Sunday, August 29, 2010

SLA Lake Erie Walleye Tournament, August 29, 2010

After a tough day of fishing on the Saturday, it was clear we were still in search of fish for today’s Strait Line Anglers Club Lake Erie Walleye Tournament. After 8 boats were registered and checked we made our way to the mouth of the Grand River at Port Maitland for a 6:30 am blast off. We were late for the blast off in registering the last boats and getting our own boat in the water. But with the nice conditions on the lake it was easy to see where the boats were running to. Some straight out of Port and other went East of Port, but no one went west.

We trolled starting in 90 FOW and worked our way North East to the Ship wreck. We were getting bites, but nothing that was of any value and we pulled in white Perch and Sheepshead a few times before deciding to pull lines and try different water. We ran to the south east side of Tecumseh Reef in 75 FOW and we trolled with the waves that were starting to turn coming out of the South west. They were gentle one foot waves and our presentation and boat control was assumed perfect. Everything ran smoothly and even the serge of a 1 ½ foot wave was minimal on the diver rods.We continued to troll East North East and started shallower when we reached in front of Port Maitland in 65 FOW at 13:00 hrs. It was then where all of a sudden things changed for the better. Without noticing it upon the initial strike, the starboard side Large 107 Walker Deeper Diver on a 8 ½ ft Ugly Stick Down Rigger rod appeared to be jerked slightly. Then noticing the line was at a much shallower angle running into the water then what was normally the case. I grabbed the rod and proceeded to give the diver a quick snap to tri the diver when all that occurred was a head shake and indeed direct pressure. A few cranks on the reel and I could feel the hooks pull out. Darn that was definitely our first walleye hook-up and I blew it by trying to trip the diver. The diver was already tripped and the weight I felt was all fish.

It wasn’t 5 minutes later when I went to set the full core 10 colour Leadcore out on an Inline Planer board that while I slowly allowed the board to engage and swing out to the side knowing the harness was sure to be close to bottom, then all of a sudden the rod loaded up and the board pulled down heavily. Fish on! I reel in the board and began fighting the fish.

Then moments later the Inside Starboard 107 Black diver set on 1 ½ and out 130 takes a shot, with one hand holding the leadcore rod bent up in the air I grab the diver rod and the weight of the rod was again loaded up where I quickly pass the rod to John. He cranks twice and a head shake pulls the hook out of that fish. Almost a double header!

I reel my fish in and it is a solid 6 lbs, but there was no time to waste weighing him. In the livewell it goes and back to work setting rods.

By now the depth has crept up to 62 FOW and our divers started touching down on bottom so it required shortening the leads. The inside starboard diver on 1 ½ setting was pulled in to a 100 ft lead and the outside starboard 107 diver was set on 3 ½ setting and out 130 ft instead. This adjustment immediately works as the outside starboard diver rod takes a strike and I am on it again. As soon as I begin fighting this fish the rigger rod pops on the other side of the boat and James takes that rod. We boat my fish around 5 lbs and then the fish on the rigger down 60 feet was in the net as well. NOW WE HAVE THREE!!!

With 20 minutes of trolling through that flurry of action we decided to make another pass through the area with hopes to connect with that pod of fish again. We do that and set back up in no time with fresh worms and eager anticipation.

We trolled through the same waters following our trail lines and nothing moved, we decided instead of running up again the time was ticking away and we were now closing into the last hour of the tournament. So we decide to keep trolling and as we did the water continued to go shallower. Now in 55 FOW and the clock is 14:10 and we had to pull lines at 14:40 at the latest.

The inside starboard diver rod with the black 107 Walker deeper diver set on 1 ½ was now only 90 feet out. It takes a strike and John is quick to his feet and fights the fish on a short line to the net- It happens to be our biggest of the day. WE CAUGHT OUR LIMIT!!!

Back at the marina, we discover other boats also go there full box and description of weights sounded like we may not have a chance. Turns out I underestimated our total weight as we landed first place with 23.67 lbs.

Here is the tournament webpage for more information, results and pictures

Shane Thombs

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Port Maitland Walleye, August 28, 2010

Bill was our guest for a day of fishing for Lake Erie Walleye. Launching out of Port Maitland we were faced with three to four foot waves from the south southwest, but we took our time and made our way out to 92 FOW South of Port Maitland. We managed one long troll from there all the way into 50 FOW in front of Mohawk Point.

Bill landed a nice walleye in 82 FOW and we continued to bait hooks and release countless sheepshead, white Perch and boxed on Jumbo Perch. The walleye fell for a worm harness with a Purple metallic blade in front and a large Colorado Purple Demon blade in the rear. It was presented to depth by a 82 sized Metallic Purple Walker Deeper Diver on braid set to 1 ½ and with a 200 ft lead. This runs 60 feet down.

When in shallower water (60 FOW) we hooked up on a walleye on a 7 colour leadcore off the inline Planerboard and the hooks pulled out midway into the fight. Black/Purple with Green worm harness.

Shortly after we pulled lines and headed back to the ramp. Conversations with others at the ramp and with other boats on the radio- NO FISH- Slow.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Grimsby Salmon, August 10, 2010

John, Brian Blainey and I made a 4 hour evening trip out of Foran’s Marine in Grimsby . The sporadic report of fish caught out front was enough for us to investigate. Our departure was a little later then our normal 4:00 pm departure, as we needed to transform the boat from what was a Bass fishing boat in last Saturday’s tournament back into a salmon fishing boat. Downriggers, rod holders, tackle, rods and take the pro-poles out.

We were greated by sunny skies and flat water at the mouth of Foran’s and we took off on plane to a straight out tack at 20 degrees on the compass to put us in 80 FOW just east of the weather marker. It was there that while scanning the water the SONAR screen showed slight blips going 35 mph. Backing off the throttle and we started to set lines and turn the boat east to stay in that depth . Sure enough marks were plentiful. 40 -60 feet down and the odd bait pod (few- but some).

15 minutes into our troll the Full core (last rod in the water of the six and only in the water 5 minutes tops) starts pealing line. Magnum sized Matrix spoon that thumps the core rod tip even 475 feet behind the boat. Brian was on the rod and wrestles with the fish for nearly 25 minutes before we bring it onboard. It was a dark and skinny fish but still managed to pull the scale hook down to have a reading of 25 lbs 2 oz. Tagged the fish # 1496 and off it went.

A short time later the port side rigger jerks from it’s downward bent position but fails to release. A quick check on the Magnum Hi Ho Silver with black dots MC Rocket (new colout to come out next year) to reveal that it was a bent from the fish turning but coming unhooked. The leader for the Rocket was set to about 66” and was put behind a Large Bechold Fish Catcher in Clear with Double Crushed Glow. The lead behind the downrigger weight was 15 feet and down 55’.

Marks on the SONAR of fish were numerous, but sinking deeper as we moved away from our starting point when down temps changed to warmer at the 50 foot level and as the total water depth increased. 47’F at our starting point and 50’F only about three miles away. We concentrated on fishing the cooler water and it pays off.

An hour later the same Magnum Hi Ho Silver with black dots MC Rocket down 59’ on a short lead, takes a shot. The drag creeps out and John is on it. The fish really doesn’t behave like the kings did only a week ago. The drag only slowly pulls off and the fight is long and deep with only the odd short burst of runs from the lazy big fish. We boat it after 30 minutes and it weighs 27 lbs 5 oz. It is released, but not tagged. It had the same Fork length of 36 inches as the first fish , but much wider girth.

About another hour goes by and the Easter Egg Glow 8” Spin Doctor with a #2 MC Rocket Regular size takes a small 5 lbs 2 oz king from the rigger down 50 feet over 75 FOW. Tag # 1499. All night we couldn’t manage any fish on any of the three divers we ran. After many line lengths and lure changes. Tried Whole Herring, Lymans plug, spoons and a few flasher/fly combos and nothing went on a diver. One of those days.

The evening was a slow bite, but we remained entertained with countless jokes as well as more serious conversation about the fate of the Hamilton Tiger Cats, the location of the Stadium Site and the Pan-Am games as was the debated at Hamilton City hall at the same time.

The sun dipped down and the red sky over the mirror like water made a nice close to the night and we were off the water by 9:00 pm. No camera on board tonight.

Shane Thombs

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Vineland to Port Dalhousie, August 4, 2010

Friends Chris and Steve joined us for a evening fish for salmon on Lake Ontario . It was Chris's birthday. Busy schedules and Chris's bad back had made scheduling this trip a few times miss-fired.

The cloud cover was thick and the humidity was some left undesired. T storms were not forecasted, but a watchful eye was in order for this evening. A chop out of the Southwest alowed us to run from Foran's to Vineland where we set up in 70 FOW. After only getting the fourth rod in the water, the first rod that was set released from it's bent position in the downrigger. Steve was first to crank this one in and it was a smaller two year old king caught out of 60 'F water down 39 ft on the rigger and with a lead of 15 ft. M&M Glow Yeck 88. No adipose fin.

An hour went by when we turned back to fish the same area we started and hit our second fish on a Green Dolphin 107 Walker Deeper Diver set on 1 1/2 and out 110 ft. It had a Michigan Stinger reg 3.75" Green Clown. (small spoon was thought to turn strikes on fussy fish). The fish was a twin in size from the last one but it was a natural fish with it's adipose fin.

Then there was a long wait for 2 hours while we searched for more productive waters. At dusk we hook up with a fish on the port side rigger using a Warrior Dr Death Hot Glow using a short 10 ft lead and using a 8 " Mnt Dew/Crushed Ice Glow Spin Doctor on a 5 ft line clipped directly to the ball to add as an attractor and set down 75 ft over 80 feet of water. the fish came right to the surface and spit the hook.

There were more marks on the bottom at this point and the sun was fully down and darkness beginning to set in when the hooks on the bottom moved up to 60 feet in a 20 minute time frame.

Then we were startled by the instant and alarming sound from the drag of the 7 colour leadcore set down the chute brings Steve to his feet and he takes the rod while the fish strips the line from the reel. FINALLY a better fish.

While he fought the fish we worked hard to turn a double header, but the blackness of the night was on us and it was time to pull everything in before putting the net under Steve's fish. His personal best chinook salmon at 22 lbs 4 oz.

12 mile boat ride back to Forans in the dark while we watched the lights of the Lakehouse Restaurant and by the passing cars on the QEW, the bright glow from the greenhouses in Beamsville and finally the flashing green lighthouse light at the end of Foran's channel to mark our trip ending

Happy birthday Chris and congratulations to Steve on this still very chrome coloured king out there swimming with tag #1498.

Shane Thombs