Monday, August 28, 2017

Quiet Week

Jane Holtan and her HUGE Silver Salmon!
Actually it's really been busy, too busy to even write this week's post  on time but yet it's been awfully quiet around.  The weather has cooled down and it looks like it will be raining this weekend so time to get some of the things done around the house as well, get my boat ready for the next excursion to Lac Seul in 4 weeks.  The Ranger still has some work to be taken car of since a number of afflictions came upon it, namely the theft of my electronics where they destroyed the plastic panels as well my hydraulic steering still needs some adjustment.  The boat will go back to Frankie's on Monday where they can work on all of these issues and hopefully get her back like new before September 20th when we head up to Chamberlain Narrows.  I finally had lunch with Mike Worms and got him my old Ipod for his boat.  I am still struggling with getting my new 128 GB Ipod up and running but there are people at work who are smarter than me (and younger) who can help in this regard.  Because I don't have any latest and greatest pictures of me, I will defer to my friend Keith Holtan and the picture of his wife Jane holding an enormous silver salmon that she caught in the Kenai River last week.  I can tell that Keith has instructed Jane on the finer points of fish photography however even though you can do those things to make a fish look big, this is a big salmon.  Tricks of the trade are to hide your hands so as not to have a clear reference to the size, she does this very well, however the other is to hold it out a ways from your body and I suspect this fish is easily over 16 pounds (I let Keith comment!) so unless Jane has been lifting weights on her days off, I am pretty impressed! Of course my friends and Cousin Mark that are in Alaska keep sending these teases, maybe I'll just have to make one more trip next year, 2018 is an even year and the humpy's will be in.  Definitely food for thought!

So one thing we did last week was Lory Brasel and I went to Brainerd with our friend Kevin Sonsalla for our annual trip to BIR (Brainerd International Raceway) and the NHRA's stop on the National Drag Racing Circuit.  It is always a fun time unfortunately rain put a damper on most of the racing however we did get in a few ear shattering runs. Brainerd's track and location can make for record setting runs as the cooler weather is perfect for top fuel (Nitrous) funny cars and traditional rail type cars.  On friday the 18th the track set a new National Funny Car record by breaking the 3.80 seconds in the 1000 foot length (it use to be a 1/4 mile for these cars) by Robert Hight with a time of 3.793 seconds and crossing the line at 338 mph.  Think about that for a second!!!, in 3.793 seconds you go from standing still to 338 mph..........uffda is the only word I can think of.  It is fun and exciting to see these care go.  Lory took a video of 2 cars coming down the track and the one the right looses control and pulls in front of the car in the left lane.  That was certainly worth watching for sure. It's quite amazing watching these top fuel guys go down the track in no time flat.

As stated earlier, the boat got back at Frankie's this morning, getting the final touches on the insurance work that I had done from the time they ripped my cover off and removed my electronics. They damaged the plastic dash pieces and because the damage was cosmetic, I decided to not wait for this work to get done prior to my trip to Canada on June 24th.  Well if you don't stay on this stuff eventually no one ever has time to fix it! We already have plans for Lac Seul leaving on September 20th.  Some "not so above board" stuff has been happening with Mille Lacs Lake as the season for fishing walleyes will close coming weekend, it might be just the impetus to head up again, assuming my boat is done in time.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Lac Seul, Fisherman's Cove, Part 2

First prize, a 27.5 inch winning walleye!
With a week under the belt, it's given a me a great time to reflect on last week's trip and everything that went on.  This is my first week long fishing trip since the last trip to Alaska and like all great trips, they always seem to go too fast!  I have a lot of pictures so I figured it was a good idea to start with the best picture of the week, a 27.5 inch walleye that took the top prize for the biggest fish of the week between us.  As stated in the last post, Kevin collected $20 from each of us and did a great job of tracking our fish results for the week. The first award was who caught the first walleye of the trip, whereas we all parked within talking distance of each other on a mid-lake structure, with minnows on the jigs, the signal was given and we all dropped down.  Brother Steve won that award with the first walleye landed in the boat, he got his $20 back plus another $20.  Last weeks post showed my first entry for the next prize, the biggest fish however on Wednesday I added another 2 inches to that number which solidly (according to the Joyce brothers) put myself into first place.  It held and $20 went back in the wallet.  The next prize was for the 2nd biggest fish and cousin Paul ended up in a tie with Kevin so they split the winnings.  The last prize went to the highest average fish caught which went to the Worms brothers. Keeping with my humble self, it is not hard to see that 3 out of 4 prizes were generated out of my boat and if one were to be honest with  themselves, the Worms really jumped ahead of the game by fishing Dave's Hump, and area by a point called Lunker Ledge in which when were going to, I marked a hump (it turned out to be a long underwater point).  Although the point was good fishing, Dave's hump turned out to be a bonanza for the Worms as they killed the walleyes there on Wednesday morning, catapulting them into first place, however we were not far behind.  This in spite of the fact that Mike and Chris forgot to get minnows on Tuesday and had a big hole to fill.
A double!
Deciding to fish Dave's Hump, the hotspot I found, proved to be so successful our boat went there on Thursday morning and repeated their performance but alas, the slow bite the rest of the day prevented Team Anderson from wrapping up a clean sweep!  Of course this is the viewpoint of the writer and not necessarily those of Team Joyce or Team Worms. So for sake of being politically correct we either won all the prizes or had a significant hand in all the prizes won. Now it wasn't all big fish as the pressure was on  for brother Steve and Cousin Paul to step up to the plate.  Unfortunately while I was concentrating on bigger fish those two were showing off their fishing expertise with a double, 2 walleyes that if one combined the length it still would have to be released.  Notice Paul's walleye on the left, with the minnow still hanging from the jig, it gives you an idea of how aggressive these walleyes can get, take a bait that is 1/3rd it's length.  Oh well, the good news is they counted as a walleye caught so at least they were doing their part!

Chris Worms with a nice walleye
A little bit about our resort, Fisherman's Cove, it is right off the highway 105 that goes north from Vermillion Falls to Red Lake, Ontario.  It's quite a change from Lac Seul Outposts where one has to drive 37 miles over water to get to your destination, here you simply pull off the main highway and you are there.  The camp was very clean and the setup was very nice.  Checking in the owner gave us a bag with 12 dog treats and asked us to please, when their yellow lab comes begging, give him a dog treat instead of your scraps.  Makes sense and interesting enough, that dog would slowly (he was very old) climb the steps, sit down until he got a treat and would then get up and wander off to the next cabin to us.   My boat had a designated spot on the dock, complete with electricity right there, no long extension cords to deal with and had a label with Anderson on it to assure the same space every night. The fishing experience wasn't much different as we had to travel a ways from the camp every day, in this case we had to snake around the islands and channels to get to the main lake areas.  The trip computer on the Ranger had our mileage for the week at 224 (about 45 miles a day) and 69 gallons of gas used, which is more than we travel out of Chamberlain Narrows were we average about 180 miles for the duration however 75 of that is the trip in and out so we are averaging about 35 miles a day there, not much different.  I have found that if the boat gas tank is full (51 gallons) one can make it in, out, and fish 3 days without having to refuel.  At the Cove, 25 gallons of gas comes with the boat as part of the cost however considering that we stayed 6 nights and fished 5 days, I felt the cost was more than reasonable.  After the first 2 days we had enough trails on the Lowrance to allow us to pretty much be independent of the group with the ability to find our way back to camp safely.  Everyday we made sandwiches for our shore lunch, which I think is a much better idea than dragging out all the cooking stuff to have a "traditional" shore lunch of walleyes.  Manitoba Point was our favorite area and it was pretty nice. We all drove up into the sand
Mike Joyce and his amazing fish gripper!
beach while the back end of the boat stayed deep enough to safely back out.  The only issue is getting sand in my carpet, something I despise, however even with the best of precautions, I spent a lot of time vacuuming when I got home.  Getting out of the boat and sitting down for Lunch has it's advantages for sure and its a nice break in the day.  We would probably do that more on the east side but it is more difficult to find the perfect sand beach to park the boats on as the last time I did this in Tuk Bay I really gouged the bottom of my boat, not good.  It was funny that after beaching our boats on the sand point, the seagulls would start gathering on the big rock at the point itself, certainly looking for the evidence of a traditional shore lunch and the walleye carcasses that would usually accompany it.  Unfortunately about the only thing these birds got was a few scraps of potato chips yet they continued to be persistent in there hopes for an easy meal.  One of the great outcomes of these trips is the fact one can learn something and this one was no exception.  First of all, Mike Joyce had picked up a Rapala Fish Gripper from Fleet Farm.  This was slick as it really help prevent cuts from the gill plates of the walleyes when taking the hook out of these fish, my hands still show the scars.  So impressed, I pick up 3 of them last night, 2 for my boat (the guy in the front needs one) and 1 for my friend Bruce to use on our next trip.  The second most important thing was Low Gap Bourbon, Justin Joyce works at a local liquor distribution company and brought a bottle, it is amazingly good.  The third thing was they way Kevin had his dock bumpers protecting his boat, they were sideways and what a great idea.  The bumpers have a tie on each end and it sure works slick, something I will use on my next trip in September.  I am still not convinced on the Worm's Bud Lite Blue jig color but I still had to buy some just in case.  So the influence continues and hopefully I won't have to spend anymore money staying up to speed with these guys!

Friday is our annual trip to BIR (Brainerd International Raceway) for the NHRA's stop on the national drag racing circuit.  It's a blast watching those cars accelerate to over 300 MPH in less than 5 seconds.  Saturday is my plans to get the jon boat out and hopefully get on the river for a few hours this weekend, we'll see.   A week in Canada with 5 straight days of fishing can equal a month's worth of outings as I have now fished in Canada 11 days, about 6 days more than in Minnesota.  I think that is about to change!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Lac Seul, Fisherman's Cove, Part 1

Vermillion Falls along Hwy 105
I finally returned from fishing a week on the west side of Lac Seul, staying at the Fisherman's Cove in Scout Bay, just south of Ear Falls, Ontario.  Invited by my cousin Paul and accompanied by my brother Steve, I met some great new friends, Kevin, Mike, and Justin Joyce, as well as Mike and Chris Worms.  The plan was to meet in International Falls on Friday night, August 4th, Stay over night at a local Tee Pee Hotel,  then cross the border the next morning, stopping at Dryden for groceries before heading Northeast to Fisherman's Cove  We arrived at the hotel at the same time the Worms brothers pulled in and immediately Chris looked at me and said...."I know you!".  Here he was at the Lac Seul Outpost for fishing opener at the same time I was and I recognized him as he was commenting on my the short fillet knife I was using.  It was a great start to what turned out to be a fabulous fishing trip. After a good breakfast at Sandy's Cafe, across from the hotel, we made it across the border just fine and headed north.  The word was out that Hwy 502 going to Dryden was bad in a few spots and they were not kidding as my brother Steve took a rock from the gravel kicked up by an oncoming vehicle and it put a nice chip in his windshield.  We finally got to Dryden then headed west to Vermillion Falls, ON before turning north.  A few miles up the road we crossed a beautiful area where the Vermillion River created a falls, it was quite spectacular.  Apparently they stop there every year on the way up.  Finally we stopped a few miles south of our camp at a place called Dutches, where the guys bought their fishing licenses as well they had gas and sold liquor, just in case!  We turned into the camp about 4:00 that afternoon and after unloading our gear and boats, we got settled in for the evening.  On the menu was Steaks a la Kienitz, named after a good friend who taught me how to make a nice steak absolutely to die for!  Bringing 8 20 oz Ribeyes from Costco, I marinated them in Tabasco Sauce, Frank's Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce, and Hot Pace Picante sauce, let them sit at room temperature for a couple of hours before simply throwing them on the grill.  I did get a few comments about what I was doing to those steaks but after dinner, everyone was quite impressed, which they always are!  Off to bed as Sunday was our first official fishing day.

First "Big Fish" entry, 25.5 inches
The plan was to fish Sunday thru Thursday and leave Friday Morning.  The set up was very nice, no sand to worry about getting in the boat at the resort, 2 dozen minnows/day/boat came with the price as well 25 gallons of gas.  Many people want a comparison to my fishing at Lac Seul Outpost vs Fisherman's Cove.  It was quite interesting as at the Outpost we generally fish mostly points along the shorelines whereas last weekend we fished main lake humps about 90% of the time.  Although we found the fish at basically the same depths, it was interesting that the average size of the walleyes were significantly larger.  I would say that the 300 walleyes that Paul, Steve, and I caught during the trip, 70% were over 20 inches.  I suspect that the main lake humps were the key to the bigger fish and will definitely be worth a try the next time I am on the ther side of the lake, especially in the fall. The picture to the right is my first entry for the big fish contest, a 25.5 incher.  Kevin Joyce was our camp leader and he set up a contest, $20 each times 8 guys =$160 in the pot.  $40 would go to the first fish caught, the biggest fish, the 2nd largest fish, and the most fish caught via the average of the per person verse the boat.  I leave the results for next week, however I did catch a nice fish on Tuesday, a 25.5 inch walleye that hit my Berkley Power Grub, slammed it hard!  It was also the largest fish to date so was the first serious entry.   I also have to say that the walleyes were huge!  Although we release all walleyes larger than 17.875 inches, never the less this picture weighed 10 pounds!! I could not believe how fat and healthy these fish looked, we definitely had to net the majority of the fish we caught.  Fishing mostly jigs and minnows, it was somewhat disappointing to see the size of the minnows we got.  I joked that I'd hate to see how small their crappie minnows were however regardless of the minnow size we caught fish.  I guess when you see the size of the minnows that the fish spit up once we had them in the boat,  one could stop worrying about the size of the bait as more often than not, we would dang near be down to nothing for bait by the end of the day.

As stated this is part one because I spent the weekend getting caught up with things around the house. My Summercrisp pears are ripening like made and falling from the trees. They are very good but quite small yet my neighbor Lory Brasel picked a couple of 5 gallon buckets full and steam juiced them, enough juice to make a batch of pear wine, which will be ready in about 4 months. Pickles are growing like crazy and I definitely need to start picking sweet corn before the racoons get it all!  So much to do, so little time.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Catch of the Week

Possum in my Live Trap
The week has been spent getting caught up with a few things before I head to Lac Seul this Friday. On Saturday we ended up meeting my niece and her lovely daughter back home in Eleva, then went up to my friend Big Dave's place on the other side of Mockingbird Hill to take some casual photographs for Kaylee's senior pictures.  Big Dave has a beautiful location overlooking the valley where Eleva is situated and as well he has the old farm that was part of the original property, barn and all for an interesting setting.  We spent about 3 hours shooting then I had another 8 hours of adjusting the photographs in Adobe Photoshop, a nice program to help make digital pictures actually look good.  You see digital photography with a nice camera records everything verses film is an average of the light. The digital pictures come out a little harsh and need to be adjusted, which photoshop does an excellent job. The pictures turned out fabulous. I have done senior pictures for other friends of mine and have done quite a few weddings however that was a few years ago and most of my friends kid's are married already so it has not been as much as before.  I don't mind taking pictures but it is a lot of work by the time you adjust them all, something that one has to do.  Sunday was haircut time so neither day offered any chance to go fishing which is ok as I will get plenty of fishing in next week.  That doesn't mean however that I have been catching nothing as the other day I ended up with a possum in my live trap.  These things can be quite mean as this fellow wasn't too happy to be stuck in this cage for the day.  Never the less they can cause havoc with the bird feeders and anything else they can manage to get into.  Possums and Kangaroo's belong to the same family of animals, they are marsupials, they carry their young in a pouch during their development.  Anyway this possum was fortunate as I brought hime 6 miles away from the house and let it go into the Elm Creek Park reserve.  Notice their hands and feet, almost human like the way they can grasp onto things. Interesting, as I drove to the reserve, I dang near hit another possum on the road a mile down from the house.  It was a big one and here's hoping it doesn't find it's way back to the house!  

Boost Converter
There is a lot to do in getting the boat ready to go for the trip.  One thing that has bothered me is if I don't charge the batteries every night, often my HDS 12 will shut down when I start the outboard engine.  I know why this happens, the load of the starter just kicking causes a lot of current to flow from the battery which in turn causes the voltage to drop for a second or two depending on how long it takes to start the engine.  The proper way to fix this is to make sure the power for the depthfinder is attached directly to the battery.  Because the wiring is somewhat integrated and I do like the main power off feature I decided to add what they call a boost converter.  I discussed this last week and had one ready to go but something failed on it so I had to order another one.  It is real frustrating that most of this stuff never comes with a good owners manual and it is often up to the individual to figure out the nuances of the circuit and this one was no exception.  It stated that for lower voltage operation one needed to put a jumper across 2 terminals, but gave no indication as to their location.  Luckily I have some good guys at work and eventually we figured out which terminals to solder together.  I did a bench test with varying input voltages and set the output voltage to 14.5 Volts, it worked beautifully. I guess this week will tell the entire story of whether it was a successful endeavor or will I just need to run the wires directly to the battery!

Because I am staying for the week and because I don't know if they have internet, this post next week might be somewhat late.  I can assure you that either way It will be fun.