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Monday 6/22 toothy critter hunt

851 Views 15 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  gimmeteeth
Monday I decided to take a much-needed day at the lake and see if any toothy critters were hungry. And man, were they ever … but lucky for them, yours truly had 10 thumbs, despite nailing a pattern like never before.

Launched at Selfridge about midday, wondering just how much action there might be on account of the east wind, but needn't have worried about the fish biting at the least. Headed straight out toward the nearby former location of a DNR trap net that caught some nice muskies in the survey for which I volunteered in May and before too long after upping my speed to about 3.5 mph to get there fast while still working the route my drag screamed, and what appeared to be a low to mid 30s inch pike jumped way above the surface after hitting a Mepps I was running… and threw the hook. Hadn't gone much farther after re-starting the motor, when there was another rip on the same Mepps, which again didn't hold, and saw the huge head of the musky that hit break water (looked like a really big fish), chasing the lure and I reflexively ripped the lure forward to trigger another strike, but the fish had turned and was gone … at least for the time being.

At that point the "no brainer" decision was made to turn around and pound the general area (which was about 8 ft deep and 74 (!) degrees at the surface … way warmer than I'd expected such action), and the action was … insane … busier than any toothy action I'd ever experienced before, even in the fall. Before long another nice fish hit one of the other rods, and put up a great fight. The fish appeared to be low 40s inches (see pics of the fish in the water below, 1st pic, leader was 4 ft), but got off with a head shake while getting the net ready.

Then I got a dink or two, and before long had another nice, chunky musky on the same rod as the one that got off. This time I backed the drag way, way off and very gingerly played the fish, which was unhooked in the water in the net and deemed strong enough to briefly pull out for a quick measure and ruler pic. Just shy of 40 inches and right chunky, probably close to 20lb (next 2 pics).

Then not much later had another fish on one of the other rods, and while I hurriedly cranked the line in a very nice fish that appeared to be about the same size as the big one I lost was following it … and quickly turned as I attempted to "figure 8." The fish on the other line turned out to be a dink and got off anyway … just as well.

Shook off another dink or 2, then the fish turned off, and I headed back to port for drinkage, having run out of water on the hot day. Saw Schram's van in the lot at Angler's Point.

After the break I headed back out, briefly worked the same area, then checked out some spots that produced last fall and summer, but nothing doing. Probably still too cool for fish to be very active at those deeper spots (65F surface, 13 FOW). Then headed back to the hotspot for one other shot as the sun was going down. Decided to up the size and vibration of the baits and slow down as I neared the spot, running the baits at about 2 mph.

Then just about at sundown and a couple hundred feet from the zone the drag on the reel on which I ran a 13 inch Grandma screamed like a banshee, and I saw a really nice fish (again appeared to be low 40s inches, but hard to tell in the low light) break water and proceed to put on the most insane fight I'd ever experienced from any fish, thrashing around the surface and jumping several times, even headed toward the boat … and eventually the musky won, as so many great fish do … by a TKO in the late rounds. Got off, not during a jump, but during a lull … might have been unhooked with the aid of weeds. Trolled around a bit more, but that was all she wrote.

So it was a good lot of fun and excitement, but only one decent fish to show for it. Quite a contrast to last year's landing almost every fish that hit, but not getting anywhere near as many strikes in the first place. In addition to the obvious factor of running 3 rods (upping the odds and the chaos while fish are on), using Power Pro this year instead of mono appears to play into both the better action and worse "batting average": the braid has enabled me to run with better feel and control (especially on longer lines), always knowing if the baits are clear or not … but last year's experience with mono and less delicate lures gave me a bit of heavy hand for the unforgiving braid and smaller, weaker hooks on some of the baits I'm running, which I don't want to upsize on the suspending ones.

So it's shaping up to be a very exciting year, but there's some work to do. It may do me well to clear out a seat and join forces with another musky freak to cover each other's backs with reeling up lines, landing fish, etc. Boat hoes feel free to PM me.
Gas is not even an issue -- only go through about 2 gal trolling all day.

Also intend to experiment with a length of mono (20 feet to start) between the Power Pro and the heavier fluorocarbon leader to give a bit of shock absorption against the head shakes while maintaining enough of the long line "feel," and provide another easy line out gauge. The experimentation's definitely part of the fun for this toothy critter hunter... can't wait to get at 'em next time. ><{{{{{{{{{*>

The 2nd nice one that got away boatside
Water Liquid Fluid Lake Fish

The one that didn't get away, in the water
Water Liquid Fluid Bird Lake

... and next to the ruler, before being put right back
Food Fish Mesh Fin Staple food


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Great report, but my head is spinning from all the side scrolling to read all of it.
Hint, if you hit the enter key between adding each pic they will stack vertically and I won't get any dizzier than I already am
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OK, think I figured it out. Thanks, Big Dog, hope the edited post looks better.
good report. i have lost alot of fish this year too.. sucks
Nice report. Lot easier to read this way. I fished Tuesday for a couple hours in Anchor Bay with nothing to report except when reeling one line in while trolling I saw a smaller musky briefly following it. Passed over the same area for awhile but no fish.
QUOTE(gimmeteeth @ Jun 25 2009, 05:26 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>OK, think I figured it out. Thanks, Big Dog, hope the edited post looks better.
Great job, thank you, my eyes have stopped rolling now
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Quite frankly I'd rather have a day like that than catch one larger but not personal best or a couple similar fish with no other action. It's mainly about the fun for me, and man, was it ever fun! ><{{{{{{{{*>
Sounds like you had a great day with all the action gimmeteeth! I would suggest you sharpen the hell out of those trebles and keep on sharpening! I know it's a pain in the arse, but it's crucial. I know I got lazy from time to time, but a couple of lost fish and that sharpeninging device was dug out and put to use.
Thanks for the reminder, Makoman, though all the lures but the Grandma were pretty new, and I'm pretty sure tore out.

Definitely have to put that file to use on the big lures. Really oughta sharpen the hooks on each lure while getting them ready, though it's hard to control the boat while doing so ... motor pulls to the side. :/
great Report! Were you trolling with boards or right behind the boat??
Don't have boards.

Mostly running pretty long and high, except for the Grandma, which was about 20 ft out. No weight on anything.
QUOTE(gimmeteeth @ Jun 25 2009, 11:04 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Don't have boards.

Mostly running pretty long and high, except for the Grandma, which was about 20 ft out. No weight on anything.

WOW!! That is great! I have to try that! My son is DYING the get a muskie!!!!
If I was to try that where would be a good place to start?? What kind of bottom do you look for??
This one was pretty much blind luck, really. I seek out spots based on tips (when I get them), structure from contour maps, surface temperature, depth, birds picking off baitfish, anything that suggests the presence of fish... and cover water, building up a dossier of waypoints as I catch fish.

Learned a lot from reading Buck Perry's Spoonplugging theory. He literally wrote the book on structure trolling, and though muskies are quite different than bass, a lot of the same principles of covering water at the best structure certainly apply.
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