Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Summer in Full Swing

The first walleye in the new Ranger
This time of year is the peak time for fishing Mille Lacs.  By now the walleyes have moved out to their summer haunts like the deeper gravel bars, rock piles, and the flats.  Last weeks outing with Bill was more or less a test run and this week I was determined to push my experience further down the path of feeling more comfortable not sitting in the stern all the time.  Saturday my friend and neighbor Lory Brasel volunteered to put up with me and the new boat for a few hours on the pond, so with everything supposedly fixed we took off at 11:30 and planned on being on the water by 1:30.  A quick stop at Lundeen's for coffee, leeches, and advice we met our goal and took off from the landing at 1:30 on the mark.  Because I've been having issues with the propeller it's very important that it there isn't one ding, one scratch, any evidence of even hitting mud on it.  At $700 I was very careful coming out of the landing as I have bottomed out before with my other boats and this one is even heavier.  Making it safely out of the landing our first stop was what Bill calls Roland's Flat.  It has some other names but I like Bill's the best.  Immediately I started marking fish at the 20 foot level so we decided to deploy the trolling motor and pull crawlers.  Normally in this situation I would simply start the rear trolling motor and slowly back troll the edges.  It''s quite a bit different to front troll with the motor for a number of reasons, mainly because I wasn't used to it!  While I'm figuring out how to get a handle on my boat control Lory let's me know he's got something on the end of the line, the first official walleye caught in the new boat.  It also gave me an opportunity to use my new folding net, which stores nicely in one of the side compartments.  Measuring 23", too long to keep we snapped a couple of pictures and let it go.  We were really pumped as we were marking a lot of fish, landed a nice 23 incher withing the first 10 minutes, it was going to be a great day, right.  Trolling around a couple of deep points produced nothing so we decided to park on top of an area where there were a ton of marks on the depthfinder and bobber fish with leeches, nothing.  It did give me an opportunity to fix my Sirius Radio receiver as it was not working at all, another yellow wire problem.  From there we took off to a deep rocky area just south of Sherman's Point where it can be great, I caught a medium sized smallie.  Heading to Sherman's flat we trolled my goto side with just a nice perch to show for it.  Next stop was Sliver Flat but there was someone on it already so I decided to let him have the whole thing as we headed for the 9 Mile Flat.  Again we marked fish but no takers.  I did fool around with the Autopilot feature by creating a route around 9 mile that basically went up and down the side walls of the flat, from 25 feet to 35 feet then back up again.  Setting it on newly created route on Navigation the trolling motor followed the trail, enough to impress the heck out of both Lory and I, it was pretty cool to see it follow the outer diameter of 9 Mile.  One big thing I noticed was the system GPS is mounted to the back of the boat, 20 feet away from the Motorguide GPS which is used to steer the motor.  I was about 20 feet from my points, not that it made any difference however I think I might move the main GPS puck to the front to be more in step with the Lowrance units, we'll have to see as that might cause problems as well.

Catching nothing and having to control nothing I took the time to text my friend Mark Applen, who was staying at his small cabin at the Fisherman's Wharf.  Inviting us to come over for a burger and a cocktail, we stopped at 3 mile to cast for bass before heading over to his dock.  The water had calmed down significantly from early that day so it was time to get some more practice with the wheel control.  Putting the throttle all the way down the next thing was to start trimming it up.  Before the engine would only turn about 5000 RPM however I was getting better acquainted with the set up and this time the motor got it up to 5400 RPM and 57 MPH, a significant improvement over last weeks experience.  The good news should be that the 20 Pitch prop the dealer ordered should be just perfect as for every inch of pitch change, the RPM should change 200 - 250 so going down from a 22P to a 20P should gain me the RPM's I am looking for running in the 5800 - 5900 range.   After making it to Mark's for a refreshing vodka tonic and a burger that hit the spot we decided it was getting late and with 12 miles back to the landing, we made a beeline to the other side of the lake.  This was a great opportunity to repeat the max RPM test which was very successful, 3 times we could trim up the motor to 5400 RPM's and 57 MPH.  Lory took a quick video of us flying across the lake.  The last time we loaded the boat on the trailer it was very difficult to use the winch to pull the bow tight to the roller.  I was thinking about it and remembered 14 years ago when I had the same problem with my 2001 Ranger.  Earlier in the week a planned detour to Fleet Farm to buy some dry Teflon Lubricant, I got out of the boat and sprayed the carpeted bunks that the boat sits on with the spray.  All I can say is Hallelujah, it worked pretty slick as the boat snugged up to the bow without even a slight disagreement!  You just have to make certain the winch strap stays connected when you back down as it could slide off the trailer on it's own.

Paul's 31 Inch Walleye
My friend Bruce Wiley e-mailed me on Saturday from Lac Seul with the message "Help, need a lower unit for a 2002 Honda 130 Hp Outboard!"  Oh oh, that didn't sound good.  He is up fishing at Lac Seul Outpost for Father's Day weekend with his boys and apparently he found a new rock.  Oh well, that's my biggest nightmare with Lac Seul but if your careful and have a good GPS system it really helps to stay ahead of the game.  And of course you really do need to explore new fishing spots and that presents some risks but as they say, no pain no gain.  Unfortunately he did not bother to give me any useful fishing reports as I would like to think that not everyone is doing as poorly as I have been.  Well this morning I got an e-mail from my good friend Paul Wenaas with a photo of a 31 inch walleye he nailed during his trip to Lac Seul last week.  In fact he got a number of fish in the 27" - 31" range and I was fortunate enough to learn where he was!  Actually I had fished near his spot last fall where we got the "blue" walleyes and I had always wondered how it would be further up the bay. Paul makes at least 2 trips to Lac Seul, one in the middle of June and another in July.  He was talking about going back up in September and maybe he'll be there the same time I am, that would be a blast for sure.  I am not sure what is the program for this weekend but hopefully the new propeller will be in and ready to test. There are still a couple minor issues that need to be resolved like my touch panel, boat numbers, and license plate for the the trailer, and dealing with the Lowrance "yellow" wake up wires.  This could put me in Chisago City on Saturday morning to try out a few thing and maybe getting some crappie fishing in.  Next week I'm in Boston and the rumor is we are going out on a 4 hour charter for ocean run stripers, another thing on the bucket list. If it happens don't be surprised by a late post next week.


Jeff King said...

Well that does it. I'm inviting myself to go fishing with you in the not to distant future. I love the fish like you do Dave but I've NEVER gone 57 mph in a boat and THAT I gotta do. Glad you're enjoying the new boat, do you ever give them a name ?

Duane said...

Mr. Anderson... I hope with all this new boat/motor stuff you aren't neglecting my apple trees.....

David Grant said...

WOW! 57 mph... in a boat. My dad wouldnt even drive that fast on the highway!