fishing Opener and we are as ready as ever. An update on my Suzuki Engine Interface cable, it finally arrived on Tuesday after I was able to talk to Browns Point on Monday.  I got it connected, routed, and the motor put back together just in the nick of time. It works perfectly but like anything electronic, there's a lot of learning to set it up properly.  One thing it shows is the motor hours and I was surprised by the number, 245.  The boat was new in June of 2009 so in 4 years I put a total of about 70 hours a year,  that doesn't seem like much considering how much I troll but numbers don't lie.  Once the motor was put back together it allowed me to completely clean out the boat, wax it up, and get everything stowed away.  As most of my friends know, I like fishing out of a clean and uncluttered boat.  Team Walleye has 21 guys going up this year and we are back in the Taj Mahal of cabins at Brindley's Harbor Resort.  A log cabin duplex which sleeps 11 guys each side, we have a beautiful view of the lake and it's closer to the harbor.  Looking back 2014 looks like it will be the 3rd time in the last 6 years where either the ice has just gone out on Leech or like last year we were completely iced over.  So much for global warming as I have stated before.  The good news is that the fish should be shallow and hungry as the last time we had these conditions on opener, we had caught more larger walleyes than ever including shattering the big fish record by 2 1/2 pounds.  It looks like the daytime temperatures will be in the 50's and with water temps in the mid 40's, it's probably a good idea to bring the Ice Armor suit to stay warm.  Mark Mayerich has done a great job again, replacing our good friend Ron as the coordinator of our trip.  The minnow reports last weekend were not very encouraging as we prefer fishing with shiner minnows on Leech.  The quick ice out has changed things somewhat and we now have at least some shiners for the trip.  Maybe it's just a mental thing as we always used fatheads when I started in 1990 yet you can't argue with the success we have had with the shiners.  This year we have a few new things, Adam has a new boat, we have 3 new members of Team Walleye, and as always, I have some new and interesting things planned for the weekend, you'll have to come back next week for my report.  By the way if anyone is interested in seeing our Minnesota Bound episode again click HERE

Good luck to everyone, stay warm, dry, and safe and for crying out loud, wear your life vests as the water is still pretty cold this time of year.

1 comment:

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service said...

245? Jeff and I put that on our motors in one month! Big difference is we aren't allowed to anchor in May, June, July so the motor runs 12 hours a day.

Good news for you is these motors hold up to a lot us use. Jeff told me that around 3000 hours is when you'll want to upgrade. You'll probably want a new boat my then...