Thursday, April 27, 2017

Getting Ready for the Season

catalpa/chartreuse Pulse R soft bait
It's been a busy last 2 weeks, since Easter.  On the same day (April 18th) that my mother passed away, our good friend Jim Carlson had passed away hours earlier.   His funeral was last Monday so we left my mom's funeral to head back up to the cities to attend his family memorials.  Jim was the brother-in-law to my really great friends Mark and Jack Taylor.  He was also a Lutheran pastor and I was instrumental in helping him get the pastor's job in my home town of Eleva, Wisconsin.  Jim's wife Linda is Mark and Jack's sister and my wife and I would always get invited to their family get together's as they were our family here in Minnesota.  Jim's funeral was Monday and we were honored when the family asked us to walk up with them as part of the family.  It was also nice to see both Dennis and Linda Barneson as well as Gary and his wife, Karen, I had just seen them on Saturday at my mothers funeral.  On Tuesday I flew down to Chicago with my production Manager, Rich Rebella, to attend the spring TTA meeting for 3 days.  I really enjoy getting together with my fellow members of our industry, we fished together last December at our fall meeting then again in late March when we all met at APEC.  Quite honestly I am anxious to just try and relax for  a few days but we all know that is going to be hard to accomplish as there is not much time between now and fishing opener.  One thing I have enjoyed is watching the In Depth Outdoors video of the host catching walleyes one the Rainy River a few weeks ago.  Here is the link to one of their latest videos that uses these Pulse R's Here  One of their baits, which I have found to be quite productive on Lac Seul is the BFishN AuthentX Pulse R soft plastics as it has a unique tail action that can be fished quite slow.  After watching the video I just had to order their new color, Catalpa/Chartreuse as it should be a real good color in the stained waters of Lac Seul.  I am bound and determined to catch a walleye on Leech Lake on one of these!

Long Day Onions planting guide
Monday evening I  picked up my onions from Andy Stevens, an engineer that used to work with us. Here is a video explaining Long day onions as many people don't understand how to get the results most people would like to see. Dixondale Farms from Texas does and excellent job of providing the right type of onion sets to assure a great crop this fall. Every year we order onions together, the right kind for our area.....Long Day onions,  Because of our long days (> 14 hours) in the growing season, you need the right ones.  As well I stopped by Beiswinggers Hardware to pick up some drive belts for my dad's old Honda Tiller. I go them on and tilled up a good chunk of the garden Tuesday night before I left.  I definitely need to get the onions and potatoes planted before fishing season starts.  If possible I'd like to get the boat out this weekend for a trial run before opener.  Although I am sure it will be just fine it's still good to try and get familiar with the new equipment before I get out on the lake.

I am writing this at the Chicago Skyclub waiting for my plane ride home.  I hear it's been cold up north, hopefully my apple blossoms are going to be ok.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The End of An Era

My mom, Betty Anderson
Tuesday, April 18th was my Mother's 83rd Birthday.  At 4:00 on that day she passed away from COPD, I probably don't need to elaborate the causes.  It marks and end of an Era, for 52 years my parents home was home, things never stay the same. My dad met my mother Betty in Milwaukee back in the early 1950's when after he finished his stint in the Air Force he went to work at the Schlitz Brewing Company.  There he met my uncle Lee Ystad who was married to my mother's sister, Dorothy.  I am sure that Lee told my dad that my wife has a good looking sister you should meet, and the rest is history! Married in 1954, they  lived with my Grandparents (Dad's Parents) for a while and I can only imagine how that went.  Mom, being from Milwaukee was a city girl and was sort of a tough gal!  Meanwhile my grandmother was a church going, small town woman, just the opposite of mom.  Well, they prevailed and eventually mom adapted to living in Eleva, a town of 465 back then.  She was the disciplinarian in our family as it never was........"Wait till your Dad get's home" rather she, and I would have to say very effectively, could dish out whatever the punishment needed to be and it was usually with her favorite weapon of choice, the fly swatter!  She knew how to use it and it was interesting as we were pretty settled down by the time Dad got home.  She eventually got a job at the local Grocery Store as a general stocking help and cashier.  In a small town everyone knows you and where you came from so everyone knew mom for sure. I find it very interesting that Mom did not have a driver's license until she was in her 50's, and even so, she never really drove at all.  I know she let her license lapse and really never wanted to drive.  She was a pretty woman up to the end and actually looked young for her age.  I remember when I was in my late teens people would often ask if I was her younger brother.  Yet she did not like her picture taken and was quite adamant about that, enough that it got me in trouble many times.  This is a picture taken about 10 years ago, she would be upset that I even published it here however I am proud of her and like to brag about her (This is where I got my good looks from!).  She was an interesting person, quite independent in many ways and quite dependent in others. Admittedly we were not a hugging, kissing, family, maybe to some it would
Mom and Dad at their 25th Wedding Anniversary
appear we were quite cold.  That's the way it was. 2 weeks before my father died (August 2, 2011) I sat on the couch with him and finally got the courage to say.....Dad, I never really told you this but I wanted you to know that I love you. Well his comeback was straight and to the point......Dave, when we were kids, we never had to say that to our parents as we just knew!  That was it, end of story!  Wow, I had to think about it for a while but vowed to start telling it to mom every time I talked to her.  After 56 years of silence I believe it changed her as she always responded to that positively.  Sitting with my brothers Steve and Blake, and Sister Beth, they gave each one of us a hand written note she had wrote and requested they be given out to each of us upon her death.  Mine says:  "Dear David,  I's so proud of what you turned out to be.  I can't thank you enough for all that you have done for me.  You take good care of me.  You have always been so hardworking, I remember when you were 12 and started working a garage after school.  You would stay there working until late at night.  Growing up you always helped me and as and adult, I always knew if I needed anything you were only a phone call away.  I love you so much! Love, Mom  The was a star at the end and another statement:  Look up at the stars and know that I am with you.  For that shining star you see is me watching you from above."   Uffda, pretty hard to top that.  Of course we all read ours out loud and between the tears we exclaimed, where did this come from!!!  From an amazing lady, one who was plucked from her world, hauled up to a foreign place, raise 5 kids, and found her real home.  Those who are reading this please consider, it's not to late to tell those who are special to you that you love them.  It's amazing what the results can be!! Love you mom.  Here is her obituary.
My new iTroll Kicker Motor Controller

So it's full speed ahead with our Opening fishing event.  I brought my boat in a couple weeks ago to Frankie's and they called, come pick it up!  I got the iTroll and remote steering installed as well, they did a number of warranty issues that I did not expect.  The tongue jack on the trailer was almost impossible to crank and the outboard engine had a few recalls that needed to be updated, a cover and the engine software.  I also had them install a timer on my baitwell aerator pump as it drove me crazy that it ran all the time. The iTroll is and interesting device as it precisely controls the speed of my Evinrude 9.8 hp kicker motor that I have been trying to use for trolling presentations.  It is a special servo motor connected to the throttle that allows you to adjust the throttle in small increments to get just the right speed.  It was difficult to set this using the shift lever to get the right speed.  As stated it was a bear to steer and the new Panther Martin remote steering should make trolling crankbaits and breeze!  I can't wait to try it on Minnesota Opener in a few weeks as I have a feeling the shallow water #5 Shad Rap bite will be pretty hot!  I will definitely give you a full report.  Now I need to find the time to get the boat in the water and try everything out as well as reorganize things, put the rods and tackle back in the boat, the list never ends.  As well the yard needs work and I am in Chicago next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  It's going to be a crazy next 4 weeks!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Ice Out

Ice out days for Mille for the Past 39 Years
When the ice has melted off a lake here in Minnesota, we traditionally call the event Ice Out.  It's a real big deal as most of our lakes have been frozen over since December and it marks the beginning of a new year of open water fishing.  The most notable lakes are the large ones like Lake Mille Lacs and Leech Lake as it sets the stage for what the fishing conditions might be for this years Minnesota Fishing Opener on May 13th.  An early ice out usually means that the spawn will have been completed and the traditional 2 to 3 weeks of recovery will be over so the fish tend to bite better. This is not always the case but can provide a good indicator of how the fishing will be.  I feel that Mille Lacs Lake is the one who's ice out sets the tone for the state.  Ice out is often defined as when someone can drive a boat unimpeded from Garrison, MN on the Northwest corner of the lake to Isle, MN which is in the Southeast corner of the lake.  The average date for the ice to leave Mille Lacs is April 27.  The earliest on record was March 26, 2012 and the latest on record is May 14, 2013 so you see there is little correlation from year to year.  Early ice out means and early spawn and the bite is usually better by fishing opener but that's
2017 MN Ice out map
not always the case.  In 2008 we still had ice on Leech Lake at opener, it wasn't officially declared Ice Out however we could get our boats into the harbor at the resort and fish the part of the lake that was open and it was absolutely fabulous!  I remember scooping up ice from the lake for the coolers however even with the cold water, fishing was excellent.  So much for that theory!  Admittedly we caught a lot of 15 - 17 inch fish which tend to be males and that makes sense.  This year's early Ice Out on Leech Lake should bode well for our 44th Annual Team Walleye opener.  The walleyes should be done spawning by May 1 and by the 13th they should really have the feedbag on.  Unfortunately the early ice out on Mille Lacs means the pre spawn netting starts.  Interesting as there will only be a catch and release season on Mille Lacs this year however when the lake was iced over till May 14th, that year we had a record spawn and the lake is just full of 14 - 16 inch walleyes............perfect for the gill nets.  It's sad but there is little one can do.   With the Minnesota Walleye Opener about 4 weeks away now things are looking like it could be a fantastic opener this year.  Time will tell!

Limit of 23 - 27 inch walleyes from Lake Erie this week.
The boat finally got dropped off at Frankie's on Friday for some minor but critical work.  First the kicker motor has to get worked on as it hardly started toward the end of last year.  The kicker is a 9.8 hp Evinrude 4 stroke made by Tohatsu and it's a nice engine when it runs!  Apparently the EPA regulations for these types of motors requires them to run so lean that they are difficult to get started again, and mine was no exception!  There are some "secret" adjustments that can be made to get them to run better.  As well they will change the oil, add what is known as an I troll to help control the throttle better, along with a new remote control electric steering for the motor.  This might be overkill however I am anxious to have better control over my trolling methods.  Another thing which is getting done is and aerator timer on my bait well.  In Canada the baitwell in my boat is indispensable as it makes getting minnows a heck of a lot easier than grabbing the minnow bucket from over the side every time.  The problem is the aerator in the bait well runs constantly,  I would like a timer that runs for a minute then rests for 5 as one doesn't need it running all the time.  Other things that are happening, my friend Bill Lundeen is up in Duluth fishing Lake Superior.  He usually is in Arizona at this time driving his mom back to Onamia but she didn't go this year and both he and Kathy need a break!  Also my friend Kevin Aiona and his son Ben are at Lake Erie pre fishing the upcoming Cabela's National Walleye Tournament, on Lake Erie the 11th and 12th of this week.  Ben texted me a picture of their limit of 8 walleyes in the 23 to 27 inch class.  His biggest was 31 inches and I don't know why he wouldn't send me THAT picture but it's OK, I'm sure it will turn up somewhere.  

Easter Weekend is coming up and often it occurs around my mothers birthday.  Unfortunately these days she is not doing so good but I am pretty sure she will be around to see her 83rd birthday. I am sure I will be spending time with her this weekend and hopefully will have a good time as I don't think she has too many more in her.  I did spend last Sunday with my brother Steve at mom's visiting and helping him rig up an HDS 12 on his Lund boat.  We moved his existing HDS 8 up to the bow and set up the boat so he could network them together.  He is thinking about getting a Motorguide i5 like I have so we are expanding his NMEA 2000 network to handle that as well.  He is getting pretty set up with updated electronics, a SonicHub audio server, the Motorguide, maybe a Point One GPS receiver.  Looks like I have lots to continue doing for him as he, along with my sister Beth, have done and outstanding job taking care of mom.  God Bless them!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Watching the Ice Melt

View from the Deck
It's time to get caught up with everything that has been waiting for the warmer weather to show itself. Actually it's been pretty nice here in Minnesota, the frost is already out and because of the lack of snow we really don't have any high water to deal with.  Most of the lakes up to Mille Lacs have experienced ice out and the Mille Lacs Webcam shows that Mille Lacs isn't that far behind.  It's been a week since I've been back from Naples and I have been enjoying eating the grouper that I brought home.  I must have had 20 pounds of fish fillets in my cooler, it was good that I turned down the refrigerator in my hotel room as the bags of fish were partially frozen when I packed them, the survived the trip quite well and are delicious!  Although last weeks post dealt with the fishing aspect of my trip, one of the things that was interesting is the experiences with my friends down in Tampa/Naples.  First was our accommodations while staying in Naples, we had the pleasure of being with my friend Glen and Tim in his Naples beach house.  A beautiful property right to the beach, it was wonderful to get up in the morning and have coffee on the deck and look out on the Gulf of Mexico, while listening to the gentle waves lapping up on the beach.  Tim is one of the most generous person's you'll ever meet and both Matt Davis (My friend from Dallas) and I certainly appreciated the hospitality shown to us. Matt and  had the pleasure to sleep in what is deferred to as "The Honeymoon Suite".  Although it had a couple of twin beds, it was right on the ground floor and the air conditioner was loud enough to drowned out any snoring that either him nor I would hear.  From Tim's house one could walk right on the sand beach where it was covered with shells and as you see in the picture, guys would actually
Joe's 58 foot boat.
surf fish off the property.  I never saw them catch anything however they must get something or what would be the point?  The next surprise was when we arrived back in Tampa to attend our APEC convention I finally ran into my dear friend Joe Stanfield from Dallas.  We attempted to get him to come fishing with us however he had lots of things to do and when we got into town it was obvious!  The Tampa Convention Center is located right on the waterfront and they had some docks where you could rent a spot to park your boat.  Well Joe decided to drive his boat up directly to those docks and use it for his accommodations during the show.  APEC is an interesting conference as it attracts some of the best and brightest electrical engineers and our company exhibits at that show, we have for at least 20 years.  Actually I had the pleasure of meeting Joe at the Cincinnati Coil Winding Show at least 20 years ago and we have been friends ever since.  Joe arranged our Cameron, Louisiana fishing trip a few years back and we never plan anything without including him in on the event.  When I first saw Joe he had let his hair grow out, I had to make a snide comment but it was sure good to see him again.  After the show was finished on Monday night he invited myself and my engineers onto his boat for an evening cocktail which was awesome.  The boat is a 58 foot yacht and quite the rig and is named appropriately "Daddy's Money"  Because it was on my way to the convention center every morning from the hotel, I would stop in and have coffee.  On Wednesday we took a little cruise up the river in his 16 foot dingy he had as his smaller boat to get around if needed. It is always the highlight of my trip to see Joe and this year was no exception.

Mike's nice norther at Lake Abram, Sioux Lookout Ontario
Well, there was still fishing going on as another good friend of mine, Mike Grant, went up to Canada for a later season Ice Fishing trip with some of his friends.  I knew he was going a few weeks ago so I volunteered the use of my Vexilar, a few nice and sturdy ice rods, and my bait collection.  His destination was Lake Abram, just out of Sioux Lookout and not to far from where I go fishing on Lac Seul.  The lake is famous for it's lake trout and nice northern pike and Mike promised me some pictures if he was lucky enough to catch something. So here is Mike with a very nice northern, at  least in the 15 pound class.  He also caught a nice lake trout and a whitefish and claims that although it wasn't a good day, it really helped to have my Vexilar showing him where the fish were and when to expect that thump.  I am really glad he got out and someday maybe he will let me horn in on his trip!  I can tell you that it certainly has the juices flowing for the opener.  Speaking of fishing opener, Team Walleye has been working hard to get ready as we finished ordering our hats for this year.  We are only 6 weeks away and the weekend after that I will be heading to the Ontario fishing opener with my friends.  There are a lot of things that need to get done, the boat needs to be brought up to Frankies for some work on the kicker motor as it is the worst starting outboard motor I've ever had.  I am adding a remote control steering to it as it can be damn near impossible to steer otherwise.  I wanted to get a bimini top for the boat however it looks like the place is tied up till June of this year, uffda!   The yard needs work, the sprinkler system needs tuning up, the garden has to be tilled up, trees dug out and replanted..........the list goes on and on!  Oh well.