Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Lake Oahe, part 2

29 inch Channel Cat
I have to be honest about last weeks post which forced me to use only the pictures I had taken with my phone.  On Monday morning I brought the boat back to the dealer to get the kicker mounted and the last place I remember my camera was in the dash compartment by the steering wheel of the boat. Of course all my bragging pictures were on that camera.  Well, I picked the boat up Friday and the first thing I looked for was the camera, dang, it wasn't there.  A quick panic then a look in my computer backpack......I had it all along!  So Our first day of fishing on Oahe took us south to the area called the Slide Hill.  Although the Lowrance still had the trails we made 2 years, because of the high water, they were now 35 feet deep and all indications stated the fish were in 15 - 20 feet. Contrary to the most popular method of fishing on the lake, pulling bottom bouncers, we like to jig fish.  One never knows what you will catch and it is fun to feel them hit as one sets the hook.  Unfortunately the catfish really like this slow presentation.  Wednesday afternoon I set the hook on a monster fish as it took about 10 minutes to land this nice 29 inch channel catfish.  These things really fight as they really are not interested in coming to the top and a 10 pound catfish feels like a 20 pound northern pike.  We took a few pictures and let it go but not before Steve remarked that his late father-in-law would not be very happy seeing this one swim away.  Wes was quite the catfisherman down in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin and was a bonafide river rat.  This catfish was the largest fish we caught for the weekend but certainly not the last.  Unfortunately at this point, Wednesday July 15th was the 5th time I had the boat out, 3 trips to Mille Lacs, 1 to Osakis, and now Lake Oahe and I had yet to land a walleye. Pretty embarrassing if you ask me because eventually the excuse of "I'm still getting used to fishing from a wheel boat" would start to ring pretty hollow!  We fished the Slide hill pretty hard but it really didn't amount to much of anything.  Mark and Steve both caught some walleyes yet I remained walleyeless for the remainder of the day.  Admittedly catching the 10 pound catfish was nice yet we would load the boat up with a look for tomorrow to fulfil that simple barrier to the proper break in of the new Ranger!  The landing area has a great fish cleaning station, complete with water and a fish grinder to get rid of whatever is left.  Mark had caught a walleye that contained a tag through it's lower jaw which should be turned into the South Dakota Fisheries.  Unfortunately we forgot about it and that tag got ground up with the rest of the fish carcasses.  It was interesting that Russ had a tagged fish as well and ended up doing the same thing, grinding it up!  It was after this that we stopped by the Missouri boys camp and got the hot tip for the next day.

Mark with a Beautiful Crappie
After driving to the landing on Thursday and launching, we checked to see where Russ was fishing and stopped to say hi.  We are good listeners and after seeing the Missouri boys fly past us, it was time to follow them up the Moreau River.  It was a 10 mile run but as stated last week, we got an idea of where everyone was fishing and it certainly provided the strategy for the next 3 days.  Still feeling our way around the new area, we worked a shoreline that lead to a bay which curved 90 degrees out to a point on the main body of water.  I did get a small walleye on one of the casts but quite honestly, it didn't count.  As we approached the bay area where the water was calm, there were fish all over breaking the surface.  Hoping it might be stripers, to our dismay the bay was full of 15 - 20 pound carp, milling around in near the shore.  It was fun to watch but were were there to catch walleyes.  A few minutes later Mark nailed a beautiful 14 inch crappie in the bay.  I would normally doctor the picture to highlight both the angler and the fish better however it really shows the unusual background of the shorelines as well as how calm it was that day.  Thursday would prove to be the best of the 3 1/2 days of fishing with both the weather and the water conditions excellent.  Meanwhile the Missouri boys headed east of us trolling the shorelines with shad raps.  We never hooked up with them again so we weren't even sure how they did and I think it would have been nice to see their results.  Oh well.

First "Official" walleye of the new boat!
So I did catch my very first walleye in the new boat on Thursday late morning.  The small one I caught earlier just wasn't picture material and I'd have been embarrassed to even admit it.  When I finally nailed the 17 incher, it was like a huge burden was lifted off my shoulders.  Ok, maybe not that bad but come on, 6 trips to get the first walleye........really?  It was really hot on Thursday and the sun was brutal.  I have started wearing long sleeve fishing shirts that are actually very comfortable and this year decided to buy one of those head/neck protectors that you can slide up over your ears and nose to keep the sun from burning too bad.  Yes, they look goofy but they also work pretty good.  Also I wear my inflatable life vest all the time, either my belt one or the full over the neck one.  The new boat can really move and at 60 years old, I doubt my ability to tread water is for very long.  After a while you never even notice they are on, especially the CO2 type with the automatic inflators.  I look like one of those muslim guys in the boat........thank God we didn't have any border security on the lake!  Friday was an OK day, not as productive as we managed to catch 7 walleyes from the same area as Thursday, up the Moreau.  On the other hand the cat fishing was phenomenal as they loved the slow nightcrawler presentation for sure.  On Saturday the wind decided to come howling out of the west with gusts to 35 mph.  We had 3 - 3 1/2 foot waves coming straight down the Moreau and would be the first true test of the boats ability to handle this rough water.  It was amazing as we easily cut through the waves skipping just the tops as the new Evinrude E-Tec G2 never skipped a beat via the new RX4 4 bladed prop that powered us through the roughest conditions (sounds like a commercial huh!).   We were all impressed by the almost Cadillac like ride, much better than I ever dreamed. The high winds proved challenging as we only ended up with 5 walleyes which put us at 23 for the entire trip.  As we said before the allure of Lake Oahe is the interesting variety of fish you catch, the completely different location and scenery, as well as the company, I'd definitely go back for sure. We ended the trip with a nice hunk of prime rib at a resort up the road as Akaska, SD leaves something to be desired in the steak department.

I am off on Wednesday for my annual fishing trip with Chuck Teasley and this year Dan Hoene is going to join us again.  We always have a great time and in 15 years I have only missed it once. This weekend has been a scorcher with very high humidities.  The tomatoes and cucumbers are growing like crazy as everything is pretty early, I've already made 8 gallons of my refrigerator pickles.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Lake Oahe, Part 1.

Good Looking Crew from Missouri!
Our much anticipated fishing trip to Lake Oahe, a reservoir on the Missouri River began early Wednesday morning.  After picking up Mark at his house around 6:45AM we headed back to the pole shed to hook up the boat, load everything up and wait for my brother Steve to arrive.  Lucky for us he was also early and by 7:15 we were heading west.  It's been a scramble getting ready for the trip as I finally got the boat dialed in but felt because of the standing trees that still remain after the dam was built I should have a spare propeller so Monday night I ran back up to Frankie's to buy an aluminum prop.  There were some concerns that the right hub was not available however I paid for the prop and decided to look around on Tuesday morning.  After being on hold for about 40 minutes I finally got someone to answer and 15 minutes later they confirmed, no hub for the E-tec G2 aluminum props, dang.  I looked for aftermarket because I don't believe Evinrude makes their own props but works with one of the major aftermarket companies like Michigan or Solas to design a prop for their specific requirements.  Solas claimed to have one but there was no time left. Arriving at around 2:00 in the afternoon we unpacked our stuff and headed for the landing 10 miles from our cabin.  It's really different country and the drive to the river is very nice.  After paying our $6.00 daily pass we got on the river and headed south to a few known spots that produced in years past.  The problem was that the water levels were up almost 15 feet from 2 years ago and the whole dynamics had changed.  Really it meant fishing closer to shore for the most part.  About the only thing we caught of any significance was a small walleye and I nailed a nice 29 inch channel cat (unfortunately I took my boat to the dealer and left the camera in it) which I will have to post next week.  Anyway on the way out of the landing/camping area there was a couple of trucks parked by a tent sight so I drove over to introduce ourselves and to say hi.  The were 5 guys from Columbia Missouri, had been there a few days, and were getting fish!  Interestingly they were not shy about where they were catching walleyes as well as their presentation, trolling crankbaits in 8 - 12 feet of water.  We really didn't have much of a crankbait strategy, especially without a kicker motor but it was worth filing away about where the fish were.  The next morning we headed to the lake but had to stop on the road so my brother Steve could take care of some critical business over his cell phone while we still had service.  The guy in the nice blue fishing shirt was driving back to town and was kind enough to stop and see if we needed help.  Naw, Steve forgot he was on vacation was our answer however I noticed he had a bunk missing on his trailer, that wasn't good.  Agreeing to pick it up off the road if we see it sure enough it was about 4 miles further so we grabbed it and put it on the picnic table by their tent.  These guys certainly knew how to camp as they had 2 freezers plugged into the electric outlets as well the tents had 2 air conditioners on one end, that was amazing.  I gave them a Fishin' With Dave card and hopefully they check it out as I would like them to know how much we appreciated their help with our success.

Thursday's catch
So what was that success?  On Thursday we drove the 14 miles or so up the Moreau River and starting scoping out the activity.  It's easy to see the guide boats out there because for the most part they are all big pontoons with 150 - 250 hp outboards and 4 - 6 guys. Their strategy is quite simple, rig the lines with relatively heavy bottom bouncers, a 3 foot leader with a spinner and a night crawler, or better yet use the newer "slo death crawler hooks"with a crawler threader. I had an interesting conversation with a guide named Rick at the bait shop/tavern in town as we discussed the nuances of guiding in Minnesota vs Lake Oahe.  There it is simply about how many guys in the boat as they get paid by the person.  He was gracious enough to give me a ride back to the cabin but not before we stopped at his garage and checked out the boat, a 27 foot custom 3 tubed pontoon made in Poskin, Wisconsin with a 150 hp Honda 4 stroke and seating fit for a king with full captain chairs that recline.  There must have been 12 -14 rod holders on the rails as they basically drop the weights down and back troll with the big motor.  Those pontoon ends really will slow a 150 hp down enough to control the trolling speed to around 1.5 mph.  Fast enough to attract walleyes but too fast for catfish and sheepshead, which we soon discovered was a correct statement.  His rigs were pretty slick and he showed me his enormous collection of Slo Death rigs which were quite impressive.  My friend Bill Lundeen sold me the stuff needed to rig these a few weeks ago but I had forgot about it so the next day I dug it all out. Although Rick never let in to his secret spots, as I said before it's pretty easy to spot the guides and where they fish.  We left his garage as he gave me a ride back to the cabin to check out my new E-tec G2.  I'm not sure he would trade in his Honda but he was impressed.  We had ended the day with 9 walleyes, 1 nice crappie that Mark had caught and a smaller sheepshead that because fried fish was on the menu for the night, we decided to keep one and try.  Admittedly it was pretty good!  With a day and a half of fishing behind us, the next two days would be interesting.  Up to this point we used mostly jig heads with a half a night crawler dragged along the bottom and caught at least 10 catfish for every walleye we kept.  Up to this point my opinion was that the fishing was pretty slow but admittedly Lake Oahe is a very interesting waters to fish as the shorelines are completely undeveloped as you have the sense of being somewhere very special.

Monday morning I brought my boat back up to the dealer to have my 9.8 hp kicker motor installed as it came in while I was fishing.  We sure could have used it for trolling but we got by ok.  Along with the kicker installation there is a recall on my power steering on the main motor, a possible new GPS board in the Motorguide i5 electric motor, and a few odds and ends that need to be taken care of.  I am not sure what the weekend will bring but with a solid time in South Dakota and a planned trip with my friend Charlie next week on Mille Lacs, it will not slow down.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Running Hard

A couple nice crappies
Things are starting to come together for our trip to Lake Oahe this week so my post is early this week. One of the most important items I have been waiting for is my new RX4 20P prop that has been on order for a month now.  It finally arrived last Friday so I picked it up and at the same time learned that my replacement kicker motor should be in this week.  I never like surprises and my friend Pete called to see if I wanted to go and fish Lake Osakis on Sunday with his guide friend, it seemed like a great time to try the prop and see if I could finally land a walleye in the boat as it's been pretty uneventful in that department.  Pete claims his friend has been getting 20 - 30 walleyes a day using crawlers.  After getting the chores done around the house I put the new prop on and Sunday picked up Pete at his river place in Monticello.  Pete is a very accomplished fisherman who owns and operates River Run Guide Service specializing in fishing the Mississippi River upstream from Monticello, MN.  Check out his site, Pete does exceptionally well.  After stopping at McDonald's for breakfast we launched the boat at the southern end of the lake, right in the town of Osakis.  I have always wanted to fish the opportunity so this was a first for me.  First things first, we checked out the prop performance and it was excellent, great hole shot and it spun over 5800 RPM's which is just perfect as the motor's peak horsepower is at 5750 RPM.  From there we hit the first underwater hump and right away Pete got bit off by a northern.  He was using red tails while I tried crawlers.  The second drift ended with Pete getting bit off again while I landed a small northern which made shreds of my crawler harness. Unfortunately the walleyes were not cooperating at all.  Pete's friend Scott, who guides on the lake was done with his morning trip and stopped by the boat to see how we were doing and confirmed that it was a tough bite today and they didn't get one walleye either.  Deciding to try something else as Osakis is famous for it's big crappies and bluegills we headed to the calmer side of the lake.  The lake has a pretty deep weed line even though I wouldn't say the water is that clear, you could see the weeds in 15 feet of water.  While Pete tried a small piece of night crawler I pitched a small twister tail and did get 2 really nice crappies.  Usually crappies school and where there is one there's a number of them.  Unfortunately this was not the case Sunday but what the heck, it was fun to fish a new lake and for sure I'll definitely be back to Osakis.

Storm Damage to Keith's Place
On the way back from fishing on Sunday it was obvious that we were going to be in for a storm later in the day.  Being hot and exceptionally humid for the last couple of days and a cold front coming down from Canada, it's a recipe for some excitement for sure.  Although the maps were showing the storm front mostly to the northwest of us, and seldom do storms come in from this direction, it seemed to develop along the line heading right for the Twin Cities. Fortunately for us, the storm came after the sun went down which took much of it's energy away however it was a different case in Brainerd.  Striking the area a few hours earlier, the straight line winds tore up Brainerd International Raceway, the big resorts on Gull Lake, and my friend Keith Holtan's house on North Long Lake, just a stones throw from BIR.  Keith is in Alaska right now dealing with his own issues regarding the King Salmon fishery on the Kenai and I am sure this wasn't a welcome sight yet like he said, we are still have our health and that says alot!  Oh well, just another exciting week for sure.  With that in mind we head off tomorrow morning for Lake Oahe, SD which is a large reservoir on the Missouri River.  The last time I was there was 2 years ago when after the flood of 2011 swept 90% of the key forage fish, the rainbow smelt through the dam in Pierre.  In order to balance the situation at the time, the state increased the daily walleye limit from 4 to 8 and change the possession limit to 24 per person.  We did get a great variety of fish including walleyes, northerns, smallmouth bass, perch, freshwater drum, carp, and striped bass.  This year the water is up, and the limits are back to normal (4 walleyes, 8 possession limit) and because the lake is still feeling the effects of the reduction in smelt, the fish tend to be shallower where their current preferred forage the gizzard shad hangs out. This should make the fishing somewhat easier but I know it's still going to be hot as it always is in the middle of July in South Dakota.  We'll probably drag crawlers as our main method of fishing, it's a lot of fun.  We are staying at a rented house in Akaska and it's very reasonable for the 6 of us that are going which includes my brother Steve and friends Mark Applen and Russ, who has done all the arrangements.  

Thursday, July 9, 2015

July 4th and the Blue Angels

Navy Blue Angels in Eau Claire.
After a busy week of being in Boston, fishing for Stripers, and coming back to a desk full of work I decided that the 4th of July weekend is one to get caught up on a few things around the house and if I had a chance, maybe get out and do a little fishing.  With Friday the 3rd being our official work holiday it was time to get the lawn mowed and the garden hoe'd. Saturday my wife Lyn and I were invited to her cousin's house for a 4th of July picnic with the benefit of having a front row seats to the Chippewa Valley Airshow at the Eau Claire Airport featuring the Navy's precision flying team, the Blue Angels. I love big machines and because my dad was in the Air Force, I love airplanes.  Our hosts Mindy and John live in her father's old house right on the corner of the Eau Claire Airport so we had as good of seats for free as could be!  I would have loved to pay the $30 to go inside but we were at a family event and that probably would not have been too smart, never the less our sight lines for the airshow part of it were  fabulous.  First to perform was an acrobatic biplane and these guys are crazy.  I can only imagine how difficult this is being in an open cockpit high powered single engine plane. The next plane to fly by was a F-16 jet doing some low altitude fly bys.  It was quite interesting as the jets flew by the noise was earthshaking yet if they were coming toward you, because of the speed you would not hear anything until the jet was almost on top of you and of course when they passed was amazing.  The team with the F-16 also had a WW2 class long range fighter/bomber plane, a P-51 which is usually regarded as the fastest propeller plane made.  It was almost impossible to get pictures because of the
An Official Photo
speed and angles however both planes came flying by, the P-51 in top and the F-16 on the bottom flying upside down, belly to belly. They were at the same speed and I can only imagine how difficult this was.  Of course the stars of the show were the Navy's Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Squadron which put on a 30 minutes, precision flying demonstration that quite honestly, if it didn't make you feel like a 10 year old kid again, you probably don't have much of a sense for excitement. It also stirs that Patriotic emotion which rise to the top and in my case it's impossible not to be proud to be a citizen of the United States of America!(Ok, enough flag waving!) As stated, it's difficult to get real pictures of the jets as they flew by but I did manage one that gives some idea of the closeness they fly.  One interesting aspect of the sky conditions that still exist into this week is the haze generated by forest fires in northern Canada.  The wind continues to blow smoke into our area to the point where on Tuesday the air quality in Minneapolis was the same as in Beijing China. Personally I doubt it but it was pretty bad! Anyway the show was fabulous, the food was great, and I did enjoy spending time with the boys, John, Greg, and Bob...I guess you would call them cousin-in-laws!

Knee high plus by the 4th
With almost perfect growing conditions with adequate rainfall each week has giving me a break from watering the lawn and garden, with the exception of my onions, and they are looking fabulous these days. Actually the garden looks really good this year with the corn pushing over 4 feet and starting to tassel, so far for knee high by the 4th.  The potatoes are starting to lay down and the tomatoes love the hot and wet weather we are having. My first crop of raspberries are doing well, just about everything is looking great.  The only issue is having to mow so often so I cut down on the fertilizers this year hoping to extend the need to cut the lawn by a day or two.  A few phone calls and finally my RX4 x 20P prop arrived at Frankie's, the third prop I will have tried.  With a peak horsepower rating at 5800 RPM's my first 22P prop only spun at 5400 RPM. The second was the 3 bladed 21P that turned at 5800 RPM but the handling was different and frankly not acceptable. With a little research and calculating, this 4 bladed 20P should turn close to 5900 RPM and really improve the hole shot and handling, we'll find out this weekend.  I will probably go to Lake Osakis on Sunday to try everything out before heading to Lake Oahe next Wednesday.  Because of my schedule the postings for the next couple of weeks might be a little out of wack but I have big expectations there will be some nice fish pictures.  As a follow up to last weeks post on the striper's, I put some on the grill and they are as good as any fish I have prepared and ate.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Stripers are Running

Nice Atlantic Striped Bass
Tuesday afternoon was our planned 1/2 day fishing charter out of Newburyport, Massachusetts at the mouth of the Merrimack River where it meets the ocean.  Our host for the afternoon was Captain Chris Valaskatgis, owner of Manolin Charters.  Chris runs a 23 foot center console boat with a 150 hp Yamaha 4 stroke and is perfectly set up for the fishing we were about to do.  My good friend and business associate Karl Cry set up the trip because last year when I visited him we were talking and I mentioned striper fishing off the east coast was on  my bucket list.  Planning on coming out to Boston to call on customers this week, Karl surprised me with a half day trip just north of Boston.  Along with our Captain was Karl Cyr, his sales guy Jim Sheedy, my guy Scott Cameron, and a customer of Karl's named Dennis.  Arriving at 1:30, we stopped at the harbor bar and grill before jumping in the boat that was docked below.  Right away I could tell Captain Chris was going to show us a great day by his demeanor.  Very cordial and open, we went through the standard safety lecture and it was off to the jetty about a mile down the Merrimack River it and the Atlantic Ocean meet. One thing everyone said was this outlet is the 2nd most dangerous on the east coast from Florida to Maine.  The tides, river volume, and other factors cause the swells to become quite large and there is a sweet spot where the river meets the ocean that have turned over many a boat.  Our strategy was pretty simple, a heavy 6"6" saltwater casting rod with a open trolling reel loaded with what looked like 20 pound test.  A 1 1/2 ounce egg sinker, swivel, and a 3 foot leader with a plain circle hook tied at the end was all we need.  The preferred bait for this time of year were called "tinkers" which were whole mackerel anywhere from 8" to 13 " long, simply hooked through the lips. These are very pretty fish, quite oily and it really didn't matter if they were dead or alive, the stripers love them.  Because low tide was at 5:15 in the afternoon, we had perfect conditions to fish with the outgoing current.  Our first run was pretty wild and Capt. Chris put our sea legs to test by picking a pretty rough drift through the swells which gave us a great insight into the issues of dealing with the water situation.  Our second drift was somewhat easier on the body as we picked a calmer route.  Fishing was pretty simple and methodical, when a fish hits let it run for about 3 - 4 seconds then engage the spool on the reel and start reeling. Because he used circle hooks the fish basically hook themselves in the corner of their mouths and the battle was on.  The limit on Stripers is 1 per day and it must be longer than 28 inches and with a lot of fish caught the circle hooks make catch and release much easier on the fish.

Karl with a beautiful fish
Action was steady most of the afternoon with 1 or 2 fish per drift with the largest coming in over 36 inches. Our group caught at least 20 fish and kept 4 that were big enough to legally harvest.  I found it amazing how veracious these fish are as we caught a number of them in the 24 inch range and they swallowed a bait half their size.  I ended up with 3 stripers in the boat and lost 2 very large fish, one due to my swivel coming untied and the biggest one was a result of crossed lines and before we could untwist them, 2 lines at 90 degrees is not a formula for success.  Oh well, keepers or not, I finally caught a ocean run Striped Bass and battled a couple of really nice ones, enough to want to come back.  At the dock we washed up the fish and took some pictures before the Captain was going to start cleaning fish.  Having one fish left to clean I asked him if I could fillet, go ahead with somewhat of a skeptical answer, I jumped in and using his knife got to work.  I think he was satisfied that I did a great job on the first side as he acknowledge it looked pretty good however the other side is much more difficult, which it is. When I finished with a a skimpy looking carcass, I think he was impressed that I wasn't just blowing smoke.   We ended up with about 10 pounds of fillets so we split them up and  Karl volunteered to ship me about 5 pounds overnight via UPS Red.  Well they arrived in perfect condition today and I plan on having some tonight.  One observation, it was interesting when the tide changed and the wind started picking up from the Southeast, the big swells started coming in and for a short period of time some of them got really large and start rolling over.  A big 28 footer came in right at the wrong time and got sideways in front of the face of the swell, I swore that boat was going to roll as it was almost 90 degrees on it's side, I'm not sure what saved him but he was awfully lucky. I love saltwater fishing and this was pretty cool.  One of the interesting things were the amount of Lund 17 1/2 foot boats with 40 - 60 hp motors fishing the area.  I suppose if you are used to it but to me, it would be a stretch for me to hop in one of those on that water.  I am trying something new here.  I'd love to post more pictures however it get difficult at best for an old man like me!  Therefore with the help of my friend Lory Brasel, he set me up with a Dropbox where I can put all the pictures on the "cloud" and simply provide you with a link to look at them.  So with that in mind please click HERE to see all the pictures that I currently have from my trip.

The Motley Crew, Dennis, Scott, Jim, Dave, and Karl
On Friday I decided to head up to Frankie's at noon to pick up a new 3 bladed 21" Rebel prop to try on my boat.  This is what most of the newer boat combinations like mine had been coming with and they have been working pretty well.  I'm still convinced that the 20P 4 bladed prop will be perfect but I agreed to try it.  On Saturday afternoon I made it up to Mark's place on Mille Lacs as he agreed to come out with me to try the new prop.  Launching at the resort where his shack is we headed out to 7 Mile Flat where he had some good luck a few hours earlier.  Arriving at the small inside corner of the edge of the flat, we trolled a few crawlers over the area with not much to show for it.  I did get to show off my navigational system with the depth finder and trolling motor however the fish were not cooperating.  Deciding to move we headed for sliver flat before going to 9 Mile but still nothing but a nice perch.  We tried bobber fishing near the July Bar where I did have two bites that took the bobber down but I went zero for two.  A final stop at the Banana Reef before heading to calm water to see how the prop worked.  We opened up the boat and as predicted got the RPM's up to where we need but I felt the 3 bladed prop was not as stable as the 4 bladed prop and the rough water handling was a lot better with 4 blades.  The speed didn't change much, still around 58 mph, hole shot wasn't any more impressive, and it didn't like to be trimmed out as much as the 4 blade prop.  Hopefully they will have it by the time I head to South Dakota in 2 weeks.  It really rained on the way home and I damn near went into the ditch near Izaty"s Resort when out of nowhere driving square into a solid wall of rain.  It was quite the experience, one I don't care to repeat again.  I was going to take my wife out on Sunday however the rain put a damper on those plans but it did give an opening to mount the RAM rod holder mounts to the inside of the boat.  It's difficult to start drilling into a new boat but after the first one it actually went very well and they are solid and look good.

This weekend is the Fourth of July already and the plan is to head to Eau Claire on Saturday to watch the Airshow from Lyn's cousin's house, right next to the airport.  The Blue Angels are supposed to put on a great demonstration and it would also give us a chance to check up on my mother who just had eye surgery.  It does leave Friday and Sunday open and with summer flying as fast as it has, it will not go to waste.  My friend Bruce made it back from Lac Seul with his boat that they put a new lower unit on at the landing and as stated there's plenty to do before we leave for Lake Oahe on the 15th.