Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Drought Continues

Charlie dancing with his lovely daughter
Wee, it's hard to believe that I haven't been out in the boat for a month now, time has been taken up with my mother, having the boat at the dealers, and this week a wedding of my good Friend Charlie Teasley's daughter Morgan.  Normally this week would have been where I take off a day and Chuck and I go fishing on Mille Lacs.  We have done this for maybe 15 years now however we both decided that attending the wedding was as important as fishing so on Monday my wife and I headed up to Alexandria to the bible camp they always stay at to a celebrate.  Morgan is a wonderful girl and has found the perfect mate in Jim, her new husband.  He is a bonifide river rat and we had a great discussion about catfishing for blues and flatheads on the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers down by St. Louis, Missouri, we even discussed the possibility of going down and fishing with him sometime, maybe Jug fishing for catfish, which sounds like a blast!  He also fishes for snapping turtles and claims he can clean one in about 15 minutes, which is pretty incredible.  I had a great time talking about the opportunities to fish in a different area of the country as I used to love to catfish back home.  This week's picture isn't of fish but of Charlie dancing with his daughter, a very proud moment for Charlie and his daughter Morgan.  Chuck said that it was worth giving up for sure and I definitely would have to agree with him.  I do miss fishing with him but maybe next year for sure. Morgan is a very pretty young lady and has no problem speaking her mind as the pastor officiating the service acknowledge, and so did she!!  I also got to spend some time with Dan Hoene, another friend of Chucks who often fishes with us.  Dan is a great guy and if fun to hang around with.  Both Dan and Chuck have had issues with their hips and legs and both exhibit extraordinary courage for sure.

Connection of motor to Lowrance HDS
Last Friday I helped my friend Bruce Wiley connect his new Xi5 Motorguide trolling motor to his Lowrance HDS 7 touch.  His boat was in Garrison, MN so we headed up around noon and started working on it about 2:00. His neighbor and friend Wayne mounted the motor and wired in the NMEA network so I connected it all and fired it up.  There were a few things I needed to fix first but when I did fire it up the depth finder did recognize that there was something there but I kept getting a Not connected error message.  One of the problems with the Lowrance HDS networks is they can be quite complicated and it can take a while to figure out how everything works, or should work when setting up.  Running out of patience on trying to get the Lowrance to connect to the Motorguide gateway I finally called the Motorguide help line and they walked me through the steps in the Lowrance menu to look for the Gateway, connect and to start using it.  Because I know something about what I am doing it took less than 3 minutes and a few buttons pushed and we were all set.  Launching the boat in his lake te motor preformed flawlessly!  Now when we are at Lac Seul, Bruce will enjoy the same convenience of electronically being anchored rather than having to manually drop and anchor, lift it up, reset, and dealing with the anchor slipping.  The Motorguide will hold your position within 5 feet of where you set it and there are a bunch of really nice finite controls like moving in any direction in 5 foot increments.  I am anxious to see it at work the next time we head to Lac Seul which looks like it will be on September 13.

I am finally getting out on Sunday as one or our engineers at work, Kam, asked me if I would take him and his brother fishing this weekend.  Of course!!! I have been waiting for someone to step up to the plate and ask me to go fishing.  I do plan on getting my jon boat ready to go and I do have to back and visit my mom soon as well, pick some blueberries as my brother steve said they were beautiful last week.  So much to do, so little time, oh well.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Got My Boat Back

Structure scan images.
Back a few months I picked up a new item for my boat electronics, Structure Scan 3D.  I had the standard Structure Scan however my electronics were capable of displaying the bottom in this mode so I thought I would make the upgrade.  Here is the description from the Lowrance Website:  Lowrance StructureScan® 3D allows anglers to see fish, structure and bottom contour in a stunning three-dimensional view. StructureScan® 3D imaging scans underwater terrain and fish-holding structure to create a high-resolution, 180-degree, three-dimensional view beneath your boat.  With this unique imaging view, anglers gain a better understanding of where fish and structure are located in relation to their boat. The picture-like, three-dimensional views are displayed on the Lowrance HDS Gen3 series of fishfinder/chartplotters, when used in combination with the StructureScan 3D Skimmer® transducer and module.  Because I am now taking my boat to Canada more often I felt this might be a great addition to my electronics for exploring new areas, especially with the capability of side scanning a fairly large area.  The problem is that the transducer module is different than my existing one where as it has 2 output connectors and an over molded area in the cable that would require me to drill the hole where it passes through my boat much larger than the existing one. I figured it would be easier to just have someone who has done it before to install.  I picked up my boat on Friday after delaying a few weeks (My latest invitation to Lac Seul forced me to reschedule) and I have to admit Frankie's did a fabulous job as always.  It would have been a real pain to snake the transducer cable through the gunnel although I have done it before as I get older maybe I am just getting lazier!  My biggest fear was enlarging the through hole and having the appropriate cover to make it look good. They did that just perfect for me an I am ready to go.  One problem for me is I pretty much empty out my stuff in the boat before dropping it off, you never know who's lurking around.  It also gives me a chance to get reorganized somewhat.  Besides not ready to fish, there were storms around on Saturday and I had to go see my Mom on Sunday, she's having a hard time at 82 with her health............a good reminder for those who smoke, it will catch up to you!  Anyway it also gave us a good opportunity to stop at Blueberry Ridge just north of Eleva and pick about 4 gallons (20 pounds) of blueberries, they are delicious.  Last year the crop was essentally froze out but Mark and Andrea Nyseth have a bumper crop this year.  It doesn't take too long to pick an ice cream bucket of nice plump blueberries and at $1.95/pound, not a bad deal either.  Mark and I keep talking about taking him and his son up to Mille Lacs, after the season gets done!  Talk is always cheap.

Dave Grant and a nice Largemouth
So Bruce always says that Lac Seul spoils a guy and there is no reason to fish anywhere else. Well I understand what he's saying but there's plenty of fish to be caught around home however going up to Lac Seul is a 5 day adventure and it's tough getting everything done these days. This is the time of year I normally am starting to fish the river however because of the recent heavy rains across Minnesota, the Mississippi River behind my house is pretty high for this time of year.  It looks like it could be a while before the water clears up and slows down a little bit.  The Mille Lacs bite is still going but my list is pretty long of the things I need to do and obigations that I have to make.  For instance, Normally I will fish with Chuck Teasley, my friend from Illinois however this year his daughter is getting married at the Bible Camp that they come to each year (Charlie sneaks out and we usually fish Mille Lacs for a day) however this time we will head up to Alexandria and attend the wedding.  I did get invited back to Lac Seul for a mid September trip and I am looking forward to heading back for sure.  This leave me with only one story, that of my good friend Mike Grant's boy David Grant.  Not only does he have a great first name but he loves to fish as I have been prodding his dad to get with the program and get them to go out with me.  This is a big issue for me, finding people that want to fish is getting harder and harder.   Well Dave and I exchange important e-mails every so often and he sent this picture to me, a nice largemouth bass caught in a Maple Grove, MN lake.  I asked him but he hasn't responded however it did remind me of fishing Weaver Lake in Maple Grove and I just hammered the bass on that lake.  In fact that lake is where I learned to fish plastic worms for bass,  Unfortunately I dumped on of my rods over the side of the boat so I marked the spot and went back the next day with a big hook and setup to try and snag it.  Unfortunately a guy had previously murdered his wife, cut her up, stuffed her in plastic garbage bags and dumped her in Weaver Lake.  This was going on while I was trying to snag my rod using large treble hooks and weights.  My friends speculated what I might catch but fortunately the only thing I got besides weeds was my rod plastic garbage bags with human parts stuff inside, thank God!  Anyway I am hoping to get out with Dave sometime soon and maybe he can show me some of his secret spots!!

My goals this week are to get the boat completely put back together however I will have to go back home to Eleva this weekend to take care of a few things for mom.  By the time you read this I should have already helped my friend Bruce fire up his new trolling motor/anchor system just in time as he heads back to Lac Seul soon.  My garden is awfully weedy, the sprinkler system just broke, I need to get my jon boat ready for the river, it never ends! Hopefully I can find some time to get out soon.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Quiet Weekend

Andrew Pedersen's friend Matt Payne and a nice catfish
Spending 5 days in Canada last week generally means things are delinquent around home so last week was spent getting caught up as well we had some pretty heavy rains on Sunday, especially north of us.  I talked to my friend David Pedersen and told me that the Adam's Creek Bridge just north of Eleva washed out but that the Dam in Eleva has withstood the deluge, unlike a few years ago when heavy rains washed out the dam. while talking to Dave asked about the other rivers around the area and he claimed his son Andrew and a friend went down the Chippewa River in a small boat fishing catfish.  I told Dave that it was interesting, I had received a notification of a post on Andrew's Facebook of them getting a nice catfish on the river so I decided to post it this week since I haven't been out.  It reminded me of the days when my dad, Danny Van Pelt, Art Kelley, and Vic Wenaas use to take us with when they went catfishing on the Chippewa River where the Eau Claire River dumped into it in Downtown Eau Claire, Wisconsin.  Those days were a lot of fun as we would put a hunk of chicken liver on a hook with a big sinker to hold it on the bottom and away we go.  The Chippewa River has no dams below Eau Claire so the catfish would make their way up from the Mississippi River to spawn.  It was a great place to catfish, big water and nice catfish like this one.  I personally don't know Matt Payne however any friend of Bi Dave's boys is a friend of mine.  Thanks Andrew for bringing back a lot of memories of years past!  I would have to admit that Art Kelley or Victor would be awfully proud of that fish!

Motorguide Pinpoint anchor function
Monday I brought my boat into Frankie's to have my Structure Scan 3D transducer installed.  I had some other minor work that need to be done like a possible recall on the motor, I ordered some new bearing hub covers, and a new cover for my spare trailer tire.  Lowrance came out with a new 3D structure scan and it looks very interesting.  Not that I necessarily need it, this device could come in very handy in Canada when searching for new areas to target walleyes.  It's like anything else however, it will take some time to get to learn it but maybe............just maybe it will make me a better fisherman in locating those elusive walleyes!  Also this week I finished helping my friend Bruce Wiley in his decision to modernize his anchoring function on his boat.  I have the Motorguide i5 trolling motor with an anchor position function.  Simply arrive at your desired spot and push the anchor button on the remote control and the electric motor will hold you in a position plus or minus 5 feet, that's pretty accurate!  Also if you want to change your position slightly you can simply push any of the forward, back, right, or left buttons and the boat will move in that direction 5 feet and hold. Punch the forward button 4 times and it will go 20 feet then hold.  It's great in Canada where we fish rock points and humps and you want to move around alot.  My first year wasn't so good as usually the second day the motor would go haywire and wrap itself up.  Motorguide sent me out a software dongle to plug into the motor to update the software.  That has seemed to really take care of the problem.  Anyway fishing next to Bruce is painful as unless he has Wayne in his boat I see him running the motor and resetting the anchor.  With his new motor he can simply deploy it and us the remote from his seat or from the display on his Lowrance and control his anchor position.  I think he's tired of me giving him crap but admittedly my method is significantly more practical and easy, but certainly isn't as cheap!  I am sure that I will be giving some lessons on Lowrance HDS and Motorguide Technology soon!

Blueberry Picking time has arrived in Eleva so we may go down this weekend to get a few pails or so. As you see I have been talking to Big Dave and he states that the Adam's creek bridge on highway 93 was washed out just north of Becker's place so getting into Eleva requires a trip through the backroads, something I still remember.  Probably will pick up the boat on Friday and see if I can get out, if not Mille Lacs, maybe the River yet I am concerned about the level as we have got alot of rain lately.  Also it would be good to stop by and congratulate Frankie and Deb on being named Ranger Dealer of the year at this week's dealer meetings.  They always treat me special and that explains why I have dealt with them exclusively since 1989.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Big Fish on Lac Seul

John Schley and his 30" walleye
As stated last week my brother Steve and I got a last minute invite from Bruce to head to Lac Seul to fish the last 3 days of his time at the cabin.  We decided to drive up to Sioux Lookout on Tuesday, stay overnight at the Best Western, then meet Bruce at the Deception Bay Landing at 6:30, Wednesday morning and follow him out to the outpost cabin.  Steve drove up from Onalaska, Wisconsin and picked me up at 9:30, we hooked my boat to his truck and were off. Deciding to buy a couple bottles of Crown Royal at the Duty Free Shop in International Falls, MN, we got to the border and answered all of the questions directly and politely.  When asked how much liquor we had, I stated 1 case of beer, 1 bottle of wine, and 2 bottles of Crown,  the officer handed back our passports, smiled and said, have a nice day!  Definitely things were looking up at that point. We arrived at Sioux Lookout at 6:30, checked into the hotel, then walked across the street for a burger and Budweiser, $12 Canadian.  After 9 hours it was nice to get out and walk around. Wednesday morning arrived right on time and we headed back to the bait shop for a parking sticker, some large minnows, and a hat for my friend Glen.  Arriving just in time, Bruce was there waiting for us as we loaded everything in and headed north by water.   Bruce was there to drop some guys off and pick up his father-in-law and brother-in-law, John and Greg Schley from the Garrison, MN area. There were 2 things that needed fixing before we left, first none of my electronics would turn on and secondly Bruce is trails on his had disappeared.  Pulling a panel off I must have had a bad connection as a few wiggles and everything fired up and stayed that way throughout the trip.  Luckily I had downloaded Bruce's previous data to a SD card and had it with me.  I put it into his HDS and uploaded the information, he was back in business.  Having the old and correct routes is important to safely get back to camp and we were both happy everything was working good.  It takes about an hour to get to camp and as usual, Bruce had arranged a safe dockage for my boat. Once unloaded we headed out to Tuk Bay and started really hitting the walleyes. Unfortunately the storms rolled in as it is nice to have the Sirius/XM/Weather module so we could track the lightening that we saw to the west.  Barely making it back to camp, it is a 10 mile boat ride and it started to rain as we docked.  After and hour it cleared up so we headed back to Tuk, fished a while before the same scenario repeated itself and we headed back in at around 3:00.  Deciding to fish a little closer to camp we headed north and fished the point on the north end of Chamberlain Narrows, it happened again
Selfie of my 24 incher
and we were forced in.  Enough is enough so we decided to stick around as it was about time for cocktail hour and supper.  Thursday morning arrived and we decided to take John with us in my boat as we headed to Wapesi Bay.  We got plenty of fish there but admittedly it was pretty cold, maybe in the mid 40's, Bruce claimed it's never been that cold this time of the year.  Of course we were not dressed for this weather so it was nice to put on the rain gear, at least it kept the wind off.  We did pretty well in Wapesi, not a record day but it was fun to have John in the boat, someone different and being 83, Steve and I really catered to him.  We had fried walleye on Wednesday night and again on Thursday, and had steak on Friday night.  This allowed us to properly manage our possession limits of fish to stay legal and be able to bring some home.  Friday we decided that Tuk was a better option for fish and as we headed out John asked if he could go with us again....of course.  He was a pleasure to have in the boat and at his age did really well.  We made sure that he always had a sharp jig, a minnow on the hook, and was comfortable.  He was rewarded with a beautiful walleye, 30 inches, the biggest walleye ever to grace my boat!!  I don't know if that was his biggest walleye ever but it is a once in a lifetime fish and it definitely gave us some bragging rights, after all who was guiding him!!  I had bought some clickers to tally how many fish we really catch and at 1:00 we had over 60 fish for the 4 hours we had been out but as usual, the bite tends to slow down around noon.  Our goal was to get 100 fish in the boat so we headed north from where we were as I scanned the points for active fish on my depthfinder.  We noticed some about a mile up from where we started and activated the anchor. Immediately we began catching fish and by 4:00 we had caught an additional 43 walleyes to give our grand total of 103 caught in the 7 hours we were out.  Not bad as people say they get 100 fish a day but that is not necessarily and audited number.  We worked hard for that total and looking back it was a pretty special day, John got his 30 incher plus contributed his share of the 103 walleyes caught, the weather was nice, and we had enough fish so everyone could bring home their limit, perfect if you ask me.  It was a pleasure to help John and I can only hope that I will be fishing at that age.

Friday night was Steak night and it's usually my responsibility to prepare and cook them.   Bruce complained that the ribeyes are too big so this time I brought a whole tenderloin and cut them accordingly.  With my usual Tabasco Sauce/Buffalo wing sauce marinade they turned out perfect as everyone really likes them.  We even had a chuck of meat left over that we gave Sam, the camp guy that gets us minnows and helps with everything.  He thought that was pretty good.  I also met some interesting guys, as I arrive in camp I saw some boats with a WS license, from Wisconsin.  Asking where they were from they said Eau Claire and I fired back Eleva.  Here it was Denny Zacko and his sons and grandsons, they go every year.  I went over to talk with the and we had a good discussion about boats, Eau Claire, and my Evinrude G2 motor.  Also next door to us in a cabin was a gentlemen with his 4 boys, they were from Northern Illinois.  Bob, his twin boys Cary and Ben, younger son Adam and their older brother, it was nice to see the younger generation and a family enjoying them selves.  Saturday morning was our day to head out and we left camp by 7:00.  It was glass smooth and John decided why change now and hopped in the boat with Steve and I for the 1 hour, 15 minute ride back.  We loaded the boat up and headed south for the 8.5 hour ride back to civilization.  My brother Steve agreed to pull my boat with his truck and he did pretty well averaging 12 miles to the gallon.  My truck gets about 10.5 in the same scenario.  I am sure Mille Lacs is still hot so maybe this weekend.  It's also time to think about fishing the river as I need to get the Jon Boat out and running soon.