Thursday, November 8, 2018

Missing Deer Hunting

Ben's first Buck!
Well my situation last week definitely has put a damper on the usual outdoor activities which occur this time of year, namely deer hunting.  Although I have been deer hunting since I was 16, the only time I have missed is when I first moved to Minnesota and really didn't have anything established for the first couple of years.  In 1978 I had already met my good friend Mark Taylor and along with his brother-in-law Tim guzek, and brother Jack, we teamed up with a guy from my work who was from Roseau, MN (10 miles south of the Canadian Border) and began to hunt Minnesota.  Things have changed over the years and Mark doesn't hunt anymore however up to this point I have continued to hunt with Jack and his son Ben, up near their cabin west of Onamia, MN.  We have hunted our old friend Rich Allen's land however it's been getting wetter and wetter over the years as Rich's nephew Brett is now in charge.  Luckily one of Jack's neighbors at the lake has 40 acres southwest of the area, it's driveable and although can be wet, is still more comfortable to hunt.  In the last few years it really hasn't been important to harvest a deer as much as it is to participate in the deer hunting comradery.  Well the one year that circumstances made it impossible for me to hunt, Jack's son Ben shot his first buck.  I would have loved to been there to see his reaction, although I am sure you can tell by that big smile on his face that he was pretty happy.  I look back at my deer hunting experiences and I was probably 23 or 24 before I shot my first deer, here Ben is 14 years old and  has already shot a nice deer, good for him. Ben and Jack are going back up this weekend and are hoping to get back into the high ground on the other side of Rich's swamp, good luck to them.  With a little luck the next few days are supposed to have low temperatures near 10 degrees, enough to possibly create a layer of ice over the swamp and allow an easier access to the stands in the back.  I  guess time will tell!  Good luck and I suspect I'll have to wait till next year to try my luck again.

Freshly frozen salmon fillets!
Tuesday was a great day at work as one of my dearest friends stopped by with a little present for me, a bag of freshly frozen salmon fillets from Alaska.  Keith Holtan and his wife Jane are back in Minnesota for the winter and they came down to the Minneapolis area to meet with someone, as long as they were here they were kind enough to drop off some beautiful Sockeye Salmon fillets as well a couple of smoked salmon chunks that are absolutely delicious!  Keith is a guide on the Kenai and spends the winters in the Brainerd area.  He often comes up to Upper Red Lake, at JR's with me for the early ice walleye fishing.  As well he has a client, Gary Blinn, whom I wrote about on my June 27th post from this year after we met at Lac Seul Outposts this year.  Keith is a really good guy and I would highly recommend him if you want to fish the famous Kenai River in Alaska for salmon.  I also really appreciate his friendship as shown by the fish gift, and I am sure that soon I will be posting of our adventures on the ice.  It is interesting and I am sure I have discussed this before, years ago I talked Keith into buying a chamber vacuum packaging machine for his clients.  It has turned out to be such a popular service that he is now talking about buying a large, double sized unit to do two at a time.  Nothing like taking it to the nth degree!  Either way it's a nice thing for his clients as I understand the process to get your fish vacuum packed and frozen while in Alaska.  I am looking at the weather forecast for Waskish, MN which is on the east shore of Upper Red Lake.  For the next 10 days the daytime temperature will be in the mid 20's and the overnight temperatures will be in that 10 degree range, hopefully enough to start making some substantial ice.  A couple of years ago we were able to drive out on Red Lake on the friday after Thanksgiving.  Hopefully this could be a repeat year for early ice as the Salem is pretty much ready to go!  The next couple weeks will tell the story for sure.  I almost have everything done with the boat for it's long winter's nap.  Interesting but this cold weather, rain, an my extraordinary last weekend put a damper on using the new vacuum system on my lawn tractor.  It will come in handy next spring however.  The next thing on the list is to get a snowblower attachment installed before the real snow comes!  The forecast looks as though it might be pretty soon!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Abrupt Halt

Top left to Right: Neal S, Roger O, Scott B, Jeff K, myself, Dave H, Larry H,
Bottom:  Marilyn E, Kris P,  Joanne M, Kathy S, Diana B. 
Well, last weekend came to an abrupt halt with myself getting hauled to the emergency room via the ambulance and first responders from Dayton.  Although I remember absolutely nothing other than waking up at Mercy Hospital in Anoka being told that there is no room and they were transferring me to their sister hospital, Unity on Osborne and University Avenues in north Fridley, it's still nerve racking either way.  Apparently I was having a seizure on Thursday morning and was doing the proverbial crappie flop in bed, convulsing uncontrollably.  Admittedly this wasn't much fun at all as I bit up my tongue pretty bad and my wife thought I was choking so she put her finger in my mouth to clear any obstruction, that was a big mistake as I about took that off for her!  I did get an MRI of my brain later on Thursday and the verdict is still out whether they found anything however we haven't got that far in the analysis yet!  Either was it is looking like the mild stroke I had a number of years ago finally reared it's ugly self and it is possible the minor damage can cause my electrical system to go haywire, and haywire it did!!!  Either way it has really taken a lot of energy out of my system as I attempt to recover.   Damn, this getting old sure doesn't get along with me very well.  This event has changed my short term plans for deer hunting this year, I am probably going to stick around home and try and get some things done and stay close to my doctors.  I am pretty sure nothing bad would come of my hunting up by Jack's cabin but I would have said that last Wednesday night before I went to bed.  It was quite an experience and unfortunately now I have one more pill to take each day, I feel like a walking pharmacy, I have pills for my type 2 diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol, anticoagulant, anti-seisure medication, hell, I think I am taking at least 8 pills a day.  I suspect if I could lose about 20 pounds I could get rid of most of them, something I really need to try and do.  I guess I am not getting any younger!!!  With not much going on it probably is a good time to reflect on my 45th year class reunion at the Viking Club House in Strum.  I guess we didn't have the greatest turn out but it was definitely nice to see those that came.  It's a good time to reflect and those that did attend, it was nice to see them.

EZ Lube, Lower Unit Grease dispenser
Well, traditionally this would be deer hunting weekend in Minnesota.  After last weeks events I will skip this years hunt, which is fine with me as deer hunting has become just another excuse to get out of the house.  There is still much to do around the house, leaves need to be picked up, some of the fluids on my outboard need topping off, the garden could use some TLC.  Speaking of outboards, a number of years ago I bought this gear lube dispenser, similar to a standard bug sprayer.  It has an air pump, one puts standard gear lube (lower unit grease) into the tank then pump it full of air.  The hose has a rubber cone that allows you to insert it into the lower unit drain hole then force new gear lube back into the gear case with a minimum amount of effort.  It works absolutely great and makes changing the lower unit grease in your outboard very simple.  Well I thought I lost it a few weeks ago so figuring I needed a new one, it is obvious that the company is no longer in business as their website is down and the phone number is no longer in service.  Luckily I was able to locate mine but it is too bad that this great product is not available any more, meaning I had better take better care of it!  My current outboard, a 250 HP HO Evinrude takes over a quart of lower unit grease and those old pump dispensers that fit on the bottle of lube then you hand pump it out in small increments, takes forever whereas this device is pretty slick, it dispenses quickly and there is little waste of gear lube as well the clean up is fairly quick and easy.  Now I just need to make sure that I know where it is next year! 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

No Fishing This Weekend

Engine Winterize Screen for the Evinrude
Time is starting to run out on Soft water fishing as deer hunting is now 2 weeks away.  Earlier in the week I visited with my new Cardiologist, Dr. Sigurdsson  With the 2 ss's in his last name I was sure he was of true Swedish origin however we got that cleared up pretty fast.  He is originally from Iceland, and a good doctor he was.  We discussed my aortic replacement surgery back in 2010 and the discussion that was had at that time with the surgeon regarding a possible aortic valve issue, which according to the surgeon at the time, was not an issue back then  Well, Dr. Sigurdsson heard something he didn't like and ordered an Echocardiogram last Friday afternoon.  Of course they don't tell you anything other than the doctor has to review.  On Sunday, while watching the game at my neighbor Tim's I got a message on the MyChart app, from the Doctor, he was working on Sunday morning!  Basically I'm going to need a valve job sometime in the near future.  The obvious symptoms are shortness of breath,  and here I thought it was because I am getting fat and old.  The next step is to followup with my regular doctor and discuss my options but at least it will not require open heart surgery again.  Apparently aortic valves can now be replace via arthroscopic surgery techniques where they get into your leg artery then push a catheter with a new valve up to your heart then deploy it.  Although it doesn't sound fun, it's probably much better than the alternative.  All of this explains why I have a hard time doing anything these days that involves some physical work.  Sunday was going to be the ideal day to take the Ranger out and do an end of the season run as well, winterize it.  The boat is powered by the new generation Evinrude Etec which is a two stroke and has oil injection.  Not feeling too much like doing anything Plan B was to put muffs on the water intake and start the engine outside my garage.  The Evinrude has a very nice system for winterizing.  There is a screen on the main engine display that is on the dash, one find this screen, then while the engine is running, press the red Winterize Engine square and voila!  The engine idle speeds up to warm the engine up before injecting more oil than normal into the system, which essentially fogs the engine.  Pretty slick if you ask me!  I changed the lower unit oil this summer so that is good to go as well.  All that's left is to vacuum it and put everything back in its place before the cold sets in.  Of course this marks the end of the open water fishing for Minnesota this year, with the current weather, ice fishing isn't too far behind!

New 14 Bushel collection system with 54 inch dethatching rake on front
Staying with the "getting old and lazy" theme, Fall is here and the leaves are dropping like crazy from
the trees.  Last spring I sold my old Lawn tractor system to my good friend Greg Kimblom.  Along with the tractor went the dethatcher/bagger system, the 47 inch snow blower attachment, and the soft cab for the winter.  This meant that the newer model John Deere lawn tractor needed to be completely reoutfitted for the fall and winter.  As stated early, not having the energy to install it myself I simply hauled the tractor to Rogers, MN to the big JD dealer there and had them install the first of what will help me to minimize my work come this fall and winter!  My wife found a contact that sells year old management units, similar to what we used to do when Lyn worked for Polaris, we could buy a new snowmobile and ATV every year, keep it for a set period of time then sell it for enough to pay for the next years new model.  This spring we bought a 2017 John Deere 734 27.5hp, all wheel steer, fully hydrostatic drive, with a shaft driven 60" mowing deck deck.  The old one had a 54 inch deck and I really wasn't sure of the 60" but it turned out pretty good as well it doesn't take as long to move the entire 2 acres that I do....Duh!.  This unit can really vacuum up the leaves as it has a separate blower attached to the mower deck pulley, and with the amount of leaves, it really fills up fast.  After deer hunting the tractor will go back in to get a new 54 inch snow blower as well as a new soft sided cab.  The new blower will be 7 inches wider than the old one, that should be nice if it moves the snow a quickly.  Maybe we will get lucky, buy all this stuff then it doesn't snow.  Trust me, I would not mind that a bit!  Maybe we will have to go back to this post next March to see how we did.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Trout Fishing with Bill

Absolutely a Beautiful View from the boat landing
Last week was quite busy, busy enough that my usual weekly post didn't make it.  One of the best reasons was that I had to prepare for my annual trout fishing day with my friend Bill Lundeen.  Admittedly it really doesn't take much on my part however the excuse sounds pretty good!  We settled on Friday as a date as the first part of October has been quite wet, yet there was a good reason to get our date finalized fairly soon as it isn't getting any warmer out.  As it is, there was snow on the ground as I approached Onamia, as well the standing water in the ditches has a thin crust of ice overlaying them.  It was still 30 degrees as I pulled into Bill's driveway at his newly remodeled home on Cove Bay.  It is sort of strange not meeting Bill at the corner tackle shop, as he officially sold his business, Lundeen's Tackle Castle, about 2 months agos ago.   35 years ago I fished Mille Lacs almost exclusively.  Living in Brooklyn Park at the time, my normal route up to the lake was to take Highway 47 to Isle and would stop at Portside to get any bait I needed.  When I moved to Dayton, the new route to Mille Lacs was up 169 and my new bait shop became Lundeen's Tackle Castle.  We have become great friends that essentially started as a business relationship, and it's been a great one!  We have trout fished every year since 2014 and this was our 5th trip to our secret lake that will remain so!  October is a beautiful month to fish as you can see on the picture above.  It is a small lake that is quite deep, over 100 feet and we speculate that it may have been an old mine pit at one time.  The water is crystal clear and has a landing but not for a traditional boat/trailer as one has to carry the boat down to the lake.  As we get
Bucket full of trout.
older it isn't getting any easier for sure, and my spot is in the front of the canoe, that in itself is a challenge!  It takes about an hour to get used to sitting in the canoe, but eventually one get's his sea legs and we spent over 5 hours to get our 10 rainbow trout.  this year wasn't my best performance as my attempt to try a different tactic didn't turn out so good.  Normally we use small hand tied crawler harnesses with a smaller spinner blade on them.  Deciding to try inline spinners, I did catch the first fish but really struggled after that.  Luckily I did get a few more hits but Bill was the star of the show this trip.  It probably was as simple as changing my lure however its not that easy in the canoe and as well, attached to my line was a Water Wolf Camera, which I used last year to get some great shots of the trout hitting my lure.  It is heavy and bulky, maybe that made all the difference.  I don't know but again, not complaining.  Looking at the first picture, one get's the idea of how peaceful and beautiful it was on Friday!  By the end of the day we headed home with a nice bag of rainbow trout.  Not terribly big, maybe 10 - 13" they are excellent on the grill.  Although planted in the lake, by fall their flesh has turned a light pink color and are just delicious wrapped in foil and thrown on the grill.  It is surprising how well these fish fight and the first one on the line almost pulled my pole out of my arms.  It was a great day on the water with my good friend Bill.  Admittedly the canoe is getting more precarious as I get older and may have to tackle that problem in the future!  Maybe we will start looking for a more flat bottom boat to make fishing a little easier.  We'll see as there are plenty of them on Craigslist and I don't think it would be that bad to haul it around.  That will be a great discussion for the ice house!

New Snowflap System
The other item that has taken a bunch of time is getting a new set of receiver mounted snowflaps ready for this years ice fishing season.  These flaps are necessary to help keep the snow from accumulating on the front of the wheel house as it's pulled down the road.  They do work pretty good however last year I was determined to get a new pair that will give even better protection to my wheel house.  Having basically assembled them, it became evident that my receiver ball mount would not work as the snowflap assembly was too thick to allow the mount to get far enough back in the receiver to get the hitch pin through.  Figuring the weather is changing fast, I'd better get going on getting this taken care of.  Really all that needed to be done was to get an extended ball mount then cut the actual flaps to the right height, securing all the bolts and do the final adjustments.  Well, try to find and extended ball mount, it's not that easy as Northern Tool has a lot of stuff, just not one with a 3 inch rise.  The guy at Northern was very nice and suggested I go back to U-haul up the road.  They had just what I needed and with a few measurements and actually hooking up the ice house gave me the drop created by the tongue weight, whether the rise was adequate, and the final adjustments needed to get that perfect fit.  Cutting off the bottom of the flaps with an ever handy utility knife, tightening everything up.  The last task is to attach a 2 5/16" ball to the mount and everything should be good to go.  These new flaps extend out about 4 inches from the bumper and hopefully will give me better coverage.

Friday, October 5, 2018

4 Series 32 AGM's and the charger
After all the electrical work on the boat prior to going to Canada, in the end it didn't make a hill of beans difference in the performance of my electronics.  Almost everytime we were done fishing an area I had to turn the master switch to the jump position to get the outboard motor started.  Of course hindsight is 20/20 and admittedl I was probably too smart for my own good!  Thinking I could solve all of my problems with some rewiring and a boost circuit, along with the assumption that the AC voltage at the docks could be bad, like they were at Fisherman's Cove, I was loaded for bear!  As you might have read, I rewired the power to the console area, added a new power distribution methodology, cleaned up my boost converter, yet still it was like I did nothing.  In the boat I added a USB charging port for charging things such as cell phones, my Ipod, and other things.  It has a  built in volt meter so I can easily monitor the battery voltage at the power distribution center, and there is where my first clue appeared.  Normally battery voltage should stay above 12 volts however the voltmeter showed 11.6 and it was falling.  In about an hour it was down to 10.5, low enough to cause major problems.  I even brought a special AC voltage booster for the power at the docks but the plug in voltage at the docks was adequate to assure a good charge.  Even so after about 4 hours, I was in trouble.  Add that to the fact that power went out the night before our last day and therefore it was really a problem as the low battery from the day before didn't even have a chance to charge fully.  On top of this, I had to keep the power on to run the baitwell pumps to keep our minnows alive.  Well I made it through the trip, inconvenienced but still got back to the landing.  The discussions started centering around whether or not my main "house" battery was starting to get a weak cell as it sure acted like it.  Once home I charged everything up then removed the house battery and took it to Pete's and had him load test it.  Yep, it is weak for sure.  Well this would explain everything that was going on for the last 2 months.  So I run series 31 AGM's as they are truly maintenance free and because they are in the floor do not require any maintenance on the electrolyte. In addition, I always keep my onboard charger plugged in as it has a maintenance mode to keep the batteries healthy.  I called my dealer as these batteries are about 39 months old, they have a 36 month free replacement and I assumed a pro-rated formula after that.  NOPE, 36 months, that's it.  I explained this issue has been going on a while, I guess if I would have checked in May it would have not cost me anything.  Frankie's stated they would talk to the Interstate Battery rep and we will see what they can do.  In the mean time I needed a good battery so I bought a replacement ...... $360 ... ouch!! I trust Frankie's will do everything they can for me as they always do, but a warranty date is a warranty date.  Interesting as I put in the new battery and connected it the positive cable sparked when it touched the terminal, that's not necessarily good.  I found the source of the current draw and put a switch in to shut off certain parts of my electronics without affecting my pumps and other safety features.  All the stuff I did a month ago is still a great idea, but honestly, may have not been necessary.

Getting the pig going!
We go home on Friday night, September 21st and on the next day, our neighbor Tim had his annual pig roast.  He gets about a 230 pound whole hog and has a specially made pig roasted where he first brines the whole carcass before putting it in the smoker and pouring the smoke to it.  It takes a good 12 to 18 hours to completely cook it however it is quite delicious, especially with his own homemade barbeque sauce.  This year along with the food, he had entertainment, our old neighbor Bots and his band called Blues Driver.  They are pretty good but admittedly I really didn't know many of the songs as I am not much of a blues fan!  I still appreciate good music and they did an outstanding job for sure.  This weekend will be getting caught up around the house as we had our first freeze a week ago so everything is changing quick.  I need to replace the vacuum system on my new lawn tractor as I am not raking nothing!  The boat still needs to be put together and the lawn needs fertilizing, sprinkler system blown out, trees trimmed and the average high is only in the low 50's.  I have talked to Bill and it looks like we have a trout fishing date set for the 12th.  I am hoping to get back on the river this weekend but we'll have to see.  Last weekend was my good friend Big Dave's son's wedding in Alma.  We drove home that night and I got my first speeding ticket ever.....damn.  Oh well not much one can do about it.  I am also trying to get my new mud flaps to fit my truck, getting ready to pull the ice shack.  My 45th class reunion is on the 13, no rest for the wicked, as they say!!

Monday, September 24, 2018

Lac Seul, Last Trip of the Year.

Sunset at Chamberlain Narrows
Monday September 17th was the start of the last trip of the year to Lac Seul Outpost.  After a year's absence, our good fried Dan Sadler was graciously able to join us again on our fall trip to Chamberlain Narrows.  Dan was even gracious enough and offered to pull my boat up, which was very nice of him.  Arriving at the pole shed at 5:30 we had everything loaded and ready to go in 15 minutes.  Besides gas the next stop was T. Pattenn Cafe in Orr, Minnesota to meet Bruce, Wayne and the new guy, Barry Blazevic for breakfast.  After our fill of a good homemade breakfast next stop was the Holiday in International Falls to fill up the vehicles and boats for the long trek to Sioux Lookout.  Dan decided to stop at the Duty Free store to stock up on some Crown Royal before we went over the border.  Unfortunately when asked what he had, he wasn't quite accurate with our counts so I corrected him as I had it written down.  the customs officer saw I had it written down so she asked for the paper, which we obliged.  I have a theory on border crossings and alcoholic beverages.  I think that if you answer the questions directly, they really don't have that much time to add it all up in their head, this time it was written down so for only the second time since 2013, we had to pay duty.  Not that it's a big deal, as we have been over our legal limit many times yet I find it interesting that this time was different and I attribute it to having wrote it down, oh well.  Next stop was Sioux Lookout to get some large minnows then off to Deception to launch the boats and head north to the cabins, a 34.5 mile ride across the water.  This time of year the weather was often cooler and it was no exception.  Arriving at the landing around 5:30 that gave us just enough time to get into camp before sunset, which we did.  As you can see Sunsets are beautiful and I just happened to catch this one from our deck.  A great way to end an evening.

So fishing was good but not the best we have seen over the years.  Our first day was spent in Tuk
A day's worth of keepers, most for supper, some in the Freezer.
Bay, just south of camp.  It is one of my favorite areas but the fish seemed to be awfully scattered this season.  I am not sure if it was the late spring, the hot summer, low water, what ever, we had to look hard for our fish.  Once we found them it was game on for a while before we had to move again.  I was surprised at the amount of boats in Tuk, I am sure we saw at least 10, which can get crowded.  Never the less we did pretty good by the Island and a place I call Pete's point. We weren't getting a lot of slot fish (16 - 17-3/4 inches) but we did get quite a few in that 18 to 22 inch range.  Needing to get enough for our fish fry we headed to what we now call Craig's Corner, on the north edge of Chamberlain Narrows, it is usually good for some action, we accomplished our goals for the day and headed back to camp.  As stated before I tend to clean all of the fish in camp after my first trip there seeing a guy hack their walleyes.  Well Barry was interested in helping me which was fine however I told him I was fussy.  After watching him clean his first 2 fish I told him he would be better at skinning them and as he states, I fired him.  We had fun and by the end of the trip he was getting pretty good.  It was nice to have someone to talk to while filleting the fish. 

Next post I will have some pictures of the guys and their walleyes, unfortunately I only had a few fish large enough to warrant pictures. As well, I have to wait till the guys send the ones of me!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The 29th Annual Kramer Open

Wild Marsh Sporting Clays Course.
Saturday was the 29th Annual Kramer Open hosted by a good friend, Dave Kramer.  Dave originally started the Kramer Open as a means to raise money for the family of a good friend who passed away, Doug Leu.  Dave has done this now for 29 years and over that time Doug's wife had passed away leaving their children.  My involvement began a number of years ago when my great and late friend, Tom Emmons invited me to shoot the Kramer.  Although a lot of the players have changed over the years, it is still fun to get out on the first Saturday after Labor Day and shoot 100 birds at Wild Marsh Sporting Clays, I used to shoot a league there a number of years ago and it was a lot of fun.  It was a 500 bird league with the requirement to shoot 100 birds a month for April, May, June, July, and August.  You could basically shoot it anytime within the designated time for the month so there was zero pressure to show up every week and shoot, which was nice.  Of course time always flies by quickly and it would seem as though we would barely get in our 100 birds before the next month started.  The Kramer is alot of fun as I do not shoot a sporting clays league there anymore however I really enjoy the shooting and the challenges of hitting the clay targets in the configurations that they set up.  Usually the courses are set up like a golf course.  At the Wild Marsh they have the Green Course, Blue Course and Red Course.  In previous shoots there would be 9 stations per course, 50 targets sort of like a golf course.  This year's setup was 16 stations on the Green Course, 14 with 6 targets and 2 with 8 to make a total of 100.  It certainly made for a fast course completion as the stations were fairly close together, I think it only took about 3.5 hours, about an hour faster than usual.  So out of 41 guys I finished in 7th place with 82 out of 100 targets hit, right behind my friend and co-worker, Mike Scheunke, who was on my team along with Lory Brasel and 2 new guys, Tim and Dan.  Mike shoots quite often in a league and hit 3 more than myself with a score of 85.  These are not bad scores at all considering how rusty one gets after a year of not shooting.  Anyway it was fun and afterwards we all gathered at Dave's house for some refreshments, a Taco dinner, and the infamous Junk auction where Dave raises money for the Leu family.  All in good fun, I bought some obscure garden tools for $1.00 and did donate some extra funds to get a set of seven In-Fisherman how to DVD's a pretty nice set and will come in handy for ice fishing entertainment.  Dave had a nice new in the box Browning A-Bolt .308 rifle on the auction but they did not call my number on that one, which was OK.  All in All it was a fun time, something that I look forward to every year as it is always on the weekend after Labor Day.  Not that I need any excuse but it also serves as a great memory of my times with my late friend Tom Emmons.

New Power Center Distribution Terminals
Last week I had updated my progress on rewiring the boat to fix a number of electrical issues I have been seeing when I fish Canada.  One of the things that is probably causing my issues could be low voltage at the docks where I plug in at night, preventing the batteries from fully charging overnight.  This has an accumulative effect as the batteries are not at their peak of charge and performance.  There are 2 things that I have done.  First is to significantly beef up the electrical circuits that feed the console power.  Although I am not sure what the original configurations were, I bypassed it and as stated last week, ran #6 ga from the batteries in the floor to the console.  This is more than enough to assure good power to my electronics.  I finally received the terminal blocks and mounted them where my electronics hookup area is and started from there.  In the past I had discussed using a boost circuit to help however when I reconfigured it, the circuit kept blowing the automatic circuit breakers that are standard with my Ranger.  For sure I could run the converter straight off the battery via the distribution terminal without issues so I put a 20 Amp fuse in line for protection and reconfigured all of my power connections so all of my add on electronics such as the Lowrance HDS Carbons, SonicHub 2, Structure Scan 3D and other electronics would now have a boost voltage of 14.6VDC assuring trouble free operation.  In addition I replaced my USB power socket with a new one that has a red LED voltage readout on it (much easier to see in the sunlight than my previous blue LED) then tied it directly to the distribution terminals.  Now I can monitor the battery voltage from the console, it is pretty slick.  One of the other things is building a boost transformer for the low dock voltage in Canada.  At the Fisherman's Cove where I was last month the voltage at the end of my extension cord was 92VAC.  I suspect that it may be similar at the Lac Seul Outposts, where I am going on Monday.  If so maybe I can fix the problem from both ends, increase the dock voltage that powers my on board battery chargers to assure a full charge over night, and fix the internal power inside the boat so if there is an issue, it is minor.  Time will tell!  Either way I am fishing next Monday through Friday so my next post could be a week late. Hopefully it will be worth it. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

It's Never Too Late...Sometimes It Is

Leon and His Granddaughter, That's my Leon!
There are often times when you wait to do something and after doing it people say, Well it's better late than never......or It's never too late.  Unfortunately that is not always the case.  On Friday night I was tying up some snells for catfishing on the river.  Using turned eye circle hooks, snelling them was a great way to assure the proper hook set for these types of hooks.  There are many ways to tie a snelled hook and the method I use was taught to me by my friend Leon Lambert.  Leon was a purchasing agent for one of my customers in Pueblo, Colorado and we often talked on the phone.  One thing lead to another and it was soon discovered that we enjoyed fishing alot.  So much that one time in the early 90's he had to travel to the corporate offices in La Crosse, Wisconsin for meetings so I arranged to meet him and we both went fishing in my boat below the dam in Alma, Wisconsin for walleyes.  It was the first part of April and luckily turned out to be great day to fish, few boats on the river, the water wasn't too high or fast, we had a great time.  We did catch a few fish, it was a little early in the season but it really turned out to be a blind date as Leon or I had never met, we just met and went fishing.  Well that date cemented what turned out to be a life long friendship.  That friendship included a few trips fishing in Colorado, once on the Arkansas River, west of Pueblo.  Action wasn't fast or furious but never the less it was an adventure.  One winter's day we had a conference at our facility in Fort Collins.  I brought our UL guy, Rick Barthel with me and we arrived on a Saturday, destined to fish the weekend before heading to the plant on Monday.  Our destination was DeWeese Reservoir, about 50 miles West of Pueblo, near Westcliffe, Colorado.  The plan was to ice fish for trout in the morning then head to Eleven Mile Reservoir and maybe catch some larger fish.  DeWeese is at 7700 feet of elevation and the ice was pretty thick.  Leon didn't have much for ice fishing except a hand auger and some older equipment.  In the meantime, being from Minnesota, Rick and I were well equipped as we brought our made for ice fishing poles, tackle, and we even brought a depth finder, my Vexilar FL8.  There were a few people on the ice however by the time we got set up, we were the stars of the show.  Everyone was fishing with short casting rods and spin cast reels while we were finesse fishing with our equipment, and quite successful I might add.  After catching a number of trout we packed up and headed to another of Leon's spots, Eleven Mile.  Unlike DeWesse, and even though it was at a higher elevation, there was no snow on the ice, it was bare, wind sweeped, and treacherous.  Of course our fishing destination was across from our landing and about halfway there Leon slipped and fell on his wrist.  In quite a bit of pain we turned around and brought him home.  That evening we had learned Leon had broke his wrist and had it in a cast.  The good news is that he learned quite a bit about finesse ice fishing and eventually bought the electronics to improve his game.  Leon retired about 11 years ago in 2007, we stayed in touch but as it goes, time flies fast enough.  Well tying those snells made me think of Leon so I decided that it's been too long, and dialed his number.  Being around 9:40 it might have been a little late as he did not answer the phone.  Well at least his voice mail worked so I left a pointed message and figured I'd call in the morning.  My phone rang at 7:30 and by the time I got to it, too late.   Well I'll call later, which I did and his wife Carol answered.  The first thing to come out of my mouth was...Where's that husband of yours?  I sensed from her tone that it wasn't going to be something I wanted to hear and I was right as she told me that Leon had passed away 10 days ago on August 20th of a heart attack.  At that point one is speechless.  I suppose it had been 2 years or so since I had spoken to Leon, it was now too late.  Leon was one of those guys who fit the saying....Friends are like stars, you might not always see them but you know they are always there.  Well Leon, you are always in my heart, God Bless you and hopefully I will head in the same direction that I know you are.  See you my friend.  If one is ambitious simply go to the left hand side and you can click on Leon's name and see the other posts about him!

21 inch Smallmouth Bass, a Trophy
So what would Leon expect me to do, sit around and moan or go fishing and enjoy life.  So with a heavy heart and a head spinning, we did what I am sure would have made Leon happy and went out on the River for a few hours on Saturday night with my neighbor Todd, the catfish king!  The plan was simple, 4 miles up river and cast for smallies till about 7:30 then head to below the island and fish for whatever is eating night crawlers.  Although Todd professed to understand how to cast a levelwind, admittedly it was painful to watch.  Our strategy was to cast crankbaits into the shore and reel them so they either came straight back to the boat or slightly downstream (Last weeks post dealt with that!).  About a half mile down from our stopping point where there was some rip rap along the shore with about 10 feet of calmer water before the current break was, a huge fish hit my lure and right away one knew it was nice.  It was in the same area that a large smallie took a swipe at my bait last week, this one was solidly hooked.  With some coaxing Todd finally got the net in place, head first, and he successfully netting this beautiful 21 inch smallmouth, my personal best.  We let her go after taking a few pictures, she was a beast for sure.  We did manage a few more fish even as Todd spent at least half his time undoing bird's nests in the reel.  He finally got the hang of it somewhat just as we approached 7:30 so we put everything away and headed downstream.  Anchoring just below Cloquet Island we did manage a few smaller catfish, another rock bass yet I don't really think that is correct and am doing some more research.  Todd caught another Redhorse before it got too late and we had to go.  The motor on the jon boat is still acting up somewhat as it seems to flood very easily.  The float is probably bad in the carburetor,  another project on the list.  Using the trolling motor to go back to the landing, that was working for a while but one last try on the Mercury and it started.

Beautiful ending to a evening on the River.
It was a long day for sure but an evening on the river is magical.  While anchored and looking upriver I took this picture of the sunset.  It was like Leon was smiling down on us and congratulating us on the good evening of fishing, like I know he would.  In the meantime there has been a lot of work done on the Ranger.  Having electrical problems from the last trip to Lac Seul, my goal is to have all of it fixed by the time we leave back to Chamberlain Narrows on September 17th.  It hasn't been that easy as Ranger's have these internal electronic circuit breakers that really work well but have their limitations.  The best thing was to run a separate power circuit from the battery to the front console then use that as a strong source for your electronics power needs, separate from the standard boat accessories.  Although not done, I have the 6 gauge cable ran, the ring terminals crimped, and awaiting my Amazon ordered power distribution terminal strips to make sure that the job is done professionally.  Hopefully it will all be done by the weekend as I need to also update my electronics before I go.  Lowrance's new upgrade allows one to now make your own maps as a previous update did using Sonar Charts Live.  The difference is one no longer needs to have the latest Navionic's Chip that has the current $99/year subscription attached to it.  The mapping option, down to .5 feet resolution is now a free option on Lowrance HDS Carbon's and Gen 3's.   The only thing one needs to do is download the software on a MicroSD card, insert it into the card slots on the device and turn it on.  The software will need a blank 32 gigabyte or less card to record the maps it creates. That's easy as you can now buy quality 32 gigabyte MicroSD for about $10 these days.  Amazing as when I started digital photography memory cards were $1 per megabyte, now it's less than $0.00032 per megabyte.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The River is Hot!

Dave's first Smallie!
Last week was spend getting the Jon Boat ready to fish the Mississippi River behind the house.  It hadn't been run in almost 2 years as it never made it on the River last summer.  New plugs and gas did the trick and by last Friday it was ready to go.  At the same time my friend David Grant texted me Friday wanna go out on the river tonight?  Well, not finding any excuse I said sure, meet me at the pole shed about 5:30.  We hooked up the boat to my Razor and off to the landing on my neighbors property.  I asked Dave, bass fishing or Lazy man's fishing.  He wasn't too sure so we decided to go both.  Heading up river about 4 miles, we got in front of an island just south of the City of Dayton then drifted down the north side of the river casting crankbaits for smallies.  Dave is pretty good with a casting rig however it took about a half an hour to drill it into his head that when river fishing the fish face upstream so you need to cast above where you want the lure to go then drag it either into them or across their face.  We drifted stern first so I could maintain control with the trolling motor and I think he was in normal lake shoreline fishing mode where you sort of leap frog in front of each other.  While drifting it's really about the spots and one casts tight to the shoreline then drag your lure to the waiting fish.  I assured him that there was no way I could cover every spot and that I would definitely leave you with at least half the good areas..............STOP casting in front of me!!! Well it took about a half mile but being a smart kid he finally figured it out as I pointed out the choicest places to cast.  Bang, a nice smallie grabbed his firetiger Bomber A.  This was not only Dave's first river fish but his first smallie and the fight was on.  These river fish dang near jerk you rod out of your hands and they don't have to be that big.  He was pretty happy about it and even more so after he got the hang of where to cast, we must have gotten 15 smallies in an hour and a half, including a huge one that I estimated in the 20 inch category that took a swipe at my crankbait.  Dave did pretty good for a rookie and we had a lot of fun.  Well it was about 8:00 and I suggested we
Dave's 15 pound channel cat
try Lazy Man's fishing, where we anchored in the pool just below Cloquet Island on the river and fished the bottom with nightcrawlers.  It is one of my favorite ways to fish, I suppose because it really isn't much work.  The pool is around 12 feet deep and has a current edge to it, we fish right on the edge in the calmer part of the current.  One of the things I like to fish with are circle hooks.  If you have the right ones, the fish can swallow the bait however because of the hook shape, it will not become lodged in their throats but catch on the side of their mouth and literally rotate around and hook the fish in the corner of their mouths.  It is very easy to remove the hook and release the fish with little effort without hurting them.  The first bite we got was a big fish, it had taken the hook, swallowed the bait and was heading down river when the hook simply hooked itself in the fishes mouth, no hookset was needed.  I handed the rod over to Dave and the fight was on!  Although last week he got a 22 pound salmon, fighting this fish from an anchored position was a battle unique.  Getting it up to the surface it was a huge channel catfish, maybe 15 to 20 pounds. These fish really fight but those circle hooks work great and it was easy to unhook and have Dave pose for a great picture!  I was another first for him, earlier in the trip his first smallmouth bass and now a significant channel cat.  You probably can tell by his smile that he was having a good time.  We went on to catch another smaller catfish and a first for me in the river, a bullhead, but time was getting late and we had to head back and try to find the boat landing.  That was another adventure as the landing was very slippery and we barely made it back. Back we did though and I would classify it as a great trip for Dave to experience river fishing. He commented that it was hard to believe we were 25 miles from Downtown Minneapolis, but the river is simply a diamond in the rough, and of course it is in my back yard.  Admittedly it also good for my ego, to help pass on some fishing knowledge to a kid that is two generations away from me.  I am thrilled that he likes fishing with this old man, it truly makes one feel young again, thanks Dave!

Todd's first Catfish
As state before I do like fishing the river with night crawlers, it reminds me of my childhood growing up in Eleva when Kevin and I would fish the river all the time, often in August we would go to the chicken plant and get some chicken livers then go below the Buffalo Bridge (the Highway 93 bridge going south across the Buffalo River).  One other option that I have near home is to fish the river from my neighbors dock, it's pretty relaxing, no need to haul the boat down, just drive to the dock, bait up and cast out then set your pole into the dock poles (which make excellent rod holders) and wait for the bite.  This time I asked my neighbor Todd to join me.  He had never been river fishing before, especially like this.  I was showing him the string of bubbles breaking at the water's surface, that's a carp working the bottom.  I don't think he believed me however about 10 minutes later one of the poles doubled over and was pulsating pretty hard.  I grabbed it and gave it to Todd, here you land the first fish.  As stated earlier, the circle hooks will set themselves as the fish pulls against the current and away from the line.  He had a huge carp.  The problem is that we did not have a net and the deck of the dock was about 3 feet above the water.  We could see the fish next to the dock and the only opportunity to handle the fish was to get on the shore and wade through the mud however buy the time we figured it out the hook broke and the fish swam away.  I had made the hook snells with 10 pound mono so lifting a large fish like that was out of the water and 3 feet up would surely snap the line, although it did anyway!  After re-rigging the the pole we casted out again and it wasn't long before the pole bent
over again, This time I wasn't about to lose it.  I let Todd reel it in while I waded in the muck to grab
Golden Redhorse
the fish.   Dang, this fish was another nice cat, I estimate around 18 pounds.  I got it cleaned off and had tod hold it up for a picture before releasing it.  We were on a roll!  Shortly after that we hooked another fish, this time it was what I call a river redhorse as the fins were very dark reddish in color, just like we used to catch in the river back home.  Next was another huge catfish, about the same size as the first one.  Next on the list was a Golden Redhorse, a beautiful bottom feeder, they put up a great fight and their coloration is a stunning golden color.  For some reason I really like catching these fish, and of course beauty is in the eyes of the beholder but they are truly a gorgeous fish. Fishing until dark our final total was 3 channel cats, all at least 15 pounds, 4 redhorse suckers of which 3 of them were the golden type, 2 rock bass which quite honestly I have never caught in the river, and the 1 nice carp, a total of 15 fish for the 2 hours we sat on the dock.  Not bad as those big catfish took about 10 minutes to land, unhook, take pictures, and release.  This time we didn't think of it however I have a new telescoping landing net in the boat that would have worked out just great for this, oh well the muck did wash off pretty easy.  On the way out we stopped at the neighbors house and showed him the pictures, I think he was impressed.  Either way I will probably head back out to the river this weekend as these last two trips have reminded me how much I truly enjoy the simpler aspect of fishing the river.  And besides, one never knows what one will catch, the most exciting part!  I know that this time I am stepping up the size of my snells to 15 pound test!

Friday, August 24, 2018


All I can say is time sure does fly.  It seems as though I had just finished my last post and here it is, another week..............uffda.  For those who don't really understand what Uffda mean, click here and you can learn more about it!  So after 5 days of fishing in Canada, there has been plenty of things to do around the house, with the main objective of getting the jon boat out and running to fish the Mississippi River this summer.  Last Summer my Canadian fishing got in the way but have vowed to not let that happen again.  Last Friday was our annual trek to Brainerd International Raceway (BIR) to watch the NHRA drag races.  These are the big boys like John Force, Tony Schumacker, driving funny cars and top fuel dragsters that hit 320 mph and cross the finish line 1000 feet down the track in less than 4 seconds from a dead stop.  It's pretty incredible to watch as the round just shakes as the cars fly by.  As always we are guests of my good friend Kevin Sonsalla.  My neighbor Lory Brasel went with as it is always a good time with Kevin.  Friday is a qualifying day so the big boys start their first round at about 3:00, make a run then go back to their tents and tear down the motor completely and rebuild it, ready for the second round of the day at 6:00.  Kevin gets us into the Tony Schumacker tent where we can watch them rebuild the engine, have a nice dinner, refreshments before heading back to the track.  On one of the Funny Car runs I decided to record a video on the phone and in this case one of the cars blew an intake manifold, which in turns blew off the entire body.  I caught it on the video which is above, stop it at the 8 second make and you will see the resulting explosion and as the video ends you can see the body parts floating to the ground.  It was pretty amazing as I have been told that this is a potential failure so it is made to blow up safely, sure...... These engines run of Nitromethane which has 2.3 times more power than gasoline.  I have been told these engines at full throttle us 1 gallon a second.  Either way it was fun and quite amazing to see a car go that fast in that short of time.  Enjoy the video!

David Grant and a 22 pound King Salmon
So my second goal was to get my jon boat out and ready for fishing the river this weekend.  The
motor hasn't been run in 2 years and even though it has Non-oxygenated gas in it, it still isn't good to sit that long.  The other issue is one forgets about the nuances of the motor, like this 25 hp Mercury tends to flood easy and doesn't need to be choked very hard.  Once the water cuffs were put on, a few pulls with the choke fully on and the engine sputtered to life.  Unfortunately that's all it did and it would not run consistent.  Remembering it had a tendency to easily flood, a quick run to the auto parts store and new plugs seemed to help somewhat but no entirely.  The next step was to drain the gas and put in some newer stuff.  The gas smelled OK but one never knows so after finishing that task, a few pulls on the rope and voila, it started then stayed running!!  This Merc 25 hp has a goofy system whereas the throttle and gear shift is all in one.  You can only increase the throttle slightly before it shifts into gear as you pass a point on the twist grip.  Well up to this point it would simply kill once you passed that point however this time it kept running, and boy did it smoke.  Another sign of being flooded, it seems impossible that it could happen that fast.  Anyway she cleared out and after filling the tank with new gas, she's ready to go for the weekend.   It was great to get everything going and am looking forward to getting back on the river for some great smallmouth and catfish fishing!  Needing a nice fish picture for this week, my good friend David Grant sent me this one of the 22 pound King Salmon he caught on Lake Michigan this week.  I remember fishing this time of year on Lake Michigan in my 16 foot Lund Pro Angler with a 50 hp Merc.  My friend Kevin Aiona and I would go out and get kings, Coho's, and Lake Trout as we had the boat decked out with down riggers.  One can fish 3 lines per guy so we always had 2 lines down on the down riggers, maybe 40 - 60 feet down.  To the side we had Dipsey Divers that took your bait down and away form the boat, I suspect those were about 40 feet down.  The last two line were straight back of the boat, we used brightly colored crankbaits or J plugs.  We would get plenty of fish and the great thing about it was we'd take turns fighting the fish while the other guy reeled in all of our gear.  This meant we could fight the fish directly instead of keeping the motor running so we would not get tangled up and having to reel the fish against the 2 mph boat speed.  Anyway Dave, that's a nice fish and I'll bet it tasted great!

So the plan is to hit the river this weekend.  Hopefully there will be some nice pictures of the results.  As stated before, our next trip to Lac Seul is planned for September 17th, admittedly I'm so spoiled!!

Monday, August 13, 2018

Back From Fisherman's Cove, Lac Seul

26.5 inch walleye, good for 2nd largest!
Last week was our week long trip to Lac Seul with my brother, cousin Paul, friends Mike Werms, Mike and Kevin Joyce, and a couple of new guys, Randy and Dave.  Our trip started out Friday afternoon, August 3rd at noon, whereas my brother picked up Paul in Hudson, we made it to the pole shed where we hooked the boat up and headed north to spent the night in International Falls before crossing the border the next day and getting to camp in the afternoon.  After a good nights rest and breakfast at Sandy's place, a local cafe, it was off to the border.  Paul Steve, and I had a little over our limit of alcoholic beverages however I have learned if you are open, honest, and spell out everything in it's package, maybe they can't add as fast as I can talk,  maybe we have that trusting look, either way we tend to get through the Canadian's without much of an issue!  Our next stop was Dryden to shop for Groceries, then headed west to the town of Vermilion River before turning north.  This trip was on the northwest side of Lac Seul whereas most of the time on Lac Seul is on the northeast side of the lake, about 120 miles from the Fisherman's Cove.  Never the less the fishing was good and the accommodations were 2nd to none.  We were able to get out fishing on Sunday as the weather was perfect all week. Unfortunately Kevin Joyce's outboard motor decided to call a time out about 6 miles into our initial run.  We decided to take the boat back to camp so Mike started his kicker and we followed him back, fishing along the way.  Of course nothing caught was "official" however it did serve to get us warmed up!  After getting it back to camp and deciding that having an oil light that won't go off as potentially harmful, we put an extra guy in my Ranger (Ranger 1) as well Mike took Kevin and his brother Mike in his Ranger (Ranger 2).  It was fine as these boats have plenty of room and it worked out really well.  Once settled we headed out to the Double D's, two deeper underwater humps (one can only guess how the name was figured out!) This is a mid-lake area about 20 miles from camp.  The group has a friendly little contest each year which recognizes certain individual accomplishments withing the group.  First fish caught, Largest walleye, Second largest Walleye, and most fish per boat.  Within 30 seconds Mike Joyce had the first fish, something that he is pretty good at!  Of course the most total fish would have to wait until Thursday evening however on Sunday I nailed a 26.5 inch walleye that held for 2nd place.  Admittedly this wasn't what I thought to be a large fish yet it held throughout the week, which guaranteed my initial investment back!

Location of an Island fire on the NW side of Lac Seul
One thing about Ontario this year, it was pretty dry in the area.  We've had smoke warnings on the way up as the forest fires in Canada have been pretty  widespread this year.  Doing some research one learns that most of not all the current fires have been started by lightening strikes.  If you look at this map, our camp is located on the western edge of Scout Bay (upper Left) and each day we would start  on a route to this fishing spot,  one could see a smoke bellowing from an island south of our route.  It was interesting because in the late afternoon, on our way back to camp, one could see the distinct yellow glow from the fires on the island which is marked on the map on the right by a red icon.  This fire was burning through the entire week we were there.  I am sure because it was on an island, it is not worth the time or effort to put it out so they just let it burn.  By Wednesday not only this fire but a number of them in Northwestern Ontario put a well defined haze into the air and there were respiratory warnings out.  Not enough to stop us from fishing however the effect of all the fires in Ontario were quite interesting when one realizes how large of an area the smoke can cover.  It even affected areas 500 miles south of us back home.   It makes for pretty nice sunsets however!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

A Time to Remember

Dad's service picture
With a busy schedule there wasn't much fishing done last week however it there we did make it to Bogger Hollar (the second) for a family reunion of the Anderson/Fagerland relationship which was my dad's side of the family.  It was hosted by Chris and Jim Husby, Chris is the daughter of my dad's cousin Jean Amundson, who's brother Ronnie Olson had the original Bogger Hollar north of Strum, Wisconsin, where he started up the Family Reunion on my dad's side of the family.  It was nice to see many of my cousins again as well some of the Fagerland's, my grandmothers maiden name.  All of this including my trip to Oshkosh made me think of my dad, who passed away 7 years ago on August 2nd.  It's interesting, my father was not my best friend, that wasn't his job.  He did instill in me some values that reflect his own ideals and I am sure those of his fathers.  Looking back, his role was to make sure that I got a good education, both from a knowledge standpoint and an ethical standpoint.  He worked hard to make sure that I stayed focused on school and happily didn't end in jail by the time I was 18!  Although we never fished much together, he was the one who lit that fire as I have reminisced recently about fishing catfish on NSP point in Eau Claire, or our excursions to Marsh Miller Lake, west of Bloomer, or even fishing the float in Alma, they certainly started a life long, what some would say, obsession.  Never the less, as I get older, there are so many stories and questions that I would have loved to ask him about or talk to him about but like alot of things, often times by the time one thinks of it, it's too late.  Two Monday's ago I posted about having a chance to to Oshkosh and get a picture of the C47 he used to fly.  One of my favorite stories is the time they flew into Buenos Aires, Argentina sometime in the lat 1940's, maybe 1948.  Anyway they had just park their plane and he cleaned up enough to head off base as they were off duty till the next day.  As he was walking toward  the gate an abrupt voice called out...Sargent to which he promptly turned around and saluted to the base commander.  The voice returned, Where you going Sargent?.....I am on leave sir, going downtown for a few hours.....Not dressed like that, as the commander explained the place was crawling with Nazi German's that fled the war and they have no love for American's in uniform.  Come with me, I have a son about your size that you can change into civilian clothes,  they'll leave you alone!  Wow, a great story and I am sure there was more but they are now forever gone.  So those who's fathers are still alive, talk to them, there is much to learn.  For those who are fathers, share your stories as it is the greatest gift you can give!

Boost Converter
Dang garden looks like crap and  the deer have been just brutal on my tomatoes and cucumbers.  Also, there is a mole in the back yard who has decided to make most of it into his permanent buffet table.  They can be difficult to trap and here's hoping I can get it before I leave on Friday.   Believe it or not, it's pretty dry around home.  It sure cuts down on the need to mow everything yet it is not the best situation.  It does look like rain this weekend however I will not be around to enjoy it.  The picture on the left is a device that has proven to be a great solution for a problem that has been experienced in a number of the boats I have owned including my current Ranger.  With all the wiring and the fact that these modern electronics do pull some substantial current, especially those 12 inch screens, couple that with live wells and bait well pumps, structure scan 3D, an accessory GPS module, on-board entertainment unit, it doesn't take long for the voltage on the main battery to drop, and with the voltage drop in the wiring, there simply isn't enough voltage to keep my Lowrance depth finders working in top condition.  Often the solution is to wire these devices directly to the accessory battery yet that sometimes is not very convenient.  My solution came to me years ago when my first Ranger had an old Genetron CRT display which started acting up when the battery voltage was lower than 12.2 volts.  Tom Emmons was a good friend and an excellent power supply engineer so I had him build me a boost converter, an electronic device that would take a voltage and boost it to a higher voltage, one that I set up at 14.5 volts.  This took care of the problem as the screen cleared up.  Lately my depth finders on my boat have been acting up after a long day on the water.  Amazon sells these boost converters for about $5.00 each and they work beautiful.  No longer do my Lowrance units shut off when I start my main outboard.  The display's no longer blink when the voltage get's low.  It's a very nice and convenient way to take care of the low voltage issues.  If only most problems would be that easy!  I posted the same message a year ago before leaving for Canada but failed to connect the output to all of my added electronics, which I fixed last week.  In June my HDS 9 was acting up and that solved all of my problems!

Heading for Lac Seul on Friday and will return a week later so Next week's post may reflect my schedule.  It looks like a good week however the water is still about 2 feet lower than it normally is, reflecting how dry it really is. 

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Busy Weekend!

Andy with the first bass
The first item on the agenda for last week was to take my wife's Uncle Andy and Cousin Jason fishing on Saturday morning.  It would have been nice to run up to Mille Lacs and try the deep basin bite however there was not enough time as Andy needed to get back to Eau Claire later in the afternoon so we decided to fish Lake Minnetonka, about a 15 minute ride from Jason's house.  Lake Minnetonka in the 10th largest lake in Minnesota and is well known for it largemouth bass, pike, and panfish.  We decided to try for bass this trip and after landing in Maxwell Bay, we headed to the upper end of North Arm.  It's been over 10 years since I have fished Minnetonka and with a recent cold front passing through the wind was blowing pretty good out of the northwest, the conditions were difficult.  Our strategy was to fish the docks where the water depth at the end of them was fairly deep, in the 5 - 7 foot range.  While Andy used his confidence bait, a scum frog, Jason tried a spoon with a plastic thing threaded on the hook, I was bound and determined to catch a bass using the wacky worm style that was so effective in Texas back in April.  We started fishing the docks when Andy landed his bait on one of the docks.  Because his was weedless, a slight tug and it dropped right off the dock and into the water.  Immediately a bass hit the lure and the fight was on.  Andy was using a spinning rig so on light tackle, he had a good battle.  Netting the fish we unhooked it and took this picture, the first fish of the day.  It happened pretty quick and it hopefully was an omen of things to come.  My rig was a blueish with glitter sinking type plastic worm that has an O ring slid in the center of it and a weedless hook hooked between the worm and the o ring.  I am not sure why this has a lot of appeal but it sure worked good on Bass at Joe Stanfield's pond (OK Tanks).  Casting as close to the edge of the docks as possible, the worm naturally sinks and this time
3 guys out for a cruise
something big hit it.  I reared back and set the hook, only to feel a nice tug on the line then it went limp.  After reeling it in, it was soon discovered that at the end of my line was simply the bare hook with the O ring attached.  Apparently what ever hit it was large enough to pull that worm clear through the O ring leaving me with nothing left but hardware.  It was surprising as I figured anything hitting that hard would automatically be hooked, I guess I may need to reevaluate the time between the strike and when I should set the hook.  That was about it for the day, Jason caught a little bass, not even big enough to bother taking a picture.  We tried many different areas with the same results, not very good.  Lake Minnetonka consists of many lakes tied together by channels, the places to fish and boat are endless.  All the channels are no wake areas, which makes sense as they are only about 25 feet wide.  We were entering the channel in front of a popular hangout, Lord Fletchers, idling through when we came upon this boat anchored at the mouth and taking pictures of the boats that came by, including ours.  The sign said, Tonka Paparazzi, go to to see your pictures.  Well, I did just that to see what it was all about and there it was under July 21, a nice picture of us 3 heading back.  I figured it had to cost something but all they asked is you visit their sponsors.  Anyway I downloaded the picture and now we are in internet immortality!

Monday was my EAA Oshkosh Air Show adventure and adventure it was!  The plan was to leave Crystal Airport at 7:00 AM with Bruce Wiley's plane, a Cessna 182 RG, his friend Jim Shull, a very competent pilot himself, and me sitting in the back seat taking it all in!  Both of these guys are IFR rated (Instrument Flight Rules) and had filed a flight path to Oshkosh, about and hour and twenty minutes away.  Taking off we headed north a bit before we turned to the east with a little southerly angle, we passed just south of Eau Claire, west of Niellsville, South of Wisconsin Rapids and over my cousin Don's place before we cancelled our IFR routing and went into the required VFR ( Visual Flight Rules), dropping down to 1800 feet altitude, and slowing to 90 mph. Some where around Ripon Wisconsin the only way I can describe it was when the pandemonium began.  Planes coming in from all directions, above you, from the left, from the right, coming up behind you.  All of the air traffic is controlled by ground crews 6 - 10 miles from the Oshkosh airport.  One is not allowed to talk back to the air controllers, they just simply acknowledge your position, ask to rock your wings so they know you understand their instructions then head into the airport.  The key is getting in line, and with 30 or so planes in your immediate area it's not that simple.  We ended up doing circle patterns around Green Lake and Rush Lake before we could find a slot to slip into the line heading to the airport.  There were guys that cut in front of you, came in from behind and at the last minute pulled up.  Some of those twin engine planes have a hard time keeping their speed around 90 mph and you were told to keep one mile of separation between planes.  Jim had a flight tracker that would display all the plane in the air around you and and I can say is Uffda!  Finally finding a slot we got our instructions...182 rock your wings!, thank you proceed in.  We landed then spent another 45 minutes looking for a parking spot.  After about 30 minutes of taxiing, a guy told us all General Aviation Parking is filled.
Standing next to a C47
  Asking about Parking in the camping area, yes, that is $120/night.  After spending the last 3 hours in the plane we had little option but to go that route.  I think the guy parking us felt our pain and didn't push the fee.  Nobody ever collected and by 6:30 we were headed for the runway, ready to fly home.  Although the only thing I pilot is my boat, it was a lot of fun walking around, looking at the planes and talking to the vendors, sort of like going to the State Fair.  There were 2 goals I wanted to acomplish, first is to have answered my question, why do turbo props have their propellers facing forward at stop.  The second was to actually see a C47, the plane my dad flew in Panama.  Not dissappointed, those 2 goals were met, the prop question had to do with the fact that if a turboprop engine fails, one wants the props to present no load to the engine, especially important in a dual engine plane.  Also when starting the turbo engine, having the propeller fully "Feathered" reduces the load on the starter as it takes more juice to start than a standard piston engine.  The second is represented by the picture above, I got to see a C47 up close and envision what my dad probably went through as he flew around in South America.  Obvious we did get home safely, a little tired, and my feet are still somewhat sore!  I am not sure what is on tap for this weekend but it would be a good time to get my jon boat out and try fishing the river for some catfish and smallmouth bass before heading back to Lac Seul next Friday.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Back To Mille Lacs

Well it was back up to Mille lacs Lake again last weekend, however the purpose was not to fish but to help my friend Bill move some stuff out of his basement and into his offsite garage.  Not that fishing wasn't thought of however the time seems to get to compressed these days and besides, the Mille Lacs area had around 7 inches of rain in the last week so the water levels really jumped as you can see by the graph.  Big changes like that seem to change the bite somewhat and besides, the wind was blowing out of the northwest pretty hard and I really didn't feel like getting tossed around all day anyway, so I chose lifting heavy objects!  Actually the deep water basin bite has started, one of the fishing methods that better suits my boat setup (Wheel Boat with a kicker motor) straight line trolling with either planar boards or lead core.  During the 2018 fishing opener, we utilized my kicker, the I Troll set up and the remote control steering on the kicker motor and got pretty proficient at controlling the boat.  As they say, practice makes perfect, and I am looking forward to using this setup maybe later next week.  One of the more effective ways of trolling is to use a line counter reel on a fairly long trolling rod setup, attach either a deep running Reef Runner or a Deep Diving Rapala Tail Dancer, both will dive to 30 feet on standard monofilament with 150 feet of line let out.  Connect an inline planar board and it will take that line out 50 feet to the side of the boat.  Because there is a flag hooked to the line, if a walleye hits the lure the flag will be down and there is nothing left to do but reel in the fish.  With lead core line, I use Suffix 832 which sinks at about 8 feet per color (30 feet per color) at 2 mph.  Usually a standard shallow water crankbait like a #5 Shad Rap, a Smithwick Rattlin' Rouge, or other baits that their dive curve is in the 3 - 7 feet range.  Simple let out 3.5 colors, which will take the end of the lead-core to about 28 feet.  I like a 20 - 30 foot leader on the lead-core so the baits run 2 - 4 feet down from there, perfect in that 32 - 35 feet of water depth, as walleyes will always come up to hit something that looks good to eat.  My friend Chuck Teasley is supposed to be up next week and maybe we'll have to try a day of trolling.  Here is a great YouTube episode of James Holst trolling walleyes on Mille Lacs Lake in the summer.  I've never fished the area they were at so it will be worth a try.

Saturday I have agreed to take my wife's Uncle Andy and cousin Jason fishing. I was really thinking
Air Force C47
hard about heading to Mille Lacs however they only wanted to go out for a few hours so I decided to go to Lake Minnetonka and try some panfish and bass fishing.  I haven't bee on that lake in years so it will be interesting for sure.  If nothing else and we don't catch any fish at least Andy will enjoy looking at all the mansions on the lake, it's pretty impressive.  My strategy will be to try the wacky worm rigs that we used in Texas earlier this year.  It is definitely one of the more popular methods of fishing bass and it would be nice if we were successful.  If nothing else I am sure we can find some panfish somewhere.  Monday I fly to Oshkosh for the EAA airshow, one of the largest in the world.  Bruce Wiley asked me if I'd be interested in flying out in the morning and coming back the same day in his Cessna 182RG.  He claims it's only and hour and 15 minute flight and is quite an experience.  One of the things I am looking forward to is this years display of C47, the Military version of the old DC3 used as a passenger plane in the 50's and 60's.  Dad was stationed at Howard Airforce Base in Panama and flew C47's all around South America in the late 40's.  He told me a few stories as he was a navigator.  One thing he did teach me when I was young was the Morse Code.  Sort of geeky these days but I still remember most of it.  Now that he is passed away I wish I could have had more conversations with him about his time in the Air Force, so I am looking forward to actually seeing the plane he flew in. 

Other interesting things, our last trip to Lac Seul found myself somehow flipping the built in fish measuring ruler that stores neatly in my boat into the Wapesi River.  Although only in 4 feet of water and we could see it sitting on the bottom, there was too much current to deal with it, even my friend Pete went overboard in an attempt to retrieve it, it was pretty much impossible to get.   It was tough leaving it on the bottom as one could see it very plainly but left it we did.  I ordered a new one for my boat as it was pretty handy, $53.  I guess I need to be more careful where I put it the next time I take it out.  We are still set to head up to the Fisherman's Cove on the Northwest side of Lac Seul.  We have basically figured out our September trip leaving the 17th.  Admittedly this summer is flying by, I guess the older one get's the faster they go!