Friday, October 6, 2017

Back From Chicago

My Friend Gary Hicks and a Nice Lake Michigan King Salmon
This week was spent in Chicago at the International Coil Winding show, sounds exciting doesn't it! It gives me a chance to touch base with all of my important vendors who service our business as well cmake contact with my fellow colleagues, who own their own transformer winding companies to see how they are doing. Of course most of my friends at the show know about how much I like to fish and as well have fished with me in the past at conferences around the United States.  One of those guys is Gary Hicks, he is the owner of Dongan Electric Manufacturing in Frazier, Michigan.  He is also an avid fisherman and when I saw him on Tuesday the first order of business was talking about his salmon fishing trip on Traverse Bay of Lake Michigan.  That really brought back some memories of the mid 1980's when my friend Kevin Aiona and I would meet Gary Barneson in Appleton then go over to Algoma or Two Rivers Wisconsin and troll for salmon and trout in my 16 foot Lund Pro Angler boat with a 50 hp, 4 cylinder, tiller Mercury motor.  That was some of the best fishing times I have experienced.  Gary Barneson lived in Appleton at the time and he became quite proficient at fishing Lake Michigan in small boats...........heck he had (still has) an Early 1980's S14 Deluxe with a 25 hp Johnson tiller motor, he was my influence as in 1982 I bought the very same rig.  The 16 foot boat wasn't much larger however the 50 hp Merc purred like a kitten yet it would burn a gallon of gas an hour at trolling speed.  We really never encountered bad weather as the wind was more often from the west which would blow the warmer surface water to the east and the colder water from the deep would replace it.  Surface temperatures would often be in the high 40's so the fish would not be very deep at all, often in the 20 to 40 foot range.  We had 2 downriggers, 2 large planar boards, a couple of Dipsy Divers, the two of us could legally rig up 3 lines apiece.  Our tackle consisted of very light weight spoons we called Northport Nailers, brightly colored 6 inch minnow baits like Rebels, and flashers and rubber squids, we'd alternate baits and different colors to try and figure out what the fish would hit more consistently then switch the lines to those baits or colors.Downriggers were dropped to 40 feet, Dipsy Divers took the bait down and out, meanwhile the
Captain Aiona Running the Tiller!
trolling boards would get your bait away from the boat in case it was spooking the fish. It was fun as you never knew what would hit what.  One of the nice things that you could do in a smaller boat is stop the motor and fight your fish.  If you notice the prop wash in the picture of Gary, the charters never stop their boats.  Because of the amount of lines out and the mad scramble, they would simply let the water push the fish to the top and if everything worked out right you would reel that fish up the prop wash.  Kevin and I did it differently.  If we hooked a fish we'd hollar.......FISH ON and the scramble began.  The other guy in the boat would crank up the down riggers, trip the dipsy lines and reel them in, and depending on what the fish was caught on and where it was, we would usually leave the trolling boards out as well.  Then the fight was on!  We were fighting the fish on our terms and fight they would often pulling the boat until it or we were exhausted  At that time the fish were pretty good size as we would go in Mid July when Gary could get off.  It was certainly a team effort as we'd normally take turns steering the boat as the downrigger board was secured to the middle of the boat and we needed that leverage and space to reel them up each time.  The usual bag of fish included  King Salmon, Coho Salmon, Rainbow trout, Brown trout and the occasional lake trout that showed we would try for every once and a while. The last time I fished Lake Michigan was probably in 1986 with my dad and brother as we were on a trip to visit my Uncle in Sheboygan.  Today I understand because of the water clarity most have to fish away from the boat and using super long lines and or lead or copper lines to get the bait down.  We did get some nice fish however, King Salmon in the 35 pound range, Coho's (Silver) in the 15 -20 pound range and big football shaped browns in the 16 pound range.  We occasionally went out into the 120 feet of water and hauled some beautiful lake trout up from the bottom.  It was interesting as the boat had a paper graph for a depthfinder.  I wish I would have saved some of those rolls of paper as they told an interesting tale indeed.

Inside of my Rod Storage Lid delaminating
This weekend is my cousin Paul's daughter's wedding, as well I have plenty of apples to pick and process.  With little time available, I have been cleaning the sand out of the boat from the Lac Seul trip a few weeks ago.  Opening the rod locker, something didn't seem right so I forced it open and apparently the fiberglass is delaminating.  I sent this picture to Frankies and told them to order a new cover, thy said it should be covered under warranty.  Pulling the carpet back in the cockpit area to dry out, I decided to look at the batteries. sure enough the latch pulled right out.  These latches are very heavy duty and I have never had one do this on my last 3 boats.  I found the back flange the keeps it in place, stopped at my neighbor Todd's and he gave me new stainless steel replacement bolts.  A little blue Loctite thread locker on the threads and it's good as new.  Today was the day to get the trailer step welded but the weather doesn't look so good that will have to wait till next week sometime.  We haven't had a frost yet so everything is pretty green, that will probably change next week.  Bill and I usually go trout fishing in October so I have committed to go in a couple of weeks however both of us are quite busy so we will see what happens.  Deer hunting is in 4 weeks and the long term forecast is for a cold winter, maybe enough to allow us to pull the wheel house out on Red Lake over Thanksgiving like we did in 2015.

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