Thursday, June 22, 2017

The End is in Site!

Jon Bathke's 30+ inch walleye on Mille Lacs
Well, the end appears to be in reach on my boat situation.  As of today it's been 29 days since she's last been in my garage however it looks like it is ready to pick up for my up coming trip to Lac Seul. I found out that the perpetrators of my disappearing electronics also destroyed the Sirius/XM Weather module on the boat and a new one had to be installed.  This will also require me to re initialize everything in order to get it to work.  I really like this feature as it overlays the weather on your GPS maps and will give out a warning if there is lightning near, a very nice feature, especially in Canada. The last thing needed is to replace the plastic panels that were heavily scratched in the removal process but honestly, things will operate just fine until the return from Lac Seul.  In the meantime I continue to miss the hot bite on Mille Lacs however my fishing buddies are taking full advantage of the bite, including my friend Jon Bathke.  I met Jon many years ago when he and his boss, Dave Johnson wanted to go fishing down by Alma, on the Mississippi River, and both myself and Kevin Aiona knew the area pretty well, so I took them.  That was probably in the early 1980's and we have been friends ever since.  Unfortunately Dave died in a tragic automobile accident just when the new highway 252 was opened, he was a great guy and loved to fish.  Jon has 2 daughters and he has been taking them to Mille Lacs since they were young girls.  We talked about the hot bit on Mille Lacs and he told me that him and one of his girls went up the other day and just slaughtered the fish.  I think it was over 40 fish with most of them in the 24 inch plus range.  His report mirrors a lot of reports that I and Bill Lundeen have been discussing and they don't necessarily bode well for the future of the 2017 walleye catching season on Mille Lacs.  You see it is strictly catch and release and on July 7 the lake will close down completely to walleye fishing with a planned reopening on July 27th as statistically the worse hooking mortality happens in July.  Personally I would like to see all live bait users relegated to circle hooks and limit the live bait rigs to 1 single hook only.  I have fished Alaska, South Carolina, and Florida for fish and circle hooks were required for proper fish release.  They do work great however take some getting used to as you can't just set the hook or you will pull it right out of their mouth, rather it takes a steady pull and the circle hooks simply rotate and catch the fish in the corner of their mouth every time.  I think I have mentioned this before, in Alaska halibut fishing one time, the captain would not even let us take the rods out of the rod holders until it was certain that the fish were hooked.  Simply reeling the line in worked to set the hook and it is very efficient.  I think, especially on the launches which bobber fish with leeches, this method would work wonders in preventing deep hooked walleyes, but of course, it's only my humble opinion and that doesn't seem to make much difference these days.

The other great news is the boat was ready to be picked up yesterday and the pole shed was getting
The Yellow connector was cut off
pretty lonely so off to Frankies.  After getting her home, the first thing was to check out and make sure everything worked.  One additional thing that got replaced was my Sirius/XM Weather module.  Not cheap at about $700 the perpetrators simple cut off the connector end making it virtually useless.  This meant that it needed to be programmed for the new unit so it was the first thing to do.  You see the walleyes on Lac Seul love Willies Roadhouse!  Well the satellite attached to the unit but no sound.  After a few minutes of deep thought, especially after the bluetooth worked, I decided to check the connections however they were ok.  It ended up that I needed to change the input designation in the units and Voila.....Sound.  The next thing was to make sure the trolling motor was attached to the network so I deployed it, nothing, no power, dead as a doornail.   Started tearing stuff apart before realizing to check the battery area, where there was a circuit breaker turned off, probably a safety precaution when working on the motor.  One quick flip and everything was fine.  Next was to connect the units to the Lowrance units, you know, it really is easy but you do it so little it's hard to remember what worked the last time.  Anyway, it got figured out and now I know how to fix Bruce's connection on his new HDS-9, that is if I can actually remember what I did! The other good news is my structure scan 3D does work now and I look forward to using it on Lac Seul.

With the two main electronic issues resolved the last thing left is to deploy the new bimini top, which looks great and I must say that Lake Area Canvas sis a great job.  I looked at the snaps that secure the side panels that were added to the side of the boat and my first thought was, I don't like this!  From a practical aspect it is necessary and after an hour of thinking about it, I guess it's ok as it's really the only way to do this.  Never the less, it's painful seeing things screwed into the boat!!!  So now it's a made scramble to get everything ready to head north to Lac Seul.  My friend Paul Wenaas just got back from there and I asked how the fishing was.  He stated it was great, they got a lot of fish in the 2 to 5 foot water depth.  WHAT?!?!?! Oh well, it is good to have some different information regarding this.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Ranger 620 Saga Continues

Empty Hole where my HDS12 used to be
On Friday Lisa at Frankies sends me an e-mail....Dave, we have a problem.......we are missing a few parts that we thought were part of what we ordered to fix your trolling motor and kicker motor however that is not the case and we had to reorder some parts.  Well, OK, it is supposed to be real windy on Saturday and on Sunday we had a family reunion in Eau Claire so even if I had the boat, it would be a stretch to be able to actually use it. Besides I also had an appointment with Lakes Area Canvas to have a bimini top custom made for the boat. on Monday June 12th. My goal was to have everything mechanical done by this Saturday and the top ready to go by June 23rd, in time for my next trip to Lac Seul with Bruce and Pete. Therefore I simply made the arrangement, I would pick up the boat on Monday, take it to the canvas place, when they are done, Frankie's can pick it up and bring it back to the shop, I will pick up the boat on Saturday morning, June 17th.  Seemed like a good plan. Well I get a call from John at the canvas shop on Tuesday morning, someone had broken into his "secured" area, got into my boat and ripped out both the console HDS 12 and the bow mounted HDS 9 however the 3rd HDS 9 that I had on the dash above where the 12 was mounted was pretty much unscathed as it had a gimble lock on it that takes time to figure out.  I ran up last night to assess the damage and took some pictures.I would definitely give a shout out to DuraSafe Locks.  Even when they tried to remove it, the lock held fast and the only damage to it was the gimbal mount itself, an easy thing to replace.  Of course instead of carefully twisting off the cable connectors, they apparently just cut them on the 12. The console is scratched up and I worry about how they are going to fix my glassed in transducer now that the connector end is cut.  I was concerned about some of the other things in the boat like my tackle boxes however those were left alone.  Although some people say you'd have got all new stuff, I have over 30 years of favorites accumulated and it would be difficult to think about restocking, especially those classics that just work.  I have plastics in there that just aren't made anymore but sure are the ticket for Lac Seul.  And of course does anyone know exactly how much stuff you have?!?!?

Previous location of my bow mounted Lowrance
The criminals only grabbed what they could easily pawn for money, leaving a lot of what I consider
nice stuff behind, thank the Lord! Because Frankie's has to put the trolling motor together as well as the kicker motor, it will be interesting to see if any parts are missing because these things simply were left apart in the boat. The thieves were somewhat more considerate with my front bow mounted HDS9 as they took the time to actually undo the cables. This means that only the yellow ethernet cable will need to be replaced. Of course the panel was broken and a new one needs to be ordered from Ranger but beyond the missing HDS9, it wasn't too bad in the bow section.  I was thinking about using tamperproof screws when mounting the new ones however someone made the point that they could do more damage that way, I guess it makes sense.  Luckily I removed all of my fishing rods and reels from the center compartment.  The rod storage holds at least 12 rods and at an average of $500 each, that would have made a bad situation even worse.  I guess there are worse things in this world but it seems like my luck is about reached a peak when it comes to the boat!

So, what else is exciting in the world of Fishin' With Dave?  Grandpa's tractor, the Ferguson TO-35 has not been running too good so I took off the carburetor and cleaned it however that made it even worse! Last week I took it off and sent it to Ohio to get rebuilt.  It arrived yesterday and I got it on, she started right up!  Ran perfect, the only thing I had to do was lower the idle screw to get it to idle at a slower speed.  With that I was able to grade my pole shed driveway enough to make it decent again.  That was a total relief as I couldn't even finish mowing the back acreage last fall.  You can be assured that only Non Oxygenated gas will be run through that thing going forward.  Now that we have received a lot of rain in the last few days, the grass is looking pretty good.  The garden is up, complete with potato beetles on the newly sprouted potato shoots.  Will I have the boat back this weekend, I really only care about June 23rd when I have confirmed a trip back to Lac Seul.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Boatless in Minnesota

From my Nephew, Kevin
Last Friday my dealer called to tell me that my kicker motor had water in the oil and a new seal kit needed to be installed, however it would not be done in time for the weekend fishing.  This seemed OK as I needed some quality time to get some stuff done around the house, as well I had a pretty good offer on Sunday.   Bill called me from Mille Lacs and asked if I could help him on Sunday. Seems like it would work out for all of us, my dealer could keep the boat over the weekend, I'd get the garden and other things finished, and Sunday I could head up and spend some time with Bill.  So Saturday I finished planting the garden, sprayed my apple trees with Sevin to chemically thin them out as they have a ton of apples on them, mowed, and attempted to clean the pole shed  (Good Luck with that!)  One of the nicest things that happened this week was my nephew Kevin texted me on Monday exclaiming that I should have something special in my receiving department so I left my meeting to check it out.  I pretty much figured what it was but upon opening the box only confirmed those suspicions, some Willamette Valley wines, a Pinot Noir and a Chardonnay, both very fine wines from one of the best Pinot Noir regions in the world.  He certainly knows how to tug at his Uncle's heart strings and I look forward to enjoying these soon as I added them to my wine cellar, never the less I'm always excited to have something from him.  I will definitely post how well these vintages are as I do like Oregon wines for sure!

So a quick update on the boat, uffda.  So Joe at Frankies has reportedly fixed the network system that
Wave Pro Air Adjustable boat pedestals
is been an issue from opener.  How in the heck did a seal on a new kicker motor go, well, I guess it's possible, let's hope this is under warranty!  The trolling motor bracket is the second one I've gone through so far.  When we returned from Canada a few week back my friend Bruce experienced some terrible back issues and landed in the hospital for a few days.  We got talking about different seat mounts to help balance the ride somewhat and he ended up with Smoothmoves, something that I was looking at since the Sportsshow, but a little research and I decided to go with the WavePro style.  They seem less bulky and Frankies carries them so it seemed a bit easier just to call and order a couple, which I did!  It should make those long rides into camp a whole lot easier.  It has an optional air pump that one can use to adjust the ride softness so I am sure it will take a little getting used to. The other reason to order from Frankie's is they have said that they sell a lot of these and knowing my Ranger, I am confident that they will do it right on the selection and install.  Maybe I am just getting more lazy these days, but it will be nice and if I do get my boat for this weekend, it's going to be windy on Mille Lacs so that would be a great way to test them out.  On Monday I get to bring my boat back in to get a Bimini top made for it.  I have never been one for a top however as I get older, protection from the sun and rain seem to make more sense, especially when we fish Lac Seul where it is mostly vertical jigging off the side of the boat.  This wheel boat stuff is hard to get used to after spending 36 years in a tiller type boat!

Sunday was spent at Lundeens helping him to get his rigs ready for some up and coming guide trips. We cleaned his big ProLine first, mounted some electronics, and started it before we moved to his 16 foot Lund that we used to crappie fish last fall.  He was installing Structurescan 3D so I helped him run the NMEA 2000 network as well as fishing the transducer cable up through the side of the boat. We had originally planned to take the big boat out on the lake but there was something wrong with the motor, so it was good that we got the smaller Lund taken care of first as he ended up using that for his trip.  The walleyes have really been biting on Mille Lacs with a report in Wednesday's paper that a Launch with 20 guys went out for 3.5 hours last week, caught and released 374 walleyes.  That's a lot of fish for sure.  There are rumors that I may be back on Lac Seul on June 24th, time will tell for sure!