Thursday, September 3, 2015

Hanging with Charlie

Charlie's first Smallie
Last Thursday afternoon was the day to pick up my boat from Frankie's as they had the GPS module in the Motorguide replaced and a few of my minor warranty issues taken care of.  On the phone was a text message from Chuck Teasley, "Got time for lunch tomorrow?"  The fact that Chuck lives in Glen Carbon, Illinois which is just east of St. Louis, Missouri I just assumed he probably texted me by mistake so instead of wasting a long drawn out text event it would simply be easier to call him. Answering his phone I learned that he was in Iowa heading to the Twin Cities, his sister passed away and he needed to come and help with everything.  Well lunch was just fine however he had to join another friend, Hondro and I as it was already scheduled but that wouldn't be a problem, they would get along just fine.  Asking a few more questions like where was he staying gave me an opportunity to help by getting a hotel reservation at our corporate rate near the office, which would work out well for him.  Of course lunch didn't work out but with his daughter Cameron flying in to attend and see some friends, it gave us Saturday afternoon to go fishing on the river, and fish we did! Arriving at noon we headed to the Ace Hardware store to get some 4 - 6 inch sucker minnows. The big smallies love them and although it might be too early yet, it never hurts to have them with.  Hitching the jon boat to the Polaris Razor, we headed through my neighbors field and in 15 minutes we were on the river.  My plan was to work ourselves up to the 101 bridge just south of Elk River, Minnesota and work the bridge piers first then leisurely drift down while stopping at the deeper holes, casting the rock strewn shores, and enjoying the scenery.  At the bridge Chuck caught a small northern while I drifted one of the sucker minnows close to the rocky shore on the south side of the river.  I use a trick that Pete showed me, hang the big minnow about 2 feet under a bobber and hang on!  After 2 short drifts the third one finally saw the bobber disappear with vengeance, a 3 count and set the hook as the line snapped.  Must have been a nice northern as I was using 12 pound test line. As we started to drift down Chuck caught the first smallmouth on a bomber crankbait, the day was starting out pretty good. I suggested that he use a casting rod and reel as one can be more accurate pitching those crankbaits into the shore edges and
An  ill Placed Lure
with the rocky bottom the heavier line would hold up a lot better. When I first asked Chuck if he could cast this type of rig it was "No Problem!" however upon handing him the rig he sort of admitted he might not be as proficient as he sounded earlier. Never the less he wanted to try it and his first cast was not very well placed as the lure ended up in the front of my shorts....Oh My fishing for trouser trout, hey Charlie! Lucky for me the hook just caught my zipper or there might could have been a few more of the chosen words I had already just used.  It took about a minute to get resituated and was followed by taking the casting rod away and giving him a spinning rod with the same lure, it just seemed much safer. Oh well, Chuck asked me to post this so here it is. Just below the RV park that is below the bridge and on the west side is the first rapids to negotiate.  Usually I head up the east side of the river but really wanted to fish the rockier west side which looked tempting.  Normally I simply point the stern of the boat downstream then use the electric trolling motor to position the boat so both of us have access to casting towards the shore.  Well I got a little shallow and before I could make any moves a rock tore off my transducer from the back of the boat.  Although it is frustrating, often times you do expect some casualties if you're going to push the limits of your current river knowledge. What frustrated me the most was when I got home to replace the transducer with a spare I have, the depthfinder didn't work.  I am thinking that water got into the crystal element of the transducer and the output drivers of that part of the locator circuit didn't like that very well. Things happen in three's and with 2 down I was sure the next issue wouldn't be far behind and it wasn't as another rock tried to push my trolling motor under the boat which caused the T bar that holds the motor to the various bracket positions snapped off.  This usually happens a few times a year and luckily they are only about $1.60 each and take about 15 minutes to replace, as I have done this many times.  With all of that out of the way it was time to get serious about fishing.

18.5 Inch Bass
Above the Crow River is a couple of nice holes where I've seen a few guys fishing.  We stopped to fish some nigh crawlers on the bottom as I am sure this is a great place for walleyes.  The only thing that bite was about a 4 pound carp, they do fight pretty good but not necessarily what we were looking for.  I also got a small channel catfish, maybe 13 inches at best, it was time to move. As we drifted the shorelines for the most part we stay on the north side of the river as it is has more rocks associated with it and because of the influence of the Crow River, it tends to be more clear on that side.  There are also 3 nice side channels on the north side which I always catch fish along the edges.  I would say that we had caught almost 15 smallmouth by the time we hit the second side channel but they were pretty small, often less than 13 inches.  Never the less they were really hitting those baits as sometimes you would see them actually come right to the boat before slamming it.  We even had a few that hit it so hard they came off right away.  Coming down the channel there was a nice small eddy that had formed at the edge so I perfectly placed my Bomber Crank and 2 seconds later had a very nice 18.5 inch smallie, best of the season so far.  As you see the river was almost perfect for fishing that day, nice and calm and the level is almost perfect.  The water temperature is down degrees from the last time we were out and as the water cools it will drive those smallies into the deeper holes.  I still haven't caught a walleye in the river yet this year, maybe it's just not my year for them, yet there is plenty of time.  We ended the day catching about 20 smallmouth bass and had a number of fish that followed the bait to the boat so all in all it wasn't a bad day.  I had been telling Chuck all day about the menu at Clives, a nice place to eat in Champlin, MN where they had deep fried northern pike you could order for fish and chips.  Northern pike is actually pretty good to eat and I think it has more flavor and texture than walleye so we decided to have dinner there.  Well, to my disappointment it was no longer on the menu so we settled for catfish instead. After a few hugs and well wishes we headed our own ways as Chuck had a busy schedule on Sunday.  It was great to get out with him again, he is one of my most sincere friends as I have known him since about 1978, when I first moved to the cities.  I can assure you he is a bit tamer than he was but his spirit hasn't changed a bit!

My goal of getting the Lowrance HDS 7 touch for Bruce for our trip to Lac Seul was now in jeopardy as something happened and for the life of me I could not figure it out.  No transducer pinging probably meant that the output section of the circuit got fried.  Calling Lowrance we did a hard reset with no results so was resigned to send it to their service center in San Diego with a 7 - 10 day average turn around.  This would really cut it close so it went overnight.  Well, late last night I got a shipment confirmation in the e-mail, I should have it back by Friday.  Now I wonder what the heck, maybe I missed something, I guess we will  see next week.  Anyway we are back on schedule for sure!  My friend Lory helped me with the calibration of my trolling motor board, that went pretty simple.  He's a great guy to have around as he and his wife helped me make 9 quarts of my famous salsa on Tuesday night, no simple task and it was pretty humid.  It's a busy weekend and is also my 1 year anniversary of totalling out my motorcycle.  I still haven't decided how much I miss it yet with everything moving so fast these days, not much.  Hopefully I can get out fishing if there's anyone around!  

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