Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Give Me More

Here's a picture I took myself. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw what I took on my comp. Like I said before, Pat likes to cut it close on the time when we're going back for the day. He doesn't like to head back until he's sure it's going to get dark. And boy, when it starts , it gets there fast.
It must have been around some small islands between Martin and Sphunge Islands. There's an eagles nest on one of them.You can't see it in this picture, but there's a little black speck in the upper right side. I think it's an eagle coming back to it's nest. I didn't notice it until I printed up some pictures for some calenders. I only had a 3 meg camera with me, so a real enlargement was to blurry to make out. But from the shape of it, I'm convinced. This year I bought a better camera.
When I look at it, I have to wonder if the end of a good day fishing, or if it was the day Pat threw our fish away. Either way, it's a beautiful way to end the day. There's lots of sunsets like this up there and I need more.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Ways to Loose Fish

Catching fish and loosing fish go hand in hand. I might have even lost one or two myself. It seems like there are a million ways to do it too. From knots breaking to the fish throwing the hooks to having them jump out of your hand while you get your photo taken. That's the one I hate most. Bump your hand or have the boat rock and Plunk. They never seem to fall into the boat, unless they're small.

There is also another way, although it's not talked about much, unless it happens to you. Then it seems like it's all anyone remembers.

After moving to another spot while fishing about 3 years ago, Jim grabbed the fish basket and threw it back in the water. I thought good job. The only problem was, it wasn't tied on. Right down to the bottom. Me and Jim laughed, but Pat went bonkers. He went on and on and just couldn't understand how anyone could be so stupid.

Then 2 yrs. ago, we were out on the pontoon with our sisters. Again we went to another spot, Sue threw the fishbasket with our catch into the water. This one had a chain with a clasp on the end and looked like it was attached to the boat. But down it went. Again, Pat went nuts.

Last year guess what happened. Me and Pat were leaving the Ash River and stopped in Sullivan Bay to try one last spot before we went back. We had some nice rock bass and perch in our basket. He threw the basket over the side and GONE. Right away he wanted to start bitching at me, but, I wasn't having any of it. Then he could see how it could happen to someone. He started coming up with all these excuses about it looking like it was tied off and on and on. It was too. Atleast it was at the other spot. All he did was pull it in and we took off. Needless to say, we drifted away from where he threw it in, so we never found it.

They say that the 3rd time is the charm, but I'm a little hard headed. This year I'm getting a floating fishbasket. I saw them in the Bass Pro Shop catalogue and they're only about $14.00. It's worth it to me. 3 years in a row is a lesson even I can learn.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Smiling Faces

Just another happy face. My youngest son, Agony, I mean, Anthony.

I know it might not look like it to you, but take it from me, He's beaming! Maybe not from the size so much, but from sheer volume. This is Sullivan Bay, not far from the entrance, coming in from the Kab.

In the morning, we would drift along the shore (?) and cast or flip our bait against the wall, let it fall in and sink. It worked good too. It's just to bad we didn't try that approach sooner in the trip.

We kept hearing about a crappie hole in the bay near the entrance, by some sunken logs, but the bay's a big place and that hole's hard to find. They said it's near some sunken logs. One day Pat and I found the logs, but by accident. We were headed back to the cabin and saw somebody was fishing in the area and so we pulled up on him. He wasn't thrilled, but he wasn't catching any fish there anyway, so he told us it was right around there and took off. We couldn't see it and were just trolling around when all of a sudden we hit the log. That was a shock. It's about 1 1/2 feet or so beneath the surface and hard to spot. The only reason we found it was because Pat had the trolling motor down so low in the water, we snagged a limb. We didn't catch anything there either. The next morning we all went back, but we couldn't find the log again. So, we hit the shore.

We were flipping worms and leeches toward the shore (1-2 feet away), letting them fall and reeling in. Nothing. Then, Pat happened to flip his bait to far and it hit the wall and fell in. Boom a 12" crappie. Naturally we all started doing the same thing and we were catching them like crazy. All kinds of fish too. Crappies, smallies, perch, and even a northern. Pat caught a small perch and we all laughed and congratulated him on such a fine prize. Then when he threw it back, a northern took him as soon as it hit the water. It was like he knew we caught that fish and were going to throw it in right there. We all just stood there with our mouths open. It happened again to Jim a couple of days later. I noticed that both times we threw the fish back in away from the wall, although I never got to act on it. Besides, we were catching fish anyway. We caught a lot of fish there that morning and every morning after.

Sullivan Bay is about 1/4 mile wide and about 1 1/2 miles long and a slight curve to it. In the morning, the sun doesn't rise above the tree line until about 10 or 10:30 in the morning on the north side of the bay. After that, nothing, until the next morning. We only had 4 or 5 days left (we go for 2 wks.), so I don't know if it's like that year-round, but I know where I'll be starting out this year.

The best part about it is that the area's so big, you can always find a good spot to be by yourselves if you want. The area we covered everyday was only about 5 or 600 feet long. Almost the same starting point each day and the same results each day, too. Float 6-7 feet from the wall, or shore, and toss. If you didn't bounce off the wall or get your bait right there, you didn't catch a fish. I'll never forget that. We used 2 boats and we all caught fish all morning. The water depth changes alot, too. It goes from 2- 12 feet every few feet, it seems like. It's really a great spot.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Rainy Lake Walleye

This is one of my favorite pictures. I could look at that kid's face forever.

We hired a guide to take us out on Rainy for the day. Man, that's a big lake. Me, my brothers, son, and grandson. I know my grandson had a good day. You can see that from the smile on his face. It wasn't the 1st time he ever caught a fish, but they were some of the biggest ones he ever caught. They have size and creel limits up there so we couldn't keep all the ones he wanted to keep. One of them became his favorite, because he carried that fish around all night. He showed anyone and everyone he could corner. I don't know how my son finally got it away from him.

Before we went, we all went to the Bass Pro Shops and stocked up on jigs, plastics, and other stuff we thought we'd need, but didn't use any of it. The guide had everything. He had jigs and tied them on, baited our hooks, unhooked the fish, we had a ball.

We didn't use any plastics. It was all worms. He brought leeches and minnows too, but the worms were the hot ticket that day. The best part was, he knew where the fish were. We fished a reef just outside of the American channel, and it was non-stop action all day. We just started in fishing and never moved. It seems like when we go out alone, we end up going all over the place.

We all fished for wallies, but not my son. He had an agenda. All he wanted to catch on the whole trip were northerns. He didn't want to hear about crappies, bass, or anything else. So, he brought his spoons and casted for them all day. He did catch a few too. My brother, Jim, almost caught a really big northern reeling in a walleye, but couldn't release the bail in time, so he got away. That walleye was tore up pretty good after that.

Seeing my grandson there brought back alot of memories. When my 2 guys were little, we used to go up to Whitehall, Mi. almost every weekend. There was a small lake about a block away from our house there. We were about 9 miles from Lake Michigan and would go to White Lake channel to fish. Right behind it was Duck Lake, and we fished there also. Those were good and happy days.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Trouble in Paradise

That's Sam looking and Jim and the the Ranger's head in the plane.

After we got to the resort, one of the 1st things we did was go to the park service and reserve some boats for Locator Lake. The day came and it couldn’t have been better. Warm, beautiful, sunshiny day and off we went, me, my 2 brothers, 1 nephew, and his buddy. It’s about 8 miles across the lake, so we took 2 boats there. My nephew and his pal took off on the wrong direction, but managed to find the landing anyway. That’s the easy part. Then you have to hike about 1 ¾ miles, and I mean hike. We all got a laugh when my nephew told us about how his mother (my sister) went bonkers on him and his dad a couple of years earlier. They talked her into going out there with them, telling her it was just a short walk. Boy, does she still talks about it too. Ha ha. This trail is up and down about 6 times. From lake-level to 60+ feet over the pine tree tops. If you had to get away from a bear, you’d have to pull a “Rambo” shot, jump off and hope you could grab the branches on the way down. I don’t think there is 1 level step the whole way. You have to watch every step. Over the years, we’ve seen a lot of things on that trail, from snakes to snapping turtles headed to the beaver pond. One time we had a baby bear cub up a tree, but didn’t realize what it was until we had the pix developed. Thank the lord it didn’t cry out, because there was no way for us to get away from that spot. Mama would’ve gotten some of us for sure. Most of the time, it’s like walking through a tunnel there’s so much over-growth. Single-file and it’s kind of hard to follow once you hit a clearing. There aren’t a lot of people who go out there to tamp down a good trail.
Anyway, we got there, broke-out the canoes, paddles, and headed out. Locator Lake is about 1 ¼ miles long, with another lake about the same size connected by a small stream behind it. Actually there are 4 lakes like that in a row, but to reach the last 2, you’d have to portage over a beaver dam at the far end of War Club. We planned on going into War Club, but that’s a lot of paddling, so we let the wind blow us towards it while we casted, jigged, and just fooled around. It’s really nice because you’re usually (99 out of 100) the only ones there for miles around. And I mean on all 4 lakes. There’s only 1 trail in, and it leads to Locator.
Back to the point. We were there about 2 hrs. and then a small seaplane started to circle and then landed on the water a few hundred feet away. I thought that someone was smart and flew in to fish. Wrong. Everything seemed to be OK, but as we drifted closer, he called us over and we could see that it was a ranger. My brother Jim and I went over and he asked about our life jackets. Naturally that was the one thing we didn’t think to bring with. We only had 2 with us. He hemmed and hawed for a while about the jackets and then asked us to leave. He was there with someone to take water samples or else he wouldn’t have even been there that day. My brother Pat wanted to stay, so the 4 of us waited for awhile and then left. He had a life jacket, so we weren’t very worried about him. We thought we were getting a break, but. On the way back to the landing, I noticed the plane flying overhead a couple of times. I didn’t think much of it, I just thought that he was circling to make sure that we didn’t go back. I know that he couldn’t see us down there through all that stuff and then he disappeared for a while. We got back to the landing and headed back to the resort. Then about ½ the way back, the plane shows up again. He circles a couple of times and pulls us over in the middle of Kabetogama. Again only 1 life preserver, but atleast we had cushions. Well, they don’t count. He said that he could give us all a ticket, but that we could choose one person to get it if we all agreed. What a nice guy. I volunteered, but only because everyone said they would all chip-in. I didn't expect my nephew or his friend to, but I sure expected my brother to. They say no good deed goes unpunished and it's true. What a bunch of B.S. When the time came to pay up, nobody remembered or wanted to hear about it, so it cost me 125 bucks. I even got a notice from the US forest service. The U.S. of America vs. Al Cappy. I sure learned my lesson. Next time, if there is one, everybody gets a ticket.
It sure did give us something to talk about for the next couple of days though. Ha Ha. Later.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Sweetnose and Pinoccinose

One place we fished was right around Sweetnose Island and the islands around it. By the time we got there, it was kind of late, about 1 0'clock or so. We were drfting along, casting, and noticed a big, black animal at the water's edge. We shot down there thinking it was a bear, but it turned out to be a big, hairy dog. There is a campsite on one of the little islands, and there were 2 guys and a few kids camping there. As we drifted by, we waved, said Hi, and asked about the fishing. This one guy's daughter (about 8-9) yells out, " My dad caught a 24" walleye there last night". I thought this guy was going to die right there. Right away he starts saying he didn't catch it there, it was in a bay about a mile away. We said "Ya, Right".
Just our luck we didn't bring a map, or we would've seen the hole right in front of the island. But we drifted around the islands and up through the bay anyway. We caught a couple of northerns in the bay, and six 1 1/2 -2 pound smallies off Cemetary Island. There are some ledges that go out into the bay just north of Cemetary. They don't show on the map, we happened on them while drifting along. You could see the bait-fish down there and the rocks.
I always throw the northerns back, but I caught them on a #2 black mepps. They seem to love that color and size lure. The smallmouths we got with jigs tipped with crawlers or leeches. It didn't seem to make any difference to them. Even the little ones were biting them up.
We stayed about 4 hours and marked some spots that we wanted to try later. It's an hour and one half back to the cabin, so I was glad to get going. As you can see the water was pretty calm so we made good time. Next time I made sure that we brought more to munch on. We had plenty to drink though. Later.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

We Did It

Well, we managed to get up there again. My dad's brother and his wife came along for the ride too. I know that they weren't ready for that one. They're in their 90's and it's a good ride. We stayed over night on the way there, so it wasn't to bad, I hope. I don't know if they'll feel like coming along next year though. I hope so, because my uncle whittled little wooden letter openers and dated them. Maybe I can get a collection going.
We had a good time, only one problem though. All our newly discovered hot spots from last year cooled off. We thought that we'ld be banging them hard from day one, but. We caught them but it was hard. The smally action was good and the northerns were biting too. This year we tried a few new areas and sometimes they can be hard to find, especially when you push deep into Namakan. There are so many islands, and some of them are so big, that you think you're following the coast line, but you're not. Oh well, that's part of the fun. Exploring. Just wish I could stumble accross one of those gold mines.
We did a lot more sight seeing though too. Going to Kettle Falls or Ellsworth or anything like that is a day trip. The pontoon isn't all that fast, even with a forty. It was fun though.
We also humped out to Locator. That was bad news though. Got busted 10 minutes after we got there for not having life preservers. That's a story for another day.
We were all set to go up there to do some ice-fishing, but it sure doesn't look like it. The ice all melted or is to slushy to get out on, I guess. I went through the trouble of looking up pointers, but it seems all for naut.
I did run across a good new web site though. It's called "Reel Fishing Reports". They had a good article on ice fishing, (other ones to). I really haven't done that much ice fishing. Especially without a shelter of some kind. Call me old, but I like fishing in the warm weather and warm places better.